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Schwemer, Daniel (2007) Keilschrifttexte aus Assur literarischen Inhalts II. Rituale und Beschwoerungen gegen Schadenzauber. [Cuneiform Texts from Assur. Literary Texts II: Anti-Witchcraft Rituals and Incantations]. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

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The remains of the 7th century library found at Assur, which belonged to the exorcist Kisir-Aššur and his family, include a large number of tablets relevant to the reconstruction of the so-called Babylonian ‘witchcraft corpus’. Next to the royal library of Nineveh it represents the most important single group of prescriptions, rituals and incantations addressing sufferings that were believed to have been caused by witchcraft. The present volume is an edition of 66, mostly hitherto unpublished tablets and fragments of Babylonian anti-witchcraft rituals and incantations from Assur, housed today in the Vorderasiatische Museum, Berlin. The manuscripts are edited in hand-copy, transliteration and translation with philological notes. The transliterations and translations are, however, not only based on the Assur texts edited in this volume, but take into account, as comprehensively as possible, the many duplicate manuscripts from other Babylonian and Assyrian libraries. These were collated and mostly copied by the author in preparation of the present edition, but will be published elsewhere. A catalogue with technical details and short characterisations of the texts makes the book easily accessible (pp. 9–19). The introduction to the editions (pp. 1–7) provides the reader with a concise overview of Babylonian witchcraft beliefs and the relevant sources. The topics addressed within this section, which is based on a monographic study of the author currently being revised for print (Abwehrzauber und Behexung. Studien zum Schadenzauberglauben im alten Mesopotamien, Harrassowitz 2007/8), include among others the different genres of relevant ritual texts and the question of their serialisation, the stereotype of the agents of witchcraft as documented in anti-witchcraft rituals and especially in the relevant incantations, examples of concrete witchcraft accusations in Babylonia and Assyria, and, last but not least, the logic and function of the diagnosis and therapy of witchcraft-induced illnesses in Babylonia and Assyria.

Item Type: Authored Books
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East
ISBN: 9783447055925
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2008 10:53

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