When considering the term ‘magic’ and its cognates in such a vast corpus of evidence, both literary and “practical” it appears that no strict rule obtains for understanding magic and magicians. What one can say, however, is that there were individuals who considered themselves magicians and who did not necessarily believe their magic to be some evil obverse of proper Roman practice. This datum escapes purely polemical analyses of ancient magic which prioritize literary evidence. This is the inconvenient fact that must be considered or if we wish to grasp more fully how magic worked in the era of formative Christianity.This is an important point.
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