Caroline Wechsler awarded the 2024 Stallybrass Prize in the History of Material Texts, with her essay, “Moving the Divine Mind, Insuring Success: Amulet Diagrams and Practical Kabbalah in a 16th-century Italian Manuscript”. This prize is awarded to one undergraduate and one graduate student with best essays in the study of material texts.

Judges’ citation: Caroline Wechsler brings to life an understudied amulet diagram, found in a sixteenth-century Italian Jewish medical and magical compendium in the Schoenberg Collection at Penn. As she argues, the amulet diagram functions within Jewish magical practice “as a technology of risk management, acting as a sort of insurance policy” for the Kabbalist who activates its prayer for success. Magic squares, charakteres, cosmological diagrams, and later success amulets illustrate this meticulous, engaging essay on the richly imbricated visual and material culture of Kabbalah.

Congrats, Caroline!