ANCIENT CHRISTIAN MAGIC. Coptic Texts of Ritual Power. Marvin MEYER, Richard Smith, Neal Kelsey.

ANCIENT CHRISTIAN MAGIC. Coptic Texts of Ritual Power.

San Francisco: Harper SanFrancisco, 1994. First Edition. Octavo, publisher's black boards with cloth spine lettered in gilt. 407 pp, Notes, Bibliography, illustrations. A fine copy in a fine dust jacket. Item #312382

¶ A collection of Magical Texts. A treasure-trove of material illustrating the folk beliefs and practices of the Copts, an ethnoreligious group indigenous to North Africa who have primarily inhabited the area of modern Egypt and Sudan since antiquity. The material here contained dates from circa 100 C.E. to 1100 C.E. or later. The various prayers, spells, amulets, etc. show a remarkable continuity of purpose and expression from pre-Christian times into the Coptic and Arabic periods, even though, of course, Christian (and Jewish) traditions and lore supply much of the vocabulary for most of them since most of the texts were devised for use by Christians. The old distinction between 'religion' and 'magic' does not seem to be of much use in looking at this fascinating material.

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