Dr. David Frankfurter (Boston University)
“Extracting the Magic of Writing: The Senses of the Written Word”
Textuality in the ancient world had many more dimensions than simply alphabetic words for individual or public reading. Potent texts, like the words of gods, could be accessed through touch and through washing, through wearing and through the visual gaze on assemblages of letters. This presentation introduces the sensory features of the written word by which the authority of institutions, priesthoods, and religious traditions came into the lives of ordinary people. I will begin with some comparative materials from modern Islam and ancient Egypt before focusing on early views of Christian scripture.
David Frankfurter is Professor of Religion at Boston University and the author of, most recently, Christianizing Egypt: Syncretism and Local Worlds in Late Antiquity (Princeton, 2018) and (as editor) Guide to the Study of Ancient Magic (Leiden, 2019)
* Zoom registration: https://psu.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_G4u_ObAKQoy-8kUExK8B6A#/registration
Co-sponsor: Religious Studies Minor