Mokhtarian co-organizes conference on magic bowls

Although known to specialists since the nineteenth century, the Aramaic incantation bowls have never been fully integrated into the field of Jewish Studies, largely due to their inaccessibility and the confounding nature of their contents. Fortunately, thanks to the recent publications of many new bowls, combined with an increasing interest in the study of the Babylonian Talmud within its wider cultural context, scholars are now beginning to recognize that the bowls hold tremendous value as the only other extant corpus, alongside the Talmud, produced by the Jews of the Sasanian Empire. Indeed, the vast collection of bowls has the potential to yield important new insights for the study of late antique Judaism. While recent research has demonstrated a range of linguistic, thematic, and cultural correspondences between the bowls and other Jewish corpora such as the Talmud, there are nevertheless many questions that remain to be evaluated. With the goal of advancing the study of this invaluable but neglected corpus, this international conference brings together leading and emerging scholars in the field to present cutting-edge research on the bowls in their late antique Jewish contexts.

Associate Professor Jason Mokhtarian, Herbert and Stephanie Neuman Chair in Hebrew and Jewish Literature at Cornell University, is co-organizing the conference with Alexander Marcus, Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Postdoctoral Associate in Ancient Judaism at Yale University. 

Aramaic Incantation Bowls in Their Late Antique Jewish Contexts

April 4-5, 2022

Sponsored by Judaic Studies Program at Yale University.

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Incantation bowl in Aramaic