Australian researchers Malcolm Choat and Iain Gardner, the pair responsible for deciphering the codex, have revealed that the text is actually an ancient spellbook containing everything from love spells to healing spells. There are also religious references, including at least one reference to Jesus. The converted text is being published under the title "Egyptian Handbook of Ritual Power."
The intrigue surrounding the spellbook has been intense among scholars, heightened by the fact that the text's origin remains a mystery. It was only just discovered by an antiques dealer in the late '70s or early '80s, and is believed to have been written by someone in pre-Islamic Upper Egypt approximately 1,300 years ago. The book contains 20 parchment pages written in Coptic, but until now researchers have failed to decipher the text.
The pages feature 27 spells and multiple invocations and drawings. They were likely used as a handbook for a practitioner of rituals. Love spells are included, as well as spells for casting out evil spirits. The book also includes ideas on how to treat ailments, including one known as black jaundice.
Scholars also found a smorgasbord of religious references. There are Jesus mentions, but there are also references to a religious sect whose members are known as Sethians — people who identify with Adam and Eve's third son, Seth. Particularly mysterious are citations that refer to a god-like figure known as Baktiotha, a previously unknown character to researchers.
So far no one knows who wrote the text, but given the loosely-connected, wide-ranging references, scholars suspect it may have been written by an unaffiliated scholarly type who used the codex as a means of helping people achieve desires or goals. In other words, it may have been written by a New Age-y, ancient Egyptian version of a life coach. Or to put it another way — considering the spells for helping people excel in business and relationships — it may have been written by a Tony Robbins-esque self-help guru.
Yes, ancient Egypt was a very interesting place indeed.
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