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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter July 1, 2021

Healing Traditions in Coptic Magical Texts

  • Korshi Dosoo EMAIL logo
From the journal Trends in Classics


Within the ‘market of healing’ of Christian Egypt (here broadly considered as the fourth through twelfth centuries CE), ‘magical’ practitioners represent an elusive yet recurrent category. This article explores the evidence for magical healing from three perspectives – first, literary texts which situate ‘magicians’ in competition with medical and ecclesiastical healing; second, the papyrological evidence of Coptic-language magical texts, which provide evidence for concepts of disease, wellness, and their mediation; and finally confronting the question of how these healing traditions might be understood within the methodologically materialistic framework of academic history, using the concepts of placebo and healing as a performance.

Sigla and Abbreviations


Ancient Christian Magic = Meyer/Smith 1999.


Ausgewählte koptische Zaubertexte = Kropp 1930–1931.


Berliner Koptische Urkunden


Clavis Coptica; see


Papyri demoticae/graecae magicae = Preisendanz/Henrichs 1973–1974 & Betz 1986.


Supplementum magicum = Daniel/Maltomini 1990–1992.


Trismegistos number, see


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Published Online: 2021-07-01
Published in Print: 2021-06-26

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