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Trafficking with DemonsMagic, Ritual, and Gender from Late Antiquity to 1000$
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Martha Rampton

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781501702686

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2022

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501702686.001.0001

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Ritual, Demons, and Sacred Space

Ritual, Demons, and Sacred Space

(p.87) Chapter 3 Ritual, Demons, and Sacred Space
Trafficking with Demons

Martha Rampton

Cornell University Press

This chapter considers how traffic with demons was so etched on some ritual forms of traditional Roman worship that either new rites had to be developed or the symbolic content of old rituals reframed for the early Christian church. The clergy sought to save meaningful and familiar ritual forms when it seemed possible to redirect the symbolic content. However, some behaviors were so thoroughly saturated with messages counter to Christian truths that they could not be reformed. Christians thus created a new kind of space where demons dared not tread. The enclosed hallowed space provided a clean slate on which a new story could be written in the language of ritual. Here, Christian worship aligned itself in form and tone with traditional somber customs of Roman worship, but the symbolic content making up the pagan rituals was redirected, and the aspects attractive to demons were filtered out.

Keywords:   rituals, sacred spaces, Roman worship, language of ritual, Christian worship, pagan rituals, demonic rituals

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