Current Issue Article Abstracts
Spring 2017 Vol. 12.1
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This brief introduction outlines the purpose behind this particular special issue and collection of articles, and provides a concise overview of each paper and how each relates to the larger themes of the collection. This collection of papers uses the particular case study of medieval astrology as a means to study the broader implications of boundary-work. The papers examine the intersections among science, the occult, and the religious cultures that lived in the medieval Islamic world—including Islam, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism. The authors, in various ways, help complicate the categories of magic, science, and religion by looking at how boundaries between these fields were articulated by medieval scholars.
This article examines the constitution of astrology in four Hebrew works, two written before and two after the emergence of Islam. It argues that there is a significant difference in both form and substance in pre and post-Islamic works. In all cases the works strive to nativize a cosmopolitan tradition, and to integrate partially theorized or decontextualized concepts. The pre-Islamic works use a cosmopolitan model of astrological medicine that they particularize by means of remythologizing and an appeal to experience. The post-Islamic works differ from each other and from the pre-Islamic works in their use of Islamic discourse to authorize their views, and in terms of their relation to earlier texts.