References to magic and divination are scattered through the Torah.
Yet we rarely find attestations of witches and witchcraft such as women performing acts of black magic and manipulating life and death.
There is however a fascinating, scarcely known passage in the Book of Ezekiel, which contains a scathing attack on a group of women who perform eerie practices and use strange bodily accessories for their obscure, dark rituals.
In this talk Dr Alinda Damsma throws light on the identity and practices of these women – who have often been (mis?)understood as death dealing witches – and she will compare the nature of these women’s activities with similar cases in the Ancient Near East.
Dr Alinda Damsma teaches Biblical Hebrew at UCL. She received her Bachelor and Master of Divinity from the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam and her PhD from UCL. She formerly taught at Leo Baeck College, King’s College London and the University of Oxford.
Dr Damsma's past publications focused on Aramaic, the Targums, and Jewish mysticism. She is currently working on two monographs: a grammar of the Zohar, and a study on the perception of magic, divination, and witchcraft in the English Bible translations and their impact on the early modern witch-hunts.
This is part of the JW3 partnership series with UCL and the Sir Martin Gilbert Learning Centre.