Jewish Aramaic Curse Texts from Late-Antique Mesopotamia: “May These Curses Go Out and Flee” by Dr Dan Levene will soon be available from Brill.
The corpus of Aramaic incantation bowls from Sasanian Mesopotamia is perhaps the most important source we have for studying the everyday beliefs and practices of the Jewish, Christian, Mandaean, Manichaean, Zoroastrian and Pagan communities on the eve of the Islamic conquests. In Jewish Aramaic Curse Texts from Late-Antique Mesopotamia, Dan Levene collects and analyses a selection of Jewish Babylonian Aramaic incantation bowls. While such texts are usually apotropaic or healing in purpose, those collected here are distinctive in that their purpose was to curse or return curses against human adversaries. This book presents new editions of thirty texts, of which fourteen are edited here for the first time, with an introduction, commentary, analysis and glossaries, as well as photographs.
Dan Levene is Reader in Jewish History and Culture at the Parkes Institute at the University of Southampton. As a Semitist who specialises in Aramaic dialects and Hebrew his interests are focused on primary sources of a textual nature and specifically on editing manuscripts from late antiquity and the middle ages. In recent years he has concentrated his efforts on two areas of creative research. 1) Editing Jewish Aramaic magical texts from late antiquity. At present he is editing two main groups that will result in two monographs; the first is a collection of aggressive magical spells the other a group of apotropaic spells. 2) Identifying the use of metal related technology in Jewish literary sources ranging from antiquity to the middle ages.
Dan has previously curated the Virtual Magic Bowl Archive (VMBA). The aim of VMBA is to provide an environment that will allow collaborative work on material that is otherwise difficult to access or unavailable. The material within this archive consists, at this stage, of parts of three collections: The Moussaieff Collection, The Dehays Collection and The Barakat Collection. Visit the VMBA website to find out more.