This is a dense tome which analyzes and comments on a wide breadth of Lilith mythology and Lilith-related mythology. Despite being divided into three parts, including a psychological perspective and a look at continuing religious views, it is the historical evidence and documents which Hurwitz spends the greater part of the book on.
The thorough analysis of archaeological evidence and historical documentation isn’t itself a problem. For a figure as enigmatic and intriguing as Lilith, it is only right that what little historical evidence exists should be addressed with great depth. This book had great potential to be wonderful resource for advance practitioners who work with or are devoted to Lilith.
Unfortunately, it appears that the existing historical and archaeological evidence for myths and beliefs about Lilith are so rare that Hurwitz ends up relying on adjacent mythologies, frequently sidetracking with figures and mythologies of tenuous connection to Lilith. Frequently the connection to Lilith was so tenuous as to not even be clear, so that it often seemed as though certain figures and stories were only included because of a passing resemblance to Lilith and her myths. Many times Hurwitz failed to draw clear connections between this various stories and Lilith, so that even if there is a tangible connection between them the reader may well be left in the dark about it.
Though lengthy and very well-researched, the book ends up feeling like a research project on succubi figures in general rather than Lilith specifically, even if there is a focus on Lilith. The tenuous connections between the various succubi figures and myths and Lilith herself, and sometimes lack thereof of any reasonably drawn connection, casts the scholarship into doubt, as does a tendency to consider certain artifacts as absolutely connected to Lilith despite what most archaeological scholarship attests.
In the end, this book is perhaps not the resource for the advanced practitioner or devotee that I had thought it might be (which perhaps I should have known as it was passed to me from an advanced devotee who quickly lost interest in it). Whether or not it even accomplishes its goal as a strictly scholarly text is highly questionable. Though many of the mythologies are intriguing in their own right, a reader looking to gain a deeper understanding of Lilith might want to pass on this one.
[Tahni J. Nikitins studied Comparative Literature and Creative Writing and spent a year exploring spiritual and cultural pursuits in Sweden. Her published works include “Only a Dream” in the anthology Terror Politico, “Is It Any Wonder” published in the 2017 edition of A Beautiful Renaissance, and “A Letter to Njörðr, signed Sigyn” in the devotional Between Wind and Water. She is currently working on revisions for her first novel.]