Charms and Charming in Europe by Jonathan Roper (eds.)

By Jonathan Roper (eds.)

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The text clearly does not belong to the orthodox Christianity of the Anglo-Saxon Church – and it is apparent from Anglo-Saxon homilists that use of incantations On the Christianity of Incantations 39 was proscribed by the official Church – but it was, nonetheless, a Christian text used by Christians. And, though the charm is part of AngloSaxon folk religion, just as the Old Saxon charms were part of Saxon folk religion, there is no evidence to suggest that the users of these incantations were anything but Christians.

It would be more accurate to say that the incantations in them have not been published. Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic, pp. 293–5, indicates the huge extent of the surviving court records and the need for further study of them. Oscar W. Clark, ‘Charms’, Folk-Lore 6, 1895, pp. 202–5; see p. 204. Arrangement into lines is added here. This charm, among others, is ‘from a small manuscript book, belonging to a blacksmith-farrier at Clun, Shropshire . . in a handwriting of the early part of the present [namely, nineteenth] century .

On New Testament and early Christian demonological beliefs see, among others, S. Eitrem, Some Notes on the Demonology in the New Testament, 2nd edn (Oslo: Universitatsforlaget, 1966); David Aune, ‘Magic in Early Christianity’, in H. Temporini and W. 2 (1980), pp. 1,507–57; Marvin Meyer and Richard Smith (eds), Ancient Christian Magic: Coptic Texts of Ritual Power (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1994); Clinton Arnold, Ephesians: Power and Magic (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989); and Clinton Arnold, The Colossian Syncretism: the Interface between Christianity and Folk Belief at Colossae (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996).

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