For hundreds of years, Kabbalah has been perceived as a body of secret theoretical and practical knowledge concerning creation, the divine world, and human interaction with it. This course will introduce you to the major ideas and practices of the Kabbalah from an academic point of view.
The course will examine basic Kabbalistic themes such as the theory of the Sefirot, ecstatic and prophetic Kabbalistic techniques, reincarnation, demonology, and practical Kabbalah. It will introduce major Kabbalistic works and movements, including the Sefer ha-Zohar, Lurianic Kabbalah, Hasidism, and the contemporary revival of popular Kabbalah.
In recent decades, interest in Kabbalah has been increasing and many non-academic Kabbalah centers have been founded throughout the world. Most of the information available online for the layman is non-academic, and at times it can be misleading and confusing.
The aim of this course is to introduce students with no background in Kabbalah or Jewish thought to the major ideas and practices of the Kabbalah in their historical and cultural settings. The ideas are presented in an accessible manner without jeopardizing the course's academic rigor.
The course approaches Kabbalah from a historical and sociological perspective. Kabbalistic theories and practices will be studied through reading and analyzing primary sources (the Kabbalistic texts themselves) as well as applying the most up-to-date secondary literature (academic research)
The course presents a variety of different perspectives on the themes it covers. Through the assignments and discussions that accompany the video lectures, students will be encouraged to express their opinions and individual perspectives, and to contribute to fruitful intellectual discussions.
- The main concepts, doctrines, and practices of Kabbalah
- The historical development of Kabbalah from medieval to modern times, including its major schools, central texts, and main figures
- The historical significance of Kabbalah, and the cultural roles it has played from the late medieval to the modern periods