Magic and Witchcraft in the Ancient World

REL-A 300

ancient disk with writing
Jason Mokhtarian
Course Description

Why did people in the ancient world believe in demons and other supernatural beings? Did they really perform exorcisms and burn witches at the stake? What was “magic” in antiquity, and how did it differ from “religion” and “science”? This course offers students a wide selection of readings that engage these questions. In particular, there is a focus on magical texts from Greco-Roman, Jewish, early Christian, and other ancient contexts. The course also introduces students to some of the common theoretical models about magic from the fields of anthropology and religious studies.