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Psalms As Magic? P. Vindob. G 39205 Revisited

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Chapter Summary

The academic discussion following the edition of P.Vindob. G 39205 was mainly concerned with two points: fragment's date and its secondary use, i.e. the question of whether it was used as an artefact of magic or not. To think of a secondary use of parchment as an amulet or phylacterion is a possible solution, as many amulets were folded to keep them close to one's body because they were supposed to have apotropaeic power. Particular verses of Psalms were believed to grant protection and safety. Some scholars are very sure about a widespread use of biblical texts for amulets and quite frankly regard such artefacts as proof of use of magic among Christians, others insist that one need to be very careful before attributing 'magic' qualities-especially in sense of having manipulative powers to influence a god or demon-to an artefact that is not associated with explicit signs of magical use.

Keywords: amulet; apotropaeic power; artefact; biblical texts; fragment; magic; manipulative powers; P.Vindob. G 39205; phylacterion; Psalms



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