Conjuring Heaven: Magic, Witchcraft and Healing in Jewish Tradition with Rabbi Jonathan Seidel
Tuesdays at 12 Noon
1 June – July 27, 2021
In a survey of Jewish Magic (and especially what we “mean” by that) from the Bible through the Jewish Middle Ages (1000 BCE to 1400 CE) We will examine all the key Biblical passages, key texts from Second Temple Literature, the Talmudic discussions that are devoted to defining malevolent magic, Magical Amulets and Bowls, Magical Grimoires and Handbooks as well as the plethora of amulets discovered in Israel and throughout the Middle East and Greece. Yes, there are loads of Jewish themes and motifs in Greek language magic. Love magic? Absolutely! Get your spells and charms on! We will also discuss the relationship of the “Amorite Practices” considered as “superstitions” in Rabbinic law, optical illusion and trick magic, battles between Rabbis and Witches, as well as the essential gendered question of how Women’s Medicine was “othered” and dismissed as negative magic. This class takes into account very recent scholarship and discoveries in the entire field of magic research throughout the world.
Rabbi Jonathan Seidel has been researching and teaching Jewish Magical Tradition for 40 years, including work in the Taylor Schechter collection of Geniza materials at the Cambridge U. Library Rabbi Seidel’s Phd thesis focused on Biblical and Rabbinic magic and he has continued to work with primary materials in his research.