When Christians, Muslims, and Jews Loved Magic
A silver scroll found in Jordan is a reminder of how big the market for ‘magic’ objects was in ancient Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.
In 2014 a paper-thin metal scroll was discovered in the ruins of a city destroyed by an earthquake in Jerash (Jordan) in the mid-8th century. The scroll was unearthed in a battered lead case, but was too fragile to be unfurled.
This fall, however, scientists at Aarhus University in Denmark unraveled its secrets.
Using digital imaging of the lettering inside the scientists were able to see the writing. The results appear to be gibberish, but what the discovery does do is tell us a great deal about the market for magical objects in the ancient world.