Kabbalah & Knowledge Transfer in the Early Modern World. EAJS Conference

Freie Universität Berlin, Fachbereich Geschichts- und Kulturwissenschaften, Fabeckstraße 23-25, 14195 Berlin / Selma Stern Zentrum für Jüdische Studien Berlin-Brandenburg Sophienstraße 22a, 10178 Berlin
European Association for Jewish Studies; Freie Universität Berlin; Universität Hamburg; Selma Stern Zentrum für Jüdische Studien Berlin-Brandenburg; Emmy Noether Programm der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft
09.07.2019 - 10.07.2019
Patrick B. Koch

In the last few years the study of Kabbalah in the early modern period, including the complex histories of Lurianic tradition and its dispersion beyond its birthplace in Palestinian Safed, have become a rapidly growing field. As opposed to focusing solely on its theoretical or theological framework, scholars have become interested in new methodological approaches to study early modern kabbalah as a set of religious and cultural practices.
The EAJS conference “Kabbalah and Knowledge Transfer in the Early Modern World” aims at recognizing and evaluating the part that kabbalistic literatures, in a variety of their written formats, played in the transfer of knowledge in the early modern world. The event will gather participants to contribute a series of case studies that will help critically reassess the role and consequences of a variety of texts and practices deemed esoteric for the early modern transmission of knowledge. The conference will be focused on contextualized readings of primary texts presented by each of the participants with the aim to highlight variant patterns of the diffusion of kabbalistic traditions in changing cultural and historical circumstances, and their role in the formation and transformation of contemporary knowledge systems.

The conference is sponsored by the European Association for Jewish Studies

A collaboration of: Freie Universität Berlin, Universität Hamburg, Selma Stern Zentrum Berlin-Brandenburg and the Emmy Noether Program of the German Research Foundation (DFG)


Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Venue: Freie Universität Berlin, Fachbereich Geschichts- und Kulturwissenschaften, Fabeckstraße 23-25, 14195 Berlin

14:00 Welcome & Introductions

14:30–16:30: Panel I: Forms of Kabbalistic Knowledge Transfer in Early Modernity

Ratzo ve-shov: Reflections on the Circulation of Visual Kabbalah in the Early Modern Period
Yossi Chajes (Haifa)

The Matrix of Understanding: Moshe Zacuto’s Em la-Binah
Gerold Necker (Halle)

Modes of Kabbalistic Knowledge Transmission in Early Modernity: Reductive versus Expansive Approaches
Andrea Gondos (Beer Sheva)

16:30–17:00 Tea/Coffee Break

17:00–18:00 Keynote Lecture

How the Art of Printing transformed Kabbalah: From Italian Courts to Polish Shtetlach
Giulio Busi (Berlin)

19:00 Dinner

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Venue: Selma Stern Zentrum für Jüdische Studien Berlin-Brandenburg, Sophienstraße 22a, 10178 Berlin

8.30 Shuttle from Seminaris CampusHotel to the Selma Stern Zentrum

9.00-9.30 Tea/Coffee & Welcome

9:30–11:00 Panel II: Manuscript Matrix and Kabbalistic Knowledge Transfer

Imprisoned Agencies: Knowledge Transfer between Travelling and Sitting Down
Magdaléna Jánošíková (London)

Kabbalah and/or Philosophy: Sources and Methodology in the Work of Yohanan Alemanno”
Hanna Gentili (London)

11:00–11:30 Tea/Coffee Break

11:30–13:00 Panel III: Kabbalistic Knowledge between Jewish & Christian Contexts

Transmission and Transformation of Kabbalistic Knowledge in Italy at the End of the Fifteenth Century
Flavia Buzzetta (Paris)

Transmission and Reception of Isaac ibn Sahula's Kabbalistic Commentary on two Psalms
Saverio Campanini (Bologna)

13:00–14:00 Lunch

14:00-16:00 Panel IV: Transformations of Kabbalah in East-Central Europe

Ashkenaz-Safed-Ashkenaz: Transmission and Transformation in the Early Modern Ashkenazi Ritual Language
Maoz Kahana (Tel Aviv)

Paratexts and the Printing of Kabbalah in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Avinoam Stillman (Beer Sheva)

The Magic Triangle: Printing Lurianic Kabbalah in Koretz with Satanow, Krüger and Czartoryski
Elke Morlok (Frankfurt)

16:00 Concluding Discussion


The event is open to the public, with advance registration via e-mail:




Kabbalah & Knowledge Transfer in the Early Modern World. EAJS Conference, 09.07.2019 – 10.07.2019 Berlin, in: H-Soz-Kult, 23.05.2019, <www.hsozkult.de/event/id/termine-40393>.
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