University of Haifa’s Director of the Center for the Study of Jewish Cultures, J. H. Chajes, comes to Vanderbilt on February 27th.
“It’s Good to See the King:Visual Kabbalah and the Diagramming of the Divine”
February 27th, 4:00 P.M.
100 Alumni Hall
Most students of kabbalistic literature find themselves “visualizing” its cosmogonic and cosmological teachings. The iconic “Tree of Life” is certainly the best known kabbalistic symbol, and is often the first thing conveyed to those being exposed for the first time to this lore. What few realize is that complex graphical scrolls have been a genre of kabbalistic literature in their own right since the Renaissance, and that from the late seventeenth century such scrolls became an indispensable tool to Lurianic kabbalists. In this presentation, I will introduce this little-known genre and explain the origins and functions of these amazing kabbalistic artifacts.
J. H. (Yossi) Chajes (Ph.D., Yale University 1999) is Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in the Department of Jewish History of the University of Haifa. A former recipient of Fulbright, Rothchild, Wexner, and Hartman Fellowships, Chajes was also Visiting Professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York and a fellow at the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. His book, Between Worlds: Dybbuks, Exorcists, and Early Modern Judaism, (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003) was a Koret Jewish History Book Award finalist. He is currently writing a book on the “Magic Taboo” in Jewish culture as well as a book on cosmological cartography in early modern Judaism. Chajes’s Ilanot Project has been supported by the Israel Science Foundation since 2008, and is an ambitious attempt to catalogue and describe all extant kabbalistic cosmological diagrams.
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