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Author: Elena Urzì


This paper investigates the presence and action of demons in New Kingdom medical texts, in which these supernatural beings are recognisable only by their determinative, whereas the etymology of certain names is not always clearly understood. Several scholars have presented their own interpretations about this topic, most of whom believe these names can be ascribed to illnesses or to the supernatural sphere, though others have expressed reservations about these ascriptions. A fresh analysis of medical texts from an emic perspective helps in reconsidering this topic: prescriptions and incantations suggest the ancient Egyptians really perceived these entities as supernatural beings and not merely as manifestations of illnesses. The presence of the same demons in other contexts, such as funerary texts, confirms this hypothesis and encourages an in-depth study of the medical sources.

In: Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions