The world of Jesus and the early Christians swarmed with prophets and exorcists, holy men and healers, who invoked angels and demons, gods and ghosts. Magic in Christianity: From Jesus to the Gnostics explores that world through the surviving texts of the first Christians and their pagan and Jewish contemporaries.
Ecstatic spirit possession, handing opponents over to Satan, sending demons into swine, striking others dead on the spot by pronouncing curses, using articles of clothing and parts of corpses to perform magical healing and exorcism, invoking ghosts and angels for protection—these are all ancient Christian practices described in the New Testament, explained in detail by early Christian writers, and preserved by Christian amulets.
Pagans and Jews accused Jesus and his followers of practicing magic and Christians accused one another of sorcery. Both pagan and early orthodox writers describe the rituals of the gnostic sects in detail, including the magical passwords required to cross through the gates of the lower heavens.
Magic in Christianity: From Jesus to the Gnostics examines evidence from the New Testament, the first Christian apologists, early apocryphal works, curse tablets and amulets to reconstruct the apocalyptic magical world of Jesus and the first Christians.
“a compelling and striking exemplar of why independent scholarship is such an important facet of the academic studies…Recommended.”
Dale Evans, Ph.D., review of Jesus the Sorcerer, Journal for the Academic Study of Magic.
“a fascinating and thought provoking read…one of the most learned works I have had the opportunity to read in this genre.”
Eric W. Northway, Ph.D., review of Magic in the New Testament, The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies.
“Magic in Christianity: from Jesus to the Gnostics” – podcast from Robert Conner author of Magic in the New Testament