Download Archiv für Religionsgeschichte: Volume 9 by Assmann, Jan, Jan Assmann, Fritz Graf, Tonio Holscher, PDF

By Assmann, Jan, Jan Assmann, Fritz Graf, Tonio Holscher, Ludwig Koenen, Jorg Rupke

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In a study of the feminine in kabbalah, Elliot Wolfson has shown that in this scheme there is no equality between the masculine and feminine. The theurgic aim of unifying the left side with the right side, aims to include the feminine within the masculine. When the female is autonomous, it falls into the dominion of the Other Side, the latter lurking just to the left of the Divine Man. ” This motif is best expressed in the following passage from the Zohar, quoted by Wolfson: When the Holy One, blessed be He, created man, He created him perfect, as it says, “God made man straight (Ecclesiastes, 7:29).

What accounted for the “chosenness” of the Jewish people, for Maimonides, was the fact that the man who reached the highest level of prophecy, Moses, and who then prepared a Law for his people, happened to be a Jew. While Maimonides’ moral outlook would not pass the inspection of a contemporary committee responsible for political correctness, it does display J. Gellman, Jewish Mysticism and Morality 27 openness to non-Jews and Jewish culture that is far from the exclusionary ethnocentrism of the kabbalah.

Again, Rabbi Arthur Green (but not Rav Kook) deontologizes gender, which traditional Jewish mysticism turned into metaphysical categories. When Green departed from traditional Jewish mysticism concerning non-Jews, he did so in the name of the unitive character of that tradition. Here, however, that unitive tradition includes the uniting of the male and female into the domain of the male, weakening the female in male domination. Here, then, we have not only an erasure of the Other Side, but also a serious re-working of the unitive theme itself in Jewish mysticism.

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