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Historical and Religious Memory in the Ancient World$
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Beate Dignas and R. R. R. Smith

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199572069

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199572069.001.0001

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Memory and Authority in the Magical Papyri 1

Memory and Authority in the Magical Papyri 1

(p.145) 7 Memory and Authority in the Magical Papyri1
Historical and Religious Memory in the Ancient World

Richard Gordon

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that the authors of recipes in the magical papyri had very particular reasons for the selective evocation of ancient practice. Traditionally, magic was closely linked to the activities of the priestly caste and in this context associated with knowledge, correct procedures, and skills customarily taught in the temple. In the late Hellenistic period, however, the active and passive uses of magic changed. The practitioner of magic gained a new profile because magical services were more and more sought and offered outside the temple context. A new market inevitably changed the crucial media of script and language: there was a shift from hieroglyphic or demotic to Greek that brought the need to assert a close link with older, original languages.

Keywords:   authority, demotic, hieroglyphic, language, magic, magical papyri, priestly caste, temple, script

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