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The Three Magi and Other Christian Motifs in Medieval Hebrew Medical Incantations: A Study in the Limits of Faithful Translation

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores the variety of responses to Christian incantations that can be found in Hebrew translations of medical texts. It devotes to a detailed study of the most prominent case: incantations that evoke the three magi of Christian tradition, which the author has found translated in several texts, collectively preserved in about thirty Hebrew manuscripts from the early fourteenth to the early sixteenth century. He broadens the investigation to include other incantations in medical texts that contain explicit Christian references, thereby revealing how the case of the magi relates to wider trends. Finally, the chapter concludes with some observations about how these data can change our understandings of the ways translators and copyists approached their source texts, and how a careful study of incantations can contribute to the histories of medieval medicine, magic, and Jewish-Christian relations.

Keywords: Christian incantations; Hebrew translations; Jewish-Christian relations; magi; medieval medicine

10.1163/9789004252868_012
/content/books/b9789004252868_012
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