The Goldstein-Goren Department of Jewish Thought
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
My life before BGU:
I was born in Los Angeles, but grew up in Israel, in Tel Aviv. I studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for my bachelor's degree in Jewish Thought and Musicology. My master's degree in Jewish Thought was also at the Hebrew University, where I focused on the Kabbalist texts of the Middle Ages, especially the Zohar, under the supervision of Prof. Yehuda Libs.
My doctoral thesis was written at BGU, under the supervision of Prof. Boaz Huss with the collaboration of Prof. Yehuda Libs, and it dealt with Guillaume Postel, a Renaissance era French catholic oriental scholar, who studied the Jewish Kabbalah writings and interpreted them from a Messianic-Christian perspective.
Postel composed annotated Latin translations of Kabbalah texts, and I studied his Latin interpretation of the Zohar, and translated parts of it into Hebrew.
Two parts of my dissertation have been published as books, "A Kabbalistic Christian Messiah in the Renaissance: Guillaume Postel and the Book of Zohar" and "On the Conciliation of Nature and Grace, Restituted into One: A Latin Introduction, Translation, and Commentary on the Zohar by Guillaume Postel (1510–1581)".
Then I did a post doc in Paris, during which I began new research, on another 16th century Christian writer who studied the Jewish Kabbalah – the Augustinian Cardinal Egidio da Viterbo. As part of this project, Prof. Libs and I are preparing a Hebrew translation of Egidio's great Latin composition, entitled "Divine Spirit".
During two additional post docs at the Hebrew University, I began a new research project, which deals with the non-Jewish background of theological ideas that characterize the early Kabbalah in the 13th century.
"Cultural identity is multi-faceted and multi-layered and if we acknowledge this – not only our research will become more exact, but also peace will increase a little in our world"
I study Jewish Kabbalah, not only in itself, but also as part of the general non-Jewish world. Mainly, I focus on Christian scholars who studied Kabbalah during the Renaissance, and the non-Jewish characteristics of the general culture in the Middle Ages, which led to the appearance of the Jewish Kabbalah during this time.
The first research topic is called "Christian Kabbalah" and refers to the phenomenon of Christians studying the Jewish Kabbalah who believed the Kabbalah was the oral Torah given on Mount Sinai and passed down by the Jews for generations, and therefore in their eyes the Kabbalah is the ancient Christian Torah containing deep secrets relating to faith and holy Christian writings.
My second topic of research is the broad cultural and conceptual background against which the rise of new ideas relating to divinity in 13th century Provence and Iberia should be understood. In my research I aspire to show how part of the unique ideas characterizing Kabbalistic essays are not only an expression of internal Jewish developments, but it is possible to identify in them important expressions of the non-Jewish general culture during this period in Europe. In order to carry out this research, I received a research grant for new faculty members from the Azrieli Fund.
After doing my doctorate at BGU's Department of Jewish Thought, I know it and feel at home there. It's extremely diverse and lively from an academic and cultural standpoint, full of great research students who really inspire teaching and research in the department.
An insight from my research:
Every person lives and acts in a large number of simultaneous cultural contexts, which aren't necessarily contradictory. Cultural identity is multi-faceted and multi-layered and if we acknowledge this – not only our research will become more exact, but also peace will increase a little in our world.
Something that doesn't appear on my resume:
I love music and play the cello and piano.
A source of inspiration:
I try to find inspiration in every character, real or fictional. It's not easy to be a person and I'm awed by everyone who succeeds.
When I grow up:
As a child it wasn't something I thought about; in my early twenties I already knew what I wanted to do.
Summer or winter? Autumn. Pigments aren't the strong side of my DNA.
Coffee or tea? Beer or wine? Coffee and wine.
An isolated cabin in nature or a pampering hotel in the city? A small hotel in Paris.
Meet other researchers who joined us this year »