Same, Same, But Different? A Cognitive Analysis of an Early Christian Apotropaic Amulet

Authors

  • Nils Hallvard Korsvoll Norwegian University of Science and Technology

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/jch.29772

Keywords:

Amulet, ritual, blending theory, cognitive theory, early Christianity

Abstract

P.Oslo.5 is an apotropaic amulet from 4th or 5th century Egypt, combining traditional, Greco-Egyptian ritual elements with seemingly Christian elements. Here, I present and use Jesper Sørensen's adaptation of blending theory to study ritual and ritual development, to explore how traditional apotropaic practice negotiates Christian influence. My analysis shows how, on the one hand, the ritual structure of P.Oslo.5 works to align its Christian and Greco-Egyptian elements, while on the other hand the Christian elements retain some distinguishing traits. P.Oslo.5, then, demonstrates a dynamic between ritual compression offered by its structure and a resistance to this offered by the respective cultural backgrounds.

Author Biography

Nils Hallvard Korsvoll, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Nils Hallvard Korsvoll is Associate Professor in Religious Education at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim. His research interests include ritual and magic in Late Antiquity, popular religion, ritual theory, cognitive theory, and cross-cultural interaction. In his doctoral dissertation, Korsvoll explores the distribution and use of apparently Christian elements in Syriac amulets from Late Antiquity (2017).

Published

2018-12-04

How to Cite

Korsvoll, N. H. (2018). Same, Same, But Different? A Cognitive Analysis of an Early Christian Apotropaic Amulet. Journal of Cognitive Historiography, 4(1), 79–99. https://doi.org/10.1558/jch.29772