Rabbi Geoffrey W. Dennis: Enyclopedia of Jewish Myth, Magic and Mysticism (2007)

CoverI stumbled upon the blog of Rabbi Dennis, the author of Enyclopedia of Jewish Myth, Magic and Mysticism. In the particular entry I found (i.e. the latest) he was talking about how being interviewed on the radio in the middle of the night is both a hidden and revealed experience (niglah and nistar respectively in Hebrew terminology.)

I checked his book and the most basic description on Amazon says: “Judaism is filled with folk magic, myths and other traditions. Information on these pathways has appeared in small bits but never in one volume. Now Rabbi Geoffrey W. Dennis corrects this by identifying over 1,000 terms that have been part of Judaism and Jewish spirituality over the past several thousand years.” It is not exactly Kabbalah, but the topic is so closely related I will include it in my list.

The publisher’s site includes more details about the books, including a few page long excerpt. Here is one entry that I think should be common knowledge:

Abracadabra: The archetypal voce magica, magical word. Many claim it to be of Jewish origin reading it as a kind of fractured Aramaic, ab’ra k’dabra, meaning, I will create according to the word. This is very plausible, assuming the Aramaic syntax has undergone corruption. It is also plausible that it is of non-Jewish origin. see hebrew alphabet; incantations; magic.

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