Scriptural Incipits on Amulets from
Late Antique Egypt

Text, Typology & Theory

Studien und Texte zu Antike und Christentum No. 84

Book Title

By: Joseph E. Sanzo
June 2014
Mohr Siebeck
Distributed by Coronet Books
ISBN: 9783161529658
219 Pages
$125.00 Paper original


The use of biblical and parabiblical texts on amulets and other apotropaic objects was ubiquitous in late antique Egypt. Among the passages most frequently cited were the opening lines ( incipits ) of the Gospels, the Psalms, and other scriptural texts. Scholars have repeatedly observed the apotropaic use of such incipits , but have yet to subject them to thorough and focused analysis. In the present volume, Joseph E. Sanzo addresses this scholarly need by offering the first sustained study of the scriptural incipits on Greek and Coptic amulets and other apotropaic objects from late antique Egypt. In addition to providing a catalog and edition of these texts, the author draws on insights from cognitive linguistics, ritual studies, and the history of the book to establish a typology of the incipitsand to determine their ritual functions.