This paper examines some unusual features of a modern Armenian magical manuscript. The manuscript belonged to a Sephardic Jew, who annotated it, translating and transliterating some terms into Hebrew – a rare phenomenon in the Armenian context, since Armenia has no indigenous Jewish community, and the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, a distinct millet (a defined religio-ethnic group), were often hostile to the Jews. The Jewish owner also inscribed an ancient spell known from Arabic magical literature at the beginning of the manuscript, and its use and significance is explored. The manuscript contains diverse spells, lists, magic squares and characters, and voces mysticae, with texts in Classical and Modern Western Armenian as well as in Armeno-Turkish. Representative portions of these are offered in translation, with commentary. The mystical prayers employed from the tenth-century Armenian Narek are translated in full, in an appendix; these are of interest insofar as they illustrate a nexus of canonical and folk religious concepts. The manuscript also contains a version of Vec‘ hazareak, ‘The Book of the Six Thousand’, a designation broadly employed to describe Armenian magical texts that often differ widely from each other. A final appendix considers some reasons why the original of this book, a mathematical table, was of intellectual importance in the context of early Christian Armenia.
James R. Russell is Mashtots Professor of Armenian Studies at Harvard University; he was twice a Lady Davis Fellow, and a Visiting Associate Professor of Iranian and Armenian Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His principal books are Zoroastrianism in Armenia, Armenian and Iranian Studies and Bosphorus Nights: The Complete Lyric Poems of Bedros Tourian.
The lecture was delivered on December 20, 2009.
שנת ההוצאה: 2013
מסת"ב: ISSN 1565-8465
מספר העמודים: 88
מידות (ס"מ): 15 × 24