The Wisdom of Thoth Magical Texts in Ancient Mediterranean Civilisations
edited by Grażyna Bąkowska-Czerner, Alessandro Roccati and Agata Świerzowska. ii+130 pages; illustrated throughout in black & white with 15 colour plates. 204 2016. Available both in printed and e-versions.
Printed ISBN 9781784912475. £32.00 (No VAT). Epublication ISBN 9781784912482. £19.00 (Inc. UK VAT)
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.