SANZO Joseph Emanuel

Associate Professor
041 234 8831
Scientific sector (SSD)
Website (personal record)
Department of Asian and North African Studies
Where: Ca' Cappello

Dati relazione

Periodo di riferimento
01/04/2020 - 31/03/2022
Dipartimento di Studi sull'Asia e sull'Africa Mediterranea
Professori Associati
A.A.InsegnamentoCodice VotoVoto medio area
Anno solareTipologiaTesi RelatoreTesi Correlatore
  • Early Jewish and Christian Magical Traditions in Comparison and Contact
  • Sanzo, Joseph (2022), Review of Richard Gordon, Francisco Marco Simón, Marina Piranomonte, Choosing magic: contexts, objects, meanings. The archaeology of instrumental religion in the Latin West. in BRYN MAWR CLASSICAL REVIEW, vol. 2022.03.30 (ISSN 1063-2948) (Recensione in rivista)
  • Joseph Sanzo (2021), Early Jewish and Christian Magical Traditions in Comparison and Contact in COMPARATIVE ORIENTAL MANUSCRIPT STUDIES BULLETIN, vol. 7 (ISSN 2410-0951) (Articolo su rivista)
  • Joseph Sanzo (2021), (Review of) Elm, Eva and Nicole Hartmann, eds. Demons in Late Antiquity: Their Perception and Transformation in Different Literary Genres (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2019) in THE JOURNAL OF ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY, vol. 72/4 (ISSN 0022-0469) (Recensione in rivista)
  • Joseph Sanzo (2021), (Review of) Spalding-Stracey, Gillian. The Cross in the Visual Culture of Late Antique Egypt (Leiden: Brill, 2020) in BRYN MAWR CLASSICAL REVIEW, vol. 2021.04.03 (ISSN 1063-2948) (Recensione in rivista)
  • Sanzo, Joseph (2021), (review of) Gerrit C. Vreugdenhil, Psalm 91 and Demonic Menace in TC, vol. 26, pp. 221-226 (ISSN 1089-7747) (Recensione in rivista)
  • Joseph Sanzo (2021), “Curses, Exorcisms, and Monetary Improprieties: Reassessing “Magic” in the Acts of the Apostles” , Antike Fluchtafeln und das Neue Testament: Materialität – Ritualpraxis – Texte, Mohr Siebeck (ISBN 978-3-16-157592-1) (Articolo su libro)
  • Joseph E. Sanzo (2020), Deconstructing the Deconstructionists: A Response to Recent Criticisms of the Rubric 'Ancient Magic' , Ancient Magic: Then and Now, Stuttgart, Franz Steiner Verlag, pp. 25-46 (ISBN 978-3515127967) (Articolo su libro)
  • Joseph E. Sanzo; Marianna Scapini (2020), Introduction , Ancient Magic: Then and Now, Stuttgart, Franz Steiner Verlag, pp. 19-22 (Articolo su libro)
  • Sanzo (2020), Prayer and Incantation on Early Christian Apotropaic and Curative Objects: Authoritative Traditions, Ritual Practices, and Material Artifacts , Civilizations of the Supernatural: Witchcraft, Ritual, and Religious Experience in Late Antique, Medieval, and Renaissance Traditions, Budapest, Trivent Publishing (Articolo su libro)
  • Sanzo, Joseph Review of Barrier, Jeremy Wade, Witch Hunt in Galatia. Magic, Medicine, and Ritual and the Occasion of Paul's Letter to the Galatians in BIBLICA, vol. in press (ISSN 0006-0887) (Recensione in rivista)
  • Sanzo, Joseph E. Objects of Protection and destruction: The Material Culture of “Magic” in the Mediterranean , The Routledge Handbook of the Archaeology of Ancient Mediterranean Religions, Routledge (Articolo su libro)
  • Sanzo, Joseph P. Oxy. VIII 1151 , Prayer in the Ancient World, Brill (Voce in dizionario/enciclopedia)
Michael Hansen, “For (the) Demon-Possessed. Approved Charm of Pibechis.” An Analysis and Critical Commentary on PGM IV.3007-3086 (Bibliothèque Nationale Supplément grec 574) in Context," Ph.D. thesis, Radboud University (A.A. 2020–2022).
Sandrine Welte, "Ritual Efficacy in Late Antique Magic: Material Agency, Visual Language, and Performative Strategies." Università Ca' Foscari Venezia. Ph.D. thesis (A.A. 2021–2024).

Michele Scarlassara, "Heavenly Ascent and Descent: Social and Rhetorical uses of a Literary Motif in Jewish and Christian Imagery," Università Ca' Foscari Venezia. Ph.D. thesis (A.A. 2022–2025).

Michele Scarlassara, "Yored la-merkava, Hekhalot Rabbati (§§ 198–268) e Apocalisse di Paolo (NH V, 2); L'ascesa celeste di Rabbi Yišma'el alla luce di un testo apocalittico del fondo di Nag Hammadi" (2021). Corso di Laurea Interateneo in Scienze delle Religioni.
Expert Evaluator, VQR (Valutazione della Qualità della Ricerca), MIUR (Italy) 2015-19

Expert Evaluator, Australian Research Council
Editorial Board for Advances in the History of Magic, Witchcraft, and Religion series (Thrivent Publishers)

Advisory Board for Henoch: Historical and Textual Studies on Ancient and Medieval Judaism and Christianity
In the three (or two) year period, the research activity I carried out was mostly connected to the implementation of my ERC project ("Early Jewish and Christian Magical Traditions in Comparison and Contact" (EJCM); ERC Starting Grant, no. 851466; award amount: €1.311.355,00).

My work on this project included the following activities:

1. I began the collection and examination of the Jewish and Christian magical objects that are relevant to the study of early Jewish–Christian relations.

2. I researched, wrote, and completed my monograph for this project (Ritual Boundaries: Magic and Conceptions of Difference in Late Antique Christianity). I have submitted the complete book manuscript to University of California Press (series: Christianity in Late Antiquity). It is currently going through the peer-review process.

3. I created the advisory committee for the EJCM project. This committee consists of some of the top scholars in the world in the study of early Jewish and Christian magical traditions. We have already had two annual meetings, and will continue to have annual meetings throughout the duration of the project.

4. I created the website for the EJCM project (in conjunction with the ASIT - Ufficio Sistemi e Infrastrutture at Ca' Foscari):

5. I started the online lecture series on aspects of the EJCM project.

In addition to project-specific research, I also published an edited volume (Ancient Magic: Then and Now, ed. Attilio Mastrocinque, Joseph E. Sanzo, Marianna Scapini [Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2020]), a series of essays, and several reviews dealing with various aspects of ancient magic and early Christian ritual practice (see publications).

Finally, I applied for and was awarded additional research funds (€209.816) through the FARE (Framework per l’attrazione e il rafforzamento delle eccellenze per la ricerca in Italia). These funds will be used to create and fund the "Center for the Study of Lived Religion" for a period of four years at Ca' Foscari.

Primary future objectives:
1. Concerning the EJCM project, I will organise two international in-person conferences; co-author (with other EJCM group members) three essays, which gather and analyse magical objects that include (1) biblical traditions; (2) divine and angelic names; and (3) illicit/negative rituals; (co-)publish an edited volume based on the online sessions and two international conferences.

2. Concerning the Center for the Study of Lived Religion, I will carry out the necessary administrative procedures to employ a postdoctoral fellow (assegnista di ricerca) for at least three years; organise at least two international conferences; host several international speakers; and create a new academic journal devoted to lived religion.
Premi, il Fondo di supporto alle attività di ricerca e internazionalizzazione (2020).

See also the funding of the "Center for the Study of Lived Religion" through the Framework per l’attrazione e il rafforzamento delle eccellenze per la ricerca in Italia (see "Descrizione dell'attività di ricerca svolta nel triennio e gli obiettivi futuri" above)
Invited presentations:
(with Alessia Bellusci, Paolo Lucca, and Sandrine Welte), “Wicked Rituals and Demonic Diseases: Taxonomies of Bodily Harm in the Early Jewish and Christian Magical Traditions.” Diagnosis: Late Antique Taxonomies in Medicine and Healing, Central European University (CEU), Budapest, Hungary, October, 2022.

“The Role of Christianity in Curative Amulets: Religious Identity and Ritual Practice Reassessed.” A Cry for Help: Ancient Perspectives on Disease and Healing in Dialogue and Competition: Leuven Centre for the Study of the Gospels, University of Leuven, September, 2022.

“Crosses on Late Antique Amulets: Scribal Practices, Performative Cues, and Bodies in Late Antique Lived Religion.” 24th Byzantine International Congress of Byzantine Studies. University of Venice/University of Padova: Venice and Padova, August, 2022.

ERC project presentation for 24th Byzantine International Congress of Byzantine Studies – Opportunities Forum. University of Venice/University of Padova: Venice and Padova, August, 2022.

“The 24 Elders in the London Hay Cookbook (EA 10391): Ritual Practice at the Intersection of Inscription, Verbal Utterance, and Materiality.” International Association for Coptic Studies Congress: Brussels, Belgium, July, 2022.

“Reading Magic: The Intersection of Texts, Images, Materials, and Performances in Late Antique Egypt and Beyond.” Scribes and Readers of Magical Texts in Late Antique and Medieval Egypt, Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, May, 2022.

“The Transmission and Adaptation of MT Ps. 91:1/LXX Ps. 90:1 in Late Antique Magic.” From Theory to Practice: The transmission of magical knowledge in the Graeco-Roman World, University of Zaragoza. Zaragoza, Spain, June, 2021.

“Early Jewish and Christian Magical Traditions in Comparison and Contact.” Presentation for the ERC group “Early Modern Cosmology.” Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. Venice, Italy, May, 2021.

“Response: Korshi Dosoo, ‘Reconstructing Magic: Towards a Working Definition of a Problematic Category.’” Between Magic and Liturgy: Discussing Christian Ritual Texts, Universität Wien, Wien, November, 2020.
University of Chicago, Classics
Magic in the Ancient Mediterranean Basin: “Christian Magic” (2 June, 2020)
Instructor of Record: Prof. Christopher A. Faraone

Tel Aviv University, Department of Jewish Philosophy
Religion and Magic in Comparative Perspective: “Jewish and Christian approaches to magic” (16 December, 2021)
Instructor of Record: Prof. Gideon Bohak
During this this period, I served as a peer reviewer for:
• Baylor University Press (series: Ancient Christianity and its Contexts)
• Folia philologica (journal)
• Harvard Theological Review (journal)
• Henoch (journal)
• Religion in the Roman Empire
• Revue de l’histoire des religions

I organised a session at the European Association for the Study of Religions (Pisa, Italy; 1 September, 2021) on the topic of Resilience, Change, and Magic in Late Antiquity.
I have served as president of two job searches (one for an RTDa and one for an assegnista di ricerca) for project researchers and will serve as the president for another two positions (for two assegnista di ricerca positions).

I also organised several theoretical/methodological sessions for the EJCM project group.
Expert Evaluator, VQR (Valutazione della Qualità della Ricerca), MIUR (Italy) 2015-19.
I participated in several meetings and activities associated with the VMO Eurasia.
Expert Evaluator, Australian Research Council, DECRA (Discovery Early Career Researcher Award)
During this period, I was interviewed on three occasions:

Coptic Magical Papyri Podcast, “Intersection between Christian and Jewish Magic”
Radio Interview (

Ca’ Foscari News (February 3, 2020)

Radio Ca’ Foscari, “Mediterranean Magic: Jewish and Christian Magical Traditions” (