Book: Magic In The Roman World by Naomi JanowitzThis volume demonstrates that the word “magic” was widely employed in late antique texts as part of polemical attacks on enemies – but at the simplest level it was merely a term used for other people’s rituals.
The study begins by analysing Jewish, Christian and Greco-Roman uses of the term in the first three centuries CE. The author then turns to a series of in-depth examples of “magical” practice – exorcisms, love rites, alchemy and the Transformation of humans into divine beings – examining how such rituals were thought to work. The book ends with an Exploration of issues of gender and magic, looking at the reasons behind the over-representation of women on charges of using magic.
Janowitz’s lively and accessible work illuminates the fact that activities denounced as magical were integral to late antique religious practice, and shows that they must be understood from the Perspective of those who employed them.
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