In early Coptic stories of saints and martyrs, demons are usually prototypical adversaries and side with the devil in his battle against Christ. However, it has been noted that in magical texts of a definitely Christian social origin, demons are sometimes invoked for assistance. Such sources might perhaps be dismissed as unrepresentative of the official theological position of the Alexandrian church, but, as is shown in the present paper, demons are occasionally portrayed as champions of Christ also in more ‘respectable’ texts such as hagiographies of the later 1st millennium AD. This is argued to show that the more nuanced analysis of demons does not represent an early folk undercurrent of Egyptian Christianity, but rather reflects an alternative theological view derived from the idea that God created good and evil for a reason.
The paper examines the evidence for slavery in the late antique and early medieval penitentials. This body of sources has only recently been rediscovered for the study of slavery. Most of the earliest extant penitentials contain canons that deal in one way or another with slaves (servus or ancilla) or slavery (servitium). These canons can roughly be grouped into three categories according to the aspect under which slavery is considered in them: In the first category of canons, slaves are merely mentioned in the description of a sin in which they are either involved in or the victim of. The second category of canons considers slavery as a penitential punishment. The third category, finally, offers more general rules or laws on slavery. Samples for these three categories and their analysis form the main part of the paper. The presented evidence is then evaluated with regard to the questions what kind of insights the penitentials offer for the study of slavery in general, and the involvement of the Church in slavery in particular.