Beware the Evil Eye: The Evil Eye in the Bible and the Ancient World (Volume 1: Introduction, Mesopotamia, and Egypt)

By John H. Elliott

The first in a four-volume series exploring belief in the Evil Eye and the practices associated with it amongst the cultures of the Biblical world.

ISBN: 9780227175682


In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus of Nazareth makes reference to one of the oldest beliefs in the ancient world – the malignity of an Evil Eye. The Holy Scriptures in their original languages contain no less than twenty-four references to the Evil Eye, although this is obscured by most modern Bible translations. John H. Elliott’s Beware the Evil Eye describes this belief and associated practices, its history, its voluminous appearances in ancient cultures, and the extensive research devoted to it over the centuries in order to unravel this enigma for readers who have never heard of the Evil Eye and its presence in the Bible.

Additional information

Dimensions229 × 153 mm


Trade InformationJPOD

About the Author

John H. Elliott is Professor Emeritus of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of San Francisco. He is the author of Conflict, Community, and Honour (2007).


List of Illustrations
Abbreviations for Chapter 1: Introduction
Abbreviations for Chapter 2: Mesopotamia and Egypt

1. Introduction
     Definition and Description
     Terminology for “Evil Eye” in Various Languages
     Salient Features of Evil Eye Belief and Practice
     The Origin and Distribution of Evil Eye Belief and Practice
     The Matrix and Conditions of Evil Eye Belief and Practice
     Research on the Evil Eye from Past to Present
     Method, Aims, and Procedure of This Study

2. Mesopotamia and Egypt
     The Evil Eye in Mesopotamia and Related Cultures
     The Evil Eye in Egypt
     Evil Eye Belief and Practice in Mesopotamia and Egypt – Summary and Conclusion
     Summary and Conclusion

Bibliography for Chapter 1: Introduction
Bibliography for Chapter 2: Mesopotamia and Egypt


Endorsements and Reviews

Elliot’s study is, without a doubt, a masterpiece of its genre. … It is encyclopaedic in its coverage, but the monograph format allows greater detail and makes for a more readable and less atomistic text. Elliot’s coverage is exhaustive, yet never falls into superficiality that such work can sometimes take on … Elliot’s work, which reads like the culmination of a lifetime interest in the topic, is destined to remain the standard reference on the Evil Eye for many decades to come.
Jonathan Kearney, in Journal for the Study of The New Testament: Booklist 2017, Vol 39, No 5

An excellent handbook for anyone researching this topic, while in its accessibility it is of deep interest to the general reader wanting to explore this fascinating topic.
Declan Anthony Lawell, in Theological Book Review, Vol 28, No 2, p.4

An excellent study, entering profoundly into the psychology of ancient religiosity.
Nick Wyatt, in Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, Vol 42, Issue 5

Readers who want to know about the context in which the Evil Eye is used in the Bible will gain much from this book which is extremely accessible to all levels of student and general readers alike. Learning about why people use the raised middle finger or flash the horned hands sign or why doctors write prescriptions with RX are just a few of the many other fascinating insights this book brings (the word ‘fascinating’ itself coming from the Latin fascinum, an amulet used to ward off the Evil Eye).
Declan Anthony Lawell, in Theological Book Review, Vol 27, No 2