JUDAIC 468 - Jewish Mysticism
Section: 001
Term: FA 2014
Subject: Judaic Studies (JUDAIC)
Department: LSA Judaic Studies
Waitlist Capacity:
Other Course Info:
Taught in English.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

A study of the historical development of Jewish mysticism, its symbolic universe, meditational practices, and social ramifications. While we will survey mystical traditions from the late-Second Temple period through modernity, the central focus will be on the rich medieval stream known as kabbalah.

Among the issues to be explored are:

  • the nature of mystical experience;
  • images of God, world, and Person;
  • sexual and gender symbolism (images of the male and female);
  • the problem of evil;
  • mysticism, language, and silence;
  • mysticism and the law;
  • mysticism and community;
  • meditative and ecstatic practices (ranging from visualization to chant, letter combination, and modulated breathing);
  • kabbalistic myth and ritual innovation; and
  • kabbalistic interpretations of history.

Modern interpretations of mysticism will also be considered. Readings for the course consist of secondary sources from the history of Judaism and comparative religion, and selected primary texts (in translation). Requirements include two exams and a research paper. Class lectures will be supplemented by discussion, contemplative exercises, and on occasion, music and other media.

JUDAIC 468 - Jewish Mysticism
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

The Coursepack (with sources, charts, images) is all online, and can be printed out if you wish! For the required books, either printed edition or e-book is fine!
ISBN: 1580232132
Ehyeh, Author: Arthur Green., Publisher: Jewish Lights Publishing 2011 Quali 2004
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 0804749086
A guide to the Zohar, Author: Arthur Green., Publisher: Stanford university press Orig. prin 2004
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 0062511637
The essential Kabbalah : the heart of Jewish mysticism, Author: Daniel C. Matt., Publisher: Harper Collins 4. [Dr.]. 1995
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 1904113435
The Sabbath in the classical Kabbalah, Author: Elliot K. Ginsburg., Publisher: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization 2008
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 1879045257
Your word is fire : the Hasidic masters on contemplative prayer, Author: edited and translated with a new introduction by Arthur Green and Barry W. Holtz., Publisher: Jewish Lights Pub. 1st paperb 1993
ISBN: 0300205694
The poetry of Kabbalah : mystical verse from the Jewish tradition, Author: translated and annotated by Peter Cole ; co-edited and with an afterword by Aminadav Dykman., Publisher: Yale University Press 1st ed. 2012
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 0804778590
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 2011
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.

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