Magic and Witchcraft in Judaism during Antiquity

On 12th October 2023 we were delighted to host the above-named talk by Dr Shai Feraro, a Research Fellow at the University of Haifa. Dr Feraro outlined the nature of Jewish magic which is based primarily on the belief in human ability to influence the course of events in the world through ritual, centred on the reading or writing of magical formulae. He descrived how this evolved as a parallel system, integrated into normative Judaism,  aiming to bring about change in reality in order to benefit an individual’s will (usually in healing, the attraction of wealth or love, etc.). Dr Feraro also discussed attitudes towards witchcraft during antiquity, and he diescribed various magical aids from amulets to bowls, from incantations to demons exorcism, and much more.

Over sixty people attended this exciting and enlightening talk. All were impressed by the depth of Dr Feraro’s knowledge and insight as well as appreciating his pronounced abilities as a raconteur.