I am participating in a MEGA session interacting with Radcliffe G. Edmonds III, Drawing down the moon: magic in the ancient Greco-Roman world. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2019. I will be comparing his work on the Greco-Roman magic with the Jewish magical traditions in the late-antique Hebrew magical handbook Sefer HaRazim, The Book of the Mysteries.
Magic in the Ancient Greco-Roman and Ancient Jewish WorldsI don't know the new date and time of our session, but I'll let you know when I find out.
This paper will review Drawing Down the Moon: Magic in the Ancient Greco-Roman World, by Radcliffe G. Edmonds. I will read the book alongside the evidence for ancient Jewish magic, with a focus on the Talmudic-era Hebrew tractate Sefer HaRazim, the Book of the Mysteries. Like Greco-Roman magic, ancient Jewish magic made use of cursing and binding spells, erotic spells, healing and protective spells, divination, and astrology. But Jewish magic developed these practices under the creative influence of biblical tradition. Both Greco-Roman and Jewish magic present us with a complicated relationship between prayer and magic. The relationship of Jewish magic to alchemy and theurgy is more complicated still and requires discussion.
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