The CBd
Bonner, SMA, 31.



of the Berlin magical texts we find the following names thrown together in an invocation: Apollo, Iao, Michael, Gabriel, Abrasax, Adonai, Pakerbeth, a name often associated with Set (Σηθ), Aion, Eloaios (cf. Hebrew Elohim).40

What has been said of Iao applies also to another expression of Hebrew origin which is occasionally found both in magical papyri and on gem amulets, namely, the words ὁ ὤν. This is, of course, derived from the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew ehyeh asher ehyeh, “I am that I am” (Exodus 3, 14), which in the Greek appears as ὁ ὤν. This, even more than Iao, might be claimed as evidence for Jewish work; but it is associated with pagan designs and inscriptions (D. 151) and was certainly borrowed in most of the places where it occurs, if not in all.

There is another legacy from Jewish tradition in the occasional invocation of the patriarchs of Israel, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and, less commonly, Moses, and the very frequent angel names that appear on amulets.41 Not only do the names of the archangels appear as they are known to us from biblical and rabbinical writings, but lesser angels, some of whose names are not attested elsewhere, are included in the invocations engraved on talismanic stones; some of them may well have been invented by the magicians just as they invented other magical words. There is little doubt, however, that the Palestinian tradition about the angels was largely Egyptianized, perhaps to a point that would have surprised a Palestinian Jew. Arnobius, writing early in the fourth century, imagines an unbeliever saying of Christ, “Magus fuit, clandestinis artibus omnia illa perfecit, Aegyptiorum ex adytis angelorum potentium nomina et remotes furatus est disciplines.”42 It is noteworthy that he mentions Egypt, not Palestine or Syria, as the place where the magical use of angel names was especially common. Later in the same century Didymus the Blind makes it clear that a cult of the archangels Michael and Gabriel was well established among the Christians of Egypt; he speaks of churches and richly adorned houses of prayer called by their names and says that the oratories are to be found in poor streets, in private houses, and even in the country.43

Egyptian amulet makers of about the same period seem to have used angelic names in connection with Egyptian gods and with demonic figures that are not readily identifiable; and they may have actually invoked some of these non-Jewish deities by the names of angels. On a small chalcedony in my possession (formerly in the Wyndham Cook collection) there is a nude figure with the head of a dog or a jackal, perhaps Anubis, holding a situla in the right hand and in the left an uncertain object, which may be a short, thick baton or perhaps a roll of papyrus.44 An inscription below the figure reads Μιχαηλ, and the absence of any other words seems to show that the name belonged to the figure depicted and is not to be taken as a mere exclamatory invocation. A Berlin amulet shows on one side Anubis in Roman dress holding a palm leaf and a purse, while the reverse is a soldierly figure holding



40 PGM I, 297 ff.

41 PGM I, 159, 219–220.

42 Adv. gent. 1, 43.

43 PG 39, 589 B.





Last modified: 2012-11-05 10:09:18
Link: classics.mfab.hu/talismans/pandecta/1206