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Dr. James Nathan Ford

Bar-Ilan University
Dr. James Nathan Ford

James Nathan Ford is senior lecturer in the Department of Hebrew and Semitic Languages at Bar-Ilan University. His main area of research is Aramaic incantation bowls. He is involved in the editing of incantation bowls in a number of public and private collections. In particular, he is collaborating with Prof. Shaul Shaked (The Hebrew University) and Prof. Siam Bhayro (University of Exeter) in the publication of some 650 incantation bowls in the Martin Schøyen Collection, the largest known collection of magic bowls.

Selected Publications:


  1. Shaul Shaked, James Nathan Ford & Siam Bhayro, Aramaic Bowl Spells: Jewish Babylonian Aramaic Bowls, Vol. 1 (Magical and Religious Literature of Late Antiquity, 1; Leiden: Brill, 2013).


  1. J. N. Ford, “‘Ninety-Nine by the Evil Eye and One from Natural Causes’: KTU2 1.96 in its Near Eastern Context,” Ugarit-Forschungen 30 (1998), 201-278.

  2. J. N. Ford, “Two Syriac Terms Relating to Ophthalmology and their Cognates,” Journal of Semitic Studies 47/1 (2002), 23-38.

  3. J. N. Ford, “Another Look at the Mandaic Incantation Bowl BM 91715,” Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society of Columbia University 29 (2002), 31-47.

  4. J. N. Ford, “Word Play in the Lamashtu Incantations.” In C. Cohen et al. (eds), Birkat Shalom: Studies in the Bible, Ancient Near Eastern Literature, and Postbiblical Judaism Presented to Shalom M. Paul on the Occasion of His Seventieth Birthday (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2008), 571-581.

  5. J. N. Ford, “A New Parallel to the Jewish Babylonian Aramaic Incantation Bowl IM 76106 (Nippur 11 N 78),” Aramaic Studies 9/2 (2011), 249-277.

  6. James Nathan Ford & Alon Ten-Ami, “An Incantation Bowl for Rav Mešaršia son of Qaqay,” Tarbiẓ 80 (2011/12), 219-230 [in Hebrew].

  7. J. N. Ford & Dan Levene, “For Aḥata-de-ʾabuh daughter of Imma”: Two Aramaic Incantation Bowls in the Vorderasiatisches Museum, Berlin (VA 2414 and VA 2426),” Journal of Semitic Studies 57/1 (2012), 53-67.

  8. J. N. Ford, “Phonetic Spellings of the Subordinating Particle d(y) in the Jewish Babylonian Aramaic Magic Bowls,” Aramaic Studies 10/2 (2012), 237-269.

  9. James Nathan Ford, “The Ancient Mesopotamian Motif of kidinnu ‘divine protection (of temple cities and their citizens)’ in Akkadian and Aramaic Magic.” In U. Gabbay and S. Secunda (eds.), Encounters by the Rivers of Babylon: Scholarly Conversations between Jews, Iranians, and Babylonians in Antiquity (Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism, 160; Tübingen: Mohr Siebek, 2014), 271-283.

  10. J. N. Ford, “Notes on Some Recently Published Magic Bowls in the Schøyen Collection and Two New Parallels”, Aula Orientalis 32/2 (2014), 235-264.

  11. James Nathan Ford, “New Light from Babylonia on the Semamit Story”, Eretz-Israel 32 (2016), 149-161 (in Hebrew).

  12. Tatyana Fain, James Nathan Ford & Alexey Lyavdansky, “Aramaic Incantation Bowls at the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg”, Babel und Bibel 9 (2016) [in press].

  13. James Nathan Ford, “Three hapax legomena in the Babylonian Talmud: גמא (bMeg 29b); אפשח(bQid 81a); מנובייתא (bBB 91), with a note on קנאסאin Midrash HaGadol Deuteronomy”, Le Muséon 130 (2017) [in press].

  14. James Nathan Ford & Ohad Abudraham, “Syriac and Mandaic Incantation Bowls”, in D. Regev (ed.), Plundered Finds (provisional title), Staff Officer for Archaeology – Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria, Jerusalem  [in press].

  15. Matthew Morgenstern & James Nathan Ford, “On Some Readings and Interpretations in the Aramaic Incantation Bowls and Related Texts”, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies [in press].

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