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 Coptic and Islamic Egypt.
The strength of the present volume lies in the breadth of scholarly approaches represented. The book begins with several papyrological studies presenting important new texts in Greek and Coptic, continuing with essays focusing on taxonomy and definition. The concluding essays apply contemporary theories to analyses of specific test cases in a broad variety of ancient Mediterranean cultures.
Paul Mirecki, Th.D. (1986) in Religious Studies, Harvard Divinity School, is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Kansas. He is the founding Chair of the Manichaean Studies Group (1988). His publications include a wide variety of books and articles on ancient Mediterranean religions with a primary focus on Greek and Coptic papyrology, including, with J. BeDuhn, The Light and the Darkness: Studies in Manichaeism and its World (2001) and, with C. Hedrick, The Gospel of the Savior: A New Ancient Gospel (1999). 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, including The Magical Book of Mary and the Angels (P. Heid. Inv. Kopt. 685) (1996) and, with R. Smith, Ancient Christian Magic: Coptic Texts of Ritual Power (1994).
"…an excellent overview with enough depth to satisfy specialists interested in magic or any of the academic contexts within which the topics are found." – Jennifer Wees, in: Laval Theologique et Philosophique, 2004