• News

    Coptic Magical Papyri on the (Virtual) Road: Between Magic and Liturgy: A Workshop on Christian Ritual Texts (26th–28th November 2020)

    At the end of November, the Coptic Magical Papyri project’s team participated at a Zoom workshop organised by Ágnes T. Mihálykó and the Vienna Euchologia Project, which is currently preparing a database of Byzantine euchologia prayer books. The workshop brought together scholars studying Christian liturgical texts and magical texts and objects, and the so-called paraliturgical texts, which are private prayers, such as the euchologia prayer books. There is an overlap between these categories, which has rarely been studied; some “occasional prayers” in the euchologia prayer books can help with health concerns, such as migraines and childbirth, just like magical healing texts (as well as medical ones, of course). Furthermore, magical…

  • Podcast

    Podcast #6: A Focus on Coptic with Edward Love

    In this episode of The Coptic Magical Papyri Podcast, Edward O.D. Love offers a deeper look into how Coptic relates to Demotic, into the development of Old Coptic, Coptic. Please, listen to the previous episode with Edward, to get a full idea of development of Egyptian language. Edward Love also introduces us to his habilitation, which focuses on the letters to gods. Edward Love is post-doctoral assistant on the project The Coptic Magical Papyri at the Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg. Edward’s principal research interests include the conceptualisation, mechanics, and contexts of interaction with the divine in Egypt. A parallel research interest, stemming from the work of his doctoral thesis, is…

  • Podcast

    Podcast #5: Egyptian Language Development with Edward Love

    Edward O.D. Love, a member of our project, talks about the development of Egyptian language and script, as the relation between Demotic and Coptic was the focus of his PhD research. Edward thoroughly explains the evolution from hieroglyphics, Hieratic, Demotic, to the Coptic writing, as well as the grammatical progress of the language. A particular focus is put also on the domains of writing and their explanation. Besides these topics, Edward discussed his academic background and his years in Oxford, where he obtained his BA, MSt and PhD. You can listen to the podcast here, or you can find it on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and Podcast Addict. A link to…

  • Podcast

    Podcast #4: Coptic Magical Papyri Project with Korshi Dosoo

    For the next three podcast episodes, we have decided to bring the project closer to you by interviewing the three core members of the project. In this podcast episode, Korshi Dosoo, the leader of the project, talks not only about the origin of the Coptic Magical Papyri project, but about Coptic magic within the larger framework of the cultural context, as well as about the roots of his own interest in magic in general. You can listen to the podcast here, or you can find it on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and Podcast Addict. A link to the podcast is also on the sidebar, on the right.

  • Podcast

    Podcast #3: Koptische Magie und Alchemie mit Sebastian Richter

    In our third podcast episode – recorded this time in German – we sat down with Professor Sebastian Richter from the Free University of Berlin, expert on Coptic language and papyrology to discuss, among other topics, the possible relationship between Coptic magical and alchemical texts. What did alchemy mean in the context of Byzantine and Islamic Egypt? What alchemical processes do the manuscripts edited by Professor Richter uncover, and who wrote them? Listen and enjoy! In unserem dritten Podcast – ausnahmsweise in deutscher Sprache aufgenommen – haben wir uns mit Prof. Sebastian Richter von der Freien Universität Berlin zusammengesetzt, um die mögliche Beziehung zwischen koptischen magischen und alchemistischen Texten zu…

  • Podcast

    Podcast #2: Coptic Magic and Gnosticism with Dylan Burns

    In our second podcast episode, we discuss the relationship between magic and Gnosticism with the scholar Dylan Burns, expert on the topic. What is Gnosticism? Is there a connection between Coptic magical texts and Gnostic texts? How does Dylan Burns perceive contemporary academia? Please, have patience with these lower quality podcasts before we figure out a way of increasing the audio quality. Thank you! You can listen to our podcast here, or you can find it on Spotify, Stitcher and Podcast Addict. Our podcast is available on iTunes as well. A link to the podcast is also on the sidebar, on the right.

  • Podcast

    Podcast #1: Coptic Magic with Jacques van der Vliet

    In the first podcast episode, created by the Coptic Magical Papyri project based at the University of Würzburg, Germany, we discuss ancient magic with professor Jacques van der Vliet of the University of Leiden, an expert on Coptic manuscripts, Gnosticism and ancient magic. Who was the ancient magician? What were his magical practices? You can listen to our podcast here, or you can find it on Spotify, Stitcher and Podcast Addict. Our podcast will be coming soon on iTunes as well. A link to the podcast is also on the sidebar, on the right.

  • Case Study

    Bricks of birth: “The names of the three bricks upon which Mary gave birth”

    The National Library in Vienna houses a unique document – a fragmentary sheet of paper from the 11th century CE Vienna Nationalbibliothek K 10335 Pap, containing the following short magical text:  “The names of the three bricks upon which Mary gave birth: Akramak, Ouaramak, Akr…”  Why is this text so interesting? It seems to attest to the use of birth bricks in 11th century Egypt, and their association in Egyptian Christianity with the birth of Jesus. The tradition of using birth bricks is attested in pharaonic Egypt in two different contexts – in the funerary domain, and in the domain of childbirth. In 2001, the American Egyptologist Josef Wegner discovered…

  • News

    Coptic Magical Papyri on the Road: Bodily fluids in Egypt and the Middle East Conference in Montpellier (5-7 September 2019)

    Last week, we had the chance to participate at what some of the attendees called a “revolutionary” conference on bodily fluids in sunny Montpellier. Marginal topics, especially touching upon the anthropology of the body, have not been the focus of events and publications up until the very recent years. The attendance was high, with many academics coming from France, Germany, Italy, or the United States. The topic of the body and its fluids is certainly gaining in popularity in the last few years, with many monographs, PhD theses and articles written on this issue. Therefore, it did make sense for the researchers to come together to discuss the matter. As…

  • Theory of Magic

    Anthropology of Magic IV: Lévi-Strauss on Magic

    In this week’s post, we are going to explore the famous article by Claude Lévi-Strauss (1908-2009) “The Sorcerer and His Magic” which appeared in 1963, and is still a classic study for anyone interested in healing rituals. The question we are trying to find an answer to in our research on Coptic magic is whether and how we can reconstruct ritual practices when many pieces of the puzzle are missing. How could Lévi-Strauss’s analysis of indigenous North American thought be useful for us? Lévi-Strauss was an influential French anthropologist and one of the founders of structural anthropology. Among his most important works are Mythologiques I-IV, an important study of mythologies…