Magic and religion as a performative theological unity : the apotropaic 'Ritual of Overthrowing Apophis'

I. Kousoulis, Panagiotis
(1999) Magic and religion as a performative theological unity : the apotropaic 'Ritual of Overthrowing Apophis'. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

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Magical and ritual sources have characteristically tended to be under-exploited in the study of ancient societies, partly for the superficial inaccessibility, and partly because they have been disreputably attractive to the "esoteric" fringe. They do, however, provide a number of detailed insights into the relations between real and practical behaviour and the ideological/religious explanations of that behaviour. The present study attempts to investigate this interrelation between magical and religious phenomena, having as starting point and basic theme of reference the apotropaic "Ritual of Overthrowing Apophis, " the enemy of Re par excellence. It will examine the function and mechanisms of the ritual from its first appearance in the funerary liturgies of the Middle Kingdom until its acquisition of a complete cultic character within the broader religious environment of the Ptolemaic temples of Edfu and Dendera. The presentation of the available material cannot reach completeness. The present study does not claim to be a integral philological investigation of either the complex nature of the serpentine enemy of the sun god or of the ritual texts referring to his conflict with Re and his final expulsion. Rather, carefully selected texts concerning the Apophis ritual are used as a trigger for re-examining certain areas and aspects of cultic phenomena where religion and magic reaches a "theological, " performative unity. Techniques that are common in both systems, such as the magician's acting and speaking as god ("divine speech"), the enumeration of the human bodily parts that are ascribed to particular deities ("lists"), erasure of names and mutilation of images (damnatio memoria), should be analysed and re-evaluated under this new perspective. Questions concerning the notion of hk3 itself, should also be considered: was hk3 considered to pre-exist as the archetype creative force, or was it a human invention to explain the unexplained and to control and repel hostile forces beyond its nature, or was it a personification of the power of ritual? Such a methodological approach to Egyptian magic will lead into a stage where the main point of reference will be the anthropology and sacred praxis of hk3, rather than a random compilation of superstitions and popular beliefs.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2023 14:39
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2023 14:39
DOI: 10.17638/03174997
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