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Title: Edition and analysis of twenty-five unpublished Aramaic magic bowl texts in the collection of the Vorderasiatisches Museum (Berlin)
Author: Burberry, A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 9355 8352
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2020
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The primary purpose and content of this thesis consists of 'editiones principes' of twenty-five Jewish Babylonian Aramaic magic bowl texts from the collection of the Vorderasiatisches Museum (Berlin), including, for each text: transcription; English translation; philological notes to justify any difficult aspects of the given transcription and translation; sketches of any artwork; and commentary discussing the notable features of each bowl, in terms of both the textual content and the extratextual. The editions are followed by glossaries listing and parsing all the word forms found in the text. As well as an introductory literature review describing the progress of the field of the study of magic bowls from its beginnings to the present day, the thesis also includes a chapter discussing how the magic of the bowls works. Herein it is argued that the magic is designed to influence the actions of supernatural beings, most commonly demons, by tapping into the power of God to whom they, as all things, are already subject. Commonly this is done by appealing to precedents of what God has previously done or said or his known character traits, under the premise that he can be relied upon to be consistent with himself. Further techniques at the disposal of bowl scribes were the use of Biblical quotations; powerful names, including everything from names of God and specific angels to strings of apparent gibberish designed to tap into the creative power of the alphabet itself; ‘seals’ on the text, articulated in writing; conventions borrowed from legal practice; and various non-textual drawings: all these were designed to establish and augment the authority according to which the targeted supernatural beings were being commanded. This approach to magic may be characterised as both distinctly Mesopotamian and profoundly monotheistic.
Supervisor: Bhayro, S. ; Horrell, D. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available