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The University of Southampton
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Professor Dan Levene

Professor of Semitics and the History of Religion, Ethics Officer

Professor Dan Levene's photo

Professor Dan Levene is Professor of Semitics and the History of Religion 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.

In recent years I have been focusing also on Ethiopia. This is a country that adopted Christianity in the 4th century, has a very rich and ancient literary history and manuscript tradition written in Ge‘ez and Amharic.

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. The fact that Ethiopia’s early traditions still have such an overwhelming presence within living traditions has offered me the chance of extending my research to working with communities where such beliefs are part of the fabric of life.

Short Film Productions:

The Force of Faith

Shinkuru Michael Holy Water, Yafet's Experience

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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.

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.

Professor Dan Levene
Building 65, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Southampton, Avenue Campus, Southampton SO17 1BF, United Kingdom

Room Number : 65/1001

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