Witches in the Talmud: A Social Anthrological Study

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Dr. Fishbane suggests that in the patriarchal world of the Torah and Talmud, society perceives women as being liminal in its social order or on the fringe of the male centered society and this excluded from most central rituals. Women are regarded as threats to the patriarchal social structure if they do not act in accordance to traditional gender roles. Such women are regarded as witches or sorceresses.


“The Talmud reports numerous cases of magic. This paper is concerned with the analysis of female sorcery as presented in the Babylonian Talmud. It will also seek to understand, from the case of the female sorcery one aspect of the paradigm of the ideal Talmudic rabbi’s society, namely the role of women in the rabbinic social structure.”
From the Introduction

Table of Contents


Methodological Considerations

The Classifications of Female Sorceresses

1. The Talmud's Assertion that Women are Equated with Sorcery
2. Female Sorceresses in the Talmudic Story
3. Rabbinical Supremacy

Concluding Remarks

An Additional Comment

Works Cited

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