The College is thrilled to welcome University College London lecturer Alinda Damsma for her free online talk, The Decline of the ‘White Witch’ in the Bible and Beyond, on Tuesday 16 February, 7-8:15pm UK time.
This free online lecture discusses the transformation of the ‘white witch’ into a malevolent female figure from ancient times onward.
Throughout the Bible we find attestations of women who were engaged in divinatory and magical practices. Most of these female figures could be popularly described as ‘white witches’, who used magic for healing, divining and other benign purposes, but they are cast in a negative light in the Bible itself or in its reception history afterwards.
The same phenomenon occurs elsewhere in the Ancient Near East, for instance in Mesopotamian literature, where the figure of the ‘white witch’ was side-lined and subsequently dehumanised and demonised.
History tends to repeat itself because a similar development took place many centuries later in Europe during the early modern witch-hunts, when mostly female practitioners of beneficial magic were accused of performing malefic witchcraft, with devastating consequences.
In this talk we will look at this recurring literary and historical phenomenon in more detail and discuss its continuous impact.
We also welcome Wicca Meier-Spring, director of the Museum of Witchcraft Switzerland, who will make a special guest appearance to discuss the Swiss persecution of the ‘white witch’. A Q&A will be held at the end of the lecture.
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