By Lajos Blau
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:2011
Online Publication Date:August 2011
Original Publication Year:1914
Subjects: Judaism , Social and cultural anthropology
Lajos (Ludwig) Blau (1861–1936) was a professor at the Landesrabbinerschule (Hungarian rabbinical seminary) in Budapest. His published work covers biblical studies, Masoretic studies and the Talmud, but his interests in Jewish history also extended to archaeology and folklore. This book, originally published in Strasburg in 1898 but reissued here in its second edition (Berlin, 1914), was the first comprehensive study of Jewish magic from the biblical period to the early middle ages, and is still regarded as an authoritative guide. Blau discusses who practised magic, its beneficial and destructive purposes, and magical techniques and objects including herbs, amulets, spells, the tetragram, and the evil eye, as well as methods for counteracting their effects. He supports his arguments by extensive references to early sources. The material he presents is essential for an understanding of the medieval Kabbalah, and is also relevant to comparative work on ancient Egyptian magic.