Macquarie University
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Rituals of apparition in the Theban Magical Library

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posted on 2022-03-28, 21:31 authored by Korshi Dosoo
This thesis examines the evidence for divinatory practices in Roman Egypt, focusing on rituals for questioning deities, and using the so-called "Theban Magical Library" as the core corpus within which this practice is examined. The first chapter examines the evidence for this archive, its publication and reception history, as well as its form and contents, in terms of physical, scribal, linguistic, and ritual features. This analysis is then used to situate the Library within the cultural context of Roman Egypt, and the historical development of Egyptian magical practice. The second and third chapters focus on the “ritual of apparition”, setting out a structural approach that focuses on the way in which recurrent features are combined and elaborated into a wide array of individual rituals. Alongside a lexicographical discussion of Greek and Egyptian terms for such rituals, the second chapter discusses the social context within which these practices may have taken place, and sets out a hypothetical cognitive schema within which the rituals may have been understood and experienced as efficacious. The third chapter focuses on the particular components of these rituals, looking at the way in which objects and actions were fitted into larger rituals, and how variations in their employment affected the way in which they “functioned” as parts of the practitioner’s ritual technology.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction -- 2. The Theban Magical Library -- 3. Rituals of apparition -- 4. Ritual components and complexes -- 5. Conclusions.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 513-581

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Ancient History

Department, Centre or School

Department of Ancient History

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Malcolm Choat

Additional Supervisor 1

L. L. Welborn


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