Saturday, April 13, 2024

Religious Identifications in Late Antique Papyri: 3rd—12th Century Egypt

Religious Identifications in Late Antique Papyri

This volume provides novel social-scientific and historical approaches to religious identifications in late antique (3rd–12th century) Egyptian papyri, bridging the gap between two academic fields that have been infrequently in full conversation: papyrology and the study of religion.

Through eleven in-depth case studies of Christian, Islamic, “pagan,” Jewish, Manichaean, and Hermetic texts and objects, this book offers new interpretations on markers of religious identity in papyrus documents written in Coptic, Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic. Using papyri as a window into the lives of ordinary believers, it explores their religious behavior and choices in everyday life. Three valuable perspectives are outlined and explored in these documents: a critical reflection on the concept of identity and the role of religious groups, a situational reading of religious repertoire and symbols, and a focus on speech acts as performative and efficacious utterances.

Religious Identifications in Late Antique Papyri offers a wide scope and comparative approach to this topic, suitable for students and scholars of late antiquity and Egypt, as well as those interested in late antique religion.

A PDF version of this book is available for free in Open Access at It has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.

Edition 1st Edition
First Published 2022
eBook Published 16 October 2022
Pub. Location London
Imprint Routledge
Pages 314
eBook ISBN 9781003287872


chapter 1|26 pages


Theorizing Religious Identification in Late Antique Papyri

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part I|65 pages

Problematizing Religious “Identity” and the Identification of Religious Groups

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chapter 4|23 pages

Lifting the Cloak of Invisibility

Identifying the Jews of Late Antique Egypt

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chapter 6|18 pages

Χρηστιανὸς ἔστιν

Self-Identification and Formal Categorization of the First Christians in Egypt

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chapter 7|25 pages

From the Sacred to the Profane

Evidence for Multiple Social Identities in the Letters of the Nag Hammadi Codices

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part III|105 pages

Performance and Audience

chapter 9|20 pages

Aurelios Ammon from Panopolis

On Hellenistic Literary Roles and Egyptian Priestly Cloth

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chapter 10|19 pages

“The Curses Will Be Like Oil in Their Bones”

Excommunication and Curses in Bishops' Letters Beyond Late Antiquity

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chapter 13|18 pages

Concluding Remarks

“The Artificers of Facts”

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