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Gendering Revealed Knowledge? Prophecy, Positionality, and Perspective across Sibylline and Enochic Discourses

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism
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  • 1 New York University, New York, NY, USA
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Abstract

This article is an experimental exploration of how gender shapes the conceptualization of knowledge, both among ancient Jews and among modern scholars of ancient Judaism. It focuses on the Sibylline Oracles, putting recent specialist research on their earliest strata into conversation with theoretical discussions of positionality. Attention to the anachronism of modern scholarly assumptions about embodiment and knowledge opens the way for analyzing the different meanings made by the female positioning of the Sibyl in antiquity. This article argues that her gender functions differently even in the Hellenistic-era and the Roman-era strata of the Third Sibylline Oracle. To read its Hellenistic-era strata with an eye to the gendering of knowledge, moreover, adds much to our analysis of Jewish responses to Greek paideia, while also enriching our understanding of the transformation of biblical prophecy in other Hellenistic-era Jewish writings, like the Enochic Book of the Watchers.

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