Lilith, Gender and Demonology by Stephanie Spoto
Stephanie Spoto’s study of Lilith examines the feminine demonic. She succinctly demonstrates that the demonisation of the female is embedded in how we perceive and apprehend demonic icons such as Lilith. This is a study that goes back to the early modern period populated by such great ‘men’ as John Dee, Milton, and Shakespeare. For each applied and negotiated their understanding of threat by projecting their current fears onto and into aspects of such entities as Hecate and Lilith. While topics surrounding the destabilisation of societal equilibrium have always been present, Spoto shows that during the 16th and 17th century a projected impression of presences concerned with engaging with the demonic were being studied and practised. Fears over heresy, uncertainty, loss, treason, even sexual appetite threatened the continued aggrandisement of a patriarchal society, in accordance with this much was being done by magicians to usurp the feminine. It should therefore come as no surprise to learn that Stephanie Spoto successfully presents evidence which shows that rather than shunning Lilith, authors of the time were openly communicating and negotiating their sense of an existential reality and crisis via the demoness.