Liana Saif will give the lecture ‘The Jābirian Kitāb al-Nukhab and Teaching Talismanry in Medieval Islam' in the programme Current Issues in Religious Studies and Western Esotericism.
Medieval books on the science of talismans are often theoretical treatises that set out the cosmological setting and the causal and hylomorphic logic of the events induced by the talismans. Some of these books contain instructions for making magical objects and rituals invoking the spiritual forces of the universe. However, it is not clear if these are composed for a community of scientists and practitioners or “texts books” designed for students of the craft. In the case of Jābir ibn Ḥayyān’s Kitāb al-Nukhab (‘The Compendium), the latter case is generously revealed by the text. This lecture will draw a picture of the teaching context of the talismanic craft via an understudied text valuable for the study of the Jābirian Corpus and the history of science, helping us understand better how magical knowledge was transmitted.
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