Self & Mystical Identity in Sixteenth Century Kabbalah

Next Event: November 8, 2023 $0.00 - $150.00
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Please join us for this virtual series of events!

In what would become the legendary kabbalistic hilltop town of Tzfat in the 1500s—the birthplace of such timeless texts as Lekha Dodi and Yedid Nefesh; a location whose larger-than-life figures included such luminaries as Rabbi Yosef Karo, Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, Rabbi Yitzhak Luria (the ARI), and many others— there unfolded one of the most remarkable chapters in the entire history of Judaism, and of Jewish mysticism in particular. Through a variety of concerns, ideas, and genres of writing, the mystics of this time and place expressed a pronounced focus on the nature of the human self and spiritual psychology: its essence and character, its fundamental state of relationship to Divinity. In the sessions of this course, we will explore a range of these issues and modes of creativity as they appeared in the sixteenth century Tzfat. We will explore such major topics as: Soul, Body, and Reincarnation (Gilgul); The Ethics and Piety of Self-Transformation (Kabbalistic Musar); Mystical Autobiography; Emotion, Feeling, and Mind. Please join us as we dive deeply into this fascinating and inspiring landscape of ideas, feeling, and spirituality!


Dr. Eitan Fishbane is Professor of Jewish Thought at The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), where he has taught for 17 years. A 2015-2016 JTS Chancellor’s Fellow, Fishbane has served on the JTS Faculty Executive Committee; as B.A. and M.A. Advisor in Jewish Thought; and on The Rabbinical School Council. He is a former Division Chair for Jewish Mysticism at the Association for Jewish Studies (AJS); current Chair of the Oxford Interfaith Forum on Mysticism; and Book Review Editor for Jewish Mysticism at The Marginalia Review of Books. He is the recipient of grants from The Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture and The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), as well as the Charles A. Ryskamp Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). Among Professor Fishbane’s published books are: The Art of Mystical Narrative: A Poetics of the Zohar (Oxford University Press, 2018); As Light Before Dawn: The Inner World of a Medieval Kabbalist (Stanford University Press, 2009); and, most recently, Embers of Pilgrimage (Panui Poetry Series, 2021). He is currently at work on several book projects, among them Shabbat in Ḥasidic Thought: Sacred Time and Mystical Consciousness; Self & Identity in Sixteenth Century Kabbalah; andThe Zohar as Mystical Poetry. In addition to these academic projects, Fishbane is working on a spiritual-theological commentary on the Torah cycle and the Jewish holidays, tentatively entitled, Written on the Heart: Meditations & Readings; and he is completing his second volume of original poetry, entitled, Soul Fragments. Fishbane received his Ph.D. and B.A., summa cum laude, from Brandeis University. Visit him at

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Fact Sheet
Wednesday, November 8, 2023, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Wednesday, November 15, 2023, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

From Wednesday, November 22, 2023 1:00 pm
Until Tuesday, November 22, 2022 2:00 pm

Wednesday, November 29, 2023, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Wednesday, December 6, 2023, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

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$150.00 full series
$ VIP members

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