Magic in the ancient Near East with special reference to ancient Israel

Liedeman, Gwendolene Caren (2002-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In this investigation an anthropological and comparative approach was employed in the study of magic in the ancient Near East. Firstly, a survey was presented with regard to anthropological theories throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This forms the background against which evidence on magic with respect to the cultures of the ancient Near East is investigated. Secondly, examples of magic in the Ancient Near East was discussed, with reference to Egypt, Mesopotamia and Hittite Anatolia. Reference was made to categories such as magic spells, objects, rituals and magical experts (magicians) and various examples were discussed. Thirdly, an analysis was made about the phenomenon of magic in ancient Israel. In this context magic plays a somewhat different role in comparison to its other ancient Near Eastern neighbours. It was shown that so-called miraculous actions, miracle workers (prophets) and other religious actions (curses and blessings) in the Hebrew Bible could definitely be associated with magic. The frequent prohibitions against magical practises furthermore suggest that magic was indeed been practiced in ancient Israel.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In hierdie ondersoek met betrekking tot magie in die ou Nabye Ooste word gebruik gemaak van 'n antropologiese en vergelykende benadering. Eerstens word 'n oorsig aangebied van antropologiese teorieë met betrekking tot magie in die negentiende en twintigste eeue. Dit vorm die agtergrond waarteen die verskynsel van magie in die ou Nabye Ooste ondersoek word. Tweedens word voorbeelde van magie in die ou Nabye Ooste ondersoek, met verwysing na Egipte, Mesopotamië en die Hetiete. Spesiale aandag word gegee aan kategorieë soos magiese spreuke, magiese objekte, rituele en magiese spesialiste. Dit word toegelig met verskillende toepaslike voorbeelde. Derdens word 'n ondersoek gedoen na die aard van magie in Oud-Israel. In hierdie konteks het magie ietwat van 'n ander rol vervul in vergelyking met die ander ou Nabye Oosterse bure. Daar word aangedui dat sekere wonderdade, wonderwerkers (profete), en ander religieuse aksies (vervloekinge en seënuitsprake) in die Hebreeuse Bybel met magie geassosieer kan word. Die vele verbiedinge teen die beoefening van magie is 'n duidelike aanduiding dat magie inderdaad in Israel gepraktiseer is.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/52924
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