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A Coptic Handbook of Ritual Power

M. Choat, I. Gardner (eds.)
XIV+146 p., 20 colour ill., + CD, 210 x 297 mm, 2013
ISBN: 978-2-503-53170-0
Languages: Coptic, English
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Retail price: EUR 80,00 excl. tax
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This volume publishes a new Coptic handbook of ritual power, comprising a complete 20 page parchment codex from the second half of the first millennium AD. It consists of an invocation including both Christian and Gnostic elements, ritual instructions, and a list of twenty-seven spells to cure demonic possession, various ailments, the effects of magic, or to bring success in love and business. The codex is not only a substantial new addition to the corpus of magical texts from Egypt, but, in its opening invocation, also provides new evidence for Sethian Gnostic thought in Coptic texts.

A Coptic Handbook of Ritual Power is the first volume in the series The Macquarie Papyri, which will publish the papyri in the collection of the Museum of Ancient Cultures, Macquarie University (Sydney, Australia).

Table of Contents


List of Figures and Plates


  1. The Codex: Codicology – Palaeography, Date, and Provenance – Dialect and Orthography
  2. The Contents of the Handbook: The Invocations Text – The Three Versions of the Invocations Text – The Invocations Text, Sethianism, and the Practice of Ritual Power – The List of Prescriptions – Conspectus of Prescriptions

Text and Translation

  1. Coptic Text and Facing Translation
  2. Continuous Translation



  1. P. Lond. Copt.
  2. I 1008 (BL MS Or. 5987) (L)

  3. P. Berl. Inv. 5527 (B)



  1. Words of Egyptian Origin
  2. Words of Greek Origin
  3. Proper Names and Words of Power
  4. Symbols and Abbreviations



“Si tratta di una pubblicazione chiara ed equilibrata nella sua esposizione, che, oltre a costituire una significativa aggiunta al corpus dei testi magici copti, certamente contribuirà ad una migliore comprensione di quanto ancora ci sfugge - e non è poco - della genesi e dell'uso di questo genere di prodotti librari.” (Paola Buzi, nell’ Adamantius, 2017, p. 659)

« L’ouvrage intéressera non seulement toute personne étudiant les écrits « magiques » mais aussi celles et ceux qui s’intéressent aux écrits dits gnostiques. Les lecteurs pourront apprécier les fac-similés en couleur présents en fin de volume et surtout le CD-Rom qui donne accès à l’ensemble du codex, avec des photos d’excellente qualité. De ce point de vue, c’est un modèle du genre pour l’édition, apportant un « plus » par rapport aux autres éditions qui donnent très rarement accès à des reproductions d’aussi bonne qualité.» (Anna Van den Kerchove, dans Apocrypha, 27, 2016, p. 249-250)

“(…) overall this is an exemplary edition both in terms of its contents and overall aesthetic presentation. Because of the way Choat and Gardner examine and clearly present these texts both scholar and student will certainly be able to glean much from this useful volume.” (Lincoln H. Blumell, in the Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists, 54, 2017, p. 300)

Interest Classification:
Book History, Manuscript Studies & Palaeography
Objects of writing & related topics
Classics, Ancient History, Oriental Studies
Non Indo-European langs & lits
Non-Semitic languages & literatures of Africa

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