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Binding Words: Textual Amulets in the Middle Ages (Magic in History) Paperback – February 1, 2006

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Binding Words: Textual Amulets in the Middle Ages (Magic in History) + Unlocked Books: Manuscripts of Learned Magic in the Medieval Libraries of Central Europe (Magic in History)
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Editorial Reviews


“Don Skemer’s study on medieval textual amulets represent the latest return on what is already proving to be a remarkable profitable investment of scholarly and publishing resources.”
—Steven P. Marrone, Catholic Historical Review

“Don Skemer’s book makes a very important contribution to the study of medieval charms. The author offers a new and detailed synthesis about textual amulets and presents new materials based on his own experience of medieval manuscripts and archives. . . . The book is an excellent piece of scholarship and will be an indispensable companion for any research on medieval beliefs.”
—Edina Bozoky, Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies

“[Skemer] has taken an enormous, important, and understudied topic and ranged widely through its history. . . . He buttresses his points with rich footnotes that show the amazing breadth of his erudition. His book will be fundamental for all future work in this field, and hopefully will inspire more work on early modern and antique amulets as well.”
—Michael D. Bailey, Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft

Binding Words covers a wide territory, temporally and geographically, to show how amulets are embedded in the fabric of medieval European society as both physical and cultural artifacts. The book avoids artificial distinctions between magic and religion, prayer and charm, to show how an amulet can be simultaneously devotional and protective. This contextualized approach is a significant contribution to the field.”
—Karen Jolly, University of Hawaii at Manoa

“Although Binding Words presents a focused and extensive examination of a specific magical mechanism used in the later medieval period, the greatest asset of the book rises not only from the multiple aspects of medieval culture that it reveals but also from the many areas of research that it includes. This book would be a useful tool to any scholar of popular culture seeking to look beyond the modern definitions of magic and religion through the study of a particular facet of medieval society.”
—Bridgette Slavin, Journal of Religious History

Binding Words will become a prized source of information and inspiration for future research on magic, popular culture and text.”
—Bettina Bildhauer, Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

Don C. Skemer is Curator of Manuscripts in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at Princeton University's Harvey S. Firestone Memorial Library.


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Product Details

  • Series: Magic in History
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press (February 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0271027231
  • ISBN-13: 978-0271027234
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,960,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 11 people found the following review helpful By I. Dombrovska on November 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
Dear all-who-crave-for-knowledge, this book is good. I mean it. I am writing a fictional story and needed some reliable information on textual amulets. This is very good indeed. A thorough analyses on this subject. I highly recommend it.
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