Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. vii

read more

Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-10

In the early 15405, a Jewish boy in the Galilean—and, for nearly a generation, Ottoman—village of Safed, was possessed by the soul of a sinner, a dybbuk.2 Furious that the boy's father had killed the dog in which he had formerly been lodged, the soul sought vengeance by killing the man's son...

read more

1. The Emergence of Dybbuk Possession

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 11-31

How did sixteenth-century Jews make sense of spirit possession? To what affliction did they bear witness when someone in their midst began displaying the characteristic signs of the possessed? What sort of spirit was doing the possessing? Why and how did the possession take place? How...

read more

2. The Dead and the Possessed

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 32-56

R. Isaac Luria constantly beheld the dead in his midst. So recalled R. Hayyim Vital in the preceding passage, among many others. Luria gazed upon the dead, seeing souls suspended over their graves. Vital emphasizes that Luria did not merely feel the presence of the dead, nor did he conjure...

read more

3. The Task of the Exorcist

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 57-96

Exorcism techniques, as eclectic as they were extensive, were found among the Jews for centuries, a diverse repository deployed by magical experts in their midst. This legacy was inherited by generation after generation of magical practitioners, many of whom were also leading rabbinic...

read more

4. Dybbuk Possession and Women's Religiosity

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 97-118

Our study has, thus far, introduced us to a number of women whose clairvoyant abilities in the course of their possession attracted considerable interest and attention. At the very least, their possession experience entailed a certain ambiguity along the fault lines of gender (male/female)...

read more

5. Skeptics and Storytellers

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 119-138

The classic tropes of European demonological literature were significantly altered in the seventeenth century—and the cause was the rise of skepticism. This shift might be described as a retreat from the offensive posture of most late fifteenth- and sixteenth-century treatises, to a new defensive...

read more

Arrival

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 139-140

The preceding chapters are stations of a broader, sweeping and singular history, as well as miniature histories in their own right. The grand narrative of the early modern reemergence of spirit possession in Jewish culture begins in preexpulsion Spain. With the exiles, the phenomenon travels...

Appendix: Spirit Possession Narratives from Early Modern Jewish Sources

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 141-180

Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 181-243

Bibliography

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 245-265

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 267-275

read more

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 277-278

I would like to thank the many scholars at Yale University, the University of Michigan, and the Hebrew University whose inspiration and encouragement kept me on the path: Paula Hyman, Geoffrey Parker, Todd Endelman, Marvin Becker, Moshe Rosman, Warren Zev Harvey...