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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

A Kind of Magic: Understanding Magic in the New Testament and its Religious Environment
Labahn, Michael and Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte, editors

New York: T & T Clark, 2007 pp. xiii + 208. $156.00

Series Information
Library of New Testament Studies/European Studies on Christian Origins, 306


Description: This collection of articles by distinguished scholars and experts in their particular fields of research is introduced by a chapter dealing with general matters of the current hermeneutics of magic: what is the nature of magic and what is the understanding of magic in the Western world-view and what - for instance - in the African world? Centered around studies on Jesus and magic the second part contains studies on the use of the term "magic" in the New Testament and especially in Acts. The third section broadens the understanding of magic through selected case studies in different approaches to magic in the environment and background of the New Testament (Old Testament, Qumran, Apuleius, Women as Magicians). Early Christianity subsequent to the New Testament develops its own view of magic, criticizing pagan magic but not being uninfluenced by magic or magic-like practices. This development is part of the fourth and last chapter of the collection along with two different papers on the possible use of Jewish and Christian themes in later magical texts. The collection explores the importance of magic within Early Christianity, an issue shared with its Old Testament and Jewish roots and with its ancient background, implying reluctance and critique. Both magical traits and the critique of non-Christian magic have an impact on later scripture and still exert influence now on modern theoretical discussion and popular ideas. From mageia to Magic: Envisaging a Problematic Concept in the Study of Religion- Daria Pezzoli Olgiatti Magic in Ancient World and African Culture- Emmanuel Nwaoru Jesus and Magic: Theodicean Perspectives to the Issue- Tom Holmén Jesus the Exorcist and Ancient Magic-Graham H. Twelftree Ma&goi – Astrologers, Ecstatics, Deceitful Prophets New Testament Understanding in Jewish and Pagan Context-Michael Becker Magic in the Book of Acts-Stanley E. Porter Understanding Magic in the Old Testament: A Shift in Paradigm (Deuteronomy 18:9 –14 and beyond)- Ann Jeffers Catalogue of Spirits, Liturgical Manuscript with Angelological Content, Incantation? Reflections on the Character of a Fragment from Qumran (4Q230 1) With Appendix: Edition of the Fragments of IAA #114- Eibert Tigchelaar The Daughters of Medeia: Enchanting Women in the Greco-Hellenistic World-Christiane Kunst Fascinating but Forbidden? Magic in Rome-Ulrike Riemer The Great Magical Papyrus of Paris (PGM IV) and the Bible-Pieter W. van der Horst The Eighth Book of Moses (PLeid. J 395): Hellenistic Jewish Influence in a Pagan Magical Papyrus- Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Literature

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Review by Hans-Josef Klauck
Published 8/22/2009
Citation: Hans-Josef Klauck, review of Michael Labahn and Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte, eds., A Kind of Magic: Understanding Magic in the New Testament and its Religious Environment, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2009).


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