Yossi Chajes, “Jewish and Christian Kabbalah in the Seventeenth Century”

Waks Family Fund in Yiddish and Jewish East European History and Culture

This lecture will explore the work of Christian Knorr von Rosenroth (1636–1689), the rare Christian Hebraist and Kabbalist who mastered Jewish Kabbalah. Knorr published his "unsurpassed description of the Kabbalah in Latin," the two volume Kabbala denudata in Sulzbach and Frankfurt in 1677 and 1684, respectively. His presentation of the Lurianic system is comprehensive, uncompromising, and unadulterated. Presenting an eclectic range of kabbalistic texts and the contributions of his contemporaries Francis Mercury van Helmont and Henry More, Kabbala denudata represents the summa of the seventeenth-century "second wave" of Christian Kabbalah. Between the lines of its myriad pages—and occasionally in its texts and paratexts—is the conviction that the true identity of Judaism and Christianity is to be found in the prisca theologia of this lore. Through a focus on the visual paratexts of Rosenroth's work, the lecture will also show how kabbalistic diagrams of his own invention were subsequently appropriated by Jewish kabbalists—thus truly closing the circle.

Yossi Chajes is Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor in the Department of Jewish History at the University of Haifa.

This event is free and open to the public. No registration required. Limited seating.

Date & Time
Monday, February 6, 2017 - 4:00pm

Jackman Humanities Building, Room 100, 170 St. George Street