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Course Details

Spring 2018-2019
* JDS 204 (HA)   Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit

Jewish Mysticism, Magic, and Kabbalah from Antiquity to Middle Ages

Ra'anan S. Boustan

This course traces the history of Jewish mysticism and magic from the Hebrew Bible to the flourishing of the Kabbalah in medieval Europe. We will consider such historical problems as: the roots of the Jewish mystical tradition in Israelite prophecy; rabbinic attitudes toward secret knowledge and ecstatic practice; and the emergence of the Kabbalah against the background of Jewish rationalist philosophy. The course also considers such thematic questions as: the relationship between literary expression and mystical experience; the power of speech and language in Jewish magic; and gender, sexuality, and the body in Jewish mysticism.

Sample reading list:
Robert H. Sharf, Experience, in Critical Terms for Religious Studies
Gershom Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism
Martha Himmelfarb, From Prophecy to Apocalypse: The Book of the Watchers and T
Peter Schäfer, Mirror of His Beauty: Feminine Images of God from the Bible
See instructor for complete list

Reading/Writing assignments:
There will be approximately 100 to 150 pages of assigned reading each week. Students will write several response papers, and a final paper. Students will be expected to participate actively in class discussion at each meeting.

Paper in lieu of Final - 45%
Papers - 45%
Class/Precept Participation - 10%

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
40897 C01 01:30:00 pm - 02:50:00 pm T Th        Enrolled:3 Limit:20