Ancient Christian magic

A few months ago I had a visit from the college-age daughter of a friend of mine. The young woman, an exceptionally gifted linguist, had developed an interest in religion and philosophy. What books, she asked, would combine her longstanding love of Latin and Greek with her newfound desire to plumb the mysteries of the cosmos? I was just about to recommend some key works in ancient philosophy and the history of Christian thought when she told me: “I only want to study alternative religions. What I’m really interested in is magic.”


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