Ancient Christian Magic: Coptic Texts of Ritual Power

Ancient Christian Magic: Coptic Texts of Ritual Power


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Ancient Christian Magic: Coptic Texts of Ritual Power by Marvin W. Meyer

This thought-provoking collection of magical texts from ancient Egypt shows the exotic rituals, esoteric healing practices, and incantatory and supernatural dimensions that flowered in the early Christianity that gave rise to the Dead Sea Scrolls. These remarkable Christian magical texts include curses, spells of protection from "headless powers" and evil spirits, spells invoking thunderous powers, descriptions of fire baptism, and even recipes from a magical "cookbook." Virtually all the texts are by Coptic Christians, and they date from about the 1st-12th centuries of the common era, with the majority from late antiquity. By placing these rarely seen texts in historical context and discussing their significance, the authors explore the place of healing, prayer, miracles, and magic in the early Christian experience, and expand our understanding of Christianity and Gnosticism as a vital folk religion.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060655846
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 12/28/1995
Pages: 432
Product dimensions: 5.41(w) x 8.88(h) x 1.19(d)

About the Author

Marvin W. Meyer is Professor of Religion at Chapman University and director of the Coptic Magical Texts Project of the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity. Richard Smith teaches at Claremont Graduate School and was managing editor of The Nag Hammadi Library (revised edition).

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