Download Circle in the Square: Studies in the Use of Gender in by Elliot R. Wolfson PDF

By Elliot R. Wolfson

This ebook bargains with the problem of gender in Jewish mysticism displaying the thematic correlation of eroticism and esotericism that's relevant to the kabbalah.

"A travel de strength when it comes to old variety, analytic boldness, textual assets, and interpretive structures. a big contribution in each feel to Jewish proposal and interpretation." -- Michael Fishbane, college of Chicago

"Wolfson has a knack for choosing quite tough texts and elucidating them for the reader." -- Daniel Matt, Graduate Theological Union

This publication offers with features of the gender imaging of God in quite a few medieval kabbalistic resources. It offers the most important to figuring out the phenomenological buildings of mystical adventure in addition to the thematic correlation of esotericism and eroticism that's primary to the kabbalah. the writer examines the position of gender using present feminist experiences and cultural anthropology. He explores the topics of the feminization of the Torah, the correlation of circumcision and imaginative and prescient of God, the phallocentric realizing of divine construction as a technique of inscription mythologized as an act of sexual self-gratification, and the phenomenon of gender-crossing in kabbalistic fantasy and formality. jointly, the experiences discover in nice intensity the androcentric phallocentrism that's attribute of medieval Jewish mysticism.

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Example text

The dynamic of circumcisio:l, the play of closure-openness, informs us about the nature of mystical hermeneutics as well: that which is hidden must be brought to light, and the medium of disclosure is the seal of the covenant. In variou:, ways the zoharic authorship establishes a structural affinity between the act of disclosing esoteric truths and that of sexual ejaculation, or in other words between the phallus and the mouth, the covenant of the foreskin and the covenant of the tongue. 61 The impropriety of illicit sexual behavior is parallel to the impropriety of revealing hidden truths that one has not properly received.

Commenting particularly on the first part of the verse, the anonymous midrashist writes: It is speaking about the time when the Presence (Shekhinah) rested in the Tabernacle (mishkan). "Go forth and gaze," as it is said, "And all the people saw and shouted, and fell on their faces" (Lev. 9:24). "The Maidens of Zion," those [males] who were distinguished (ha-me~lUyanjm) by circumcision, for if they were uncircumcised, they would not have been able to look upon the Presence. Rather, they would have fallen as Abraham fell, as it is said, "Abram fell on his face, and God spoke to him" (Gen.

126 A person cleaves to the form of the letters of the Torah, which is the bride, and the cleaving of his essence to the inner essence of the letters of the Torah is the true mating (ha-ziwwug ha- )amitJ), "naked without garment"127 or [any) face, [without) advantage or reward, but rather for its own sake, to love her so as to cleave to her. This is the essence and purpose of everything. " Torah study is therefore a form of sexual unification with the divine feminine or the Torah, which is the bride.

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