This essay aims to refine our understanding of the place and character of physiognomy in the world of Medieval Hebrew knowledge. It starts with a survey of sources, primary and secondary, which suggest that Greco-Roman learned physiognomy became increasingly non-mantic and was thought to be largely detached from the divinatory arts and practices. It then moves on to look at the long story of the pre-modern Hebrew physiognomic tradition, which has been systematically analysed as part of the divinatory arts and practices. Finally, it looks briefly at three textual foci: the codicological evidence, which suggests a clear link between physiognomic manuals and practical texts of medical prognosis among Medieval Jewry; the integration of physiognomic knowledge into literature, which suggests its more general integration into broader spheres of life as early as the second half of the twelfth century; and the infiltration of physiognomic thinking into encyclopedias in the fourteenth century.
|Title of host publication||Unveiling the Hidden – Anticipating the Future|
|Subtitle of host publication||Divinatory Practices among Jews between Qumran and the Modern Period|
|Editors||J. Rodríguez Arribas, D. Gieseler Greenbaum|
|Place of Publication||Leiden, The Netherlands|
|Number of pages||25|
|State||Published - 2021|