HJCS 577 - Seminar: Topics in the Study of Judaism
Section: 001
Term: WN 2010
Subject: Hebrew and Jewish Cultural Studies (HJCS)
Department: LSA Near Eastern Studies
Credits:
3
Waitlist Capacity:
unlimited
Repeatability:
May be repeated for a maximum of 9 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

This course will focus on the Zohar (the so-called Book of Enlightenment or Splendor) surely the central and most richly evocative work of Spanish Kabbalah. This voluminous work, written in sonorous neo-Aramaic, betrays an artist’s sense of language. Avoiding rigid categorization, the Zohar likes to speak of divinity and other “secrets” in fluid terms of light and water: flashing sparks, deep wells, springs, and flowing rivers. At once a “narrative” recounting the spiritual adventures of wandering heroes and a mystical “midrash” on Torah, the Zohar attained a sort of canonical status from the 15th century onward.

Our study of the Zohar will emphasize its historical placement, including its relation to currents in Christian and Islamic mysticism, and in philosophy, and with regard to social concerns of the day. We will also explore the riddle of its authorship - not only who composed it, but how was it “written”: amid the so-called “circle of the Zohar.” The core of the seminar will focus on ways of reading/decoding the Zohar. Themes to explore include kabbalistic images of the divine and of the natural world; the recasting of devotional practices and ritual innovation (including Shabbat practices, sacred eating, and Zohar’s impact on popular piety); the Zohar’s critique of certain regnant Jewish practices; its view of language and Torah; the rich (and sometimes bizarre) symbolization of masculine and feminine; the struggle with Evil and the Other; and the Zohar’s relationship to Messianism. Our textual study will be informed by contemporary scholarship. While students may rely on English translation, I will make ongoing references to the neo-Aramaic/Hebrew original, as well.

Pre-requisites: it is strongly recommended that students either have prior background coursework in Jewish Mysticism or other Jewish textual traditions, or have undertaken significant (university) study in other religious, contemplative or philosophical traditions. Hebrew and Aramaic texts will be available for those students with the appropriate language skills.

HJCS 577 - Seminar: Topics in the Study of Judaism
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
P
30245
Open
5
 
-
W 4:00PM - 7:00PM
Note: JUDAIC 467 & REL 471. A 4th credit hour will be offered (via Indp. Study-TBD) for those wishing to read selected texts of Nahman in the original Hebrew. Contact the Professor if you are interested.
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.


Note:
If you can get a good price on Melila's book (or have the resources), go for it. it is an exceptional work. Otherwise, I have a pdf from her of an her full manuscript, without the footnotes or final corrections!
ISBN: 0804762198
Zohar 5 Pritzker Edition., Publisher: Stanford Security Studies 2009
Required
ISBN: 0804749086
A guide to the Zohar, Author: Arthur Green., Publisher: Stanford Univ. Press Orig. prin 2004
Required
ISBN: 0812976207
The Song of songs : the world's first great love poem, Author: translated with an introduction and commentary, by Ariel Bloch and Chana Bloch ; foreword by Stephen Mitchell ; afterword by Robert Alter., Publisher: Modern Library 2006
Required
ISBN: 1904113435
The Sabbath in the classical Kabbalah, Author: Elliot K. Ginsburg., Publisher: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization 2008
Required
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 0804759391
A river flows from Eden : the language of mystical experience in the Zohar, Author: Melila Hellner-Eshed ; translated from the Hebrew by Nathan Wolski., Publisher: Stanford University Press 2009
Optional
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