Priests, Tongues, and Rites

The London-Leiden Magical Manuscripts and Translation in Egyptian Ritual (100-300 CE)


This book is an investigation into the sphere of production and use of two related bilingual magical handbooks found as part of a larger collection of magical and alchemical manuscripts around 1828 in the hills surrounding Luxor, Egypt. Both handbooks, dating to the Roman period, contain an assortment of recipes for magical rites in the Demotic and Greek language. The library which comprises these two handbooks is nowadays better known as the Theban Magical Library.
The book traces the social and cultural milieu of the composers, compilers and users of the extant spells through a combination of philology, sociolinguistics and cultural analysis. To anybody working on Greco-Roman Egypt, ancient magic, and bilingualism this study is of significant importance.
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EUR €130.00USD $161.00

Biographical Note

Jacco Dieleman, Ph.D. (2003) in Egyptology, Leiden University is Assistant Professor of Egyptology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He works on the literature and religion of ancient Egypt, with an emphasis on the later periods.

Review Quotes

' This is an important book that contributes a great deal to the study of the Greco-Egyptian magical formularies…I learned a great deal from this book, which is an important contribution to the study of ancient magic, in Egypt as well as the many other regions in which such materials are to be found. The arguments from Demotic, scribal practices and scripts can be technical, but are tremendously rewarding, and have major implications for several areas of the social history of ancient magic and religion. It is well worth the time of scholars and graduate students in these areas, as well as Egyptology and papyrology.'
Lynn LiDonnici, Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 2005.
' In general, the author has produced an excellent study of the Demotic and Greed magical papyri, a very controversial material that for long needed and overall close examination… Overall, I would like to stress once again the importance of Jacco Dieleman’s study, since it is a remarkable accomplishment from which both Egyptologists and classicists will greatly benefit.'
Nikolaos Lazaridis, Rezensionsjournal für die Geschichtswissenschaften, 2005.


All those interested in ancient magic, social and cultural history of Greco-Roman Egypt, bilingualism, intellectual history, as well as Egyptologists, classicists, historians of religion.


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