Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Ritual Boundaries Magic and Differentiation in Late Antique Christianity

by Joseph E. Sanzo (Author)
Ritual Boundaries by Joseph E. Sanzo

A free ebook version of this title is available through Luminos, University of California Press's Open Access publishing program. Visit www.luminosoa.org to learn more.

In Ritual Boundaries, Joseph E. Sanzo transforms our understanding of how early Christians experienced religion in lived practice through the study of magical objects, such as amulets and grimoires. Against the prevailing view of late antiquity as a time when only so-called elites were interested in religious and ritual differentiation, the evidence presented here reveals that the desire to distinguish between religious and ritual insiders and outsiders cut across diverse social strata. The magical evidence also offers unique insight into early biblical reception, exposing a textual world in which scriptural reading was multisensory and multitraditional. As they addressed sickness, demonic struggle, and interpersonal conflicts, Mediterranean people thus acted in ways that challenge our conceptual boundaries between Christians and non-Christians; elites and non-elites; and words, materials, and images. Sanzo helps us rethink how early Christians imagined similarity and difference among texts, traditions, groups, and rituals as they went about their daily lives.


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