! ! ! ! ! !
Demonology and Magic Ritual Texts in the Dead Sea Scrolls Kate A. Reyes
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Narrative Texts: Demonology
“Spirits of Bastards”: An Enochic Demonology ....................................................... 3
Mastema, Prince of Demons: The Demonic Tradition of Jubilees ........................... 5
The “Angel of Darkness”: Understanding evil in the Treatise on the Two Spirits ……7
Expelling a Demon: Exorcistic Rituals in the Book of Tobit ................................... 9
! Chapter 2. Ritual Texts: Apotropaic Hymns and Prayers
Apotropaic Hymns Against Evil Spirits: Songs of the Sage (4Q510-511) ............... 10
Hymns and Curses: 4QIncantation (4Q444) ............................................................ 17
A Sectarian Apotropaic Prayer?: 6QHymn (6Q18) .................................................. 19
Conclusions .............................................................................................................. 20
! Chapter 3. Ritual Texts: Magic Formulas and Exorcistic Incantations
A Magic Formula: 4QAgainst Demons (4Q560) ...................................................... 21
Incantation Ritual: 8QHymn (8Q5) .......................................................................... 23
Exorcistic Rituals in 11QApocryphalPsalms (11Q11) .............................................. 24
Conclusions ............................................................................................................... 26
The magical texts discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls bear witness to a Second Temple Jewish community who had a deeply mystical outlook on life. This is particularly evident in the magic ritual texts against demons. These texts not only attest to their firm belief in supernatural beings, but also reveal that demonic influence and affliction was a genuine reality for this community. The texts I will be discussing demonstrate the different rituals utilised by the Qumran community which were believed to have magic power to protect against and even to exorcise evil spirits.
! In Chapter 1 I will be examining the apocalyptic traditions of 1 Enoch and Jubilees and detailing their perspectives on demonology in the ancient world. Then I will describe the dualistic beliefs of the community at Qumran as narrated in the Treatise on the Two Spirits in the Community Rule. Regardless of the provenance of these three narrative texts, they expose the beliefs and traditions which underscore the ritual texts against demons in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Finally, although the Book of Tobit is absent of a specific demonology, it must be addressed alongside the narrative texts found in the Qumran corpus because it reveals a distinct magic ritual against demons in the ancient world.
! The subsequent chapters will deal with ritual texts among the Dead Sea Scrolls which indicate some form of magic defence against demons. In Chapter 2 I will analyse the category of apotropaic hymns and prayers which reflect protective measures taken by the community in order to prevent and repel demonic assaults. These texts do not function as exorcistic rituals, but they illustrate the initial form of defence against demons before they attack. In Chapter 3 I will explore the next level of defence against demons, categorised as exorcistic incantations and magic formulas. These ritual texts reveal the action taken after the protective barriers of the apotropaic hymns have been infringed.
! Therefore the ritual texts we will be surveying demonstrate a variety of protective and practical methods applied by the community at Qumran in order to cope with the presence and activity of demons in the world. The issue is not whether their belief in evil beings was rational, but how far the demonology and theology of the apocalyptic traditions influenced the beliefs behind the ritual texts.
! Chapter 1 !
Narrative Texts: Demonology “Spirits of Bastards”: An Enochic Demonology
The Book of the Watchers in 1 Enoch 1-36 provides a systematic account of the aetiology of demons. The Book of the Watchers enhances the biblical history as presented in Genesis 6-9 by recounting the fall of the Watchers from the perspective of Enoch during his prophetic journey through the heavens. In the chronological context of Genesis, the Book of the Watchers narrates antediluvian events and details how God dealt with the rebellion of the Watchers and their malevolent offspring. Although 1 Enoch was not originally composed at Qumran, the multiple manuscripts discovered in the Qumran corpus indicate that they were used and valued by the Qumran community.1 The discovery of 1 Enoch fragments composed in Aramaic was significant
because it provided an earlier text of a book which had only previously been known in extant manuscripts written in Greek and Ethiopic.2 As we shall see in the “Ritual Texts” of the following
chapters, the ancient apocalyptic tradition in the Book of the Watchers underscores later compositions among the Dead Sea Scrolls. For instance, ambiguous epithets in the Songs of the Sage such as “the bastard spirits” (e.g. 4Q510 1, 5) can be interpreted based on the language and mythology of the Book of the Watchers. As such, the Enochic myth gives us a valuable insight into the evolution of the demonology in the Dead Sea Scrolls.3
! Closely related to Genesis 6:1-4, 1 Enoch 6-16 is a detailed narrative on the aetiology of evil spirits and fallen angels. Supplementary to what we know in Genesis 6, the Book of the Watchers recounts the story of a division of angels called the “Watchers” (1 En. 1:2; 6:1 etc.). The Enochic myth 1!
Philip S. Alexander, “‘Wrestling Against the Wickedness in High Places’: Magic in the Worldview of the Qumran Community,” in The Scrolls and the Scriptures: Qumran Fifty Years After, ed. Stanley E. Porter and Craig E. Evans (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1997), 322. 2!
Perhaps even more significantly, J. T. Milik states that the Aramaic fragments of 1 Enoch found in Qumran Cave 4 reveal that “from the first half of the second century B.C. onwards the Book of the Watchers had essentially the same form as that in which it is know through the Greek and Ethiopic versions.” J. T. Milik, The Books of Enoch: Aramaic Fragments of Qumran Cave 4 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976), 25. With this in mind, all references to 1 Enoch in this paper will be taken from the composite text found in George W. E. Nickelsburg and James C. VanderKam, 1Enoch: A New Translation based on the Hermeneia Commentary (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004). 3!
For a thorough overview of the influence of the Watchers myth on the demonology of the Dead Sea Scrolls, see Archie T. Wright, The Origins of the Evil Spirits: The Reception of Gen. 6.1-4 in Early Jewish Literature (WUNT 2/198; Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2005), 166-190. !3
describes how the Watchers coveted the beautiful “daughters of men” and descended from heaven to procreate with them (6:2). As a consequence of this illegitimate union, the Watchers begot halfbreed giants, or “Nephilim.” The Nephilim were uncivilised and anarchic, creating chaos on earth and devastating God’s Creation. In response to the pleas of humankind, God commissioned the Archangels to punish the Watchers and destroy their nefarious sons (10:9-15). Within this narrative framework, the complex demonology of the Book of the Watchers begins to emerge. After the slaughter and destruction of the Nephilim, “evil spirits” manifested from their bodies to perpetually torment and assault the earth until the last Judgment (15:8-16:1). Therefore in the Enochic apocalyptic tradition, the aetiology of demons begins at the fall of the Nephilim.
! A critical point to be drawn from the Book of the Watchers is the ontological distinction between two major categories of evil beings: demons and fallen angels. Fallen angels are the Watchers, who were imprisoned and forced to watch the destruction of their sons (10:12). According to the Book of the Watchers, the fallen angels have already been judged and bound, eternally unable to violate earthly boundaries. In contrast, the Book of the Watchers is certain that the “evil spirits” are derived from one species of being; they are not spirits of angels or humans, but spirits of the half-breed giants.4 As a consequence of their half-human nature, the evil spirits remain on earth and exist as
“spirits of bastards.”5 Creation imagery such as “darkness” and “abyss,” is deeply embedded in the
Enochic demonology, emphasising their existence as “a perversion of the natural order.”6 The
amalgamation of human and angelic beings created a species which violated natural harmony, hence it unleashed chaos. As it was the inherent nature of the Nephilim to be lawless, so too their disembodied evil spirits exist to torment and afflict creation. In recognition of this sophisticated demonology we can begin to understand how and why the Qumran sectarians were motivated to compose and recite magic ritual texts. They not only testify to their belief in the existence of demons, but significantly they demonstrate the sectarians’ obligation to restore natural harmony and protect the spiritual and physical well-being of the community.
! ! ! 4!
Philip S. Alexander, “Demonology of the Dead Sea Scrolls,” in The Dead Sea Scrolls after Fifty Years: A Comprehensive Assessment Vol. 2, ed. Peter W. Flint and James C.VanderKam (Leiden; Boston, Mass.: Brill, 1999), 338-9. 5!
The epithet “spirits of bastards” is not explicitly used in 1 Enoch, however 1 En. 10:9 refers to the “bastard offspring,” from which later ritual texts and sectarian compositions likely derive this phrase. 6! Alexander,
“Demonology,” 340. !4
Mastema, Prince of Demons: The Demonic Tradition of Jubilees
! The Book of Jubilees serves as a rewriting and embellishment of the biblical narrative from Creation up to the transmission of the Law during the exodus. It is presented in the context of a revelation that Moses receives upon Mount Sinai. In part, Jubilees retells the Book of the Watchers, detailing the descent of the Watchers (Jub. 4:15), their sin with the daughters of men and the consequences of their half-breed offspring.7 Despite Jubilees’ similarity to the Enochic tradition
regarding the history of the Watchers (5:1-2), Jubilees represents a distinctive reinterpretation of the role of demons and evil angels in the context of biblical history. Unlike the Book of the Watchers, demons do not function as independent rebellious entities continuing the malevolence of the giants (1 En. 15:11-16:1), rather they operate as “foot-soldiers” of the angelic figure, Mastema.8 The
demonology of Jubilees significantly deviates from the Enochic tradition by introducing the “chief of the spirits Mastema” (Jub. 10:8) as the major antagonist in biblical history.
! A detailed demonology is narrated in Jubilees 10, which serves as an extension of the Enochic myth of the Watchers. After a retelling of the Flood which exterminated the corruption and lawlessness of the Giants (5:1-12), Jub. 10 recounts Noah’s sons’ grievances against demonic attacks. It is clear that these “unclean demons” (10:1) are to be identified with the “bastard spirits” of the Book of the Watchers. In response, Noah intervened and prayed to God for the destruction of these evil spirits from the earth. Initially, God commanded all the spirits to be bound and condemned to the darkness of the abyss. However the leader of these spirits, Mastema, negotiated with God on the grounds that without the demons he would not be able to fulfil his purpose effectively, that is, to punish “the wickedness of the sons of men” (10:8). As a result, God permitted a tenth of the demons to remain under Mastema’s jurisdiction. This extension of the Enochic myth is distinct to Jubilees, revealing a more sophisticated demonology which elaborates the function of evil beings in the divine economy.
! In order to understand the demonology of Jubilees we first have to examine the figure of Mastema. By comparing Mastema to the figure of Satan as presented in the Hebrew Bible (cf. Job 1), it seems likely that both titles refer to the same evil being.9 As a noun, משטמהliterally means “enmity” or
Jacques van Ruiten, “Angels and Demons in the Book of Jubilees,” in Angels: The Concept of Celestial Beings Origins, Development and Reception, ed. Friedrich V. Reiterer et al. (Berlin; New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2007), 602. 8! Alexander, 9!
Ibid., 341. !5
“animosity.”10 In this case, Mastema is a proper noun denoting the chief evil being presiding over
evil spirits. The significance of Mastema/Satan is that it certainly does not refer to a demon, or a fallen Watcher. From the accounts of Jubilees and the Book of the Watchers, we are informed that the fallen Watchers have been judged and imprisoned for eternity. In contrast, Jubilees characterises Mastema as active in human affairs under the appointment of God. In terms of the function of Mastema, Jubilees illustrates his divinely appointed duty through two major roles.11 First, Mastema
is an “Accuser” who operates under divine authority and embodies the negative side of God’s economy (10:8). Second, he is distinguished as the “prince” of demons, ruling over evil spirits and responsible for their activities (10:8; 11:5; 19:28; 49:2). Therefore, although the causes of evil are attributed to the demons, they ultimately function under the authority of Mastema. Notably, Mastema’s involvement in events narrated in Jubilees are often reinterpretations of biblical history which cause difficult theological implications for God’s benevolence.12 For instance, in Genesis
22:2 God commands Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac. In Jubilees, the instigator of this event is revealed to be Mastema (Jub. 17:16), functioning in a role parallel to Satan in Job 1. Furthermore, in a rewriting of Exodus 4:24 where God tries to kill Moses, Jub. 48:9 recounts the story with Mastema in the place of God. Therefore the figure of Mastema as portrayed in Jubilees is not an enemy of God, but an alternative explanation for the seemingly sinister side of God in Genesis and Exodus.
! In addition, Jubilees deviates from the Enochic tradition concerning the reason for the Watchers’ descent.13 In Jubilees, the original reason is explained as good, and possibly even a divinely
appointed task. Jub. 4:15 explains that the motive of the Watchers’ descent was “to teach mankind and to do what is just and upright upon the earth.” It was only after their descent that the Watchers sinned (4:22) and evil ensued. The fall of the Watchers is in contrast to the Book of the Watchers, which indicates that their rebellion began in heaven as a premeditated violation of God’s laws (1 En. 6:3). The Watchers were aware that their desires were sinful, yet they knowingly descended to earth with the primary intention of having intercourse with the daughters of men (1 En. 7:1-2). As
Loren T. Stuckenbruck, “Demonic Beings and the Dead Sea Scrolls,” in Explaining Evil: Volume 1 Definitions and Development, ed. J. Harold Ellens (Praeger: ABC-CLIO, LLC, 2011), 134. This meaning will be picked up by 11QPsalms in Chapter 3. ! 11
Todd Russell Hanneken, “Angels and Demons in the Book of Jubilees and Contemporary Apocalypses,” Henoch 28 (2006): 20. ! 12
van Ruiten, “Angels and Demons,” 595. !6
we have already seen in our examination of Mastema, the supplementary elaborations distinct to Jubilees are part of a broader concern to avoid misinterpretation of the biblical and Enochic traditions. As an antediluvian retelling of the origins of evil, Jubilees deliberately illustrates that the intention for the Watchers’ descent was originally positive. Hence the angelic rebellion which followed does not impede God’s benevolence.14
The “Angel of Darkness”: Understanding evil in the Treatise on the Two Spirits (1QS iii 13-iv 26)
! Before looking at magical texts discovered at Qumran and how they propose to deal with demonic activity, we must explain the basic dualism which influences these texts: good versus evil. This basic dualism is articulated in the Treatise on the Two Spirits (1QS iii 14-iv 26), which provides an elaborate account of the origins of evil. The Treatise on the Two Spirits is not contained in all available copies of the Community Rule, which has raised questions concerning its provenance and redaction. In spite of this, the well-preserved Cave 1 copy of the Community Rule (1QS) gives us a better understanding of the theological beliefs about good and evil of the Qumran sectarians. Unlike the Book of the Watchers and Jubilees, the Treatise on the Two Spirits does not present theology in the context of biblical history. Instead, the Treatise on the Two Spirits communicates its explanation of evil based on ontological, ethical and cosmic interpretations in the style of wisdom literature.
! To explain the origins of evil, the Treatise on the Two Spirits describes God’s division of humankind into “sons of justice” and “sons of deceit,” who are governed by the Prince of Lights and the Angel of Darkness, respectively (iii 20-21). However the manner in which humankind is divided is unclear within the Treatise on the Two Spirits.15 On a cosmic level, the beginning of the
account suggests that people are allotted into the hand of either the Prince of Lights or the Angel of Darkness. However as the account develops into a psychological dimension, we learn that both spirits exist within humans (iv 15-16).16 Therefore, the Treatise on the Two Spirits identifies two
central conflicts between good and evil; the first exists between light and darkness and the second is “in the heart of man” (iv 23). ! 14
Hanneken, “Angels and Demons,” 18.
John J. Collins, Apocalypticism in the Dead Sea Scrolls (London; New York: Routledge, 1997), 39, accessed October 28, 2012, http://lib.myilibrary.com/Open.aspx?id=32866. ! 16
Mladen Popović, “Light and Darkness in the Treatise on the Two Spirits (1QS III 13-IV 26) and in 4Q186,” in Dualism in Qumran, ed. Géza G. Xeravits (London; New York: T. & T. Clark, 2010), 155. !7
! The Treatise on the Two Spirits is often described as embodying dualistic thought to explain the present state of the God’s world, with a particular focus on the problem of evil. The imagery of light and darkness characterising good and evil is certainly prominent in the Treatise on the Two Spirits, however there is also a conscious effort to remain within the convictions of theism.17 Mladen
Popovíc defines dualism as “two fundamentally opposed, causal principles” which “underlie the existence of the world and its constitutive elements.”18 In regard to the Treatise on the Two Spirits,
it follows that the spirits are fundamentally in conflict, but they do not constitute all existence. Significantly, the introduction states, “From the God of Knowledge stems all there is and all there shall be... He created man to rule the world and places within him two spirits so that he would walk with them until the moment of his visitation: they are the spirits of truth and of deceit.” (1QS iii 15-19).19 Therefore the Treatise on the Two Spirits describes how the spirits of good and evil rule
humankind, yet both paradoxically operate under the divine authority of the “God of Knowledge.” It is true that the problem of evil potentially undermines the theistic ideal of a benevolent, omnipotent God, however the Treatise on the Two Spirits embraces these realities and incorporates them into a sophisticated perspective on the presence of good and evil forces in the world. This is modified dualism. In spite of the conflict which governs the present state of humankind, the Treatise on the Two Spirits reveals an optimistic eschatological worldview (iv 18-19). In the face of the Angel of Darkness and his spirits of deceit, the Prince of Lights will reign victorious at judgment. Although both spirits of truth and of deceit come from God, it is clear that God abhors the Angel of Darkness and its subjects (iv 1). Therefore, evil is an ongoing reality in the present epoch, but it is not an eternal state.
! Although there is no explicit reference to demons, the idea that evil forces are prevalent within humankind is key to the theology of Treatise on the Two Spirits. The text comprehensively describes the attributes of the spirit of deceit (iv 9-11) and details its fate (iv 12-14). The latter offers a compelling glimpse into how the community thought evil would be dealt with in an eschatological sense. Even though both opposing forces have been set in constant conflict until the final age, the text confidently asserts that God “will obliterate it for ever” (iv 19). The optimism in
! Alexander, 17 ! 18
Popović, “Light and Darkness,” 149.
Unless otherwise stated, translations of Qumran texts will be taken from Florentino García-Martínez, The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated: The Qumran Texts in English (Leiden; New York: E. J. Brill, 1994). !8
the Treatise on the Two Spirits reflects the community’s belief that despite the existence of demonic forces in the world, the Angel of Darkness is subordinate to God. This optimism concludes the tractate, revealing that the rationale behind the allotment of conflicting spirits is so that humankind may “know good [and evil]” (iv 26).
Expelling a Demon: Exorcistic Rituals in the Book of Tobit
! Unfortunately, the fragments discovered at Qumran do not form a complete manuscript for the Book of Tobit. In spite of this, its presence in multiple Aramaic and Hebrew manuscripts (4Q196-200) indicate its value as a narrative text at Qumran. The Book of Tobit begins with the story of Tobit who, despite his faithfulness to God, suffers an unfortunate blindness. Meanwhile the Book of Tobit introduces a parallel story about Sarah who suffers torment by a jealous demon. Sarah is not directly attacked, but the demon Asmodeus indirectly afflicts her by killing her seven previous husbands before the marriage could be consummated. In their suffering, both Tobit and Sarah pray for death, however God responds favourably and sends down the archangel Raphael disguised as a human, to free them from their suffering. Both stories are inextricably linked by the protagonist Tobias, the son of Tobit and prospective husband of Sarah. The Book of Tobit provides an optimistic explanation of innocent suffering and a distinctive magic ritual against a specific demon.
! Although the presence of the text in the Qumran corpus does not necessarily indicate the use of technical magic rituals at Qumran, it is an invaluable example of the materia magica accepted in the ancient world.20 The exorcistic ritual is a decidedly minor part of the narrative, nevertheless the
Book of Tobit contributes a detailed account of how this demon must be expelled. Raphael instructs Tobias on the magical and medical qualities of fish entrails; the heart and the liver are burned as incense to expel a demon and the gall is used as ointment to cure blindness. Therefore the medical ailment of Tobit and demonic torment of Sara are considered treatable by ritual practices. However, the case of Asmodeus is a more elaborate ritual, with both Sarah and Tobias commanded to pray before God for mercy and safety (8:5-8). Finally, in the case of Asmodeus, the Book of Tobit reveals that the exorcising of demons is dependent on the authority of God. With the power and authority of God, Raphael is able to instruct Tobias and restrain the demon.
Other narrative texts among the Dead Sea Scrolls which deal with exorcistic rituals include: 1QapGen xx 16-29 and 4Q242 (Prayer of Nabonidus). I will not be discussing these texts in this paper, however they also illustrate prayer as a method to exorcise evil spirits (Alexander, “Magic and Magical Texts,” EDSS, 503). !9
! Chapter 2 !
Ritual Texts: Apotropaic Hymns and Prayers
Before examining apotropaic hymns and prayers within the Qumran corpus, we must first define what is meant by "apotropaic" and illustrate their distinction from exorcistic rituals and magic formulas. A basic definition of "apotropaic" comes from the Greek apotropaios which means "to turn away" evil forces. Therefore apotropaic hymns and prayers are an important method of defence against demons on the basis that they supposedly have the magic power to ward off evil beings. The notion of preventing demonic influences is especially crucial for our understanding of these texts as this function distinguishes apotropaic hymns and prayers from the exorcistic texts we will be discussing in Chapter 3. The significance of apotropaic texts is that they are applied as preemptive methods of protection against demons, in contrast to the confrontational style of exorcistic incantations. In the following texts, 4QSongs of the Sagea-b, 4QIncantation and 6QHymn, the focus is on prevention and protection through thanksgiving and exaltation of the power of God. Therefore the hymns and prayers we will survey in this chapter do not directly engage with the demons who are afflicting individuals. Instead their magic power is located in the participation of the community during the recital. In this way, apotropaic ritual texts are characterised by their primary objective to create a cordon around the congregation in order to repel all evil beings.
! As we shall see, these apotropaic hymns and prayers are influenced by the ancient apocalyptic traditions of 1 Enoch and Jubilees and the dualistic outlook observed in the Treatise on the Two Spirits. By recognising the ongoing presence of evil spirits and struggle between the forces of light and darkness, these apotropaic texts prepare against demonic activity to avert their influences before they breach the community. Finally, this group of apotropaic texts is reminiscent of the ideology of Qumran community and will be considered as sectarian compositions.
Apotropaic Hymns Against Evil Spirits: Songs of the Sage (4Q510-511)
! The Songs of the Sage survive in two extremely fragmentary manuscripts (4Q510 and 4Q511), dated to the end of the first century B.C.E. The badly damaged condition of the extant manuscripts make a complete reconstruction of the text impractical, however the general character of the Songs
of the Sage represents a collection of apotropaic hymns.21 The reconstructed titles indicate that the
hymns were recited by the “Maskil,” who used praise and exaltation of God as “words of power.” The power of these thanksgiving hymns provided preemptive spiritual defence against demonic attacks, in order to protect the spiritual welfare of the community.22 Qumran provenance is often
assigned to the Songs of the Sage based on the distinctive sectarian ideology and terminology present in the manuscripts.23 The evidence includes the dualistic outlook behind the hymns and the
numerous sectarian epithets: “Yahad” (4Q511 2 i 9), “men of the covenant” (4Q511 63-64 ii 5; ii 5), “Sons of Light” (4Q510 1 7) and the identification of the spiritual leader as the “Maskil.”24
! The Songs of the Sage bear witness to the distinctive demonology at Qumran which is heavily influenced by the mythology of the Book of the Watchers and Jubilees. For instance, there are multiple references in the hymns to the “spirits of the bastards” (cf. 1 En. 10:9) and the scheme of demons is “to lead astray the spirit of knowledge” (cf. Jub. 10:2; also 1QS iv 9-11). It is reasonable to presume that these “bastard spirits” are referring to the spirits of the giants which remained after the Flood to torment and afflict humanity. In addition to the demonology of the narrative texts in Chapter 1, the list of evil beings described in 4Q510 1 5 (par. 4Q511 10 1-2) attests to the belief in a diverse range of demonic enemies independent from the Enochic tradition. Within the hymns there are generic references to " רוחspirit" and " שדיםdemons," as well as more specific designations: "spirits of the angels of destruction," "Lilith(s)," "howlers" and "yelpers." First, it must be noted that the identification "spirit" is used generically in ritual texts to designate an incorporeal being (e.g. 4Q560 2 6).25 Hence the term רוחis ambiguous in the hymns, referring to angels, demons and
humans (e.g. 4Q511 60 iv 2). Due to the ambiguity of this term, the Songs of the Sage qualify "spirit" to clarify its demonic context, such as “ רוחי הבליםvain spirits” (4Q511 1 6), רוחי רשע ! Alexander, 21
Florentino García-Martínez, “Magic in the Dead Sea Scrolls,” in The Metamorphosis of Magic from Late Antiquity to the Early Modern Period, ed. Jan N. Bremmer et al. (Leuven; Dudley, M.A.: Peeters, 2002), 23. ! Alexander, 23
“Wrestling Against the Wickedness,” 321.
! The 24
word משכילis used numerous times in Qumran literature to mean the “Sage” or “Instructor.” This title is sometimes used nonspecifically to refer to a person who is wise, however it is also used in a technical sense to denote a specific role in the community. The “precepts” of the Maskil are articulated near the end of the Community Rule, revealing his duties to choose, teach and guide the men of the community (1QS ix 12-x 5). For an extensive examination of the Maskil’s function at Qumran see, Carol Newsom, “The Sage in the Literature of Qumran: The Functions of the Maskil,” in The Sage in Israel and the Ancient Near East, ed. J. G. Gammie and L. G. Perdue (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1990), 373-82. This is not the place to examine whether the Maskil was a historical figure or purely symbolic, but we can say that the “Maskil” as presented by the Songs of the Sage was a “spiritual mentor” responsible for defending the community against demons (Joseph L. Angel, “Maskil, Community and Religious Experience in the Songs of the Sage (4Q510-511),” Dead Sea Discoveries 19 (2012): 2). ! Alexander, 25
“Demonology,” 331. !11
“wicked spirits” (15 5), “ רוח רעהevil spirit” (15 7; 81 3) and “ רוחי חבלspirits of destruction” (43 6). Additionally, שדיםis extant in only one fragment and it is used non-specifically to designate "demons" (4Q510 1 5). Alexander notes that the term is associated with false gods in the Hebrew Bible (Deut. 32:17; Ps. 106:37), however its connotations in the Songs of the Sage are vague.26
Nevertheless, in hymns against demons in the Qumran corpus, the term is used in an absolute sense to mean "demon" (cf. 11Q11 II 4).
! Moreover, the Songs of the Sage list evil beings of a more specific character. The designation "spirits of the angels of destruction" causes particular difficulty as we attempt to understand the demonology of the hymns. In a genitival sense, the "angels of destruction" can rationally refer to the Watchers of 1 Enoch and Jubilees and thus the "spirits" are their begotten bastard offspring. Although this interpretation is reasonable, it does not explain why the hymns choose to make a distinction between the spirits of the destroying angels and the bastards (4Q510 1 5). Alternatively, the construct phrase could be rendered in an appositional sense, meaning “the spirits, (who are) the angels of destruction.” We can see how this interpretation is difficult if we maintain that the Enochic myth underscores the Songs of the Sage, since it implies that the fallen Watchers are still active in the world.27 A third reading offered by Alexander interprets מלאךas “messenger” or
“agent” according to its broader lexical meanings.28 Therefore on a basic level, the rendering of
ר ו חי מלאכי חבלas "agents of destruction" would be referring to evil beings who cause destruction. Despite the validity of the each interpretation, Andy Reimer highlights that Alexander is inappropriately attempting to harmonise the “spirits of the angels of destruction” with the Enochic myth of the Fallen Watchers in order to maintain a consistent demonology between the Book of the Watchers and the Songs of the Sage.29 Regardless of this unresolved debate, the “spirits of the
angels of destruction” clearly appear in the Songs of the Sage as a class of evil beings who are a potential threat to the community.
! ! 26
See discussion on p. 5 concerning the apocalyptic perspective on the present state of the Watchers.
! Alexander, 28 ! Andy 29
Reimer, “Rescuing the Fallen Angels: The Case of the Disappearing Angels at Qumran,” Dead Sea Discoveries 7 (2000): 339-340. Reimer raises vital awareness about Alexander’s tendency to negate the importance, and even the existence, of evil angels in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Nevertheless, it is fair to say that the ritual texts discussed in this paper focus on prevention and action against demons, not fallen angels. However we cannot assume that the sectarians had no reason to combat evil angels based on the traditions of 1Enoch and Jubilees. Whilst it is true that these apocalyptic traditions underscore many of the texts in the Qumran corpus (e.g. 4Q180 1 7-10; 1QapGen 2; CD ii 17-19), not just the magic ritual texts, we have to be wary of forcing consistencies without convincing evidence. !12
It is also unclear whether the identification of "Lilith/s" refers to a specific demonic figure or a generic class of demons. Similarly, the occurrence of ליליתin Isaiah 34:14 is also ambiguous and offers little clarification on the matter. On the one hand, in early Jewish folklore ליליתas a generic term were believed to be night demons.30 On the other hand, later Jewish traditions believed the
female demonic figure "Lilith" to be the first wife of Adam, who later became the “Queen of Demons.”31 It is likely that the Songs of the Sage were referring to “liliths” in a broader sense as we
begin to recognise the tendency to list unspecific classes of evil beings in the hymns. Finally, the " אחיםhowlers" and " צייםyelpers" allude to Isa. 13:21, in which they are associated with demons of destitute lands (see context in Isa. 13: 20-22). Some translations render the words "owls and jackals,"32 which play on the onomatopoeic quality of the words.33 Like the spirits of the angels of
destruction and liliths, the howlers and yelpers do not refer to specific demons, but a category of evil beings. Therefore, this formidable list of evil beings alone points to the specific function of the Songs of the Sage as apotropaic hymns against all categories and forces of evil. The enumeration of evil beings communicates the sectarians' diverse and complex demonology which draws on a variety of traditions, not just the apocalyptic tradition of the Book of the Watchers and Jubilees. Hence the function of Songs of the Sage is not a specific ritual or materia magica, but it serves as general apotropaic protection against the vast array of evil beings which pose a threat to the wellbeing of the community.
! In terms of how the hymns enlighten the discussion of demonology and magic rituals within the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Songs of the Sage incorporate the apocalyptic tradition which underscores the Qumran corpus.34 Even more so, the dualistic outlook evident in literature at Qumran (e.g. 1QS iii
15-19) is embodied by the Songs of the Sage. In view of the sectarians’ firm belief in the constant struggle between the forces of light and darkness (1QS iii 22-23; iv 17-18), the instigator of the hymns, the “Maskil,” emerges as responsible for defending the community against the demonic
! Alexander, 30
Jay Jacoby, “Literary Themes: Lilith in Jewish Literature,” Judaica Librarianship 3 No. 1-2 (1986-1987): 79.
See for example Garcia-Martinez, Dead Sea Scrolls Translated, 371.
Bilhah Nitzan, “Magical Poetry,” in Qumran Prayer and Religious Poetry, trans. Jonathan Chipman (Leiden; New York: Brill, 1994), 240. ! 34
Idem., “Hymns from Qumran - 4Q510-4Q511,” in The Dead Sea Scrolls: Forty Years of Research, ed. Devorah Dimant and Uriel Rappaport (Leiden; New York: E. J. Brill ; Jerusalem: Magnes Press, Hebrew University; Jerusalem: Yah Izhak Ben-Zvi, 1992), 56. !13
forces of darkness.35 As such, the Songs of the Sage are filled with references indicating that the
ritual was intended for recital in a communal setting. For instance, there are multiple plural imperative calls to praise36: “Rejoice, righteous ones, in the God of wonders” (4Q510 1 8), “Let all
who know [righteousness] exalt Him” (4Q511 2 i 2), “Let them bless all Your works” (4Q511 63 iv 1). More significantly, the final fragment, “Blessed be Your name for ever and ever. Amen, amen.” (4Q511 63-63 iv 2-3) is indicative of a communal response formula. Hence the context implied by the Songs of the Sage is not a private exorcism, but a public apotropaic ritual. The Maskil’s role as the spiritual leader and teacher of the community (i.e. 1QS iii 13) is especially emphasised in the Songs of the Sage by the use of the first person singular. This reveals that it is the Maskil who is actively reciting the hymns on behalf of the community (e.g. 4Q511 48-59 ii 2). Throughout the Songs of the Sage there is an intense focus on the centrality of knowledge: דעת “knowledge” appears seventeen times; “ בינהunderstanding” appears six times; גבורהassociated with “powerful knowledge” appears at least eleven times.37 Therefore the Maskil, as the wise leader,
employs his gifted knowledge of God as ritual power against demons (cf. 4Q511 18 ii 8; 48-59 ii 1-5; 63-64 iii 1-2). By leading the recital, the Maskil’s role is paradigmatic, enabling the community to share in his knowledge of God and participate in the apotropaic function of the hymns.
! Compared to later Jewish magic formulas and amulets against evil spirits, we have seen that the Songs of the Sage are less specific in terms of identifying individual afflicting demons. Instead they focus on reciting proclamations of God’s power and majesty. While they each attest to the belief in divine protection through the power of hymns and incantations, the very form and character of the Songs of the Sage indicate a distinctive view on how words of power affect and repel the forces of evil.38 First, the power invoked by the Maskil is effected by words of praise and glorification of
God. The hymns in the Songs of the Sage do not reflect adjurations as we will see in the exorcistic incantations, but it is the recital of thanksgiving and glorification which repels the evil spirits. Therefore the Maskil reminds and warns all demons of the majesty of God, stating: “And I, a Maskil proclaim the majesty of His beauty to frighten and ter[rify] all the spirits of the angels of destruction and the spirits of the bastards, demons, Lilith, howlers and [yelpers...]” (4Q510 1 4-6 par 4Q511 10 1-3).39
Joseph L. Angel, “Maskil, Community and Religious Experience,” 9.
Nitzan, “Hymns from Qumran,” 54.
! Alexander, 39
“Demonology,” 346. !14
The Maskil highlights that the intention of his hymns is not to expel evil spirits, but to intimidate them. The power of the word through thanksgiving is integral in the Songs of the Sage as it demonstrates that the Maskil locates his entire confidence in the protective power of God.
! Concerning the apocalyptic tradition as expressed in the narrative texts of Chapter 1, the Songs of the Sage also reveal that the defensive power of the hymns is limited.40 For instance, the Maskil’s
power to scare evil spirits is restricted to the present epoch, underscored by the negative formula “not for an everlasting destruction” but “during] the present dominion of wickedness” (4Q510 1 7 and 4Q511 10 3).41 In the narrative texts, the demonology proclaims that evil spirits will be active
in the world until Final Judgment (cf. 1 En. 16:1; Jub. 10:1-11). The Songs of the Sage are particularly conscious of this tradition because eschatological judgment emerges as a primary theme throughout the hymns. The apotropaic hymns of the Songs of the Sage protect the community in anticipation of the Final Judgment, yet the Maskil recognises that his power to deter demons is temporary (4Q510 1 6-8). Despite proclaiming the ability to scare away evil spirits, the hymns maintain that ultimate annihilation of evil beings lies with God. This theme of eschatological judgment reinforces the power of God and functions to glorify His status as the ultimate Judge of the cosmos. By appealing to the anticipated eschatological judgment, the Songs of the Sage forewarn of the demons’ fate and invoke the terror of God’s “judgment of vengeance to exterminate wickedness” as a method to frighten the evil spirits (4Q511 35 1-2; see also 10 11-12). Moreover, the Maskil invokes God’s creative power and eschatological judgment throughout the hymns as a means to threaten and overwhelm the demons (4Q511 10 1-12; 35 1-2, 6-7). The repetition of God’s creative power to “seal” the deeps in 4Q511 30 1-3, alludes to the eschatological renovation of the cosmos and serves as an ominous reminder that at the end days all evil spirits will be buried in the abyss.42 In line with the apocalyptic tradition of the Book of the Watchers and Jubilees, the Songs of
the Sage assure that evil spirits will be eternally banished by God at the appointed time.
! This apocalyptic perspective is in contrast to later Jewish incantations43, which locate their
exorcistic power in the invocation of the Divine Name. By relying entirely on the power of the Divine Name, these incantations exhibit confidence that evil spirits will be permanently bound and ! Angel, 40
Bilhah Nitzan works from a hypothetical text based on Aramaic amulets and Rabbinic incantation texts (ibid., 55). !15
banished to the abyss. Therefore, by putting an immediate stop to demonic assaults, these later incantations function as adjurations which solemnly command the eternal expulsion of evil spirits. Although the absence of the Divine Name in the Songs of the Sage could be attributed to the fragmentary quality of the manuscripts, Bilhah Nitzan rejects this possibility, stating that the hymns are not typical of adjurations which employ the formula, “I adjure you... in the Name of God.”44
Instead we have statements by the Maskil such as, “I am pouring out the fear of God” (4Q511 35 6)45 and “Blessed are Yo]u, my God, the glorious King” (4Q511 52, 54+55, 57+59 iii 4). Hence,
when invoking the power of God, the Maskil consciously avoids the Tetragram. Instead he prefers epithets and title אל. This is perhaps related to the Qumran provenance of the text, as there is a tendency in sectarian compositions to avoid using the Tetragram.46 Moreover, it is possible that the
intensely pious sectarians at Qumran would strongly resist making the Sacred Name of God an instrument in magic rituals.47 In any case, the formula, “I, the Sage, declare the majesty of his
radiance in order to frighten and terrify all the spirits ... not for an everlasting destruction” (4Q511 10:1-5) is consistent with the apocalyptic tradition of the narrative texts. It reiterates the notion that until the Final Judgment, evil spirits will be active in “the present dominion of wickedness” (line 4; cf. 1 En. 15:8-16:1; Jub. 10:12). As an apotropaic hymn, the Songs of the Sage maintain that magic power is effected through the praise of God, not His Divine Name. Ultimately, in contrast to later Jewish incantations and exorcistic texts (Chapter 3), the Songs of the Sage function as preemptive protection against demons and employ words of power in order to prevent, rather than drive out, demonic forces.
! In line with the Treatise on the Two Spirits, the dualistic outlook underlying the Songs of the Sage addresses the deeper cosmological battle between light and darkness (1QS iii 20-24). As previously mentioned, the apotropaic hymns do not address a specific demon, but all the evil spirits who seek to harm the “Sons of Light” (4Q510 1 5-7). Despite presenting extensive knowledge of demonic beings in the cosmos, the Songs of the Sage are not concerned with treatments for afflictions they cause. The primary purpose of the hymns is prevention, not exorcism. Therefore, the anti-demonic ! 44
Donald W. Parry and Emanuel Tov, The Dead Sea Scrolls Reader: Additional Genres and Unclassified Texts (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2005), 185. ! Angel, 46
4. Also see discussion in Esther Eshel, “Apotropaic Prayers in the Second Temple Period,” in Liturgical Perspectives: Prayer and Poetry in light of the Dead Sea Scrolls; Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium of the Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature, 19-23 January 2010, ed. Esther G. Chazon (STDJ 48; Boston: Brill, 2003), 87. ! Angel, 47
hymns create a barrier around the community in defence against the forces of darkness which seek to corrupt the Sons of Light.
! The Songs of the Sage provide an intriguing insight into apotropaic rituals against demons in the Qumran corpus, yet it must be highlighted that the hymns are absent of any specific materia magica.48 That is, though the hymns function as a form of defence against evil beings, they do not
actively engage in technical magic and ritual practice. Hence, they do not serve as exorcistic rituals, but general protection against demonic assaults. In particular, the hymns are concerned with the protection of the mind and soul, as opposed to the body.49 The Maskil’s hymns fortify the
community against demons who “lead astray the spirit of knowledge” and “make their hearts forlorn” (4Q510 1 6). In conjunction with the recurring theme of knowledge, the focus of the Songs of the Sage is on psychological warfare against psychological assaults.50 The praise of God and the
knowledge He imparts to the Maskil are key to this fortification, providing spiritual defence by intimidating the evil spirits. Therefore the hymns of praise and thanksgiving become vital weapons against demonic attacks.
Hymns and Curses: 4QIncantation (4Q444)
! After an examination of the genre and content of 4Q444, it is no surprise that the text is often interpreted in relation to the Songs of the Sage. In her Discoveries in the Judaean Desert contribution, Esther G. Chazon speculates the possibility of “a direct literary relationship or a common author” between the Songs of the Sage and 4Q444.51 As evidence, Chazon points to the
linguistic, functional and thematic parallels between the texts, including the phrase ואני מיראי אל “And as for me, because of my fearing God”52 which is only found in 4Q444 1-4 i + 5 (Col. I) 1 and
! Alexander, 48
“Wrestling Against the Wickedness,” 323.
Idem., “Demonology,” 348.
Esther Chazon et al., Qumran Cave 4 XX, Poetical and Liturgical Texts, Part 2 (DJD 29, Oxford: Clarendon, 1999), 371. Translations will be taken from this volume. ! 52
Ibid., 374. Chazon indicates that this phrase may be interpreted in a variety of ways. In her rendering, מיראיis taken as the Qal participle or infinitive construct of ירא, with a - מpreposition and first person singular pronominal suffix. Therefore the phrase is a “declaration of the speaker’s fear of God which qualifies him to receive the holy spirit and combat demons” (ibid., 370). An alternative rendering can understand the verb as a piel participle of ירא, therefore implying the causative meaning, “to make afraid” or “to terrify” (e.g 4Q511 8 4; 8Q5 1 1; also in biblical usage Neh. 6:9, 14; 2 Chr. 32:18). Literally translated as the “terrifier of God,” the phrase would signify the reciter as the one who “terrifies” demons through the fear of God. The nuances of this phrase are important, however the overall sense of the construction reveals that the apotropaic function of both texts depends on the power of God. !17
4Q511 35 6, the apotropaic function of the “laws of God” and gifts of the divine spirit (4Q444 I 1-4 and 4Q511 48-49 + 51 ii 5), the identification of evil spirits as “bastards” (4Q444 I 8 and 4Q510 1 4-5; 4Q511 35 6-7 etc.), and the dominion of evil as limited to the present epoch (4Q444 I 7; 4Q511 35 6-8 etc.; cf. 1QS iii 21-3). This selection of parallels indicates the likelihood of a shared tradition between the two texts, however Chazon states that 4Q444 must be appreciated and examined as an independent apotropaic hymn.53 The poorly preserved condition of 4Q444 makes it difficult to
identify significant divergences which indicate that it is indeed a separate text. Although the evidence is limited, Chazon points to the alternative curse formula found in 4Q444. While the curses of this text use the form ( ארורI 5, 7; also possibly I 10), the Songs of the Sage apply the verb מ]קללto curse evil spirits (4Q511 11 3).54
! In terms of the form of 4Q444, it is possible to identify two distinct parts of the prayer: a hymn intended to frighten and “fight against the spirits of wickedness” (Col. I 1-4) and curses (I 5-11). The purpose of both parts is to avert and protect against demonic influences, which is comparable to the apotropaic function of the Songs of the Sage.55 The reciter of 4Q444 is unidentified, however
the character and role described is reminiscent of the Maskil. Like the Maskil in the Songs of the Sage, the magic power of the hymn is effected through the invocation of fear and gifted knowledge of the laws of God. More specifically, 4Q444 appeals to the “spirit of knowledge and understanding, truth and righteousness” (I 3) bestowed by God, which enables the speaker to combat evil spirits. Following the curse formula, 4Q444 lists a number of evil beings including: “ba]stards and the spirit of impurity” and “the thieve[s?” (I 8-9). Therefore like the Songs of the Sage, the magic power of the apotropaic incantation is thought to protect against a multitude of evil beings, not a specific demon.
! Once again, undertones of the Book of the Watchers and Jubilees are apparent in 4Q444, with references to “bastards” and the influence of evil beings only “until the completion of its dominion.”56 The lack of context in the extant fragment makes it difficult to assess the extent to
which 4Q444 is consistent with the apocalyptic tradition of 1 Enoch and Jubilees. However we can
Idem., “Hymns and Prayers in the Dead Sea Scrolls,” in The Dead Sea Scrolls after Fifty Years: A Comprehensive Assessment Vol. 1, ed. Peter W. Flint and James C.VanderKam (Leiden; Boston, Mass.: Brill, 1998), 255. ! 54
Idem., Qumran Cave 4, 369.
Eshel, “Apotropaic Prayers,” 81.
Chazon, Qumran Cave 4, 377. !18
certainly infer that the text incorporates its awareness of these apocalyptic texts into its apotropaic curses against evil spirits. Hence the curse in 4Q444 I 5-11 does not proclaim the power to permanently banish the spirits which threaten the community. In conjunction with its preceding hymn, the curse sustains the apotropaic function of the text by averting a number of evil beings.
A Sectarian Apotropaic Prayer?: 6QHymn (6Q18)
! The severely fragmentary condition of 6Q18 makes discussion about its demonology and features of magic power futile. In terms of general textual observations, Esther Eshel speculates a sectarian origin for 6Q18 based on expressions and terminology including “Belial” (6Q18 3 3), “Angels of Righteousness” (5 3) and the paleo-Hebrew script for אל.57 Furthermore, the recurring sectarian
belief in a dualistic struggle between the forces of light and darkness is evident in 6Q18 (cf. section 1.3). For instance, dualistic imagery can be detected among the few discernible phrases such as “eternal life and glo[ry ... darkness and glo[om” (2 2-3). Although we cannot reconstruct the extant fragments of 6Q18 to form a coherent framework, it is reasonable to suggest that the dualist tradition we find in the narrative texts (Chapter 1) is also embodied by the prayer.58
! It is true that the fragmentary quality of 6Q18 prevents a detailed examination of its apotropaic function, however Eshel maintains its inclusion under the category of apotropaic prayers against demons. Although the apotropaic language is difficult to detect, she indicates that 6Q18 2 4 contains a quotation from the demons, “darkness (is) our desire,” which suggests that the text functioned as some form of ritual against demons.59 Along with this, the hiphil infinitive “ להכני[עto cause to
submit” implies a conflict, possibly between the Angels of Righteousness and Belial. These interpretations are plausible, however 6Q18 lacks the overall context to corroborate them. The most relevant piece of evidence for 6Q18’s categorisation as an apotropaic hymn is the expression “with e[ternal] praises” (2 8). Eshel demonstrates that the term “ תשבחותpraises” is found in titles of amulets and magic bowls which are specifically used as apotropaic protection against evil forces. Though Eshel’s argument for 6Q18’s apotropaic function is possible, the evidence is not compelling.
n.b. “ משטמהenmity/Mastema” in (9 1). This is the only discernible word in the fragment, therefore we cannot determine its context. ! 59
Ibid. Eshel reconstructs [“ אל הושך תשוקתנוour] desire is [for] the darkness.” !19
! In summary, apotropaic ritual texts reveal a method of defence against demons which preemptively wards off evil spirits before they attack. From the extant texts, it is possible to highlight underlying and recurring themes which characterise these hymns and prayers. These underlying themes include the apocalyptic and dualist traditions found in the Book of the Watchers, Jubilees and the Treatise on the Two Spirits such as: the ongoing presence and activity of evil beings in the world, the deeper cosmological struggle between forces of light and darkness, and the anticipated eschatological Judgment. There is no doubt that the community was influenced to an extent by these apocalyptic traditions and firmly believed in the reality of supernatural beings, including demons. However they also demonstrate an even more elaborate and sophisticated perspective on the categories of demons in the world. Their apotropaic function is not limited to the evil “bastard spirits” from the apocalyptic traditions, but we have seen that it also includes a vast and varied array of evil beings. Ultimately we cannot say exactly how these apotropaic ritual texts were utilised by the community, nevertheless we can conclude that they primarily functioned to protect the Sons of Light against all forces of darkness in the cosmos. The hymns, prayers and curses of these (sectarian) ritual texts use words of power, that is, thanksgiving and glorification of God, as magic protection from evil entities.
Chapter 3 ! Ritual Texts: Magic Formulas and Exorcistic Incantations
! In contrast to the apotropaic hymns and prayers, 4QAgainst Demons, 8QHymn and 11QApocryphalPsalms illustrate active engagement with evil beings. These texts contain formulas and incantations of an exorcistic quality, intended to address afflicting demons directly and expel them. That said, we will also observe their apotropaic obligation to protect against and ward off demons. Despite these overlaps, the magic formulas and exorcistic incantations are characterised by their efforts to confront and tackle demonic assaults which are occurring in the present time. The following incantations contain many of the themes we have observed in the apotropaic texts, however they do not apply them in the form of thanksgiving and praise. Instead, it is the terror and majesty of God which is invoked as magic power to challenge and exorcise evil beings.
! Finally, my discussion will treat 4Q560, 8Q5 and 11Q11 as non-sectarian texts, however their presence among the Scrolls demonstrates that magic formulas and exorcistic incantations were the next level of combative defence against demons once their preventative measures had been violated.
A Magic Formula: 4QAgainst Demons (4Q560)
! 4Q560 is a fragmentary Aramaic manuscript containing two poorly preserved columns which seemingly constitute a magic formula. Compared to the other ritual texts in the Qumran corpus, the fragments reflect a distinct form of incantation closely related to Ancient Near Eastern magic traditions and later Jewish amulets.60 Evidently, the fragments themselves do not form the amulet,
rather Philip Alexander suggests that they most likely represent “remnants of a recipe book containing the texts of amulets.”61 In this way, we can speculate that 4Q560 originally provided a
collection of apotropaic incantations which could be copied, personalised and used as protection against afflicting demons. Despite the apotropaic character of the text, the adjuratory style of the incantations indicate some form of direct conflict with evil beings. Prior to the discovery of a library at Qumran, examples of instructional magic books and amulets were indebted to the Cairo ! 60
Chazon, “Hymns and Prayers," 264.
! Alexander, 61
“Demonology,” 345. !21
Geniza. Yet a closer examination of these medieval texts revealed that they were based on an earlier Palestinian tradition.62 Therefore, despite the limitations of the surviving fragments, 4Q560 gives us
an insight into the development of magic books and traditions from as early as the Hasmonean period (c. 50 B.C.E).
! If we acknowledge the fragmentary quality, it must be noted that reconstructions of 4Q560 remain hypothetical. Nevertheless, it is possible to identify elements in the text which comply with certain expectations of exorcistic magic rituals, namely the identification of specific (male and female) demons (i 3; 5), the description of afflictions (i 3-5) and an adjuration (ii 6).63 Following the
identification of these elements, we can surmise that the first column describes the demons and their associated afflictions and the second column recounted the necessary adjuratory incantations.
! In terms of the demonology of 4Q560, Douglas L. Penney and Michael O. Wise indicate that the specification of male and female demons is typical of Aramaic magic texts and amulets.64 Even
more so, Penney and Wise speculate that this construction is based on earlier Akkadian magic formulas which identify evil spirits as male and female.65 They suggest that the inclusive language
is “probably intended to allow no loopholes for wily demons.” It appears that 4Q560 goes further and personifies the afflictions as male and female demons, for instance “male and female poison[ous substance]” (i 3) and “male and female crushing” (i 5).66 Furthermore, in the
enumeration of afflictions caused by demons, 4Q560 highlights “iniquity and sin” and “fever and chills” (i 4). These pairs are particularly striking, revealing that assaults by demons are both physical and spiritual.67 In contrast to the more general function of the apotropaic hymns, 4Q560
explicitly identifies specific demons and describes their related afflictions. Therefore we can infer that these evil beings had in fact affected an individual. It is difficult to ascertain the precise magic ritual prescribed against the demons, however we can be sure that column ii preserves at least one ! 62
Joseph Naveh, “Fragments of an Aramaic Magic Book from Qumran,” IEJ 48 (1998): 252.
Douglas L. Penney and Michael O. Wise, “By the Power of Beelzebub: An Aramaic Incantation Formula from Qumran (4Q506),” Journal of Biblical Literature 113 (1994): 628. ! 65
Translation from Naveh, “Fragments of an Aramaic Magic Book,” 257. There is dispute concerning how these phrases are best translated. Penney and Wise (p. 632) suggest “the male Wasting-demon and the female Wasting demon” (line 3) and “the male Shrine-spirit and the female Shrine-spirit” (line 5). As I do not know Aramaic I cannot evaluate either reading, however both are attempts to capture the essence of personified demonic illnesses. For a detailed exegesis of the illnesses caused by the demons see Naveh, 259-260. ! 67
Eshel, “Apotropaic Prayers,” 84. !22
adjuration, “I adjure you, O spirit” (ii 6), which indicates some form of confrontation. If we are to take 4Q560 as a magic formula to be inscribed onto an amulet, the purpose of the incantation is also to prevent specific afflicting demons.68 Thus 4Q560 reflects the rituals of exorcistic texts in its
application of adjurations (i.e. 11Q11, 8Q5), but it also integrates the preemptive action of the apotropaic hymns. The form and style of 4Q560 make it difficult to assign it into a specific category of ritual texts. Although the style corresponds to the apotropaic hymns in many ways, the use of adjurations is contrary to the purely preventative function of the texts discussed in Chapter 2. As such it will be appreciated as a variation of magic incantation texts against demons among the Dead Sea Scrolls. Regardless of its categorisation, 4Q560 discloses the early development of apotropaic magic formulas which would later become key ritual defences within the tradition of Aramaic amulets and magic bowls.69
Incantation Ritual: 8QHymn (8Q5)
! 8Q5 is critically damaged yet it has been identified as a magic incantation against evil spirits. In contrast to apotropaic hymns, the style and content of 8Q5 distinguish it as an active exorcistic ritual intended to confront and expel a demon. This purpose is highlighted in 8Q5 1 3, where the reciter directly addresses the evil spirits asking, “why do you cause his light to cease.”70 Moreover,
the exorcistic function of 8Q5 is illustrated by the invocation of the Divine Name (1 1). In this way, it has been proposed that the piel participle ( מיראlit. “cause to fear”; see fn. 49) should be interpreted as “in Your Name, O Mighty One, I exorcise.”71 Nevertheless, the explicit invocation of
the Divine Name separates 8Q5 from the apotropaic texts in Chapter 2, as well as points towards its non-sectarian provenance. Although 8Q5 locates its primary magic power in the Name of God, we cannot disregard the statements of God’s majesty which are also used as a weapons against demons (1 1; 2 3). In contrast to the apotropaic hymns, however, 8Q5 does not use the praise and thanksgiving of God’s attributes to simply warn and prevent evil beings. The incantation actively summons the power of God in order to drive out a demon. Regardless of its provenance, the presence of 8Q5 in the Qumran corpus indicates that magic rituals which explicitly exorcised demons were familiar, and likely used in the community. ! Alexander, 68
“Wrestling Against the Wickedness,” 330.
For examples see J. Naveh and S. Shaked, Amulets and Magic Bowls: Aramaic Incantations of Late Antiquity (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1985). ! 70
Eshel, 85. Translation from Parry and Tov, 215.
J. M. Baumgarten, “On the Nature of the Seductress in 4Q184,” RevQ 15 (1991): 135. !23
Exorcistic Rituals in 11QApocryphalPsalms (11Q11)
! Another incantatory text of significance discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls is 11Q11. The themes of glorification and eschatological judgment examined in the Songs of the Sage are also evident in this text, presenting another ritual text which incorporates the apocalyptic traditions we have seen in Chapter 1. Yet, 11Q11 is distinct from the apotropaic hymns in terms of its context, style and ritual practice.
! Despite the poorly preserved fragments of 11Q11, it is possible to identify a collection of exorcistic hymns against evil spirits, which are attributed to David. From the fragments, four psalms have been distinguished which were recited as “words of incantation” (11Q11 Col. I 3).72 Notably, the
final fragment preserves a version of Psalm 91 (VI 3-14). This psalm is customarily quoted in Jewish amulets and incantations, and cited in Talmudic literature as a remedy against demonic affliction.73 Thus, the presence of this widely known exorcistic psalm highlights the more specific
magic function of 11Q11. That is, 11Q11 is likely the remnant of an exorcistic ritual. The tradition underlying these Davidic psalms is often related to 11Q5 xxvii 9-10, in which it is said that David wrote “four songs to sing over the stricken.”74 With this in mind, 11Q11 can be described as a
genuine exorcistic text, intended to drive out a demon and cure an afflicted individual. However, the manner of exorcism in 11Q11 is unconventional in the sense that the afflicted is not a passive participant in the ritual, but is in fact being taught what to recite against his tormentor (e.g. V 5; 11).75 Thus, it is clear that 11Q11 does not form part of a communal hymnic ritual. For instance, the
frequent use of the second person singular “you shall [s]ay to him: Who are you..?” (11Q11 V 5-6), calls upon an afflicted individual to confront and intimidate the evil being personally. An element of “self-healing” is prevalent in 11Q11, which encourages an individual to engage with his demonic tormentor and expel it in the Name of God.76
! ! Alexander, 72
“Wrestling Against the Wickedness,” 325.
García-Martínez, “Magic in the Dead Sea Scrolls,” 24.
Nitzan, “Magical Poetry,” 233.
! Alexander, 76
In contrast to the apotropaic hymns and prayers, 11Q11 is distinguished by the invocation of the Divine Name. Throughout the incantations, the Tetragram is written in full which is a significant divergence from the deliberate avoidance we find in the Songs of the Sage. The use of God’s sacred Name is often regarded as grounds for the non-sectarian origin of the manuscript.77 However like
8Q5, the presence of 11Q11 among the Dead Sea Scrolls sheds light on the varied character of magic rituals included and valued by the sectarians. As we have discussed above, the Divine Name is invoked to adjure and “exorcise” a demon. Whereas the apotropaic hymns function as nonspecific protection against demons, 11Q11 embodies a specific scenario and represents the action taken once a demon has breached the protective defences established by the apotropaic rituals.
! In conjunction with the Divine Name, the incantations utilise proclamations of God’s power and authority to adjure an evil spirit. 11Q11 frequently alludes to the apocalyptic tradition, in particular the creative power of God (II 10-13; III 2-4) and the anticipated eschatological destruction (III 10; IV 4-8; V 8-10). Like the Songs of the Sage, 11Q11 forecasts the formidable judgment and destruction which awaits the demons at the end days.78 The psalms invoke the power of God and
His angels in order to threaten and terrify the demons, proclaiming:
“YHWH will strike you with a [grea]t b[low] which is to destroy you. And in his fury [ he will send ] against you a powerful angel [ to carry out] his [entire comm]and, who [ will not show] you mercy, ... who [ will bring] you [down] to the great abyss [and to] the deepest [Sheol.]” (IV 4-8).79
The imagery in this passage is comparable to the psychological warfare described in the Songs of the Sage. By appealing to the intimidating terror of God, 11Q11 typifies anti-demonic psalms intended to frighten and expel evil spirits.80 The theme of eschatological judgment and punishment
dominates the text, threatening the evil spirits with their determined fate and the horror of the “deepest Sheol.” Yet it must be noted that 11Q11 does not claim to exorcise a demon for eternity. Therefore, despite reflecting a different method of combative defence from the apotropaic texts, 11Q11 also integrates the apocalyptic tradition prevalent in the 1 Enoch and Jubilees.
! ! 77
See fn. 44.
! Alexander, 78
Parry and Tov, 219.
Gideon Bohak, Ancient Jewish Magic: A History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 108. !25
Regarding the demonology of 11Q11, the psalms contain ambiguous references to “spirits,” “demons” and “sons of Bel[ial” (VI 3). However the object of the exorcistic psalms, and the villain commanding the evil spirits, is identified as the “prince of enmity” (II 4 see section 1.2 on Mastema). Therefore, 11Q11 remains distinct from the apotropaic hymns in that its incantation is directed towards a specific evil being and its related subordinate demons. The psalms confront and mock the evil being in the second person singular, for example “Your face is a face of [delu]sion and your horns are horns of ill[us]ion, you are darkness and not light, [injust]ice and not justice” (V 6-8).81 This is in contrast to the different classes of evil beings enumerated and frightened in the
Songs of the Sage and 4Q444. Unfortunately, the fragmentary nature of the text and obscure references to the “prince of enmity” and “the sons of Bel[ial” make it difficult to discern the precise demonology of 11Q11. Nevertheless it is within reason to suggest that 11Q11 alludes to the apocalyptic tradition in Jubilees, with the “sons of Belial” referring to Mastema’s (“the prince of enmity”) limited horde of subservient demons.
! Like the other “healing” ritual texts we have discussed, 11Q11 is absent of any technical materia magica. In our examination of ritual texts, we have found no comparison with the account of magical praxis we find in the Book of Tobit. Although the ritual in Tobit includes prayer as part of its exorcistic ritual, there is also a combination of materia magica.82 Instead, the exorcistic
incantations of 11Q11 are replete with threats, terror and sovereignty over evil spirits, all of which are considered equally effective methods of expelling a demon.
! Unlike the apotropaic hymns and prayers in Chapter 2, it is difficult to distinguish the typical elements of the exorcistic ritual texts. We have a combination of incantatory rituals and magic formulas, both of which directly confront and combat evil beings. Furthermore, the better preserved text 11Q11 indicates an awareness of the apocalyptic tradition which has so far been a formative source of demonology and theology for the ritual texts at Qumran.
! ! Alexander 81
notes that the description of this evil being in 11Q11 is potentially one of the earliest references to Mastema/Belial/Satan as a horned being (Alexander, “Wrestling Against the Wickedness,” 327). ! Alexander, 82
“Magic and Magical Texts,” 503. !26
In contrast to the apotropaic texts, the exorcistic incantations reflect the next level of defensive action taken against demons once the apotropaic cordons have been breached and an individual has been afflicted. Although these texts are considered non-sectarian, their inclusion among the Dead Sea Scrolls indicates that the community saw it necessary to adopt and preserve them alongside their own ritual texts against demons. Therefore, we can infer that the community at Qumran had a variety of preemptive and practical defensive measures at hand in order to satisfy their complex and extensive beliefs about demons.
! The condition of the preserved ritual texts make it difficult to provide a comprehensive typology of the various defensive rituals against demons. It is possible, however, to identify key defining features between the categories of apotropaic hymns and exorcistic incantations.83 First, the
terminology of both texts illustrates the different functions they are fulfilling. The apotropaic texts are characterised by their absence of technical exorcistic language and non-specific references to evil beings, whereas the incantations use the language of adjuration to address demons directly and expel them. The list given in 4Q510 1 5 highlights the protective purpose of the hymns against a diverse variety of evil beings. This differs from the identification of specific demons in 4Q560, illustrating the more precise exorcistic function of the incantation. Second, the magic power is effected in different ways. The Songs of the Sage typify the use of praise and thanksgiving to invoke the protective power of God and terrify prospective demons. In contrast, the exorcistic texts utilise the Divine Name and explicitly summon God’s majesty in order to drive out afflicting evil spirits.
! We cannot go as far to say that the ritual texts maintain a consistent demonology with the narrative texts because this simply is not the case. In fact, Reimer suggests that the “Qumran sectarians had little interest in a clearly articulated aetiology of demons.”84 In all the ritual texts we have
examined, the prayers and incantations are not concerned with illustrating detailed and coherent demonologies. Instead, we have seen that the manner of magic rituals against demons is what characterises these texts. This is no surprise when we consider the apocalyptic traditions underlying the ritual texts which reveal that the presence and activity of demons is a very real threat. Therefore we would not expect the sectarians to be concerned about outlining their demonologies, as much as formulating the ritual action required to tackle the reality of demons.
! Finally, the apocalyptic traditions of 1 Enoch and Jubilees are not only fundamental for understanding the mythology which underscores Jewish beliefs about demons in the ancient world, but also the theology which characterises the ritual texts in the Qumran corpus. We have learnt from the narrative texts in Chapter 1 that God is superior to all existence: the Book of the Watchers and ! 83
Reimer, “Rescuing the Fallen Angels,” 351. !28
Jubilees reveal that God is the ultimate judge of the cosmos; the Treatise on the Two Spirits states that despite the opposing forces of light and darkness in the world, God is the basic source of existence; and the exorcistic ritual in the Book of Tobit highlights that God is responsible for all things. Therefore, in spite of the differences and inconsistencies between apotropaic hymns and exorcistic incantations, we can posit one consistency between the ritual texts; the power of God is the fundamental defence against all evil beings. Ultimately, it is God, not the reciter or the congregation, who is responsible for the magic power of ritual texts. Whether it is through the invocation of the Divine Name in exorcistic incantations, or through praise and thanksgiving of God’s glory in apotropaic hymns, magic power against demons is located in the Divine.
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