In this podcast episode, our guest Joseph E. Sanzo discusses the intersection between Christian and Jewish magic. Joseph Sanzo is Associate Professor of the History of Religions at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. Joseph Sanzo obtained his PhD degree at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2012 and his thesis was published in 2014 in a volume called Scriptural Incipits on Amulets from Late Antique Egypt: Text, Typology, and Theory. Since then, he has held various positions; after his PhD, he was a lecturer at UCLA and a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Jerusalem, between 2015 and 2018 he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Munich and between 2018 and 2020 he was the WIRL Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellow at the University of Warwick. His research focuses on ancient Mediterranean religion, with a particular focus on ritual practices during late antiquity, and he is the author of numerous publications on the topic. His current European Research Council Starting Grant project running from 2020 investigates late-antique Jewish and Christian magical objects, such as amulets and incantation bowls, as sites for thinking about early Jewish-Christian relations. For more information on Joseph’s current project, see https://pric.unive.it/projects/ejcm/home
In this episode, Michael Zellmann-Rohrer introduced us to Byzantine magic. Michael Zellmann-Rohrer has an undergraduate degree in classical philology from Harvard University. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on late ancient and medieval Greek and Latin magical texts at the University of California. Between 2016 and 2021, he was a research associate on the Lexicon of Greek Personal Names at the University of Oxford. Currently, Michael Zellmann-Rohrer is part of the ERC project "Zodiac – Ancient Astral Science in Transformation", in which he is dealing with a corpus of texts and practices related to his earlier interest in magic. Astrology is another form of easily transmissible folk knowledge with a foundation in religious thought, which has survived on papyri thanks to the favorable climate in Egypt, allowing us to trace the details of its application by practitioners from different social classes. During his research, he has worked with various artifacts of manuscript cultures: Inscriptions on stone, jewelry, amulets made of precious stones and metal leaves, books and formulas on papri, and in parchment and paper codices.