Book Talk: The Art of Mystical Narrative: A Zohar Symposium

Date: Nov 27, 2018 - Nov 27, 2018

Time: 7:30 - 9:00 p.m.

Category: Book Talks Library Events Livestream Public Lectures & Events

The Art of Mystical Narrative: A Zohar Symposium
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
7:30–9:00 P.M.

In The Art of Mystical Narrative: A Poetics of the Zohar (Oxford University Press, 2018), Dr. Eitan Fishbane reveals the Zohar as an extraordinary narrative—the tale of a wandering kabbalist sage seeking wisdom in ancient Galilee—a fiction invented by 13th-century Jewish mystics in Spain. Calling it “one of the greatest works of world religious literature,” Dr. Fishbane explores the Zohar’s storytelling through the various lenses of literary criticism, clarifying its deep integration with mystical theology. He, along with experts in Kabbalah, medieval Jewish culture, and Jewish literature, will discuss the narrative and poetic features of the Zohar in the context of comparative literature and spirituality.

Join us for a discussion, marking the publication of Dr. Fishbane’s new book, in conversation with:

  • Dr. Lawrence Fine, Irene Kaplan Leiwant Professor Emeritus of Jewish Studies, Mount Holyoke College
  • Dr. Sharon Koren, Associate Professor of Medieval Jewish Culture at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, New York
  • Dr. David Roskies, Sol and Evelyn Henkind Chair in Yiddish Literature and Culture, JTS, and co-founder of Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History
  • Moderated by Dr. David Kraemer, Joseph J. and Dora Abbell Librarian and Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics, JTS

The panel will be followed by remarks from Dr. Fishbane, Associate Professor of Jewish Thought, and an audience Q&A.

Books will be available for purchase and signing by the author. Admission to the book talk is free, but reservations are required. Please arrive early and have photo ID available.

Stream this program live at no charge at (registration not required for the livestream).

This event is co-sponsored by The Library of JTS and The Block/Kolker Center of Spiritual Arts.



“In this groundbreaking and brilliant study, Fishbane explores the poetic artistry of the Zohar, enabling us to appreciate the masterpiece of Kabbalah in radically new ways. He highlights the theatrical/performative dimension of zoharic narrative and its magical realism. Significantly, he locates the Zohar in the context of medieval Spanish literature, both Jewish and Christian. Fishbane’s erudite and fascinating book demonstrates how the Zohar is simultaneously a bold mystical interpretation of the Torah and an experiment in medieval fiction.”
—Daniel Matt, author of the multi-volume annotated translation The Zohar: Pritzker Edition, and The Essential Kabbalah