Review of Trzcionka, Magic and the Supernatural in Fourth-Century Syria

Reviewed today in BMCR 2007.08.06, a volume which includes detailed discussion of inscribed amulets and curse tablets:

Silke Trzcionka, Magic and the Supernatural in Fourth-Century Syria. London and New York: Routledge, 2007. Pp. 227. ISBN 0-415-39242-X. £17.99.

Reviewed by Thomas J. Kraus, Hilpoltstein (t.j.kraus@web.de)

The very positive (but not uncritical) review summarises the contents (for a summary of which see this post at the Papyrology blog), and shows how the geographically, chronologically, and topically constrained subject matter makes for a more thorough and rigorous study of ancient magic than is normally possible in the general tomes that abound in this field. The reviewer concludes with the words:

Without doubt T.’s meticulous work is very welcome and a significant contribution to the field of research on (late) antique magic. T. approaches magic in two geographical regions and in a historical period, both of which are usually not in the main focus of scholarly work. This is done in an unbiased and sound way. Very impressive is her skillful narrative account and her fluent style of writing. With her fine and concise observations at hand the readers, no matter if they are specialists in the field, beginning students of (late) antiquity, or just readers interested in the subject matters, are enabled to develop some further insights in some very specific topics that could only be touched in the book. T. must be thanked for having written that fascinating book.

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