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This volume deals with the origins and rise of Christian pilgrimage cults in late antique Egypt. Part One covers the major theoretical issues in the study of Coptic pilgrimage, such as sacred landscape and shrines' catchment areas, while Part Two examines native Egyptian and Egyptian Jewish pilgrimage practices. Part Three investigates six major shrines, from Philae's diverse non-Christian devotees to the great pilgrim center of Abu Mina and a Thecla shrine on its route. Part Four looks at such diverse pilgrims' rites as oracles, chant, and stational liturgy, while Part Five brings in Athanasius's and an anonymous hagiographer's perspectives on pilgrimage in Egypt. The volume includes illustrations of the Abu Mina site, pilgrims' ampules from the Thecla shrine, as well as several maps.
In the midst of academic debates about the utility of the term “magic” and the cultural meaning of ancient words like mageia or khesheph, this Guide to the Study of Ancient Magic seeks to advance the discussion by separating out three topics essential to the very idea of magic. The three major sections of this volume address (1) indigenous terminologies for ambiguous or illicit ritual in antiquity; (2) the ancient texts, manuals, and artifacts commonly designated “magical” or used to represent ancient magic; and (3) a series of contexts, from the written word to materiality itself, to which the term “magic” might usefully pertain.

The individual essays in this volume cover most of Mediterranean and Near Eastern antiquity, with essays by both established and emergent scholars of ancient religions.

In a burgeoning field of “magic studies” trying both to preserve and to justify critically the category itself, this volume brings new clarity and provocative insights. This will be an indispensable resource to all interested in magic in the Bible and the Ancient Near East, ancient Greece and Rome, Early Christianity and Judaism, Egypt through the Christian period, and also comparative and critical theory.

Abstract

The florilegium of revelations that Mani adduces as proof of his own authority in the Cologne Mani Codex has stimulated research into the circulation and influence of Jewish apocalypses among the various Jewish-Christian sects of late antiquity. But it has also proved frustrating, since not one of the apocalyptic “texts” that Mani quotes matches extant apocalypses in the name of Enoch, Adam, Seth, or Enosh. Considering the breadth of the Enoch literature now known from textual and patristic sources, including Manichaean literature, the absence of a parallel for Mani's Enoch-“quotation” may be reason to suspect that Mani invented this quotation as well as the others. This paper proposes an interpretation of Mani's apocalyptic florilegium that depends not on the historical existence of the putative texts but on Mani's own distinctive scheme of prophetic lineage and authority. It is argued that Mani's universalist view of mission and religion led him to revise existing schemes of Jewish revelatory heroes that were traditional to Jewish and Jewish-Christian sects and that invoked the patriarchs constitutive of Jewish identity, like Abraham, Moses, and Elijah. In contrast, Mani promotes his relevation's ecumenical appeal by casting himself in a line of biblical figures who in the late antique world had especially universalist significance: Adam, Seth, and Enoch (all antediluvian and therefore pre-covenantal) and Paul (Mani's model of an ecumenical missionary).

In: Numen
In: Numen

Abstract

Scholars interested in the continuing vitality or decline of traditional religion in the late antique Mediterranean world often find themselves dependent on hagiographical texts, which inevitably depict traditional heathenism as a foil to their Christian heroes and thus cannot be used as simple documentation for historical realia. This paper proposes ways of drawing historical evidence for real, continuing local religion from hagiographical texts from late antique Egypt. After a discussion of the specific ways in which hagiography imposes literary and biblical themes on its representation of traditional religious practices, two points of authentic memory are presented: topographical traditions and traditions about expressive gesture. In contrast, the hagiographical image of the Egyptian priest, for example, carries little historical authenticity. A concluding section of the paper defends and outlines the use of anthropological models for the historical interpretation of hagiography.

In: Church History and Religious Culture

Abstract

Rumors and alleged memories of Satanic cult activity swept through the U.S. and U.K. during the 1980s and 1990s, confounding scholars of religion, as well as jurists and psychologists, with their combination of tantalizing ritual scenes and dubious forensic evidence. This essay discusses the work done on these Satanic cult claims since the early 1990s in a variety of academic fields; and it critiques some of the scholarly responses from the field of Religious Studies in particular.

In: Numen

In showing a more gradual spread of Christianity over the fourth century, Depauw and Clarysse’s revised statistical approach has some merits over Bagnall’s earlier conclusions from onomastic evidence. However, given the complex, even ambiguous Christianity evident in late antique Egyptian sources, all attempts to track “conversion” on the basis of naming beg the questions: (a) what constitutes “being Christian” and (b) what do new naming practices actually represent in the overall assimilation of Christian traditions.

In: Vigiliae Christianae