Curse Words

January 1, 2015 // 2 Comments

  Cursing as a practice is looked at from several different angles by scholars. On the one hand, some look to the historical import of cursing to understand the societies that produced material objects such as curse tablets (someone like John Gager fits this bill). Others attempt to categorize curses by the language they use or the subject matter addressed (Christopher A. Faraone, who attempts to categorize cursing formulas fits well here). It seems fitting that we take a step back and a Read the full post...

Defining the Magical Practitioner in Antiquity

October 13, 2014 // 0 Comments

Medea rejuvenates an old ram by boiling it. When we think of curses, we think of a magician, or even a witch, who’s up to no good in the dark of the night. Ancient literature teems with this figure: the witch of Endor, Medea, even followers of Jesus figure into this portrait of the evil magical practitioner (Gordon 253). I want to set aside the specific question of cursing for a moment (we’ll talk about that in another post), and look at how we define the magical practitioner in antiquity. Read the full post...