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Some "Mass Produced" Scorpion-Amulets From The Cairo Genizah

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Chapter Summary

This chapter publishes three Genizah texts which attest to a different, and less sophisticated, mode of mass producing amulets, namely, the copying of numerous amulets, and the subsequent cutting off of individual amulets upon demand. The first and most interesting specimen, a sheet of prefabricated scorpion amulet, currently known to the author is found in the Taylor-Schechter collection of the Cambridge University Library, and its shelf-mark is AS 143.26. Each of the texts on the verso contains both a brief text and a crude design of a scorpion, and they are separated from each other by horizontal strokes at the bottom of each text. The two mass produced scorpion amulets consist of an excommunication of the scorpion, in the name of Rabbi Judah son of Ezekiel, a famous Babylonian rabbi of the 3rd century c.e. who, among his many other deeds, effectively cursed those who offended him.

Keywords: Cairo Genizah; mass produced scorpion amulet; prefabricated scorpion amulet



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