Non-Fiction Books:

Magic in the Roman World

Pagans, Jews and Christians

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Magic in the Roman World by Naomi Janowitz

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This 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 AD. 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. Professor 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.

Author Biography

Naomi Janowitz is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of California-Davis. She is the author of Poetics of Ascent (1989) and numerous articles on the religions of late antiquity.
Release date NZ
June 21st, 2001
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
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