Internationale Konferenz - “The Roads Not Taken: Scholarly Adaptations and Appropriations of Kabbalah in the 19th and Early 20th Century”
Internationale Konferenz, organisiert von der Martin-Buber-Professur für Jüdische Religionsphilosophie, in Kooperation mit dem Goldstein-Goren International Center for Jewish Thought, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva
“The Roads Not Taken: Scholarly Adaptations and Appropriations of Kabbalah in the 19th and Early 20th Century”
Zeit: 17.-19. November 2013
Ort: Campus Westend, Casino, Raum 1.801
In recent decades studies devoted to Kabbalah and Jewish Mysticism have undergone a revolution leading to a lively debate, within the academic world and outside of it, about the most relevant, interesting, accurate, and inspiring approach to the study of the Kabbalah as well as about the best way to adapt/appropriate its ideas and texts into the intellectual imagination. As part of this effort, it seems essential also to analyze the past and revisit those attempts to appropriate and study the Kabbalah that disappeared in the wake of the almost universal reception of Gershom Scholem’s historical-philological paradigm that has dominated the field for decades.
Since 2011, the Martin Buber Chair in Jewish Thought and Philosophy at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main and the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev are pursuing a collaborative research project devoted to “The Academic Study of Jewish Mysticism in the Modern Period (1830-1941)” (funded by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation). This interdisciplinary conference seeks to revisit the intellectual conditions Gershom Scholem faced when he first approached the Kabbalah in the first and second decade of the 20th century. Throughout the 19th and in the early 20th century, the Kabbalah was more than a historical artifact or the subject matter for philological research. Rather, its symbols, concepts and ideas were present in the arts, in literature, in the political discourse, and in philosophy. They also infiltrated esoteric movements that were flourishing at the time, such as the Golden Dawn and the Theosophical Society. Apart from that, it was studied by historians and philologists who advocated quite different approaches than those of Scholem and were motivated by different agendas.
The objective of this workshop is, therefore, to revisit the “other” German-Jewish and European-Jewish attempts to study and adapt the Kabbalah to contemporary discourse and to make them present again. The areas covered in this interdisciplinary conference will include Philosophy, Religious Studies, Jewish Studies, Literature, Wissenschaftsgeschichte and the history of Western Esotericism.