Ancient Book Of Spells Translated, Invocations For Love And Exorcisms Decoded

Nov 30, 2014 05:36 AM EST
Handbook of Ritual Power
The ancient text was finally translated and researchers discovered that it is a codex of spells.

A cryptic book written in an ancient Egyptian language called Coptic was discovered in 1981 as part of a papyrus collection at Macquarie University in Australia, according to Huffington Post. Researchers did not know what the mysterious book said ... until now.

Two Australian scientists claim they have translated the 1,300-year-old text, which is actually a codex of spells, according to Live Science. Researchers call the book "Handbook of Ritual Power" and say the book includes love spells, spells to cast out evil spirits and treatments for ails such as "black jaundice," a bacterial infection.

"It is a complete 20-page parchment codex, containing the handbook of a ritual practitioner," wrote Malcolm Choat and Iain Gardner in their book, "A Coptic Handbook of Ritual Power." Choat is a professor at Macquarie University, and Gardner is a professor at the University of Sydney.

Researchers think the text hails from the 7th or 8th century, when many Egyptians were Christian. The codex references Jesus, according to Live Science. Some of the invocations appear to tie to a group called "Sethians," that holds Seth, Adam and Eve's third son, in high esteem.

A mystery figure is a divinity referred to as "Baktiotha," according to Live Science. The text reads, "I give thanks to you and I call upon you, the Baktiotha: The great one, who is very trustworthy; the one who is lord over the forty and the nine kinds of serpents," according to the translation.

"The Baktiotha is an ambivalent figure. He is a great power and a ruler of forces in the material realm," the authors explained, according to Live Science.

The person or persons who would have used this codex is also a mystery to scientists. "It is my sense that there were ritual practitioners outside the ranks of the clergy and monks, but exactly who they were is shielded from us by the fact that people didn't really want to be labeled as a 'magician,'" Choat told Live Science.

The text is kept in the Museum of Ancient Cultures at Macquarie University in Sydney.

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