Alessia Bellusci, Ph.D.

Alessia Bellusci's picture
Post Doctoral Associate
451 College St, New Haven, CT 06511-8906

B.A. summa cum laude University of Rome, Sapienza 
M.A. and Ph.D. Tel Aviv University

Alessia Bellusci is a historian of Hebrew culture, particularly interested in the reconstruction of Jewish magical behaviors and in the study of the transmission of technical knowledge in late antique, medieval and early modern Judaism. In her work, which is chiefly text-oriented and based on the direct exam of manuscript sources (Genizah fragments, European and Oriental medieval codices), she studies the magical phenomenon in its historical development, attempting to understand its impact on religious, cultural and social aspects of Hebrew culture.

Her dissertation, “The History of the She’elat Ḥalom in the Middle East: From the Medieval Era back to Late Antiquity,” examines a specific oneiric magical behavior (i.e. the dream request) as performed and transmitted within central medieval Oriental Judaism and, especially, within the Jewish community of Fustat. The work was awarded the Shai Bleimann recognition of “excellent dissertation of 2018” by the The Middle East & Islamic Studies Association of Israel (ILMA).

Her current project (“Jewish Remedia in Renaissance Italy”) seeks to map historically the transmission and adaptation in medieval and renaissance Italy of Jewish medicinal-magical knowledge earlier developed in the Middle East. In addition to reconstructing the specific history of individual texts/techniques, the study sets out to explore the cultural exchange between Jews and Christians, examining the different strategies of cultural appropriation adopted by magicians, intellectuals and copyists.pan>

In 2013-2014, Bellusci was a research fellow at the Italian Council of Research (CNR) working on the project Translation into Italian of the Babylonian Talmud. In 2017-2018, she was a Yad Ha-Nadiv postdoctoral fellow at the National Library of Israel focusing on her project “Connectivities of Jewish Magia: The History of Jewish Magic between Fustat and Europe.”