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Illuminating the Obscure
  • Writer's pictureRejected Religion

New Spotlight interview available! Korshi Dosoo is the leader of the junior research group project 'The Coptic Magical Papyri: Vernacular Religion in Late Antique and Early Islamic Egypt' at the Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg. Formerly ATER (lecturer) at the University of Strasbourg and post-doctoral researcher on the Labex RESMED project Les mots de la paix. His PhD thesis, 'Rituals of Apparition on the Theban Magical Library' was completed in 2015 at Macquarie University, Australia. His research focuses on magic and lived religion in Egypt from the Ptolemaic to Mamluk periods as revealed by papyrological and epigraphic sources. In this interview, Korshi begins by explaining what magical papyri are, where they came from, how they were used, and how people would obtain these texts. He also discusses his views about the concept of magic, and whether ancient people thought differently about 'magic' than contemporary people do. Our conversation then moves to modern occult practices and ritual magic, in particular, the use of a text taken from the Theban Magical Library Codex that is now known as 'The Headless God' or 'The Bornless Rite.' Korshi also shares his experience as 'impromptu' translator of a mysterious copper plate, thought by authorities to be written in Coptic, that was originally believed to be linked to an unsolved murder case from 1970, and his involvement in the podcast dedicated to this case, 'The WVU Coed Murders.' While some might think that the scholary study of ancient languages and texts to be far removed from everyday life, this example shows the importance of academic research for real-world issues. Korshi is also part of a team that produces 'The Coptic Magical Papyri Podcast,' where interested people can learn more about this special area of research.

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