The University of Southampton
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Dr Dan Levene 

Reader , Senior Tutor

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Dr Dan Levene is a Reader in History at the University of Southampton.


As a Semitist who specialises in Aramaic dialects and Hebrew my interests are focused on primary sources of a textual nature and specifically on editing manuscripts from late antiquity and the middle ages.

The biggest focus of my work over the years has been on literature that expresses the belief in the power of the word to heal and harm.


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Research interests


Looking at the literature of incantation of Jewish, Christian and Gnostic peoples from late antiquity I have become interested in the work of its producers - the scribes. Not only were they the transmitters of this, and other forms of, knowledge, they were the vehicle through whom normal people had access to the supernatural forces that they believed were the cause of misfortune and, more importantly, the key to healing.

More recently I have ventured into an investigation of the incantation culture of Ethiopia. The producers of this literature, the Ethiopian scribes, still produce these amulets in Ge’ez (Old Ethiopic) much in the same way as they did in the medieval period from which the oldest texts of this type survive.


Research project(s)

Virtual Magic Bowl Archive

The aim of VMBA is to provide an environment that will allow collaborative work on material that is otherwise difficult to access or unavailable. The material within this archive consists, at this stage, of parts of three collections: The Moussaieff Collection, The Dehays Collection and The Barakat Collection.



Book Chapters


Areas where I can offer postgraduate supervision:

Text analyses and critical editing of literature in Aramaic dialects and Hebrew of late antiquity and the medieval period, Jewish magic, the history of technology as represented in Jewish literature from antiquity to the middle ages.

Dr Dan Levene
Building 65 Faculty of Humanities University of Southampton Avenue Campus Highfield Southampton SO17 1BF United Kingdom

Room Number:65/1001

Telephone:(023) 8059 4795

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