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The Application Of Magical Formulas Of Invocation In Christian Contexts

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Chapter Summary

This chapter demonstrates the reflection of magical formulas in a variety of Christian contexts, beginning with selected passages from the New Testament, moving on to the arena of early patristic exegesis and concluding with examples extracted from the proceedings of the church council convened at Chalcedon under Emperor Marcian (451 C.E.). It draws some preliminary observations as to the presence of the magical underworld in the lives of Christians and its repercussions on the development of Christian identities from the early beginnings to the golden era of the patristic period. Christian rhetoricians of the third and fourth centuries by no means embraced pagan magic. The chapter discusses how Christian rhetoric of the third and fourth centuries became more articulated as dissociation from pagan magic was achieved through the depiction of Pauls healing activities as miracles, inspired by the Holy Spirit, rather than as the practice of pagan magical rites.

Keywords: Christian contexts; church council; Emperor Marcian; Holy Spirit; magical formulas; New Testament; pagan magic; patristic period; Paul



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