Jewish Folklore and Ethnology


The nineteenth-century voyager Yaakov Sapir published accounts of Yemeni Jewish amulets that provide significant historical and ethnographic sources for a study of Yemeni Jewish occult practices and the perception of them by non-Jews. The combination of blurred religious boundaries characterizing occult traditions, the prominent place of the Judeo Arabic language, and Arabic or pseudo-Arabic magical scripts constructed occult traditions as an essential social and cultural role for the Jewish minority, and simultaneously made these traditions the center of a polemical discourse.