Moses Zacuto Project Attends Conference on Magic in Leipzig

November 14, 2019
The researchers working on the Moses Zacuto Project conducted by the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the University of Halle, which is sponsored by the German Research Foundation (grant no. NE 1724/5-1), attended a conference with a focus on magic in Leipzig (Germany), titled “Magic & Language – Jewish and Christian Magic in Early Modern Europe.” The conference was organized by Professors Gerold Necker (University of Halle) and Marco Frenschkowski (University of Leipzig).
The international panel of scholars discussed language as a central component of Christian and Jewish magic. Another major topic was the role of images in magical texts, which can be found, for example, in manuscripts of magic and prognostication as well as on talismans intended to protect newborn children from the reach of the demoness Lilith.
The experts were given a first look at the exhibition of magical manuscripts at Leipzig University Library, which will be open to the public from November 2019 to February 2020. The library holds the largest collection of magical manuscripts and prints in Europe. The attendees were guided through the exhibition by its curator Marco Frenschkowski (University of Leipzig).
The Moses Zacuto Project team also had its moment to shine. The project’s newest findings were also presented at the conference by Uri Safrai, Eliezer Baumgarten, and Maximilian de Molière.
Poster for the conference “Magic & Language. Jewish and Christian Magic in Early Modern Europe” in Leipzig.

ESSWE 2019 Features Panel of the Moses Zacuto Project

July 8, 2019
Researchers from the Moses Zacuto Project attended the 7th Biennial Conference of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE), which was held from July 2 to July 4 at the University of Amsterdam. Prof. Gerold Necker (University of Halle), Prof. Yuval Harari (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev), Dr. Vladislav Slepoy (University of Halle), and Maximilian de Molière (University of Halle) held a panel that was chaired by Prof. Boaz Huss (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev) in order to give their European colleagues a small sample of the ongoing research about R. Moses Zacuto’s writings about practical Kabbalah, halakhic works, and correspondence.
Poster for the 7th Biennial Conference of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE).

The Full Team of the Moses Zacuto Project Convenes for the First Time in Israel

February 27, 2019
The two teams of the Moses Zacuto Project, a joint project between the universities of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev/Beer Sheva (Israel) and Halle (Germany), came together in Israel for a series of debates and lectures.
To kick off the visit, the joint team met at the Museum of Italian Jewry in order to engage with presentations on early modern Jewish culture in Italy given by leading experts in the field: Judith Weiss, Peter Lehnardt, and Avriel Bar Levav.
The next day, the Israeli and German project partners met for discussions on the current state of their sub-projects. While the Israeli team members work Moses Zacuto’s magical recipe books, the German side is analyzing his halakhic works as well as preparing a new edition of his correspondence.
At the National Library of Israel, project members Uri Safrai and Eliezer Baumgarten shared their findings of manuscripts and printed books that belonged to Moses Zacuto.
On the morning of the last day, the project members visited the Israeli kabbalists in their studios in order to learn about their respective approaches towards magical practices. The afternoon was spent visiting the Bill Gross Collection: one of the major libraries of magical and kabbalistic texts in private hands.
We look forward to our next meeting, which is scheduled for November in Germany!

Inaugural Workshop of the Moses Zacuto Project in Halle (Saale)

February 1, 2019
The Moses Zacuto Project held its first workshop on January 30, 2019, in Halle (Saale). In attendance were notable experts on Jewish magic. The full program can be found here:
Poster for the workshop “Magic in Progress”.