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Daughters of HecateWomen and Magic in the Ancient World$
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Kimberly B. Stratton and Dayna S. Kalleres

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780195342703

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195342703.001.0001

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The Bishop, the Pope, and the Prophetess: Rival Ritual Experts in Third-Century Cappadocia

The Bishop, the Pope, and the Prophetess: Rival Ritual Experts in Third-Century Cappadocia

Chapter:
(p.252) 8 The Bishop, the Pope, and the Prophetess: Rival Ritual Experts in Third-Century Cappadocia
Source:
Daughters of Hecate
Author(s):

Ayşe Tuzlak

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195342703.003.0008

This chapter considers a polemical story about a third-century prophetess who is said to be possessed by a demon. In a letter to Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, Firmilian describes a female prophet who arose in the region of Cappodocia and was, according to Firmilian, possessed by a demon. Under its sway, she attracted a large following through preternatural feats and fabulous predictions. The real source of his concern, however, is that she assumed ecclesiastical powers, performed the eucharist, and baptized many of her followers. Firmilian draws on the discourse of magic to denounce her as demon-possessed, enlisting a common trope of magic accusations that served to distinguish divinely wrought miracles from demonic magic in antiquity. The chapter demonstrates how Firmilian employs this story about one woman’s illegitimate accessing of ritual power in support of rebaptism during highly charged ecclesiastical debates over the nature of authority and sacramental efficacy in the third century.

Keywords:   sacramental efficacy, demon, rebaptism, eucharist, ecclesiastical power, miracles, magic, Cyprian, Firmilian

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