Language, Eros, Being

Elliot R. Wolfson

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print December 2004 | ISBN: 9780823224180
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235377 | DOI:
Language, Eros, Being

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This study — a blend of philosophy, poetry, and philology — draws on theories of sexuality, phenomenology, comparative religion, philological writings on Kabbalah, Russian formalism, Wittgenstein, Rosenzweig, William Blake, and the very physics of the time-space continuum to establish a high water mark in work on Kabbalah. Not only a study of texts, this book provides a full confrontation of the body in Jewish studies, and also in religious studies as a whole. The book explores the complex gender symbolism that permeates Kabbalistic literature. Focusing on the nexus of asceticism and eroticism, it seeks to define the role of symbolic and poetically-charged language in the erotically configured visionary imagination of the medieval Kabbalists. It demonstrates that the traditional Kabbalistic view of gender was a monolithic and andocentric one, in which the feminine was conceived as being derived from the masculine. The book does not shrink from the negative implications of this doctrine, but seeks to make an honest acknowledgment of it as the first step toward the redemption of an ancient wisdom. Comparisons with other mystical traditions — including those in Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam — are a feature throughout the book.

Keywords: philosophy; poetry; philology; sexuality; phenomenology; Kabbalah; Jewish studies; asceticism; eroticism; gender

Book.  792 pages. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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Epilogue in Language, Eros, Being


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