Image Source: ReJesus.
Mysterious Universe reports on the discovery this September of a sacred charm, which demonstrates the earliest known use of magic in the Christian religion. (Hat tip: Graham Hancock). The spell is written in Greek on a 1,500 year old papyrus and dates between 574 CE and 660 CE. It was uncovered by researcher Roberta Mazza among other papyrii in the archives of the Library at the John Rylands Research Institute in Manchester, UK. Mazza assumed that folds in the papyrus indicate that the charm was likely worn inside a locket for protection. She remarked:
"The almost illegible text says that it was released in the village of Tertembuthis (modern el-Ashmunein [in Egypt]) and is a receipt for the payment of grain tax which was certified by the tax collector from the village. Therefore we may reasonably guess that the person who re-used the back for writing the amulet was from that same village or the region nearby, although we cannot exclude other hypotheses. ... The amulet maker would have cut a piece of the receipt, written the charm on the other side and then he would have folded the papyrus to be kept in a locket or pendant. It is for this reason the tax receipt on the exterior was damaged and faded away."
Earliest known Christian magical spell refers to the bread at the Last Supper as manna from heaven. Image Source: Capital OTC.
The amulet links the Jewish Old Testament idea of manna, or food from heaven created at twilight on the sixth day of Creation, to the sacred bread eaten at the Last Supper, as described in the New Testament. This connection suggests that manna was the bread at the Last Supper, and it granted everlasting life to those who consumed it because it came from a celestial and sacred source. Manna is a curious symbol which bridges the physical and the metaphysical. As a charm, the papyrus embodies and coveys to its bearer some of that transitional power:
The charm's text combines words from Psalm 78:23-24, Matthew 26:28-30 and other Biblical passages and reads:Whether or not it is overtly acknowledged as such, modern Christianity certainly maintains many of the primary components that could allow us to make such comparisons; namely that of prayer, and belief in its healing power as wrought by a merciful creator of all existence. And although it is aged by some 1500 years, the papyrus charm newly rediscovered at John Rylands Research Institute in the UK signifies the earliest known instance of such superstitions being observed in conjunction with a physical token of some kind.
“Fear you all who rule over the earth. Know you nations and peoples that Christ is our God. For he spoke and they came to being, he commanded and they were created; he put everything under our feet and delivered us from the wish of our enemies. Our God prepared a sacred table in the desert for the people and gave manna of the new covenant to eat, the Lord’s immortal body and the blood of Christ poured for us in remission of sins.”