ISBN-10:
0691004587
ISBN-13:
9780691004587
Pub. Date:
04/04/1999
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Ancient Christian Magic: Coptic Texts of Ritual Power

Ancient Christian Magic: Coptic Texts of Ritual Power

by Marvin W. Meyer, Richard SmithMarvin W. Meyer

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Overview

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 early Christianity. 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: 9780691004587
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 04/04/1999
Series: Mythos: The Princeton/Bollingen Series in World Mythology , #88
Edition description: With a New afterword by the editors
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 627,078
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.25(h) x (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).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

Pt. 1 Ritual Power in Egypt

Ch. 1 Old Coptic Texts of Ritual Power

Ch. 2 Greek Texts of Ritual Power from Christian Egypt

Ch. 3 Ritual Power in Coptic Gnostic Texts

Pt. 2 Coptic Spells of Ritual Power

Ch. 4 Healing Spells

Ch. 5 Protective Spells

Ch. 6 Sexual Spells

Ch. 7 Curses

Ch. 8 Spells with Other Applications

Pt. 3 Coptic Handbooks of Ritual Power

Ch. 9 Collections of Recipes

Ch. 10 A Portfolio of Spells from the British Library

Ch. 11 The Coptic Hoard of Spells from the University of Michigan

Ch. 12 The Coptic Book of Ritual Power from Leiden

Ch. 13 A Coptic Book of Ritual Power from Heidelberg

Afterword

App Previously Unpublished Coptic Texts of Ritual Power in the Beinecke Library, Yale University

Textual Notes

Glossary

Illustration Credits

Bibliography


What People are Saying About This

Pearson

This book is a treasure-trove of material illustrating folk beliefs and practices of a people in Egypt spanning more than a thousand years.
Birger A. Pearson, University of California, Berkeley

From the Publisher

"This book is a treasure-trove of material illustrating folk beliefs and practices of a people in Egypt spanning more than a thousand years."—Birger A. Pearson, University of California, Berkeley

"An excellent collection of magical texts.... I teach my students that there is no strict dividing line between magic and religion, even in Christianity, and this is a vital sourcebook to make this truth a reality for them."—Kurt Rudolph, Philipps Universität, Marburg, and author of Gnosis: The Nature and History of Gnosticism

"This book is well organized and exceedingly well edited. There are helpful introductions to each chapter and, even more, to each selection.... [It] could scarcely be more user friendly for lay readers.... There exists nothing like it, at least nothing so accessible to nonexperts."—Robert Segal, Lancaster University, editor of The Gnostic Jung

Robert Segal

This book is well organized and exceedingly well edited. There are helpful introductions to each chapter and, even more, to each selection.... [It] could scarcely be more user friendly for lay readers.... There exists nothing like it, at least nothing so accessible to nonexperts.
Robert Segal, Lancaster University, editor of "The Gnostic Jung"

Kurt Rudolph

An excellent collection of magical texts.... I teach my students that there is no strict dividing line between magic and religion, even in Christianity, and this is a vital sourcebook to make this truth a reality for them.
Kurt Rudolph, Philipps Universitat, Marburg, and author of "Gnosis: The Nature and History of Gnosticism"

Customer Reviews