I just returned from the SBL very late last night (it took 12 hours to drive from Washington, D.C. to Cambridge, MA, where I'm spending Thanksgiving with my family - an inordinate amount of traffic around Wilmington, Delaware caused about a 2 1/2 hour delay!). I had a good time and met some interesting people that I'll be in correspondence with soon. The session of the Early Jewish and Christian Mysticism section that I took part in was an interesting retrospective on our past ten years, and gave rise to many suggestions for what to do next. I also received some interesting suggestions on the paper that I gave on women and magic in 1 Enoch. My revisions for that paper will go into a longer paper that I'm working on now on the more general subject of women and magic in early Judaism, which I'm writing for a volume on women and magic in the ancient world.
I also went to some great sessions - including one with Susannah Heschel, talking about the Nazification of the theological faculty of Jena during the Third Reich. She has written about this earlier, and I hope that her research will lead into a book on the subject. I have a particular interest in this topic because of something that I discovered while doing dissertation research in the early 1990s. Theodor Hopfner, who was the author of a two-volume work on Greco-Egyptian magic published in the 1921 (Griechisch-ägyptischer Offenbarungszauber), went on to write a book entitled "Die Judenfrage bei Griechen und Roemern," published in Prague in 1943. I took the book out and was horrified to discover that it was an anti-semitic screed, based on the idea that the ancient Greek and Roman hatred of Jews for their "misanthropy" was a predecessor of Nazi racial anti-semitism. He emphasizes the revolting physical characteristics of Jews, including their degenerate sexual lives. I want to do some more research on Hopfner's career to figure out how he got from writing on revelatory magic in Egypt to searching for the roots of racial anti-semitism in the ancient world. He's the author of many other well-received books, including a translation of Plutarch's "On Isis and Osiris," originally published in Prague 1940-41 and reprinted in 1967, an edition of Iamblichus' "On the Mysteries," and a book on the animal cults of the Egyptians.