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Naming the Witch Magic, Ideology, and Stereotype in the Ancient World

ISBN-10: 0231138369

ISBN-13: 9780231138369

Edition: 2007

Authors: Kimberly B. Stratton

List price: $65.00
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Description:

Kimberly B. Stratton investigates the cultural and ideological motivations behind early imaginings of the magician, the sorceress, and the witch in the ancient world. She considers representations of these figures in the literature of four related periods and cultures: classical Athens, early imperial Rome, pre-Constantine Christianity, and rabbinic Judaism, comparing various patterns in representation and the relationship between stereotypes of magic and the social factors that shaped them. Stratton argues that the concept "magic" emerged in ancient Athens, where it operated as a discourse in response to post-Persian War anxiety over the uncivilized barbarian and in an effort to define Greekness. The idea of magic then spread throughout Rome and the rest of the Hellenized world, reflecting and adapting to the political forces, values, and social concerns of each society. Accusations of magic could carry the death penalty or, at the very least, marginalize the person or group they targeted. However, Stratton moves beyond a common understanding of these accusations as mere slander. In her view representations and accusations of sorcery mirror a complex struggle over defining authority, legitimacy, and Otherness. Drawing on Foucault's notion of discourse as well as the work of other contemporary critics, Stratton presents a more nuanced, ideologically sensitive approach to understanding the stereotype of the witch in Western history.
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Book details

List price: $65.00
Copyright year: 2007
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 11/9/2007
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 312
Size: 6.38" wide x 9.29" long x 0.97" tall
Weight: 1.232
Language: English

Kimberly B. Stratton is an associate professor in the College of Humanities at Carleton University. She grew up in Seattle, 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 culture and religion.

Preface
Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Magic, Discourse, and Ideology
Barbarians, Magic, and Construction of the Other in Athens
Mascula Libido: Women, Sex, and Magic in Roman Rhetoric and Ideology
My Miracle, Your Magic: Heresy, Authority, and Early Christianities
Caution in the Kosher Kitchen: Magic, Identity, and Authority in Rabbinic Literature
Epilogue
Works Cited
Index