Magical Texts in Ancient Mediterranean Civilisations

A book has recently been released that may appeal to some readers of this website. Titled Magical Texts in Ancient Mediterranean Civilisations, it collects selections from a conference on the topic of magic in antiquity held in 2013 at the University of Krakow.

From the publishers:

This volume represents a selection of contributions on Mediterranean themes from a wider international interdisciplinary conference on Magical Texts in Ancient Civilizations, organised by the Centre for Comparative Studies of Civilizations at Jagiellonian University in Kraków in Poland between 27-28 June 2013. The meeting welcomed researchers from Hungary, Italy, Poland and Ukraine, covering various disciplines including comparative civilizations, comparative religions, linguistics, archaeology, anthropology, history and philosophy.

In the past ‘magic’ was often misunderstood as irrational behaviour, in contrast to the tradition of philosophical or rational thought mostly based on Greek models. Evidence collected from ancient high cultures, like that of Pharaonic Egypt, includes massive amounts of documents and treatises of all kinds related to what has been labelled ‘magic’. Today it cannot be written off as merely a primitive or ‘lesser human’ phenomenon: the awareness of magic remains to the present day in many societies, at all social levels, and has not been generally replaced by what might be considered as more advanced thinking. The researches in this volume focus heavily on Egypt (in particular Predynastic, Pharaonic, Hellenistic, Roman and Christian evidence), but Near Eastern material was also presented from Pagan (Ugaritic) and Christian (Syriac) times.

For more information, please see the publisher’s website.

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