Ortal-Paz Saar researches religious studies and Jewish cultural history. She is particularly interested in portraying the interaction between different religious traditions. Previously focusing on ancient and medieval magic and rituals, she is currently undertaking a new project at Utrecht University, on The Renaissance of Hebrew among the Jews of the Western Diaspora. This research is part of a larger project conducted by Prof. Leonard Rutgers, titled Reconfiguring Diaspora: The Transformation of the Jewish Diaspora in Antiquity. Additionally, Ortal-Paz is developing a digital humanities international project titled PEACE: Portal of Epigraphy, Archaeology, Conservation and Education on Jewish Funerary Culture.
Past research:
Following the completion of her doctorate, Ortal-Paz pursued a research project at Cambridge University, examining manuscripts from the Cairo Genizah; she has worked on a British-Israeli academic exchange project (BIRAX), composing a prosopographic database of Babylonian incantation bowls; and was part of an international team that catalogued the Berlin Vorderasiatisches Museum collection of incantation bowls (volume forthcoming in the Beihefte zum Archiv für Orientforschung). In 2012-2013 she was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, where she explored the relationships between different religious groups in late-antique Mesopotamia.
Recent publications:
Ortal-Paz's first book is Jewish Love Magic: From Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2017).
Together with Siam Bhayro of the University of Exeter she is editing a Handbook of Jewish Magic (forthcoming with Brill, late 2017), and together with Leonard Rutgers she is editing a volume titled Letters in the Dust: The Epigraphy and Archaeology of Jewish Medieval Cemeteries (forthcoming with Peeters, 2018).
Recent grants:

2017: Rothschild Foundation grant for the digital humanities project PEACE: Portal of Epigraphy, Archaeology, Conservation and Education on Jewish Funerary Culture (together with Leonard Rutgers). The project partners are Utrecht University, the Epidat project of the Steinheim Institute (Germany) and the Inscriptions of Israel/Palestine project of Brown University (USA).

2017: European Association of Jewish Studies grant for organizing a Winter School at Utrecht University on Digital Humanities and Jewish Epigraphy.

2016: European Association of Jewish Studies grant for organizing an international workshop at Utrecht University on medieval Jewish cemeteries (together with Leonard Rutgers).


Research interests:

Digital humanities, rituals, funerary culture, socioloinguistics, interfaith relations, ethnic identity, diasporic identity

Scientific expertise

O.-P. Saar, Jewish Love Magic
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Curriculum vitae Download PDF
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All publications
  2018 - Scholarly publications
Saar, O.P. & Bhayro, Siam (2018). A Handbook of Ancient and Medieval Jewish Magic (forthcoming 2018). Brill.
Saar, O.P. (2018). A New Textual Witness to BT Berakhot 17a and 58b in an Epitaph from Italy (in preparation). Revue des Etudes Juives
Saar, O.P., Bhayro, Siam, Levene, Dan & Ford, James Nathan (2018). Aramaic Magic Bowls in the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin (in press) - Descriptive List and Edition of Selected Texts. Leiden / Boston: Brill.
Saar, O.P. (2018). Emotions in Late-Antique Jewish Epitaphs: Palestine and the Diaspora (in preparation). Journal for the Study of Judaism
Saar, O.P. (2018). Genizah Magical Documents (in press). Jewish History, Special Volume: Documentary Genizah Research in the 21st Century.
Rutgers, L.V. & Saar, O.P. (2018). Letters in the Dust - The Epigraphy and Archaeology of Medieval Jewish Cemeteries (forthcoming 2018). Peeters.
Saar, O.P. (2018). Lives of Jews in Italy: From the 2nd to the 11th Century. Brill.
Saar, O.P. (2018). Mesopotamian Double-Jar Burials and Incantation Bowls (accepted for publication). Journal of the American Oriental Society
Saar, O.P. & Peled, Ilan (2018). Spells for Separation from Mesopotamia to the Cairo Genizah (in preparation). Jewish studies quarterly
Saar, O.P. (2018). Unusual Demise in Jewish Funerary Inscriptions (in preparation). Jewish studies quarterly
  2017 - Scholarly publications
Saar, O.P. (2017). Jewish Love Magic - From Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages. (313 p.). Leiden and Boston: Brill.
  2016 - Scholarly publications
  2015 - Scholarly publications
Saar, Ortal-Paz (2015). A Study in Conceptual Parallels: Graeco-Roman Binding Spells and Babylonian Incantation Bowls. Aramaic Studies, 13 (1), (pp. 24-53) (30 p.).
Saar, O.P. & Bohak, Gideon (2015). Genizah Magical Texts Prepared for or against Named Individuals. Revue des Etudes Juives, 174 (1), (pp. 77-110) (34 p.).
Saar, O.P. (2015). Review of Shaul Shaked et al., Aramaic Bowl Spells vol. 1. Orientalistische Literaturzeitung, 110 (4-5), (pp. 324-326) (3 p.).
  2014 - Scholarly publications
Saar, O.P. (2014). A Genizah Magical Fragment and Its European Parallels. Journal of Jewish Studies, 65 (2), (pp. 1-26) (26 p.).
Saar, O.P. (2014). Review of Michael D. Swartz, The Signifying Creator: Nontextual Sources of Meaning in Ancient Judaism. Journal for the Study of Judaism, 45 (1), (pp. 140-141) (2 p.).
  2013 - Scholarly publications
  2010 - Popularising publications
Saar, O.P. (2010). Jewish Magic in Eretz-Israel during Late Antiquity and the Byzantine Period. In Filip Vukosavovic (Eds.), Angels and Demons: Jewish Magic through the Ages (pp. 16-21) (6 p.). Jerusalem: Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem.
Saar, O.P. (2010). Magic in the Cairo Genizah. In Filip Vukosavovic (Eds.), Angels and Demons: Jewish Magic through the Ages (pp. 146) (1 p.). Jerusalem: Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem.
Saar, O.P. (2010). Some Observations on Jewish Love Magic: The Importance of Cultural Specificity. Societas Magica Newsletter, 24 (2), (pp. 1-4) (4 p.).
  2007 - Scholarly publications
Saar, O.P. & Fischer, Moshe (2007). A Magical Mirror Plaque from Yavneh Yam. Israel Exploration Journal, 57 (1), (pp. 83-86) (4 p.).
Saar, O.P. (2007). Success, Protection and Grace: Three Fragments of a Personalized Magical Handbook. Ginzei Qedem, 3, (pp. 101*-135*) (34 p.).
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Currently dr. Ortal-Paz Saar teaches the following course(s):
GKRMV16025 Ges-Cultural Transfer III V M 5.0
GE1V16005 Ges-Ancient History V 1 7.5
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Full name
dr. O.P. Saar Contact details
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Room 2.17B
The Netherlands

Phone number (direct) +31 30 253 3845
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Last updated 08.03.2018