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Special Topic: Magic and Religion in Late Antiquity - 20 credits (RTT315)

This module will encourage students to develop their appreciation of the religious landscape of the late antique world by exploring ancient magic in its variety of different guises, and across a range of different traditions. Examination of primary sources from the period will include literary and magical texts from Graeco-Roman (pagan), Christian, Jewish and Gnostic religions. Beginning with a critical analysis of the indispensable role played by magical beliefs and practices in the ‘everyday’ concerns of late antique religious communities, students will be encouraged to reflect more deeply about the nature of magic and theurgic rituals, particularly in relation to the role taken by such practices in creating, defining and sustaining social and cultural identities in the period.