Occult Paranormal

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By Gideon Bohak

Gideon Bohak provides a pioneering account of the wide heritage of old Jewish magic, from the second one Temple to the rabbinic interval. it really is dependent either on historical magicians' personal compositions and items in Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek, and at the descriptions and prescriptions of non-magicians, to reconstruct a ancient photograph that's as balanced and nuanced as attainable. the focus is at the cultural makeup of old Jewish magic, and targeted realization is paid to the techniques of cross-cultural contacts and borrowings among Jews and non-Jews, in addition to to inner-Jewish creativity. different significant matters explored contain where of magic inside Jewish society, modern Jewish attitudes to magic, and the identification of its practitioners. all through, the publication seeks to give an explanation for the methodological underpinnings of all sound study during this challenging box, and to spotlight parts the place additional examine is probably going to turn out fruitful.

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Jewish magic: a contradiction in terms? 50 This is, however, part of a much wider Greek discourse of rationality, one in which the Jews began taking part in a serious and lasting manner only after the second Jewish encounter with Greek philosophy – the one that took place in the Middle Ages and involved reading Greek philosophy through its Arabic translations and Muslim interpretations. From the Geonic period onwards, we find in Jewish writings too the claim that some of the magicians’ claims are just impossible, and that the magicians’ practices achieve none of their purported aims.

Thus, while the analysis of Jewish magic as a form of “popular” or “folk” religion is not without value – as can be seen from Trachtenberg’s book on medieval Jewish magic, subtitled A Study in Folk Religion48 – there is no doubt that such an analysis hardly applies to most of the “insider” sources which we shall analyze throughout our study. 49 How, then, can we explain this recurrent recourse, by intelligent Jews, to practices which seem utterly irrational? Looking at Jewish culture as a whole, one cannot help noting that the issue of rationality seldom comes up in the ancient Jewish discourse on magic and magicians.

Jewish magic: a contradiction in terms? 6–8). 8). 11). 13) – is immediately revealed as a worthy successor. 14). 25)). 20–22). Nine centuries later, we may add, the water was still drinkable, and was even used to bring fertility to barren women – all as a result of Elisha’s ancient miracle. This, however, is a point to which we shall return in the following chapter. Having just helped the people of Jericho, Elisha soon reveals the darker side of the man of God’s great thaumaturgical powers: And he went up from there (towards) Bet El, and as he was going up the road little boys came out of the town and made fun of him and said to him, Up you go, baldy; up you go, baldy!

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