Enoch, Baruch, and Sesengen Bar Pharanges: An Amulet for Xvarr-Veh-Zad

In 1987 Philip Gignoux published a so far unknown 6th-7th century Syriac amulet of Iranian provenance, which turned out to contain references to the biblical/pseudepigraphical figures Enoch and Baruch, the recurring magical character Sesengen bar Pharanges, as well as a reference to an apocalypse associated with the name Baruch. The passage of the leather amulet where these references could be spotted was unfortunately dark, lacunose, and difficult to read, and Gignoux preferred not to translate it in full. Thus, it has so far not been clear what the [narrative] context and the rhetorical and ritual functions of the references to the three figures and the Baruch apocalypse are. Based on an exploration of new, infrared pictures of the amulet text, this proposed paper will offer a translation of the relevant passage and discuss the functions of the references to the prominent figures and the apocalypse in the context of the amulet. The aim of the paper is both to add to the knowledge of Syriac amulets, and to further explore the apotropaic role and ritual use of these biblical/pseudepigraphical heroes and their ascribed texts.