Constructing the witch: how women became maleficent

Course Dates: 28/10/23
Time: 10:30 - 16:30
Location: Keeley Street
This study day will examine the question of the association of women with magic and witchcraft.
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Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00

Course Code: HRS35

Sat, day, 28 Oct - 28 Oct '23

Duration: 1 session

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What is the course about?

The course will examine the rise of the religious concept of ‘witches’ as both an ancient and modern construct through looking at texts and images. Religious/theological, sociological, political and economic factors will be discussed and assessed in attempting to understand the association of women with witchcraft.

What will we cover?

Women ‘witches’ in the Bible and the ancient near East.
Ideas about witches and witchcraft during the early centuries of the common era, and their enduring appeal in the Medieval period.
The course will also introduce the Malleus Mallificarum (1487) most fundamental text which constructs the idea of witchcraft, and crucially associates witchcraft with women.
The rise of ‘witch-art’ in the sixteenth century as illustration of the Malleus Malleficorum and Bible illustrations from Luther’s Bible.
The witch-hunts in Europe.
The legacy of witch trials and persecutions.
The modern witch.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

Understand the religious motivations behind the ‘othering’ of women and their classification as ‘witches’ from ancient times to the modern period.
Understand the active construction of the concept of ‘witch’.
Analyse a range of visual art relating to ‘witch-art’.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The course is suitable for beginners and does not require any particular skills beyond an interest in the subject. An open mind and a willingness to listen to and think about views with which you do not always agree are more important than specific levels of skills.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The course will use both primary texts and visual art; it will be taught through lecture, seminars and discussion groups.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

There are no other costs. You may find it useful to bring notetaking materials.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

You might be interested in HRS36 Satan and the Devil: a cultural view through text, image and tradition.

Ann Jeffers

Dr Ann Jeffers taught Biblical Studies (Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Judaism) at Trinity College Dublin and Heythrop College, University of London for 30 years. She is now Research Fellow at Roehampton University. Her research interests, and publications are in the field of magic and divination in the Bible and the ancient world, feminism and reception history of the Bible mostly in literature and the visual arts. She also belongs to an interdisciplinary research group, ‘Media and Religion’.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.