Nevertheless, I characterize the book as more protean. It resists reductive readings, always offering a counter-text to any interpretation (including the one in this essay.)
I argue one must take into account not only what magic is said to be, but also what magicians do. There is a reason, after all, that these practices are the ones against which Apuleius was compelled to mount his defense.
“The Bible is, and will likely long continue to be, both building material and building. It’s a treasury of the ancient world, a storehouse in which lie a large percentage of the glittering gems which survived the ancient Levant in any form. And it’s a doorway through which the ancient Levant continues to shape the present, as well as the history of how this heritage has been repeatedly reshaped and by whom.”
Borders change, today and throughout history. Incorporating maps into the classroom encourages the students to view this for themselves and to begin to understand the myriad of ways that politics shapes geographical borders.
“Performing the banquet shifted their analysis from the realm of the academic into the realm of something that is socially functional, assisting with student thinking about the ancient texts as representative of real people and their actions and beliefs.”
If Esther had a Pinterest, what would she post on it? If Ruth had a Spotify playlist, what songs would she include? What if Susannah joined the #metoo movement?
Papers from the 2018 Society of Biblical Literature’s review panel on Maia Kotrosits’s Rethinking Early Christian Identity: Affect, Violence, and Belonging (Fortress, 2015).
In 2017, the Religious Worlds of Late Antiquity SBL section organized a review panel to discuss Todd Berzon's Classifying Christians: Ethnography, Heresiology, and the Limits of Knowledge in Late Antiquity. During the month of July, AJR will feature the panelists' responses.
Watts ends the volume with a chapter on such modern representations of Hypatia, which move already suggests his aim: to bracket the legend long enough to catch sight of the life that inspired it.
This volume, replete with color images and detailed charts, is both a resource and an invitation for further research. The range of expertise offered by the volume’s contributors testifies to the interdisciplinarity that animates Byzantine Studies.