Daughters of Hecate Women and Magic in the Ancient World

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Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 2014-11-03
Publisher(s): Oxford University Press
List Price: $67.20

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Daughters of Hecate unites for the first time research on the problem of gender and magic in three ancient Mediterranean societies: early Judaism, Christianity, and Graeco-Roman culture. The book illuminates the gendering of ancient magic by approaching the topic from three distinct disciplinary perspectives: literary stereotyping, the social application of magic discourse, and material culture.

The authors probe the foundations of, processes, and motivations behind gendered stereotypes, beginning with Western culture's earliest associations of women and magic in the Bible and Homer's Odyssey. Daughters of Hecate provides a nuanced exploration of the topic while avoiding reductive approaches. In fact, the essays in this volume uncover complexities and counter-discourses that challenge, rather than reaffirm, many gendered stereotypes taken for granted and reified by most modern scholarship.

By combining critical theoretical methods with research into literary and material evidence, Daughters of Hecate interrogates a false association that has persisted from antiquity, to early modern witch hunts, to the present day.

Author Biography

Kimberly B. Stratton is an associate professor in the College of Humanities at Carleton University. She holds a B.A. in English and Religion from Barnard College, an M.T.S. from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in the history of religions in late antiquity from Columbia University. She has also studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research covers the fields of early Christianity, rabbinic Judaism, and Greco-Roman religion, focusing on the dynamics of identity formation, discourse, and social construction at the intersection of those ancient cultures.

Dayna S. Kalleres is an associate professor in the Program for the Study of Religion and the Department of Literature at the University of California, San Diego. She did her Ph.D. in program for the History of Early Christianity at Brown University; prior to that, she received a B.A. in Comparative Literature and Classics at Indiana University. Her research covers the fields of Greco-Roman Religions and Early to late antique Christianities; her focal interests include magic and religion, ritual studies, demonology and the urban sphere.

Table of Contents


1. Interrogating the Magic-Gender Connection - Kimberly B. Stratton

Part I. Fiction and Fantasy: Gendering Magic in Literature

2. From Goddess to Hag: The Greek and the Roman Witch in Classical Literature - Barbette Stanley Spaeth
3. "The Most Worthy of Women is a Mistress of Magic": Women as Witches and Ritual Practitioners in 1 Enoch and Rabbinic Sources - Rebecca Lesses
4. Gendering Heavenly Secrets? Women, Angels, and the Problem of Misogyny and "Magic" - Annette Yoshiko Reed
5. Magic, Abjection, and Gender in Roman Literature - Kimberly B. Stratton

Part II. Gender and Magic Discourse in Practice

6. Magic Accusations Against Women in Tacitus's Annals - Elizabeth Ann Pollard
7. Drunken Hags with Amulets and Prostitutes with Erotic Spells: The Re-Feminization of Magic in Late Antique Christian Homilies - Dayna S. Kalleres
8. The Bishop, the Pope, and the Prophetess: Rival Ritual Experts in Third-Century Cappadocia - Ayse Tuzlak
9. Living Images of the Divine: Female Theurgists in Late Antiquity - Nicola Denzey Lewis
10. Sorceresses and Sorcerers in Early Christian Tours of Hell - Kirsti Barrett Copeland

Part III. Gender, Magic, and the Material Record

11. The Social Context of Women's Erotic Magic in Antiquity - David Frankfurter
12. Cheating Women: Curse Tablets and Roman Wives - Pauline Ripat
13. Saffron, Spices, and Sorceresses: Magic Bowls and the Bavli - Yaakov Elman
14. Victimology or: How to Deal With Untimely Death - Fritz Graf
15. A Gospel Amulet for Joannia (P.Oxy. VIII 1151) - AnneMarie Luijendijk

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