Saturday, December 12, 2015

Review of Jördens (ed.), Ägyptische Magie und ihre Umwelt

Andrea Jördens (ed.), Ägyptische Magie und ihre Umwelt. Philippika, 80. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2015. Pp. 379. ISBN 9783447103169. €48.00.

Reviewed by Árpád M. Nagy, Budapest Museum of Fine Arts, Collection of Classical Antiquities (

Table of Contents

It has become a commonplace that research on ancient magic is one of the success stories of contemporary classical studies. The key to this success was a turn that started around thirty years ago: magika that was traditionally deemed as „Wissenschaft des nicht Wissenswerten” has been transformed into a scholarly field that is jointly investigated by researchers from a number of disciplines (Egyptology, classical archaeology and philology, the ancient Near East and Jewish Studies), which had traditionally worked completely separately. An old-school professor would ask his student to decide between classical archaeology and Egyptology. Contemporary research on ancient magic offers a third solution: to study both. It is in this context that the title of the book is to be understood: although its principal subject is Ägyptische Magie, its horizon is the Umwelt, the ancient Mediterranean — which also explains why the book is reviewed by a researcher of Graeco-Roman magic.