Unreliability and Gender? Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • In this article I analyze disbelief of the divine messages transmitted by female figures in the Jewish texts Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum, Jubilees, and the Sibylline Oracles. After a careful reading of these passages I turn to the portrayal of the figure of Cassandra in ancient Greek literature. While Cassandra‚Äôs prophecies are truthful, she is not believed and instead is accused of being mentally ill. Significantly, Cassandra does not appear randomly in ancient Greek texts; her depiction invites the public to ask questions concerning truth and persuasion. This article considers the treatment of Cassandra as a possible model for understanding the characterizations of women prophets as unreliable in ancient Jewish texts. Finally I argue that whereas in Greek texts both men and women appear as unreliable prophets, in the Jewish texts unreliability appears to be a female characteristic.

publication date

  • May 14, 2015