Aramaic Bowl Spells: Jewish Babylonian Aramaic Bowls Volume by Shaul Shaked

By Shaul Shaked

This quantity offers variants of sixty-four Jewish Aramaic incantation bowls from the Schøyen assortment, with accompanying introductions, translations, philological notes, pictures and indices, on the subject of the mystical divorce and the wonder-working sages anina ben Dosa and Joshua bar Peraia.

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Additional resources for Aramaic Bowl Spells: Jewish Babylonian Aramaic Bowls Volume One

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One reason for the popularity of bowls as a surface for writing spells in Babylonia must have been the fact that the material from which bowls were produced—clay—was handy, inexpensive and easy to inscribe, as opposed to other materials that were sometimes used for writing, such as leather, metal or stone. 5 The climate of Babylonia, which was not favourable for the preservation of leather, may be responsible for the small number preserved. 6 Amulets on gems or stones are quite plentiful, but they are for the most part devoid of substantial text.

4 introduction competing for canonical status. Some of them were eliminated from Judaism alone; this applies to most of the Apocrypha, which survived within Christianity. Others were entirely obliterated; this applies, for example, to the writings of the group that was centred around the Dead Sea, the existence of which is now known only from chance discoveries. It may be postulated that there were several other groups that did not survive the imposition of the orthodox canon. 15 Although the doctrine of two separate canons, a written one next to a binding oral text, was being formulated and constantly repeated,16 it is clear that this question only arose because there were internal pressures in Judaism to have the so-called oral law transformed into a written code, as is witnessed, for example, by the systematic arrangement of the Mishna, already before the Sasanian period.

This regards appearance, contents and application. Islamic magic bowls are made of metal, usually bronze, and are densely inscribed with Quranic verses and magical symbols or combinations of numbers. They are usually called ṭāsāt al-rajfa “quake (or shudder) bowls”, or ṭāsāt al-ṭarba “sadness (or joy) bowls”. The bowls are said to have been filled with water and sometimes with small iron keys, and given to a patient to drink for healing. 126–137 and plates 100–110; Zwemer 1920, 179–184; Spoer 1935; Spoer 1938.

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