Session Submission Summary

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The Role of Emotions and the Nature of Emotional Life in Jewish Mystical Tradition

Mon, December 17, 8:30 to 10:00am, Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center, Waterfront 2 Ballroom
Tue, December 18, 12:45 to 2:15pm, Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center, Waterfront 2 Ballroom

Session Submission Type: Seminar


There has been a very significant interest in the study of emotions in the field of Religious Studies in the recent past although less so in Jewish Studies. In the case of the study of Jewish mysticism, while there has been a significant turn towards social, sociological, and psychological features of this tradition, it remains the fact that little sustained attention has been afforded the study of the role of emotions and emotional life. This is especially surprising given the centrality of affect and emotions in this tradition. The proposed seminar seeks to advance rigorous inquiry into this topic by bringing together eight scholars across the wide range of Jewish mysticism.

The papers include the following:

"Fear and Wrath as Literary Patterns in Hekhalot Literature" (Michael Swartz)
"Am I Loved?: Signs of Love in the Zohar" (Ronit Meroz)
"Shame and Clothing in the Zoharic Myth" (Rut Kaniel)
"Shame in the Panoptic Culture of the Zohar" (Joel Hecker)
Emotion as Self-Formation and Imitatio Dei in Sixteenth-Century Kabbalistic Ethics (Eitan Fishbane)
"The Question of Anger in Moshe Cordovero and Elijah de Vidas" (Lawrence Fine)
"'Enduring Many Evils:' Suffering, Despair, and Hope in Sefer Pokeah Ivrim" (Hartley Lachter)
"Emotional Emphases and Styles Among Hasidic Masters and their Disciples" (Nehemia Polen)

Chair: Sharon Koren

Although we worked very hard to include more women, we believe we have good gender inclusion with three women, including the Chair.
The Chair is herself a scholar of Kabbalah, and will be able to contribute substantively to discussion. We also have inclusiveness by way of two Israeli scholars and we have a good mix of other participants by way of age and stage of career. Ours is a relatively small field, and we have sought to make this seminar as balanced as possible.

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