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The Use of the Hebrew Bible in Early Jewish Magic



This study seeks to enumerate the extensive and variegated use of the Hebrew Bible in early Jewish magic. The survey focuses mainly on the key Jewish magical corpora from late antiquity and the early Middle Ages – Palestinian Amulets, Babylonian magic bowls, assorted magical texts from the Cairo Geniza, and several magical handbooks deriving from Babylonia and other indeterminate locations. The article is divided into three substantive sections. The first treats numerous methodological pitfalls tied to the use of the terms ‘magic,’‘Jewish magic,’ and ‘Hebrew Bible.’ The second and third sections are devoted, respectively, to the two broad formal categories into which magical use of the Hebrew Bible may be divided, citations of biblical verses and biblical historiolae.