A Centre for the Study of Magical Text Traditions of West Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean in Antiquity
Texts labeled as ‘magical’ in modern scholarship figure prominently in the written legacy of all ancient cultures in West Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean, presenting a key source for the history of religions and ideas in antiquity.
Egyptian and Greek papyri, cuneiform texts in various languages, and many other texts transmit ritual instructions, recitations, and recipes, but also explanatory texts of various kinds and written documents that were themselves part of magical ritual practices.
The texts shed light on religious beliefs, concepts of the world, learned traditions, and early forms of science. They provide insight into social and cultural norms, but also conflicts and the precarious existence of the individual in pre-modern societies. The Centre for Advanced Studies (Kolleg-Forschungsgruppe: KFG) MagEIA is dedicated to the interdisciplinary and comparative study of these textual traditions.