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The Bible and FeminismRemapping the Field$
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Yvonne Sherwood

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198722618

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198722618.001.0001

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The Case of Women’s Rituals in Ancient Israel, or How to Remember the Woman of Endor

(p.277) Chapter 15 Forget it
The Bible and Feminism

Ann Jeffers

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on women’s rituals in the Hebrew Bible. While much work has been done recently on rituals, little attention has been paid so far to women’s rituals. Using a range of methodologies, from feminist hermeneutics to classics, ritual theory, memory studies, and reception, this chapter will attempt to unveil and understand the mechanisms which have marginalized women’s religious and ritualistic experiences. I will use the story of the Woman of Endor in 1 Samuel 28 as a test case and will show that the text’s patriarchal ideology may cover up a fuller political divinatory ritual akin to that of the Delphi oracle. In a second section, I will examine how the reception of this story in the work of Jacob Cornelisz van Oostsanen, a sixteenth-century painter from Amsterdam, also devalues and distorts women’s ritual through explicit associations with witchcraft as defined by the Malleus Maleficarum.

Keywords:   feminist hermeneutics, women’s rituals, memory, 1Samuel 28, Cornelisz van Oostsanen

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