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Nahmanides On Necromany

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Chapter Summary

The role of astral magic in medieval Judaism has become a respectable issue in the study of Jewish thought. It can be argued, of course, that the Jewish debates about astral magic are indeed described best as an inner-Jewish discourse. Maimonides may have had mainly inner-Jewish targets when he criticized astrological tendencies of his predecessors such as Judah Halevi and Abraham ibn Ezra. This chapter discusses a small detail of a much bigger historical mosaic, which shows that the crosscultural perspective must not be omitted in this context: Naḥmanides usage of the termnecromancy. It describes the several meanings of this term in his commentary on the Torah, and to explain Naḥmanides’ equivocal use of it. Naḥmanides’.

Keywords: Abraham ibn Ezra; Naḥmanides; necromancy; Torah



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