James Russell - The Archaeological Context of Magic in the Early Byzantine Period (Byzantine Magic Excerpt) (5.4 MB)
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This is an extract from: Byzantine Magic edited by Henry Maguire.The observant traveler familiar with the byways of southem Turkey will occasionally encounter small trees with their branches festooned with white pieces of cloth. A typical example may be seen near the lip of the Corycian Cave, a site of primeval numen, believed in antiquity to be the home of Typhon.On the rare occasions that I have seen people actually tying rags to bushes such as these, they were usually elderly women either alone or accompanied by young gir... More >>>
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This is an extract from: Byzantine Magic edited by Henry Maguire.
The observant traveler familiar with the byways of southem Turkey will occasionally encounter small trees with their branches festooned with white pieces of cloth. A typical example may be seen near the lip of the Corycian Cave, a site of primeval numen, believed in antiquity to be the home of Typhon.On the rare occasions that I have seen people actually tying rags to bushes such as these, they were usually elderly women either alone or accompanied by young girls. Since the social constraints of Turkish rural society preclude me from serious discussion with the individuals engaged in the activity, depend for an explanation of the custom on the remarks of male villagers whose scorn for the practice is barely disguised. There can be little doubt, however, that the custom of tying rags to bushes is very ancient and survives from a time when most people in this region of Turkey were still nomads or at least not yet fully sedentary.
James Robert Russell (born in October, 1953, New York City) is a scholar and professor in Ancient Near Eastern, Iranian and Armenian Studies. He has published extensively in journals, and has written several books.
He is the Mashtots Professor of Armenian Studies at Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University, and sits on the executive committee of Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.
Dr. Russell was educated at The Bronx High School of Science in New York City, Columbia University [B.A. summa cum laude 1974], and the University of Oxford [B.Litt. 1977], under the noted Armenologists Nina Garsoian and Charles Dowsett. He attended Oxford as the recipient of a Kellett Fellowship awarded on graduation from Columbia.
He earned his Ph.D. at the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), under the direction of Dr. Mary Boyce. His 1982 Ph.D. thesis was on the topic of "Zoroastrianism in Armenia" and later published by Harvard University Press.
After finishing his Ph.D., he soon after taught at Columbia University, in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies. He then went on to be a Lady Davis Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Soon after he was on the short-list for the Mashtots Chair in Armenian Studies in the Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Department at Harvard University, for which he was chosen and has occupied the chair since 1993. He also teaches a wide range of subjects, including Freshman seminars on literature and comparative religions, literature and cultures. Dr. Russell serves on the executive committees of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. He has taught and lectured in Armenia, India, and Iran and at the Oriental Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Saint Petersburg State University. He was Government Fellowship Lecturer at the Cama Institute in Bombay, India.
James Robert Russell lectured on Soteriology on the Silk Road for the Buddhist Lecture Series of the University of Toronto in October 2005, and organized and chaired an international symposium in the same month to commemorate the 1600th anniversary of Saint Mesrop Mashtots, inventor of the Armenian alphabet. He has written on, translated, and analyzed the esoteric, mystical, and spiritual aspects of the writings of Gregory of Narek, and has written numerous articles for the Encyclop?dia Iranica. He contributed to the New Leader magazine.
Ninety one of his selected published scholarly journal articles, are gathered in his book, Armenian and Iranian Studies.
Partial Russell Bibliography
- Zoroastrianism in Armenia (Harvard Iranian Series, 1987), ISBN 0-674-96850-6
- Hovhannes Tlkurantsi and the Mediaeval Armenian Lyric Tradition (University of Pennsylvania Armenian Series, 1987), ISBN 0-89130-930-6
- The Heroes of Kasht (Kasti K'Ajer): An Armenian Epic (Ann Arbor: Caravan, 2000), ISBN 0-88206-099-6
- The Book of Flowers (Belmont, Massachusetts: Armenian Heritage Press, 2003), ISBN 0-935411-17-8, Archived October 12, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- Armenian and Iranian Studies (selected articles, in Harvard Armenian Texts and Studies, 2004), ISBN 0-935411-19-4
- "On Mysticism and Esotericism amongst the Zoroastrians", Iranian Studies 26.1-2, 1993, pp. 73-94
- "The Mother of All Heresies: A Late Mediaeval Armenian Text on the Yushkaparik, REArm 24, 1993, pp. 273-293
- "The Armenian Shrines of the Black Youth (t'ux manuk)", Le Museon 111.3-4, 1998, pp. 319-343
- "The Name of Zoroaster in Armenian", Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies 2, 1985-1986, pp. 3-10
- "Zoroastrianism as the State Religion of Ancient Iran", Journal of the K. R. Cama Oriental Institute 53, Bombay, 1986, pp. 74-142
- "A Scholium on Coleridge and an Armenian Demon", JSAS 10, 1998-99, 2000, pp. 63-71
- "God is Good: On Tobit and Iran", Iran and the Caucasus 5, Tehran, 2001, pp. 1-6
- "The Magi in the Derveni Papyrus", Name-ye Iran-e Bastan 1.1, Tehran, 2001, pp. 49-59
- "Zoroastrianism and the Northern Qi Panels", Zoroastrian Studies Newsletter, Bombay, 1994
- "Truth Is What the Eye Can See: Armenian Manuscripts and Armenian Spirituality", Treasures in Heaven: Armenian Art, Religion, and Society, T. Mathews, R. Wieck, eds.
- "Sages and Scribes at the Courts of Ancient Iran", The Sage in Israel and the Ancient Near East, J. Gammie, L. Perdue, eds., Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1990, pp. 141-146
- "Kartir and Mani: a Shamanistic Model of Their Conflict", Iranica Varia: Papers in Honor of Professor Ehsan Yarshater, Acta Iranica 30, Leiden: Brill, 1990, pp. 180-193
- "Zoroastrian Elements in the Book of Esther", Irano-Judaica II, S. Shaked, A. Netzer, eds., Jerusalem, 1990, pp. 33-40
- "Armenian Spirituality: Liturgical Mysticism and Chapter 33 of the Book of Lamentation of St. Grigor Narekac'i", REArm 26, 1996-1997, pp. 427-439