Jewish Mysticism and Magic: An Anthropological Perspective

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Providing a unique anthropological perspective on Jewish mysticism and magic, this book is a study of Jewish rites and rituals and how the analysis of early literature provides the roots for understanding religious practices. It includes analysis on the importance of sacrifice, amulets, and names, and their underlying cultural constructs and the persistence of their symbolic significance.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'Maureen Bloom's book sets out with two main aims: to show that rabbinic Judaism was not as straightforwardly monotheistic as has sometimes been assumed, and to extend the insights of anthropologists such as Robertson Smith, Durkheim and Douglas from the Tanakh into the areas of Jewish mysticism and magic. She assembles some fascinating material: a talmudic remedy for fever involving a rotting black hen, poetic visions of the celestial realms, a magic bowl describing the issuing of a get against a lileth. - Ann Conway-Jones, University of Manchester, Journal of Jewish Studies, Autumn 2008
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415421126
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 5/28/2007
  • Series: Routledge Jewish Studies Series
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations     xi
Acknowledgements     xii
Author's note     xiv
Part I     1
Prologue     3
Historical background     7
Literary sources     18
Theoretical background     31
Sanctuary, Temple and Synagogue: Jewish sects; magic and magicians     38
Part II     59
El Shaddai - the mighty Hebrew God: his covenants with the righteous     61
The 'sacred' and the 'profane'     76
Sacrifice and prayer in Israelite religion     96
Part III     119
Ordering the body in a world of disorder     121
Approximating God, appropriating authority: Hekhalot and Merkava literature     147
Imprecations, healing and protection; the 'Book of Secrets', amulets, incantation bowls     165
Epilogue     189
Notes     194
Bibliography and general references     219
Index     226
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