This paper proposes a conceptual link between Zechariah's vision of the woman in the ephah (Zech 5,5-11) and Assyro-Babylonian exorcisms utilizing figurines. My comparison focuses on the integration of ritual elements in Zech 5,5-11. This analysis highlights the modifications that the ritual elements underwent before they could function as an integral part of a prophetic vision. The analysis of Zech 5,5-11 against the backdrop of Assyro-Babylonian exorcisms sheds new light on the manner in which the prophetic author(s) employed ritual material in his exemplification of sin and atonement.
This contribution reviews the various interpretations offered to understand the obscure pronouncement in Jer 31,22b: “A woman will encompass a man”. One of the most popular proposals, which is also the most plausible, is to regard the utterance as an example of gender role reversal. What the proponents of this viewpoint fail to demonstrate satisfactorily, however, is how this saying in Jer 31,22b relates to the multiple other ancient Near Eastern cultural contexts (literary, social-political and religious) where the same mundus inversus principle is likewise attested. It is argued that this broad backdrop is a sine qua non for the proper understanding of this enigmatic passage.
Interpreters differ significantly regarding the identity of the 'partenoi' discussed in 1 Cor 7,25-40. There is some uncertainty about whether they are men and women, or only women. And those who understand them as only women differ as to whether they are betrothed women, unmarried daughters, spouses in spiritual marriages, or young widows who are possible candidates for levirate marriage. I argue that the 'partenoi' are only women, and that they are unmarried daughters of Corinthian Christians. The argument is based mainly on usage of 'partenos' in literature written before, and at approximately the same time as, 1 Corinthians. In addition i offer an interpretation of 1 Cor 7,25-40, especially of vv. 36-38, that supports understanding the word as designating young, unmarried daughters.