The “Greek” and “Egyptian” “magical papyri” are a group of late Hellenistic to late antique ritual formularies, amulets, and other activated texts, most of which were written in Greek and found in Egypt. They have been traditionally interpreted as the grimoires of magicians until recently. Following the work of David Frankfurter, it is now often assumed that most recipes were created by priests in Roman Egypt in a bid to attract the patronage of Greek-educated patrons after Egyptian temple cults collapsed in the third century CE. However, recent studies on temples in Roman Egypt demonstrate that there is no compelling evidence attesting to an early decline of Egyptian temples. Empire-wide increase and decline in economic and literary activities provide a more accurate context for the appearance and disappearance of Greek ritual recipe books in late antique Egypt. The ritual formulary known as P.Lond. I 121 (= PGM 7) is a good candidate for this approach as it suggests the aptitudes and interests manifested by Greek-educated client scholars.

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