Past Research Groups

Picture Power

2012-2015

 

Cultural Continuity in Changing Worlds – The representation of Government in the Near East from the late fourth millennium bce to the early modern period (ca. 3200 BCE – 1600 CE)  

 Since the dawn of urban civilization in the Near East, rulers and their retinues have propagated ideological messages regarding their legitimacy, status, obligations, and rights. The visual expressions of royal ideology are the subject of our research. We aim to explore the continuity and survival of visual aspects of Near Eastern royal presentations within the ever-changing religious, cultural, Ideological, and political frameworks of the region. Despite the use of an array of languages rooted in different, and at times conflicting, religions, fluctuating demographic components, and unending transformations of governing ideologies and political agendas, ancient imagery resurfaces again and again in the Middle East. Indeed, remote concepts and visual symbolism of the kingly past never totally vanished from this area, but were treasured throughout the six millennia of Near Eastern civilization. The issue of cultural continuity lies at the core of our research; we will compare royal imagery of different periods, explore its social, political, and religious meaning, and examine the dynamics of its survival throughout Near Eastern history.  

Through the analysis of royal visual representations and pictorial metaphors, and the comparison of pictures with texts, the unique role of pictorial expression and its divergence from textual presentation will be studied; the two models of presentation do not necessarily accord with or complement one another. This tension between words and pictures reveals hidden, often ambivalent and unsolved cultural tropes in a given period or civilization.  

Group Members:  

Dr. Arlette David: msarlett@mscc.huji.ac.il  

Prof. Rachel Milstein: milstein@huji.ac.il  

Dr. Galit Noga-Banai: gnbanai@huji.ac.il  

Prof. Tallay Ornan: Tallay@mscc.huji.ac.il  

Raanan Eichler: raanan.eichler@mail.huji.ac.il  

Dana Gilboa Brostowsky: danbros@gmail.com  

Anna Gutgarts-Weinberger: a_gutgarts@yahoo.com  

Liat Naeh: liat.naeh@mail.huji.ac.il  

 

Conferences  

-In January 2015 the group hosted an international workshop:  

‘Picturing Royal Charisma in the Near East (3rd millennium BC to 1700 AD)’.  

-In May 2013 the group organized a tour to Turkey.  

 

Eros, Family and Community

2011-2014

 

As a nexus with far-reaching implications within both private and public domains, conceptualization of Eros is a rich locus of signification. In public spheres, Eros directly and deeply affects the nature and character of social organizations, both small-scale units such as the family and larger entities such as communities bound by cultural, religious or ethnic ties. The concept of Eros is essentially interdisciplinary, frequently crossing boundaries and even transgressing limits that define and confine subject, gender, class, ethnicity, nationality and religion. Hence Eros invites and even necessitates interdisciplinary research linking literature, history, sociology, cultural studies, psychology and theology. Accordingly, the proposed project is interdisciplinary, combining Jewish history, Israeli history, Romance literature, Jewish and Hebrew literature, and Classical studies, while utilizing a variety of research methodologies that aim at exposing and investigating the links between the different expressions of Eros in these areas.
 
Group Members:
 
Prof. Ruth Fine: msruthie@mscc.huji.ac.il
Prof Yosef Kaplan: kaplany@mscc.huji.ac.il
Dr. Shimrit Peled: shimritpeled@gmail.com
Prof. Yoav Rinon: rinon@huji.ac.il
Dana Kaplan: danaka@openu.ac.il
 

Archaeologies of Memory

2010-2013

 

 

The group will explore the ways in which events of destruction and processes of decline and collapse affect the collective memory of complex societies. We will discuss the different effects of long-term gradual processes caused by social, economic or cultural decline or global climate changes, and those following dramatic events such as human or natural disasters.

The group aims to analyze the connection between the evidence of such events in textual sources and the archaeological record on the one hand, and their reflection in construction myths of past societies in different periods and geographic ares. Cases of destruction and collapse, marking the profound change or final annihilation of a society, are very influential in terms of the historiography of processes of construction and decline alike. We will also attempt to understand how the perception of such events changed throughout time, and how cases of destruction acquired moral and political value and, consequently, affected the academic communities studying them.

 

Group Members:

Prof. Ronnie Ellenblum: Ronnie.Ellenblum@mail.huji.ac.il 
Prof. Gideon Shelach: gideon.shelach@mail.huji.ac.il 
Dr. Nili Wazana: Nili.Wazana@mail.huji.ac.il
Dr. Sharon Zukerman (Deceased, 2014)
Michal Bitton: michal.bitton100@gmail.com 
Uri Davidovich: uri.davidovich@mail.huji.ac.il
Dr. Osnat Suued: osnatsuued@gmail.com 
Guy Rak: guy.rak@mail.huji.ac.il

 

 
 

Jews and Cities

2009-2012

 

Jews have often been represented as the consummate example of an urban people. In Europe and North America, observers as diverse and influential as Karl Marx, Georg Simmel, Robert Park, John Higham, Arthur Ruppin, Walter Benjamin, and seminal figures in the arts from Franz Kafka, to Philip Roth, Woody Allen, -and the painter R.B. Kitaj, have all claimed that Jews not only preferred to live in cities, but also that their long and seemingly "imprinted" pattern of urban dwelling actually shaped the way they lived, interacted with and reflected on their world. Jews were not only a prime case of urban adaptation, but served, indeed, as a prototype for an entire range of new social thought about and cultural representation of the urban experience and the modern world. In the Jew-as-urbanite we are often faced with rhetorical gestures that recall older archetypical "Jewish" representations, such as the wandering Jew able to move freely (and therefore easily depicted as "rootless"). In the postmodern and post-colonialist theories of Jean-Fran(fois Lyotard, Homi Bhabha and others, the "small-j jew" is so emblematic as to risk becoming invisible as a real protagonist in the world.  

Critical analysis of the fluid intersections, connections and influences between Jews and their urban environments has become a staple of contemporary scholarship on individual countries and cities. It is rare, however, for such scholarship to venture more widely into cross-cultural terrain. We believe that the nexus between Jews and cities offers a marvelous opportunity to survey the range of urban Jewish connections both diachronically and synchronically across the modern Jewish cultural map. Therefore, in the proposed interdisciplinary research group on Jews and Cities, we intend to undertake a fresh examination of the fascinating yet often simplified connections between Jews and  

the urban environment. Among the many questions to be addressed are:  

• How (and when) did Jewish newcomers experience new urban environments in Europe, North America and the Middle East?  
• How were these new arenas represented by generations of Jewish artists, writers and intellectuals?  
• How does the position of Jerusalem in the Hebrew imagination complicate the experience and representation of 'cities' for Jews in Israel and abroad?  
• What role did the image of the city have on emerging concepts of nation and community among Jews around the world as well as in the State of Israel?  

Other questions that members of this group would like to address include: How have Jewish communal institutions like synagogues, charitable organizations and reform projects been influenced by and responded to the challenges of metropolitan living? How have the images of particular cities in the arts and public discourse refracted the Jewish experience? Can we claim that Jews in the various cities of the modern world constitute an enlarged if fragmented "imagined community"? How do European cities that have been wiped from the "Jewish map" continue to inform the imagination? How has the memory of Jewish centers in places like Baghdad and Casablanca been incorporated into contemporary identities? And how do the "ruined cities" to which Jews have returned inscribe the past in their physical and spiritual landscapes? Additionally, the group would also look at the place of urban landmarks, cityscapes, architecture and urban tourism in contemporary Jewish cultures and societies and, to this end, to broaden the discussion within our group by inviting the participation of others.

Group Members:
Prof. Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi sidra.dke@gmail.com 
Prof. Aziza Khazzoom khazzoom@mscc.huji.ac.il  
Prof. Eli Lederhendler eli.lederhendler@gmail.com  
Dr. Michael Silber Michael.silber@mail.huji.ac.il  
Dr. Scott Ury scottury@post.tau.ac.il  
Gali Drucker Bar-Am gali.druckerbar@mail.huji.ac.il  
Yakir Englander Yakir1212englander@gmail.com  
Dvir Tzur dvir_tzur@yahoo.com  
Sara Yanovsky sara.yanovsky@mail.huji.ac.il  

 

Conferences  

In April 2012 hosted a workshop titled: "Why Jerusalem?”  

In June 2012 the group organized a conference under the title: "Jews and Cities: Modern Encounters and Solitudes”  

 

 

The Interpretive Imagination

2008-2011

 

The Interpretive Imagination: Connections between Religion and Art in Jewish Culture in its Contexts

Scholion's new research group set to join the Center in October 2008 will focus on an integrated examination of the religious and the artistic, and their aesthetic, experiential and interpretive aspects. These two areas - religion and art - exist in culture, and are perceived by research both as interconnected and separate fields. The group intends to examine the system of connections between them, posing questions both from an historic perspective and a phenomenological aspect, in accordance to their areas of interest. Thus, they hope to understand the ways in which artistic traditions and genres contribute to religious (or, alternatively, secularized) consciousness and experience, and the manner in which these generate new artistic approaches.

The interdisciplinary integration of our group, which covers the principal expressive channels of the arts - music, literature and visual art - will allow a unique and productive devising of new methodologies for the investigation of Jewish culture. The reciprocal relations between the arts and the history of commentary on the Holy Scriptures, and all its traditional and innovative aspects, comprise an integral part of our thinking. The group believes that the commentary work of writers, poets, artists and musicians is worthy of extensive examination of the type devoted to the writings of the principal philosophers, such as Herder, Mendelssohn and Buber. Poetic freedom does not make the interpretive actions of artists less accurate or significant. On the contrary, borne on the wings of artistic imagination, artists can break through to insights that cannot be accessed by other means of interpretation. The group would like to examine not only the poetic and romantic choices of the individual artists but also of communities, the unique approaches they devised with regard to artistic interpretation and design, and to thereby re-examine the work of individuals that emerged from them.

Thus, the group proffers various research questions, such as: what characterizes religious art in different eras? Do the religious perceptions of a given culture, Jewish or otherwise, suit its artistic application? And, in the Jewish context: can one discern aesthetic principles that guided the formation of public and private Jewish life? Was theological or Halachic justice done to them?

Their research work, which will focus on formative moments in Jewish history, will include an equating angle, particularly in relation to Christian societies. They shall, therefore, ask to what degree were artistic designs in the Jewish world influenced by artistic approaches of the Christian (or Muslim) environment, and to what extent was there explicit awareness of these influences? How were the Jewish designs methods perceived by the surrounding cultures, and how did they contribute to the Jewish self-image and external image? How should artistic endeavor be interpreted within research of Jewish history, and how should this be integrated within the thinking of the overall intellectual work? What makes allegorical expression so central in the artistic formalization of the religious content? They will endeavor to indicate ways of understanding the manner in which the religious phenomenon generates change and artistic revolution on the one hand, and on the other hand artistic continuity and conservatism and how, alternatively, artistic creation allows a subversive process within existing traditions. They will look to examine the thought about these issues as developed by historians and thinkers, religious figures and philosophers, artists and writers in the periods relevant to our research.

Due to the integration of the fields, and focal points, various topics will lie at the center of their research, such as: the institutional-spatial context of religious artistic creation (the synagogue, the home, the study hall, the cultural center and the concert hall, and other private and community areas); the religious ceremony as a complex system that incorporates various channels of artistic expression and which comprises a source of inspiration for both ancient and modern artistic expression; the individual artists as expressers of group and private religious feelings; the area of sanctity and its connection to the area of beauty, artistic-poetic ways of taking canonical texts and works, and their adaptation to changing life experiences.

In historical terms, their areas of interest include the latter part of ancient times, as well as the beginning of the modern era, focusing jointly on the 19th century and early 20th centuries. With regard to this era they will relate both to the religious and artistic work of the actual period and to the formation of principal research approaches in the field of religion, literature, music, art, ethnography and folklore, approaches and thought processes whose influence is valid to this very day. In view of the modern emphasis of our research, they will deal extensively with, on the one hand, the dialectic relations between the role of the arts in empowering secularization processes, as well as their contribution in forming religious alternatives to traditional patterns on the other. They believe this aspect is of the greatest importance today, with the increase of religious ways of life that are perceived as threatening to the liberal approaches and secular way of life that are the bequest of the era of the Enlightenment. The global context of these phenomena is fundamental to the understanding of the dimensions and dynamics that characterize them: their forms of expression can be seen in all strands of contemporary Israeli and Jewish art. All these will engage them, separately and comparatively, in their various contexts.

The group believes that Scholion’s shared framework offers a rare opportunity for them to join forces in promoting general research into the connections between art and religion, in the wider Jewish context and beyond, and to thus mutually reinforce their individual research work.

 

Group Members:

Prof. Richard I. Cohen ycohen@h2.hum.huji.ac.il

Prof. Ruth Hacohen msruth@mscc.huji.ac.il

Prof. Galit Hasan-Rokem hasanrokem@pluto.mscc.huji.ac.il

Prof. Ilana Pardes mspardes@mscc.huji.ac.il

Yonatan Benarroch jbenarro@princeton.edu

Irina Chernetsky icher2000@yahoo.com

Anat Danziger anat.danziger@mail.huji.ac.il

Vered Madar veredmadar@hotmail.com

Tehila Mishor Tehila.mishor@mail.huji.ac.il

 

 

Conferences 

November 2008 – The group, together with the Department for General and Comparative Literature, held a symposium in honor of Ilana Pardes’ new book: Melville’s Bibles.

May 2009 – The group held a conference titled: ‘Emancipation Through Sound and Image: Jews Entering the Fine Arts

March 2011 – The Group held a conference titled: "Jew Süss” in History and Fiction: Literature, Cinema, Music

May 2011 – The group held a concluding international conference titled: ‘Interpretive Imagination: Religion and Arts in Jewish and Neighboring Cultures’

 

 

Knowledge and Pain

2007-2010

 

The multiple facets of pain – as a cultural event, personal experience, physiological process, and as a historical phenomenon that has persevered in spite of radical epistemic shifts in its interpretation – constitute an ineradicable link between disparate periods and cultures. The need to endow pain with meaning is cross-culturally embedded, and shared by all four of the thought systems here under investigation; Judaism, Christianity, sociology, and science. Therefore, the investigation of pain as a cultural construction and its manifold representations in the past and present, presents a unique opportunity and foundation for an interdisciplinary study.  

Pain is a paradigmatic phenomenon for multidisciplinary studies: of experimental and experiential methodologies; as a "subjective” and "objective” event; as a phenomenological and empirical object; and as an important cultural artifact for the humanities and the exact sciences. For the past decade scholars have begun to investigate this new and complex field; the history of emotions and its attendant history of sensations. Scholars were divided into two camps: one group, under the influence of psychology, believed that human nature is universal and therefore posited the underlying unity of the primary emotions of individuals or groups in various cultures and periods. A limited repertoire of these universally felt emotions and feelings function as a shared foundation upon which different cultures construct their responses to reality. As the field developed it became apparent that it is not possible to draw a clear demarcation between these ‘natural’ primary feelings and their cultural expression. Even today scholars (historians, anthropologists, etc.) have not been able to identify a feeling or emotion that is independent of cultural determinants. Most cultural historians today would agree that the most we can accomplish is to investigate the culturally constructed expression of feelings and emotions.  

Furthermore, constantly shifting representations of pain appear in all aspects and discourses of human knowledge. This fact stands out ever more clearly in the light of the ever widening gap (since the nineteenth century), between the sciences and the humanities. The methodologies of investigation in social and physical sciences, conceptual and representational categories, and the personae of their practitioners have become segregated from and contrasted with the various "non-scientific” practices and disciplines of knowledge. An interdisciplinary and cross-cultural study of pain presents an opportunity to reunite the disparate discourses and cultures of knowledge around a common theme. Pain therefore presents a rich and fruitful venue for reuniting the "Two Cultures” of knowledge around a shared focus, and an intellectual opportunity for gathering scholars from various fields — and from the different campuses of the Hebrew University – in order to create a shared dialogue around a complex but coherent focus.  

The study of pain intersects various fields of knowledge and disciplines, each of which employs its own methods and perspectives. This ‘embarrassment of riches’ has often worked to hinder the creation of an intelligent and intelligible exchange. It is our hope that the proposed project can create an intra-university platform for the study of pain – both as an object of investigation, and as a subject for manipulation, eradication and treatment. We envision encounters between representatives of various arenas and techniques that both work on and with pain – whether they are practitioners of assuaging or curing pain, or of cultural and historical practices for representing, imagining or managing it. We are proposing this project not only as an opportunity to further our intellectual enquiries of pain qua pain, but also as an opportunity to create an interdisciplinary dialogue between the various cultural, scientific and therapeutic sites of discourses and praxes among the different campuses of the Hebrew University.  

 

Group Members: 

Prof. Esther Cohen msecohen@mscc.huji.ac.il  

Prof. Manuela Consonni lela@mscc.huji.ac.il  

Dr. Otniel E. Drorotniel@md.huji.ac.il  

Prof. Leona Toker toker@mscc.huji.ac.il  

Dr. Michal Altbauer altbauer@yahoo.com  

Dr. Na'ama Cohen-Hanegbi conaamar@gmail.com  

Dr. Omri Herzog omri.herzog@gmail.com  

Dr. Noa Shashar noashash@gmail.com  

 

Conferences

March 2009 – The group organized a workshop titled: 'Perspectives on Pains'.  

May 2010 – The group held an international conference concluding their activity at Scholion: 'Knowledge and Pain'  

Religions of Place

2006-2009

 

"On Religions of Place and Religions of Community: Sects vs. Churches, Temple vs. Synagogues"  

We propose to address the relationship between two pairs of contrasts which has each usually been studied within a separate context. First - the contrast between a religion that centers around a particular place and one that does has no center or many centers, which in terms of Judaism translates into the contrast between a religion centered around the Temple of Jerusalem and one which had as many centers - synagogues - as it had communities, wherever and however many they were. Second - the contrast between "church" and "sect", that is, between establishment religious communities or cultural groups and those that consider themselves to be in a state of opposition to their respective establishments and, indeed, define themselves to some large measure on the basis of that opposition.  

Each pair of contrasts has been studied separately and has its own ramifications, some more obvious than others. Thus, for example, Temple religion differed from synagogue religion with regard not only to the basic distinction between one institution built in a place God was thought to have consecrated and many built in places that communities chose to consecrate, but also with regard to types (sacrifice vs.  

prayer/reading of Bible/sermons) and style (opposite poles of the formal/informal scale) of ritual, as well as such broader issues as the identity of leadership (hereditary priesthood or rabbinate by choice and selection) and the status of the community.  

Similarly, sects contrast with churches not only about whatever issues of doctrine or practice initiated the split (or was taken to do so), but, frequently, across the board having not only their own versions of their religions rituals and beliefs but also their own separate ones, their own political agendas and - accordingly - their own cosmologies and eschatologies that make sense of that by which they differ.  

We propose to study the interrelationship of these two sets of contrasts. To what extent can the comparative perspecti"es of those engaged in the sociological study of the church/sect contrast enrich our understanding of the contrast in ancient Judaism between Temple religion and synagogue religion, and the eventual transition from the former to the latter? And to what extent can the historical work on the latter introduce nuances into the former? In particular, the study of the synagogue in comparison to the Temple may lead, given the fact that synagogues existed both before and after the Temple was destroyed, to a better understanding of the situation of sects when the establishment disappears; why is it that the plurality of sects that characterized the Second Temple period (Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, etc.) disappears and the one that is left, Christianity, becomes a separate religion?  

It seems to us that our proposed group, that includes scholars whose work has focused on . modem sociology of religion and sectarianism (Aran and Amir) and on ancient Jewish group-definition (Tur-Paz);  

. on ancient sectarianism and especially upon ancient Jewish prayer (Chazon);  

. on issues of religion and state and the transition from Judaea to Judaism (Schwartz) and on accounts of the Temple cult written by Josephus, who underwent that process (Tuval);  

. and on the ways Jews and others (pagans and Christians) defined their communities and their communion with God in the centuries after the destruction of the Temple (Weiss and Vilozny) is well-equipped to begin serious study of the issues outlined above.  

 

Group Members:

Prof. Gideon Aran msaran@mscc.huji.ac.il  

Prof. Esther Chazon chazon@mscc.huji.ac.il  

Prof. Daniel R. Schwartz dschwartz@mscc.huji.ac.il  

Prof. Zeev Weiss zweiss@mscc.huji.ac.il  

Dr. Nadav Sharon nadav.sharon@mail.huji.ac.i  

Dr. Ori Schwartz ori.schwarz@gmail.com  

Dr. Michael Tuval michael.tuval@mail.huji.ac.il  

Dr. Naama Vilozny viloznyn@huji.ac.il  

 

Conferences

December 2007 – Conference titled 'A Hall and it's Whole' in collaboration with the "Ascending and Descending" Scholion group.  

January 2009 - International conference concluding their work at Scholion titled:"Was 70 Really a Watershed? On Jews and Judaism Before and After the Destruction of the Second Temple'  

Ascending and Descending

2005-2008

 

Jacob's dream, as described in Genesis 28, provides us with a clear view· of all components involved in
the connection between the Divine and mortal world: a human whose place is on the ground; God who is positioned above him, in the heavens; a ladder, 'set on the ground and its top reached to the sky·, on
which immortal beings ascend and descend, a ladder that marks 'Heaven 's Gate·, through which human beings receive new information and, indeed, a Divine promise- a promise that propels them to act: to erect the House of God, to take a vow and pledge of allegiance. And, above all, the event is described as a dream, which is, itself, one of many means of connection between the two worlds.
Such occurrences of movement between the Divine and mortal realms assume many different forms in the course of Jewish cultural history. Indeed, a significant place is dedicated to the question of the
authority conferred to the contents of these expressions and from the messages hidden in them. Prophecy,
human ascension to the Heavens, the descent of Divine beings from the Heavens to the earth, dreams,
visions, mystical experiences and more-these irrational sources of authority present a multi-faceted body
for consideration, and include extraordinary expressions of such occurrences from all periods of Jewish
literature: Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and even the modem age. They have proved to command historical, cultural, religious, and social influence on all parts of Jewish society, even into our own times.
It is unnecessary to mention that most of these expressions are not limited to the Jewish world, a fact which begs the comparison between Jewish and non-Jewish culture.
Our research group proposes to examine the range of expressions that describe the phenomenon of
movement across the boundary, not to mention the dissolution of that boundary, between the human,
mortal realm, and that of immortal beings, in both directions. From this vast, complex corpus, we have
defined six sub-categories on which we will focus, and in the order presented here, each category
representing a semester:
A. The Garden of Eden. The Garden of Eden is at once a physical site from our memory of the distant
past, while also a place of metaphysical significance, a dwelling-place after life-on-earth, or the mystics
longed-for destination in his or her unbounded, limit-breaking journeys.
B. Dream: A mechanism used for passing between the worlds, a means of acquiring other-worldly
knowledge and a source for the establishment of authority. Dreams arc well-represented in biblical
literature, as well as in rabbinic, mystical, and Hassidic literature. Dreams are also accepted in our own
time as a tool for revelation and communication with the Higher World.
By focusing on the Garden of Eden and dreams in the first year, we will be better able to establish
a common language and to formulate more precisely the central questions raised by the subject of
Crossing Boundaries, as these two motifs are common in all of the corpora of literature which is
the focus of research of the members of the group.
C. 'Ascending and Descending': We will look closely at the identities of the humans who ascend to
heaven and return back to earth as we seek to clarify the nature and purpose of their ascent and descent,
the means of their journey, the message they returned with, and more.
D. Intermediary Beings: Beings from the invisible world (e.g. angels or a divine voice bat kol,
demons or ghosts of the deceased) that reveal themselves to the inhabitants of this world as sources of
knowledge and authority.
E. Institutionalized and Subversive Channels for Crossing over the Boundary: Prayer, prophecy and
study of Torah on the one hand; invocation and various practices of magic on the other, along with the
question of what is forbidden and what is allowed.
F. Crossing Boundaries -A Gender Approach: An examination of what is shared and particular
between men and women in the context of the passage between the heavenly and earthly spheres.
The group's four members come from different fields and work in distinct corpora: Bible (Zakovitch),
Second Temple period and early mystical literature, along with kabbalistic and Hassidic literature (Elior), rabbinic literature and the history of the prayerbook (Shinan), and psychological and anthropological
studies of religion in modem Israeli society (Bilu). We believe that the intellectual meeting between the
four of us and our fields will make it possible to explore thoroughly and systematically fundamental
cultural assumptions, and delve into the required conditions, means, aims, achievements and implications
of the phenomenon of crossing the boundary between the heavenly and the earthly, from the earliest
periods of Jewish history and on, into the present day. We hope that the multi-disciplinary perspective
achieved by this group in which three of its members deal with Jewish texts from diverse periods of
Jewish history - will be further enriched by the added insights offered by Prof. Bilu, from the realms of
sociology, anthropology, and psychology. This addition will enable us to bring to light certain aspects of
the six chosen topics which receive but little attention in literary sources.
Clearly, Jewish culture did not uphold the decree of the psalmist, who wrote, 'The heavens belong to the
Lord, but the earth He gave over to man' (Psalm 115: 16). In the center of our inquiry, therefore, will be
the methods and means, the personalities and periods, the aims and results of the crossing of the boundary, in both directions, between Heaven and earth. Our material will span the range of Jewish literature
and experience, beginning with the meeting between divine beings and the daughters of man in Genesis
6: 1-4, and continuing on to the visions which led to the establishment of holy places in the towns of the modern State of Israel.

Group Members

 

Prof. Yoram Bilu msyoram@mscc.huji.ac.il

Prof. Rachel Elior mselio@mscc.huji.ac.il

Prof. Avigdor Shinan shinan@mscc.huji.ac.il

Prof. Yair Zakovitch zakov@h2.hum.huji.ac.il

Dr. Noach Chayut noach5858@walla.co.il

Dr. Adam Klin-Oron adam@forum2.org

Dr. Gila Vachman gilav@mscc.huji.ac.il

Dr. Hannah Wortzman hannahwortzman@yahoo.com

Group Activity

 

November 2006 – The group held a conference on the Garden of Eden titled "גן בעדן מקדם" at the Van Leer institute, Jerusalem.

November 2007 – The group held a conference titled "Fleeting Like a Dream: Dreams and their Interpretation in Jewish Tradition” at Beit Avi-Chai, Jerusalem.

December 2007 – The group held a Conference titled "A Hall and it's Whole" in collaboration with the "Ascending and Descending" Scholion group at Beit Avi-Chai, Jerusalem.

June 2008 – The group held a conference concluding their activity at Scholion. The conference titled "Between Two Worlds – Ghosts, Demons and Possessions in Jewish and foreign traditions” took place at th Konrad Adenauer convention center at Mishkenot Sha'ananim, Jerusalem.