The Zohar is the principal canonical text of Jewish Mysticism, a backbone to Kabbalah and Philosophy in the middle ages, modernity and post-modernity, serving as a wellspring of revitalizing influence in Hassidism, Mysticism, Philosophy and Art in our generation.
The academic scholarship of the Zohar should expand, reflecting this interdisciplinary mode of research. This is vital to the intellectual commitment to effect cultural rejuvenation.
The Zohar and the Arts project aims to support interdisciplinary Zohar scholarship such as art, literature and psychoanalysis. The unique perspective offered in this program combines eastern and western traditions, relating Jewish mysticism to the far east, a perspective essential for the widening of the research scope and opening the treasure trove of the Jewish tradition.
In the academic year 2013-2014, the Zohar-Matanel program was inaugurated. The activities of these program were Hosted by the Elyachar Center at Ben Gurion University.
4 PhD candidates, 2 Post-doctoral fellows, participated in and ran 4 courses – a seminar, courses on mysticism – the Zohar and the arts, a workshop in Jewish thought and the history of the Israeli people, an annual conference dedicated to Zohar scholarship,
Seminar and conference:
• The Seminar “Foundation Images of the 13th century Kabbalah in Provence and Spain” explored the literature and times surrounding the Zoharic literature and the foundational structures espoused by them.
• The academic conference on ‘Zoharic literature and its Generation’ (12/06/2014, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev), with the participation of doctoral students, young and senior researchers. This collaboration of new research and veteran scholarship is geared towards a creative future of the field.
An international conference in this vein is planned every three years.