Loading Events
This event has passed.
Painting of Lady Lilith combing her long, flaxen hair and gazing into a mirror

“Lady Lilth” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1873.

**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

Portrait of Laura Lieber smiling in her officeLaura 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.




This talk is supported by a Royalty Research Fund grant given to Stroum Center faculty member Mika Ahuvia for the 2018-19 academic year.