The Mechanics of Providence: The Workings of Ancient Jewish Magic and Mysticism
Swartz, Michael D.
TŁbingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2018 pp. xvi + 333. $195.00
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
Review by Jesse Rainbow
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).
Adobe Acrobat Reader
All RBL reviews are published in PDF format. To view these reviews, you must have downloaded and installed the FREE version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have the Reader or you have an older version of the Reader, you can download the most recent version now.