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University of Michigan

1. LaVallee, Timothy Jon. The Targum Pseudo -Jonathan Genesis 31:19 and skull and corpse necromancy.

Degree: PhD, Religious history, 2002, University of Michigan

And Rachel stole the teraphim which belonged to her father. Genesis 31:19 (MT) is a curious aside in the story of Jacob's flight from Aram. The Targum Pseudo-Jonathan (PJ) explains that the teraphim that Rachel stole were the heads of young men whom Laban had murdered and used for necromantic divination. Intra-biblical midrashic exegesis does not provide a complete explanation for reading the teraphim as necromantic heads in the targum. The writers of the targum utilized additional sources about skull/corpse necromancy to inform their reading. In this dissertation I: (1) analyze textual sources from the Near East and Mediterranean world that bear upon necromantic divination using skulls, heads, and corpses and reconstruct the phenomenon of the practice and (2) with the information derived from the analysis and reconstruction determine how PJ configures necromantic divination in his reading of Gen 31:19. Fourteen texts form the basis for my investigation: nine recipes and five literary descriptions. Each of these texts are examined to define the mechanics of the rite, it's participants, and it's cosmological underpinnings. Examining Laban's necromancy against this textual backdrop reveals that PJ adapted intimate knowledge of necromancy to construct a criticism of necromancy embedded in their biblical commentary. Understanding the subtexts of the PJ's biblical commentary allows a more clear reconstruction of the social and religious world out of which the targum was generated. Advisors/Committee Members: Schmidt, Brian B. (advisor).

Subjects/Keywords: Divination; Genesis (book Of); Skull And Corpse Necromancy; Targum Pseudo-jonathan

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APA (6th Edition):

LaVallee, T. J. (2002). The Targum Pseudo -Jonathan Genesis 31:19 and skull and corpse necromancy. (Doctoral Dissertation). University of Michigan. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2027.42/123221

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

LaVallee, Timothy Jon. “The Targum Pseudo -Jonathan Genesis 31:19 and skull and corpse necromancy.” 2002. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Michigan. Accessed December 04, 2020. http://hdl.handle.net/2027.42/123221.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

LaVallee, Timothy Jon. “The Targum Pseudo -Jonathan Genesis 31:19 and skull and corpse necromancy.” 2002. Web. 04 Dec 2020.

Vancouver:

LaVallee TJ. The Targum Pseudo -Jonathan Genesis 31:19 and skull and corpse necromancy. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Michigan; 2002. [cited 2020 Dec 04]. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/2027.42/123221.

Council of Science Editors:

LaVallee TJ. The Targum Pseudo -Jonathan Genesis 31:19 and skull and corpse necromancy. [Doctoral Dissertation]. University of Michigan; 2002. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/2027.42/123221

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