CANCELED: Dancing with the Angel of Death: Demonic Femininity in the Ancient Synagogue
Tuesday, February 5, 2019, 3:30 pm PST - 5:00 pm PST
**The University of Washington Seattle campus has suspended operations Tuesday, due to continued icy conditions around the region. We are therefore unable to host “Dancing with the Angel of Death” with Laura Lieber. Keep an eye on our e-journal for articles on this topic.
What makes a woman powerful… and dangerous? Can what makes her “good” also be a potential “evil”?
In this talk, Laura Lieber (Duke University) will consider a striking presentation of demonic femininity in the early synagogue era (ca. 6th century CE), centering around a dramatic poem depicting a nefarious woman accused of adultery (a “Sotah“) and the magic ritual for determining her guilt or innocence (Numbers 5:12-31).
How does this synagogue performance expand on traditions as preserved in rabbinic sources, and resonate with magical texts and traditions of the time? How does the portrayal of the accused woman relate to universal human fears, and the recurring fear around women’s power to arouse male desire in particular?
Read the poems Dr. Lieber will be discussing here.
About the speaker
Laura S. Lieber is Professor of Religious Studies and Classics at Duke University, where she directs the Center for Jewish Studies and the Center for Late Ancient Studies.