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Oxford Jewish Thought

Lectures, essays, questions & articles

by Rabbi Eli Brackman

Jewish amulets at Oxford University’s Pitt Rivers Museum

Screenshot 2022-02-02 at 16.20.34.pngOxford houses thousands of Hebrew manuscripts and early printed books. In addition, perhaps less known, however, in the museums around Oxford, are held artefacts and objects of Jewish interest. This includes a charity collection bowl, known as the Bodleian Bowl at the Ashmolean Museum, and a collection of Shofars and Jewish amulets at the Pitt Rivers Museum. In this essay, we will explore the history and significance of amulets in Jewish tradition, through the classic period, as recorded in the earliest works of Jewish law, through the medieval period, when this tradition is ridiculed by Maimonides, until its decline in the modern period. Despite the decline of the use of amulets nowadays in Jewish tradition, as reflected in their presence… Read More »

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