Mystical Drama and Narrative Form: The Literary Craft of the Zohar


Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowships


Jewish Thought


This project seeks to develop a new approach to the Zohar—the masterpiece of Jewish mysticism. Long studied through the lens of the history of ideas, the Zohar has yet to be fully appreciated as an extraordinary literary document—as a text rich in lyrical and fictional creativity. In quest of these understudied literary voices, this project considers the use of dramatic and performative representation; the rhetoric of magical and mythic realism; and the dynamic interplay of narrative form and mystical exegesis. The work locates zoharic narrative with in the broader landscape of Iberian Jewish literature in this period to recover and construct a poetics of the Zohar.