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Document Details :

Title: A Mandaic Incantation against an Anonymous Dew Causing Fright (Dower Collection 20 and its Variant 43E)
Author(s): MÜLLER-KESSLER, Christa
Journal: ARAM Periodical
Volume: 22    Date: 2010   
Pages: 453-476
DOI: 10.2143/ARAM.22.0.2131049

Abstract :
Mandaic incantations follow a certain set-up that was inherited by the Mandaean scholars from the Babylonian scribes during the period of the outgoing temple cults in the triangle of the cities of Babylon, Borsippa, and Kutha. The Mandaic incantation series was not written at random, but transmits this scholarly tradition of magical texts as found in earlier Mesopotamian text material. This is already noticeable in the endorsements on the outside of the scrolls, where one encounters the term (shapta) 'incantation', a loanword from Akkadian shiptu followed by the name of the incantation series. Each incantation formula is split up with lines to divide the individual sections (baba). A ritual with instructions finishes up each incantation series. It is designed to increase the effectiveness of magical texts by practical advice on how to handle the written text. Although all these details are quite well known, they have been totally ignored by recent editors when it comes to publishing scrolls of magical contents from the Drower Collection. Many technical terms were incorrectly interpreted and assigned. Among them one finds the Babylonian deity Mulit, physiognomic terms, and others. The scroll DC 20 is here chosen as an example.

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