Jewish Magic and Superstition, by Joshua Trachtenberg, [], full text etext at Rabbi Joshua Trachtenberg, in his defensive yet illuminating book, writing of the age-long reputation of jews as practitioners of black magic and. From Sefer Raziel, Amsterdam, i7 JOSHUA TRACHTENBERG JEWISH MAGIC AND SUPERSTITION A Study in Folk Religion Submitted in partial fulfillment.

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Needless to say they obeyed with alacrity, and their death-rate became normal once more. Time and time again the instructions run: In the practice of medieval Jewosh magic it assumed more than academic importance. Dread of the spirits, rather than compassion for the deceased, undeniably informs this usage. It was nowhere suggested that human life could be created by ordinary magical means.

While the latter frankly recognized and employed the occult forces inherent in nature, recipes employing trachtenbeg forces slipped into Jewish practice by the back door, so to speak, disguised as bona fide invocations of the spirit world.

Trachtwnberg this reason communities were warned to make sure that the precentor was universally acceptable and befriended, or these curses might descend upon the heads of his enemies.

Its Lurianic popularization, reflected in the writings of the famous Polish mystic, Isaiah Horowitzmarked the beginning of a new development in Jewish demonology which is outside the scope of this study. Mackenzie rated it it was ok Feb 10, This is a comprehensive review of Jewish magic from the 10th to the 15th century, including a rich lode of folklore.

When he was innocently about to grant her request an old man intervened and scolded him sharply for his generosity. Medieval Jewish magic depended for its effects mainly upon the spoken word. The Gnostic-Manichasan heresies that had plagued the Church since the tenth century had sown widely and deeply in Christian circles the seed of ancient mystical lore.

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These could have no meaning for Jews. Until about the North European community remained fairly homogeneous, and Germanic. Nov 27, Camaysar rated it it was amazing. To tell the truth, the game is a hazardous one, for scholars rarely agree, and the result is hardly worth the labor— except to a scholar.

Full text of “Jewish Magic And Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion”

Biblical quotations were often recited both forward and backward, mystical names were reversed; sometimes the words were actually written backward as they were to be uttered, so that it requires considerable mental agility not to be taken in by magi unnatural rendering.

Even a house of wood is suspect under these circumstances.

There were names given to Angels in the bible and Talmud but during medieval times there names proliferated.

Frequently the root term seems to have been chosen at random, having no apparent relation to the function of the angel as given, though it is likely that at superstitioh time of the creation of such names the word employed was intended to indicate the angelic character.

Jewish Magic and Superstition Index

But his skepticism did not win many converts. Jared rated it it was amazing Jan 02, Feb teachtenberg, Steve Cran rated jedish it was amazing. Jun 05, Betty rated it liked it Shelves: The distinction between the word and the name, however, is academic so far as Jewish magic was concerned. The Jews were an integral part of medieval Europe and their culture reflected, as in a measure it influenced, all the forces operative in the general culture of the period. Though recognized as a legitimate name of God, 33 and occasionally tracgtenberg in incantations and amulets, its primary use was as an inscription on the back of the mezuzah.


The Sword of Moses, written during the Geonic period, contains one such prescription: The mezuzah a Biblical inscription attached to the doorpost was also an object of suspicion, and at the same time, of desire.

Foods placed under a bed for safekeeping during the night are undoubtedly contaminated by evil spirits; to partake of them is to iewish trouble. A house or a city in which children die young, a family that has been frequently bereaved, a woman whose husbands do not survive, all must be avoided like the pest.

Jewish Magic and Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion

The War With The Spirits. While Sueprstition were sought after for their medical expertise and knowledge of Herbs they were also feared as poisoners thanks to that same knowledge. For each day and time a different angel or arch angel was assigned and those name could be changed.

If the name of God is uttered in another trchtenberg, this prohibition does not apply at all. Nathan Hanover, however, in inserting this name into the prayers in conjunction with the Priestly Benediction showed himself responsive to the most persistent tradition relating to it. This recipe is worthy of full quotation because it illustrates the business that often accompanied the charm.