"The Most Worthy of Women is a Mistress of Magic": Women as Witches and Ritual Practitioners in 1 Enoch and Rabbinic Sources

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Biblical, post-biblical, and rabbinic literature portray women as sorcerers, but as The chapter demonstrates, the traditions vary substantially depending on the rhetorical and ideological context of the texts in which they appear. The bible, for example, presents an ambivalent position on the sex of magic practitioners in pre-Exilic Israel. The chapter traces this ambivalence through second temple writings, such as 1 Enoch, and rabbinic literature to show that while some texts do seem to identify women (or nations personified as women) with sorcery and forbidden knowledge, other texts do not, concluding that the relationship between women and sorcery as presented in early Jewish sources resists reduction to a single charge of misogyny.

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Daughters of Hecate: Women and Magic in the Ancient World



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