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Jewish Manuscript Cultures

New Perspectives

Ed. by Wandrey, Irina

Series:Studies in Manuscript Cultures 13

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Publication Date:
December 2017
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‘Write on Three Ribs of a Sheep’: Writing Materials in Ancient and Mediaeval Jewish Magic

Rebiger, Bill


Writing materials used for ancient and mediaeval Jewish magic include metals, stones, animal hides and bones, papyrus, paper, textiles, pottery and other objects. Inscribed finished products designated for magical purposes like amulets, magic bowls, gems, rings, pendants, seals and even skulls have been found. Moreover, numerous instruction texts are extant describing the process of writing and the producing and use of material artefacts. These instructions are attested in unsorted collections of various instructions as well as in applied manuals arranged in a more systematic manner. First and foremost, the fragments from the Cairo Geniza provide us with thousands of these texts. The question this paper tries to answer is whether there is a relationship between the choice of writing material and the intended purpose of the magical act. Another focus is on the correspondence between material artefacts and instruction texts.

Citation Information

Bill Rebiger (2017). ‘Write on Three Ribs of a Sheep’: Writing Materials in Ancient and Mediaeval Jewish Magic. In Irina Wandrey (Editor), Jewish Manuscript Cultures: New Perspectives (pp. 339–360). Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110546422-014

Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110546422

Online ISBN: 9783110546422

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/BostonGet Permission

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