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Reading The Human Body And Discerning Zodiacal Spirits: A Proposal For The Use Of Physiognomics In The Dead Sea Scrolls

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Chapter Summary

A number of texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls share an interest in the physical features of the human body. Two texts can be singled out: the Hebrew manuscript 4Q186 (4QZodiacal Physiognomy) and the Aramaic manuscript 4Q561 (4QPhysiognomy ar). These manuscripts are the remains of elaborate physiognomic-astrological and physiognomic lists. This chapter discusses physiognomic-astrological list in 4QZodiacal Physiognomy. The way that physiognomic and astrological learning are combined in 4QZodiacal Physiognomy is unparalleled in contemporary Jewish writings. The astrological information listed in 4QZodiacal Physiognomy concerns the division of peoples ascendant signs between the area above the horizon (house of light) and the area below the horizon (house of light). The Testament of Solomon expresses most clearly the concept of zodiacal spirits. It shows that spirits and demons were identified with the zodiacal signs.

Keywords: Aramaic manuscript 4Q561 (4QPhysiognomy ar); Dead Sea Scrolls; Hebrew manuscript 4Q186 (4QZodiacal Physiognomy); Jewish writings; Solomon; zodiacal spirits



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