A Spell to Open All Locks and the Place of Magic in Medieval Jewish Society

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The article’s starting point is a recipe from the Cairo Genizah with instructions for opening a locked door by reciting a long adjuration over some dust and throwing it into the lock. This recipe – which is published here for the first time – serves as a case-study for two inter-related analyses. First, we ask whether medieval Jews would have classified such a recipe, and such a ritual, as “magic,” and whether modern scholars should classify it as such. Next, we ask whether we have any evidence that such a recipe was ever used by medieval Jews, and if so, by whom.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTheoretical and Empirical Investigations of Divination and Magic
Subtitle of host publicationManipulating the Divine
EditorsJesper Sørensen, Anders Klostergaard Petersen
Place of PublicationLeiden, The Netherlands
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9789004447585
ISBN (Print)9789004447578
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NameNumen Book Series
ISSN (Print)0169-8834


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