Circle in the Square: Studies in the Use of Gender in Kabbalistic Symbolism

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SUNY Press, Jul 1, 1995 - History - 268 pages
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This book deals with aspects of the gender imaging of God in a variety of medieval kabbalistic sources. It provides the key to understanding the phenomenological structures of mystical experience as well as the thematic correlation of esotericism and eroticism that is central to the kabbalah. The author examines the role of gender utilizing current feminist studies and cultural anthropology. He explores the themes of the feminization of the Torah, the correlation of circumcision and vision of God, the phallocentric understanding of divine creation as a process of inscription mythologized as an act of sexual self-gratification, and the phenomenon of gender-crossing in kabbalistic myth and ritual. Collectively, the studies explore in great depth the androcentric phallocentrism that is characteristic of medieval Jewish mysticism.
  

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Contents

FEMALE IMAGING OF THE TORAH FROM LITERARY METAPHOR TO RELIGIOUS SYMBOL
1
CIRCUMCISION VISION OF GOD AND TEXTUAL INTERPRETATION FROM MIDRASHIC TROPE TO MYSTICAL SYMBOL
29
ERASING THE ERASUREGENDER AND THE WRITING OF GODS BODY IN KABBALISTIC SYMBOLISM
49
CROSSING GENDER BOUNDARIES IN KABBALISTIC RITUAL AND MYTH
79

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About the author (1995)

Elliot R. Wolfson is Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University. He is the author of The Book of the Pomegranate: Moses de León's Sefer ha-Rimmon; Through A Speculum That Shines: Vision and Imagination in Medieval Jewish Mysticism; and Along the Path: Studies in Kabbalistic Myth, Symbolism, and Hermeneutics, also published by SUNY Press.

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