University of Calgary

Jewish mysticism

Expert in Jewish mysticism featured at Craigie lecture

By Janice Lee

One of the world’s foremost experts in Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism will be coming to the University of Calgary for the 2006 Peter Craigie Memorial Lecture.

Dr. Elliot Wolfson, the Abraham Lieberman Professor of Hebrew and Judaic  Studies at New York University, will deliver a talk entitled “Envisioning the Invisible: The Mystical Quest to See God in Judaism” on Monday, Oct. 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the Rozsa Centre.

The Kabbalah tradition prohibits the visual portrayal of God, and yet a great deal of energy is devoted to describing the divine in visual, human-like terms.

In his talk, Wolfson explores this central paradox, which has accompanied the spiritual practice of kabbalists through the generations.

Wolfson is the author of several books and essays, including Through the Speculum That Shines: Vision and Imagination in Medieval Jewish Mysticism, which won an American Academy of Religion’s award for excellence, and Language, Eros, and Being: Kabbalistic Hermeneutics and the Poetic Imagination, which won the National Jewish Book Award for excellence in scholarship.

“What I especially like about Wolfson’s work is the way that he studies Kabbalistic texts on their own terms, and in their original contexts, rather than imposing upon them abstract scholarly constructions that are inappropriate to them,” says Dr. Eliezer Segal, a professor of western religions in the Department of Religious Studies.

Sponsored by the Faculty of Humanities and Department of Religious Studies, the Peter Craigie Memorial Lecture Series was established in 1988 to honour the memory of Dr. Peter Craigie, a distinguished scholar who served as vice-president (academic), dean of the Faculty of Humanities and head of the Department of Religious Studies at U of C.

The lecture, followed by a reception, is free and open to the public. For more information contact Janice Lee at 220-8177 or leej@ucalgary.ca.