Scriptural Amulets

Magical Amulet research continues!

Ertegun House

Preserved by the dry desert sands of Egypt, innumerable manuscript fragments written on parchment and papyrus have been discovered by archaeologists since the eighteenth century. Largely recovered from the rubbish heaps, these ancient documents provide a snapshot of what people were reading and writing, ranging from high literature (Homer’s Illiad) to mundane documents (tax receipts). The textual detritus of cities like Oxyrhynchus and Tebutnis reveals literary works and historical records previously unknown to modern scholarship and contributes to critical editions of texts from classical Greece and early Christianity. Even more fascinating, the intersection of textual study with material culture sheds light on how people interacted with texts, both in the form of complete books and in excerpted formats like citations on protective amulets. My current research focuses on understanding the way that Greek and Coptic amulets manipulated biblical text as a widespread way of accessing spiritual power. While some…

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2 Responses to Scriptural Amulets

  1. Jo says:

    I like to collect “The textual detritus of cities ” by photographing graffiti and incorporating it into my ceramic work. Much of it is ephemeral and what was collected 5 years ago exists now only as a copy in my work. I also wonder about the effect on the psyche of people who pass the same graffiti day after day on their way to work and can’t help but read it whether they agree with the sentiment or not. I have an itch to put some uplifting poetry or inspirational writings up instead.

  2. ” textual detritus”–what a great term! yeah, well I like graffiti Banksy style but am irritated by the protagonistic mania style that has no aesthetics just the desire to leave a trace of their presence, Territorial domain trash.

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