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The intertwining of magic and knowledge/sciences in the premodern mediterranean (and beyond)

18 may 2023 09:00 - 19 may 2023 18:00
18 May:
Theatre, Fondation Victor Lyon,
Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris
19, boulevard Jourdan, 75014 Paris

19 may:
Inha, Institut National d'Histoire de l'art,
2 rue Vivienne, Paris 75002

Study Days organized by Lennart Lehmhaus (Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen), David Hamidovic and Eleonora Serra (University of Lausanne), Wissem Gueddich (École Pratique des Hautes Études), Florentina Badalanova Geller (Royal Anthropological Institute, 2022-2023 Paris IAS fellow), and Mark Geller (University College London).

Registration on request to: f.geller@ucl.ac.uk


In past scholarship magic has often been discussed as the “eternal other” or complete opposite et of either religion or rationale and scientific thought — or both. These dichotomies have been thoroughly revised during the past decades and researchers substantially broadened and nuanced our understanding of the landscape of ancient magic.  Still, the discourse tends to revolve around conceptualizations and questions of applicability or proximity between magic, religion and ritual. This conference highlights a different aspect of magic in the ancient and medieval world.  The specific perspective enquires into magic but not as part of any dichotomy. Rather, the focus lies on ‘magic’ as a branch of knowledge of its own which was part of the ancient landscape of sciences, arts, crafts, and general know-how, closely entangled with other fields.  Accordingly, papers will discuss how magical texts, artefacts, practices, or concepts intertwine with those (in) other branches of knowledge such as medicine, alchemy, celestial knowledge, liturgy and others. Contributors will examine how ‘magic’ was involved in the often subtle or indirect transmission and transformation of knowledge. Analysis will be based on sources from a variety of magical traditions, from the Near East and Europe in ancient and medieval periods. The conference is part of a networking group between Tübingen, London, Paris and Berlin, with Lennart Lehmhaus as PI. 

Participant’s list

Lennart Lehmhaus (Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen)
David Hamidovic (Université de Lausanne)
Eleonora Serra (Université de Lausanne/University College London)
Gideon Bohak (Tel Aviv University)
Wissem Gueddich (EPHE, Paris)
Emma Abate (University of Bologna)
Yakir Paz (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Thomas Galoppin (University of Toulouse)
Alessia Bellusci (Ca Foscari, Venice)
Paolo Lucca (Ca Foscari, Venice)
Caroline Petit (University of Warwick)
Monika Amsler (University of Bern)
Stefanie Rudolf (MPIWG, Berlin/ Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen)
Markham J. Geller (University College London)
Florentina Badalanova Geller (Institut d'Etudes Avancées de Paris / Royal Anthropological Institute, London)

Intangible Scriptures: Between Orality and Literacy
01 September 2022 - 30 June 2023
19 May 2023 18:00
Florentina Badalanova Geller
Conferences and workshops