Episode 310 contains an interview with Dr. Justin Sledge on ancient Jewish views on astrology and the complicated relationship between astrology and early Judaism.
Our starting point is the geographical location of the Jewish people between Mesopotamia and Egypt, two cultures with very old traditions of astrology that go back to 2000 BC. Go back BC.
We then talk about the role monotheism played in creating some tension with early forms of astrology, often practiced in a polytheistic context.
Later we come to some positive views on the astrology of the Jews during the time of the Roman Empire, including the Essenes in Qumran, and a text on Lots and the zodiac release attributed to Abraham, cited by Vettius Valens and Firmicus Maternus.
We also discuss some of the early zodiac mosaics that were prominently represented in synagogues during the first seven centuries AD.
Finally, we touch on some of the earliest Jewish astrologers, known by name and making important contributions to astrology, such as Masha’allah and Abraham ibn Esra.
Justin is a professor of philosophy and religion focusing on the Western esoteric tradition and the host of the Esoterica Youtube channel:
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