Suffering Eros and Textual Incarnation: A Kristevan Reading of Kabbalistic Poetics

Elliot R. Wolfson

in Toward a Theology of Eros

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print January 2007 | ISBN: 9780823226351
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823236718 | DOI:

Series: Transdisciplinary Theological Colloquia

Suffering Eros and Textual Incarnation: A Kristevan Reading of               Kabbalistic Poetics

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The intertwining of language, eros, being, and time that may be elicited from Julia Kristeva's essay “Stabat Mater” complements a cluster of motifs that this chapter recovers in its excavation of the textual landscape of kabbalistic hermeneutics and poetic imagination. Utilizing a number of philosophical and theoretical perspectives, but most notably Maurice Merleau-Ponty's phenomenological ontology, this chapter characterizes the erotic play in traditional kabbalah in incarnational terms that, in a manner surprisingly similar to Kristeva, revolves about the encircling of flesh and word, the opening where word is embodied as flesh and flesh embodied as word. From the kabbalistic perspective we can say that language—the ordeal of discourse that is love—weaves its veil of words, metaphors of the invisible, to reveal the veil of the veiling. This chapter's Kristevan meditations on erotic suffering as a form of hermeneutical poetics in the kabbalistic tradition turns on readings of Song 8:6.

Keywords: Julia Kristeva; eros; suffering; poetics; kabbalah; flesh; word; metaphors; being; language

Chapter.  10024 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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