The Demons in the Details, or Why Are All Those Demons in the Talmud?
The Babylonian Talmud is filled with stories about demons and with laws that regulate how humans and demons should interact. But what are all those demons even doing in the Talmud? In this talk we’ll examine how demons are constructed in the Talmud and explore medieval and modern resistances to the presence of demons in Judaism. Using demons as our lens, we’ll think through what looking at the wacky and the weird tells us about late antique Jewish culture and theology.
Dr. Sara Ronis is an associate professor of Theology at St. Mary’s University, Texas, where she teaches courses in the Hebrew Bible and its reception, and Jewish Studies and religious studies more broadly. She holds a Ph.D. in ancient Judaism specializing in the Talmud from Yale University, and a B.A. in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University. Her first book, Demons in the Details: Demonic Discourse and Rabbinic Culture in the Babylonian Talmud (August 2022), looks at demonic discourse in the Babylonian Talmud in its legal, narrative, and socio-cultural contexts.
Cosponsors: Classical & Near Eastern Religions & Cultures, The Center for Premodern Studies, and The First Millennium Workshop