Aramaic Incantation Texts from Nippur

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Cambridge University Press, Feb 17, 2011 - Religion - 374 pages
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In 1888 the University of Pennsylvania sponsored the first ever American archaeological expedition to Mesopotamia, to Nippur, about 160 km south of Baghdad. Among the artefacts discovered were the remains of over 100 inscribed bowls from the early centuries CE. Some contain unidentifiable writing, but most carry spiral inscriptions of exorcism texts in one of three Aramaic dialects and scripts: that of the Babylonian Talmud, a Syriac dialect, and Mandaic. This book, first published in 1913, contains transcriptions and annotated translations of texts from forty of the bowls, together with an inscription found on a human skull, and 41 illustrations. A substantial introduction sets the material in the broader context of Hellenistic magic. The author traces the bowl magic back to ancient Babylonian sorcery, and explores its relations with cuneiform religious texts and Greek magical papyri, emphasising its culturally eclectic character and the diversity of its users.
 

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Contents

PREFACE
7
INTRODUCTION
13
Some Notes on the Texts Hitherto Published
23
THE MAGIC OF THE TEXTS
40
HISTORICAL CONCLUSIONS
102
PAGE
117
GENERAL INDEX
309
PREFATORY NOTE TO THE PLATES
319
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