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Magic and Divination

(2,287 words)

Author(s): Gideon Bohak
The magical practices of the Jews of Islam are a doubly neglected topic: On the one hand, the Jews of Islam (with the exception of a few enlightened luminaries like Maimonides) have generally been marginalized in the academic study of Jews and Judaism. On the other, the magical and divinatory beliefs and practices of the Jews of all times and places have not fared well in the modern study of Jewish history and culture, and even the few good surveys of Jewish magic (e.g., Trachtenberg 1939) completely ignore the magic of the Jews of Islam. This scholarly neglect stands in invers…