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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

The Mechanics of Providence: The Workings of Ancient Jewish Magic and Mysticism
Swartz, Michael D.

TŁbingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2018 pp. xvi + 333. $195.00

Series Information
Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism, 172

Description: The phenomena we call magic and mysticism had a profound effect on the shaping of Judaism in late antiquity. In this volume, Michael D. Swartz offers a wide-ranging study of the purposes, world-views, ritual dynamics, literary forms, and social settings of ancient Jewish magic and mysticism and their function in religion and history. Based on the author's studies over the past few decades, he proposes innovative methods for the study of these two phenomena. The author focuses especially on the rituals of early Jewish magic and mysticism, their social contexts, and the textual dimension of this complex literature. He also offers introductions to these phenomena. Michael D. Swartz argues that the authors of these texts employed intricate technologies, literary and artistic forms, and physical practices to negotiate between the values and world-views of their cultures and the texture of everyday life.

Subjects: Bible, Mishnah, Talmudic and Rabbinic Literature, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, History, History of Judaism, Literary Approaches, Social-Scientific Approaches, Dead Sea Scrolls

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Review by Jesse Rainbow
Published 7/16/2020
Citation: Jesse Rainbow, review of Michael D. Swartz, The Mechanics of Providence: The Workings of Ancient Jewish Magic and Mysticism, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2020).


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