14. Constructions of Gender (Online July 2021)

12th Enoch Nangeroni Meeting: “Constructions of Gender in Late Antiquity”

Chairs: Kathy Ehrensperger (Abraham Geiger Kolleg) and Shayna Sheinfeld (Sheffield Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies, Sheffield University)

Secretaries: Joshua Scott (University of Michigan – Ann Arbor), Juni Hoppe (Abraham Geiger Kolleg/Potsdam University)

Date: 19-22 July 2021

Location: Online

Following up on the Enoch Nangeroni Seminar on Gender and Second Temple Judaism (Rome, 2018), this seminar extends the research done in that earlier seminar in order to examine both the continuity and the shifts in the construction of gender as we move into the early 2nd–8th centuries. Our work together in this seminar emphasizes the need for interdisciplinary scholarly discussion across different time periods that are in many ways arbitrary and anachronistic. Participants in this seminar will utilize explicit methodology in their reconstruction of gender from the ancient textual and material sources in the areas of Judaism, Christianity, early Isalm, and Roman religions.

If you are interested in participating or have any questions, please contact Joshua Scott (scottjos@umich.edu) to be added to our email list.

Tentative Schedule

Monday, 19 July:

Opening Session: 9:00am-9:30am – Kathy Ehrensperger and Shayna Sheinfeld

Session 1: 10:00am-12:00pm

Bernadette Brooten, “Genital Variation in Early Rabbinic Sources within the Cultural Context of Roman Law and of Ancient Astrology and Medicine”

Maia Kotrosits, “Notes from the Interior: Journeys, Gender, and the Transformative Potential of Elsewhere”

Saadia Yacoob, “Reading Gender in Early Islamic Law”

Carly Daniel-Hughes, “Adornments of Empire: Feminine Subjectivity and Roman Colonial Life in Tertullian of Carthage”

Discussant: TBD

Session 2: 1:00pm-3:00pm

Matthew Anderson, “Notes from the Interior: Journeys, Gender, and the Transformative Potential of Elsewhere”

Allison Kanner-Botan, “Making the Amicable Madman: Majnūn and Masculinity in Early Islam”

Daniel Vorpahl, “The Body as a Wonderland: Descriptive Creation, Attribution and Transformation of Human Bodies as Acts of Gender Construction in Midrashic and Talmudic Literature”

Discussant: TBD

Tuesday, 20 July:

Opening Session 9:00am-9:30am

Session 3: 10:00am-12:00pm

Sara Omar, “Gendering Sex in Early Islam”

Ilaria Ramelli, “Constructions of Gender in Origen of Alexandria”

Federico Dal Bo, “‘Incest’ in Qumran and Tannaitic Literature: A Halakhhic Struggle for Cultural Hegemony”

Juni Hoppe, “The disgraceful use of the male body in a female manner: Lev 20:13 in 4th-century Roman legislation”

Discussant: TBD

Session 4: 1:00pm-3:00pm

Peter Mena, “Performing Thecla: Gender Performance and the Theater in Ancient Christian Apocrypha”

Krista Dalton, “Torah and Testosterone: The Performativity of Rabbinic Expertise”

Lily Vuong, “Virginity, Marriage, and Motherhood: Competing Models of the Ideal Feminine in the Acts of Thecla and Acts of Xanthippe and Polyxena”

Matthew Hotham, “Tying Knots of Fortitude to Withstand Your Beauty: Women as Temptresses and Tests of Fortitude in Early Sufi Biographies”

Discussant: Jennifer Barry

Wednesday, 21 July

Opening Session 9:00am-9:30am

Session 5: 10:00am-12:00pm

Catherine Bronson, “The Islamic Eve in lateantiquity

Angela Standhartinger, “Eve’s Testament”

David Zakarian, “Eve in Early Christian Armenian Tradition”

Discussant: TBD

Session 6: 1:00pm-3:00pm

Sarit Kattan Gribetz, “Forget about Eve: Methodological Reflections about Studying Women in Antiquity”

Lavinia Cerioni, “The Feminine as an Intellectual Category in Gnosticism. Proposal of a Methodological Framework.

Sari Fein, ““For Rachel I Will Return the Israelites”: Maternal Grief and Loss in the Early Jewish Imagination”

Sara Parks, “Misogyny and Anti-Judaism at the Parting of the Ways”

Discussant: TBD

Thursday, 22 July

Opening Session 9:00am-9:30am

Session 7: 10:00am-12:00pm

Michal Bar-Asher Segal, “The Literary Construction of Gender: The Figure of Ifra Hormiz in the Babylonian Talmud”

Alison Vacca, “Death at the Door of the Karapet: Gendered Access to the Miraculous in Late Antique Armenia”

Andrew Higginbotham, “‘Shush Salome, your brother Shimon is speaking!’: A Peculiar Pattern of Palestinian Passivation”

Catherine Bonesho, “Friend or Foe?: Cleopatra in Rabbinic Literature”

Discussant: TBD

Closing Session: 1:00pm-3:00pm – Kathy Ehrensperger and Shayna Sheinfeld, others


  • Matthew Anderson, Concordia University
  • Jennifer Barry, University of Mary Washington
  • Albert Baumgarten, Bar Ilan University
  • Federico Dal Bo, University of Heidelberg
  • Gabriele Boccaccini, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
  • Catherine Bonesho, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Catherine Bronson, University of Notre Dame
  • Bernadette Brooten, Bradeis University
  • Lavinia Cerioni, Aarhus University
  • Krista N. Dalton, Kenyon College
  • Daniel Vorpahl, Abraham Geiger Kolleg
  • Carly Daniel-Hughes, Concordia University
  • Kathy Ehrensperger, Abraham Geiger Kolleg/ University of Potsdam (Chair)
  • Sari Fein, Brandeis University
  • Sarit Kattan Gribetz, Fordham University
  • Andrew Higginbotham, Ivy Tech Community College – Lawrenceburg
  • Juni Hoppe, Abraham Geiger Kolleg/ University of Potsdam
  • Matthew Hotham, Ball State University
  • Allison Kanner-Botan, University of Chicago Divinity School
  • Maia Kotrosits, Denison University
  • Peter Mena, University of San Diego
  • Sara Omar, Georgetown University
  • Sara Parks, University of Nottingham
  • Ilaria Ramelli, Durham University
  • Joshua Scott, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor (Secretary)
  • Shayna Sheinfeld, Sheffield Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies, University of Sheffield (Chair)
  • Angela Standhartinger, Philipps-Universität Marburg
  • Michal Bar-Asher Siegal, Ben Gurion University of the Negev
  • Alison Vacca, University of Tennessee
  • Lily Vuong, Central Washington University
  • Meredith Warren, University of Sheffield
  • Saadia Yacoob, Williams College
  • David Zakarian, University of Oxford