JUDAIC 467 - Seminar: Topics in the Study of Judaism
Section: 001 Zohar: The Book of Enlightenment
Term: WN 2010
Subject: Judaic Studies (JUDAIC)
Department: LSA Judaic Studies
Waitlist Capacity:
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.

JUDAIC 467 - Seminar: Topics in the Study of Judaism
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
W 4:00PM - 7:00PM
Note: Meets with Judaic 517.
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

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
ISBN: 0804749086
A guide to the Zohar, Author: Arthur Green., Publisher: Stanford Univ. Press Orig. prin 2004
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
ISBN: 1904113435
The Sabbath in the classical Kabbalah, Author: Elliot K. Ginsburg., Publisher: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization 2008
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
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for JUDAIC 467 (UM login required)

View Historical Syllabi
The CourseProfile (ART) system, supported by the U-M Provost’s 3rd Century Initiative through a grant to the Office of Academic Innovation, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (ART)