malcolm choat and iain gardner, eds. A Coptic Handbook of Ritual Power. The Macquarie Papyri 1. Turnhout: Brepols, 2013. Pp xiv 132, xii color plates, CD. While this critical edition with English translation is aimed at specialists in Coptology, papyrology, and late-antique Christianity, it will be of general interest to comparativists because, among other reasons, it adds to the number of examples of ``magical'' texts for use against magic. In this case, the Coptic word translated into English as magic is hik (see spells 1718). The handbook published here in editio princeps (as P. Macq. I 1) should be dated to the seventh or eighth century CE and may have come from Upper Egypt, according to the editors' judgment of the paleography and dialect. In their edition, they divide the text into three main parts: eleven pages of invocations, one page of ritual instructions with a drawing, and four pages of prescriptions (i.e., spells). The editors argue that the first part was originally composed as a Sethian Gnostic text. This hypothesized original text was mythological in nature but also had practical applications and probably included the ritual instructions of the second part as well. Only later was it
Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft – University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: Feb 5, 2015
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