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In the case of defixiones, they did so by removing "intolerable tensions" and "transferring emotions": "to inscribe a curse tablet and throw it into the sacred pool relieved the injured party's feelings: something at least had The irony in the case of Christianity is that from very early on, for instance at the latest starting with Lactantius' On the Deaths of the Persecutors (c. e. the torments of hell that await the unjust) of those who opposed the Christian message or what dogmatic believers defined as ethically or behaviorally normative.

Aune has 18 40 ilk, the prevalence of the ritual papyri signaled the decline of religion in late antiquity, a devolution from a "truer" form of religion into superstition and decadence. R. Dodds, for instance, this decadence infected even the most educated echelons of society including the late Platonists that concern later portions of this study. 20 Its Gibbonesque presuppositions as well as its teleological bent make this model problematic. Hence, over the past few decades scholars have begun to question the utility of this decline and decadence model for investigating the rich and varied landscape of late antique religion.

19 For scholars of this 17 See footnote 2 of this chapter for discussion of this history. See Brashear, p. 3391, footnote 4 for bibliography on the relationship between magic and religion. Z. Smith has been one of the most vocal critics of this model. In his article, "Trading Places," in Ancient Magic and Ritual Power, ed. Marvin W. Meyer and Paul Allan Mirecki (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1995), he notes that the idea that "magic" is an incipient form of "science" or "religion" is an "odd sort of definition" (14).

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Platonists and high priests: Daemonology, ritual and social order in the third century CE by Marx-Wolf, Heidi,

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