Speakers Bureau

Name: Eitan P. Fishbane
Title: Assistant Professor
Department: Jewish Thought

Eitan P. Fishbane is assistant professor in the Department of Jewish Thought of The Jewish Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in the literature and history of Jewish mysticism, from medieval Kabbalah to modern Hasidism.

Dr. Fishbane's research focuses on the nature of mystical experience, theories of selfhood in kabbalistic thought, and the intersection of literature and religion in the study of mysticism. His first book, As Light Before Dawn: The Inner World of a Medieval Kabbalist, was published in June 2009 by Stanford University Press, and received a grant from the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation. Dr. Fishbane's scholarship has also been published in several academic journals, including the Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy, Jewish Quarterly Review, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, and Journal of Religion. Theological essays have appeared in Sh'ma: A Journal of Jewish Responsibility and CJ: Voices of Conservative/Masorti Judaism.

Dr. Fishbane is presently at work on a second book project, entitled Mystical Drama and Narrative Form: The Literary Craft of the Zohar, a monograph that sets out to chart a new literary approach to the masterpiece of medieval Jewish mysticism and consider the lyric and narrative dimensions of the Zohar with the critical tools of modern literary studies. Over the last two years, Dr. Fishbane has delivered invited lectures on this topic at UCLA, JTS, Harvard University, and at a conference devoted to the Zohar in Prato, Italy. Dr. Fishbane is also the co-editor of two forthcoming volumes, entitled Jewish Mysticism and the Spiritual Life: Classical Texts, Contemporary Reflections (Jewish Lights Publishing) and Jewish Renaissance and Revival in America: Essays in Memory of Leah Levitz Fishbane (University Press of New England).

Dr. Fishbane is a regular scholar-in-residence and guest speaker at congregations across North America, and is actively involved in continuing education and enrichment for rabbis in the field. The recipient of many honors and awards, Dr. Fishbane holds a bachelor of arts, summa cum laude, and a PhD from Brandeis University.

In recognition of his doctoral dissertation, the Brandeis Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies awarded him the Nahum and Anne Glatzer Prize for Outstanding Achievement. In addition to his Littauer award for the publication of As Light Before Dawn, Dr. Fishbane has also received research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture.

Read Dr. Fishbane's Faculty Profile.

Recent Courses

Hasidic Mystics on the Meaning of the Holidays
Jewish Philosophical Texts: Thought and Theology in Medieval Times
The Literary Craft of the Zohar
Medieval Kabbalah
Jewish Mysticism in the Twentieth Century: Sefer Netivot Shalom
Self, Identity, and the Ideal Life in Sixteenth-Century Kabbalah
The Spiritual Meaning of Shabbat in Hasidic Mysticism
Perceptions of Greatness: Constructions of the Holy Man in Jewish Mystical Literature

Recent Public Lecture Titles

"What is Jewish Mysticism? Understanding the Kabbalah"
"Shabbat as Spiritual Transformation in Jewish Mysticism"
"Entering the Word, Opening the Heart: The Mystical Experience of Prayer"
"The Layers of Torah: A Path to God in Jewish Mysticism"
"The Virtue of Humility and the Pursuit of Wisdom: Mysticism and Ethics in Judaism"
"Mystical Theology: Ideas of God in the Kabbalah"
"The Zohar: Reading the Masterpiece of Jewish Mysticism"

Recent Articles

"Opening to the Mystery," Sh'ma: A Journal of Jewish Responsibility (October 2009)

"God as the Breath of Life," CJ: Voices of Conservative/Masorti Judaism (Fall 2009)

"Revelation and Creativity in the Life of a Medieval Mystic," Text/Context Supplement to The New York Jewish Week (May 2009)


God and theology

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