Evocating the Gods

Divine Evocation in the Graeco-Egyptian Magical Papyri

Bibliographic Entry

Plaisance, Christopher A. Evocating the Gods: Divine Evocation in the Graeco-Egyptian Papyri. London: Avalonia, 2019.


Evocating the Gods offers the first dedicated analysis of the practice and context of theagogy within the Late Antique world. This book is an in-depth exploration of the historical context of θεαγωγία (divine evocation) within the Papyri Graecæ magicae (PGM), combined with a comprehensive examination and philological analysis of the technical terms found in the texts. It demonstrates that the practice of theagogy is part of a wider tradition, as well as being rooted in Western Esotericism.

The PGM spells in which the magician evokes deities were controversial and ambitious even at the time when they were written down. In this monograph, the author first explores essential terminology and their definitions before presenting detailed chapters on:

The monograph delves into the philosophical attitudes towards both theagogy and other magical practices within Middle and Late Platonism as part of this meticulous study. By drawing on a wide range of sources in the Western esoteric tradition, it illustrates the contextual relationships between seemingly unrelated Late Antique magical practices such as theurgy, necromancy, erotic enchantments and binding curses. The exploration and philological analysis of the technical terms found in the Greek Magical Papyri, as well as the crucial differences between evocation and invocation, makes Evocating the Gods essential reading for all students of the Graeco-Egyptian Magical Papyri.


theagogia, evocation, invocation, magical papyri, necromancy, binding curses, erotic enchantments, Middle Platonism, Neoplatonism