Ancient Magic and Ritual Power

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This volume contains a series of provocative essays that explore expressions of magic and ritual power in the ancient world. The essays are authored by leading scholars in the fields of Egyptology, ancient Near Eastern studies, the Hebrew Bible, Judaica, classical Greek and Roman studies, early Christianity and patristics, and Coptology.
Throughout the book the essays examine the terms employed in descriptions of ancient magic. From this examination comes a clarification of magic as a polemical term of exclusion but also an understanding of the classical Egyptian and early Greek conceptions of magic as a more neutral category of inclusion.
This book should prove to be foundational for future scholarly studies of ancient magic and ritual power.

This publication has also been published in hardback (no longer available).

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780391041523
  • Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/6/2001
  • Series: Religions in the Graeco-Roman World Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 486
  • Product dimensions: 5.86 (w) x 8.48 (h) x 1.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Marvin Meyer, Ph.D. (1979) in Religion, Claremont Graduate School, is Professor of Religion at Chapman University, Orange, California, and Director of the Coptic Magical Texts Project of the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity. He has published extensively on ancient Gnostic and magical traditions.
Paul Mirecki, Th.D. (1986) in Religious Studies, Harvard Divinity School, is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. His publications include a wide variety of articles on ancient Mediterranean religions with a primary focus on Coptic papyrology.
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Selected Bibliography 8
I Trading Places 13
II Excluding the Charming: The Development of the Greek Concept of Magic 29
III The Religious, Social, and Legal Parameters of Traditional Egyptian Magic 43
IV Hittite Military Rituals 63
V Ritual Meals in the Hittite Cult 77
VI Magical Uses of Ancient Mesopotamian Festivals of the Dead 93
VII The "Witch" of En-Dor, 1 Samuel 28, and Ancient Near Eastern Necromancy 111
VIII The Magician as Outsider in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament 131
IX Charming Criminals: Classification of Magic in the Babylonian Talmud 145
X Magical Piety in Ancient and Medieval Judaism 167
XI The Adjuration of the Prince of the Presence: Performative Utterance in a Jewish Ritual 185
XII New Greek Magical and Divinatory Texts in Berlin 209
XIII Greek Exorcistic Amulets 243
XIV Supernatural Assistants in the Greek Magical Papyri 279
XV The Mystodokos and the Dark-Eyed Maidens: Multicultural Influences on a Late-Hellenistic Incantation 297
XVI "May she neither eat nor drink": Love Magic and Vows of Abstinence 335
XVII Defining the Dreadful: Remarks on the Greek Child-Killing Demon 361
XVIII Singing Away Snakebite: Lucan's Magical Cures 391
XIX Satan's Fall in Coptic Magic 401
XX Magical Bowls and Manichaeans 419
XXI Magic, Women, and Heresy in the Late Empire: The Case of the Priscillianists 435
XXII Narrating Power: The Theory and Practice of the Magical Historiola in Ritual Spells 457
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