Ortal-Paz Saar

Biography and Interests: 

Education: Ph.D. Judaic Studies, Tel Aviv University, 2009
Areas of Specialization: Religious studies, Cultural history, Late-antique and medieval magic 
 
Ortal-Paz Saar researches religious studies and Jewish cultural history, focusing on ancient and
medieval magic and rituals. She is particularly interested in portraying the interaction between
different religious traditions as reflected in magical practices and texts.
 
Following the completion of her doctorate, Ortal-Paz pursued a research project at Cambridge
University, examining manuscripts from the Cairo Genizah; she has worked on a British-Israeli
academic exchange project (BIRAX), composing a prosopographic database of Babylonian
incantation bowls (www.soton.ac.uk/vmba/); and was part of an international team that
catalogued the Berlin Vorderasiatisches Museum collection of incantation bowls. In 2012-2013
she has been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, where she explored the
relationships between different religious groups in late-antique Mesopotamia.
Her first book, titled Jewish Love Magic: From Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages, is
forthcoming from Brill. She is concomitantly working with Siam Bhayro of the University of
Exeter on editing a Handbook of Jewish Magic.

Recent Publications:

  • “A Genizah Magical Fragment and Its European Parallels”, Journal of Jewish Studies 65 (forthcoming).
  • “An Incantation Bowl for Sowing Discord”, Journal of Semitic Studies 58 (2013), 241-256.
  • “May His Heart Burn after Her: The Motif of Fire in Love Spells from the Cairo Genizah”(Hebrew), Pe’amim 133-134 (2013), 209-239.
  • “Some Observations on Jewish Love Magic: The Importance of Cultural Specificity”, Societas Magica 24 (2010), 1-4.
  • “Success, Protection and Grace: Three Fragments of a Personalized Magical Handbook”, Ginzei Qedem 3 (2007), 101*-135*.

Recent Publications: