chapter  VI
17 Pages

MAGIC, ASTROLOGY, AUGURY, OMENS AND DREAMS

Magic T HE BELIEF in magic and sorcery existed among the Jews, as it did among all the nations of pagan antiquity and the early Christians. Both the Rabbis and the Apostles

fought against these superstitions but were unable to eradicate them from the minds of the people. In spite of the clear and unmistakable injunctions in Holy Writ which condemn these practices, they had taken hold of the folk to such an extent that even the Rabbis, who so zealously defended the monotheistic basis of the Jewish religion, were not only compelled to make concessions but sometimes even shared the popular beliefs. The written law has never been strong enough to put a stop to prevailing current popular opinions and movements, and Israel is no exception to the rule. The Jewish nation, especially after its return from the Babylonian exile, had entirely overcome the propensity to idolatry, but it could not free itself from the belief in the efficacy of magic and sorcery, a fact of which its Folklore furnishes ample proofs.