Cultural Plurality in Ancient Magical Texts and Practices

Graeco-Egyptian Handbooks and Related Traditions
Ed. by Ljuba Merlina Bortolani, William Furley, Svenja Nagel, and Joachim Friedrich Quack

[Kulturelle Pluralität in magischen Texten und Praktiken in der Antike. Griechisch-ägyptische Handbücher und verwandte Überlieferungen.]

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Published in English.
This conference volume explores various aspects of magic in antiquity, focusing especially on Graeco-Egyptian magical papyri and questions of cultural plurality and fusion, from earlier Egyptian, Mesopotamian and Greek traditions, through Graeco-Roman Egypt, up to and including Jewish and Byzantine magical lore.
A conference held in Heidelberg in 2014 resulted in this collection of essays, which explore the multifaceted aspects of magical texts and practices in antiquity, focusing especially on the Graeco-Egyptian magical papyri. The volume concentrates on questions of cultural plurality and fusion, ranging from earlier Egyptian, Mesopotamian and Greek magico-religious traditions, through the original developments of Graeco-Roman Egypt, up to and including their integration into Jewish and Byzantine magical lore. In particular, phenomena such as simple borrowing, advanced adaptation, complete assimilation or even distortion of origin and meaning stress the importance of disentangling different cultural elements and understanding their interaction. Going beyond the borders of academic fields, this book aims at giving to the transcultural perspective the importance it deserves in the study of ancient magic.
Survey of contents
Ljuba M. Bortolani/Svenja Nagel: Introduction & Acknowledgements

Part I: Egyptian, Greek and Mesopotamian Traditions of Magic: Different Genres, Perception of the 'Other' and Possible Transcultural Exchange
Franziska Naether: Magical Practices in Egyptian Literary Texts: in Quest of Cultural Plurality – William Furley: Magic and Mystery at Selinus. Another Look at the Getty Hexameters – Daniel Schwemer: Beyond Ereškigal? Mesopotamian Magic Traditions in the Papyri Graecae Magicae

Part II: Cultural Plurality and Fusion in the Graeco-Egyptian Magical Papyri (PGM/PDM)
Single Handbooks and Magical Techniques

Richard Gordon: Compiling P. Lond I 121 = PGM VII in a Transcultural Context – Svenja Nagel: Illuminating Encounters: Reflections on Cultural Plurality in Lamp Divination Rituals – Ljuba M. Bortolani: 'We Are Such Stuff as Dream Oracles Are Made on': Greek and Egyptian Traditions and Divine Personas in the Dream Divination Spells of the Magical Papyri – Christopher A. Faraone: Cultural Plurality in Greek Magical Recipes for Oracular and Protective Statues

Specific Spells and Deities
Joachim Friedrich Quack: The Heliopolitan Ennead and Geb as a Scrofulous Boar in the PGM. Two Case Studies on Cultural Interaction in Late-Antique Magic – Richard Phillips: Traditions of Transformation and Shape-Shifting in PGM XIII 270–77 – Adria Haluszka: Crowns of Hermanubis: Semiotic Fusion and Spells for Better Business in the Magical Papyri – Marcela Ristorto: Love Spell and Hymn to Aphrodite in PGM IV (2891–941)

Part III: Integration and Transformation of Graeco-Egyptian Magic in Jewish and Byzantine Spells
Gideon Bohak/Alessia Bellusci: The Greek Prayer to Helios in Sefer Ha-Razim, in Light of New Textual Evidence – Michael Zellmann-Rohrer: Incantations in Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Greek: Change and Continuity.

Ljuba Merlina Bortolani Born 1980; studied Classics and Egyptology; 2012 PhD; since 2017 post-doc researcher at the department of Classical Philology at the University of Heidelberg.

William Furley Born 1953; 1979 PhD; since 2003 Associate Professor of Classics, University of Heidelberg; Senior Research Fellow of the Institute of Classical Studies (School of Advanced Studies), London.

Svenja Nagel Born 1984; studied Egyptology and Classical Archaeology; 2015 PhD; since 2017 post-doc researcher at the Institute of Egyptology at the University of Heidelberg.

Joachim Friedrich Quack Born 1966; studied Egyptology, Semitic Studies, Biblical Archaeology, Ancient Near Eastern Studies and Pre- and Early History in Tübingen and Paris; 1990 Magister; 1993 Dr. phil.; 2003 Habilitation at the FU Berlin; Professor of Egyptology at the University of Heidelberg.


The following reviews are known:

In: Biblische Notizen — 190(2021), pp. 158–160 (Hanna Tervanotko)
In: Schweiz.Zeitschr.f.Rel.-u.KulturG — 114 (2020), pp. 391–393 (Stefan Bojowald)
In: New Testament Abstracts — 64 (2020), p. 164