Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Snow in Ithaca!

It's snowing, finally - we had a very warm winter until a few weeks ago, when the Arctic cold from Canada swooped down on us and hasn't left yet. 15 to 30 inches of snow are forecast for today, so we have a snow day at Ithaca College! The college has been closed and classes have been cancelled. (IC is at the top of a rather steep hill, the Tompkins country sheriff has asked people not to engage in unnecessary travel, and many people live rather far away from the college and would find it difficult to get to work). I haven't had a snow day for over thirty years, so I plan to enjoy it! I hope to post some photos later on.

I've been gone for a long time, since the beginning of the year, because of the crush of work since then. I'm teaching three classes (Judaism, Jewish Mysticism, and Gender and Sexuality in Judaism). I'm enjoying the classes and they seem to be going well, but they don't leave a whole lot of time for other things. (Although I have been reading plenty of other people's blogs!)

Over the break between classes I worked on revising the paper that I gave at the Society of Biblical Literature meeting in November, on women and sorcery in 1 Enoch. (For an earlier version of the paper, go to SBL Seminar Papers and scroll down to "S20-138 Wisdom and Apocalypticism in Early Judaism and Early Christianity Section"). In the paper I tried to take into account some of the research that has come out of the Wisdom and Apocalypticism section on the connections between Wisdom literature in the Second Temple period and apocalyptic literature. I became interested in the idea (put forth by Ben Wright, Annette Yoshiko Reed in her book on the fallen angels, and others) that the circles that produced 1 Enoch had connections to the wisdom circles of such teachers as Joshua ben Sira. Ben Sira, in his book, denounces those who seek out hidden things and try to understand those things that humans are not meant to understand. Reed hypothesizes that he was denouncing those who produced apocalyptic books like 1 Enoch, and suggests that one way to understand 1 Enoch is by considering it as a product of disillusioned scribal groups. Ben Sira is noted for his misogynistic statements about women, and it made me wonder whether the connection in the Book of Watchers between women and magic was due to the same kind of misogynistic thinking as we find in Ben Sira. I'm pursuing this idea in the paper, in addition to outlining how the Book of Watchers tells of the Watchers' teaching of sorcery to their human wives.

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