On An Armenian Magical Manuscript (New York, Jewish Theological Seminary, MS 10558)

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On An Armenian Magical Manuscript (New York, Jewish Theological Seminary, MS 10558)

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Title: On An Armenian Magical Manuscript (New York, Jewish Theological Seminary, MS 10558)
Author: Russell, James R.
Citation: Russell, James R. 2013. On an Armenian magical manuscript (New York, Jewish Theological Seminary, MS 10558). In Proceedings of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities 8, no. 7: 105-192. Jerusalem: Magnes Press, Hebrew University.
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Abstract: This paper examines some unusual features of a modern Armenian magical manuscript. The manuscript belonged to a Sephardic Jew, who annotated it, translating and transliterating some terms into Hebrew – a rare phenomenon in the Armenian context, since Armenia has no indigenous Jewish community, and the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, a distinct millet (a defined religio-ethnic group), were often hostile to the Jews. The Jewish owner also inscribed an ancient spell known from Arabic magical literature at the beginning of the manuscript, and I shall explore its use and significance. The manuscript contains diverse spells, lists, magic squares and characters, and voces mysticae, with texts in Classical and Modern Western Armenian as well as in Armeno-Turkish. Representative portions of these are offered in translation, with commentary. I have translated in full, in an appendix, the mystical prayers employed from the tenth-century Armenian Narek; these are of interest insofar as they illustrate a nexus of canonical and folk religious concepts. The manuscript also contains a version of Vec‘ hazareak, ‘The Book of the Six Thousand’, a designation broadly employed to describe Armenian magical texts that often differ widely from each other. In a final appendix, I consider some reasons why the original of this book, a mathematical table, was of intellectual importance in the context of early Christian Armenia.
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:27755223
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