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Chapter Summary

The present book has long roots. Its seeds were sown when the three editors first began discussing the possibility of organizing a research group at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Jerusalem, with an international group of scholars working on different aspects of magical texts and practices in the various cultures of the ancient and medieval world, pagan, Jewish, Christian and Muslim. While these papers deal with magical texts in numerous different languagesand none of the participants in the conference could boast a reading ability in all the languages and scripts covered by the other participantsthey often employ the same analytic techniques. Most of the papers in the present volume deal with one aspect or another of the complex interplay between continuous transmission, sometimes over remarkably long periods of time, and innovation, gradual or abrupt, as well as transformation, borrowing and adaptation of magical knowledge.

Keywords: Christian culture; Institute for Advanced Studies; Jerusalem Symposium; Jewish culture; magical knowledge; Muslim culture; pagan



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