Magical Amulets and other Marvels – From Egypt to Manchester

Keeping an interest in the scholarly pursuits of others gives sparks of life going in the right direction.

kateantiquity

Robeta, Campell, and RYlands add 1166 Robeta Mazza explaining the so-called ‘last supper amulet’ (P Rylands Greek Add. 1166) to Campbell Price

Scholars from Sydney to Cairo converged on Manchester this week-end for heady talk about papyrus fragments. Following on the announcement earlier in the week of the newly discovered ‘last supper amulet‘, the atmosphere of the John Rylands Research Institute’s symposium, From Egypt to Manchester, Unravelling the John Rylands Papyrus Collection, was always going to be exciting.

Bwt40pECMAAnr5s.jpg-large P Rylands Greek Add. 1166

The scholarly contributions of the conference itself were themselves spectacular, ranging from early Greece to the rise of Islam. Particularly interesting to me, of course, were the papers on early Christianity and later paganism. Roberta Mazza’s  breaking-news talk about the new Christian amulet (P.Ryl. Greek Add. 1166 verso) offered a marvellous mix of technical know-how (how do changing laboratory dating techniques change what we can know?) to reflections on the sociology of ‘magical thinking’ in…

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