Abstract

This essay suggests that the unusual literary images of kabbalistic texts have a material goal: the production of kabbalists. By examining the rhetorical strategies that drive kabbalistic image production and the processes by which images transform mindful readers, this work demonstrates that Kabbalah's images function within elaborate symbolic networks whose purpose is to produce a contemplative, and ultimately transformative, spirituality. The essay elaborates this claim with insights from anthropology and psychoanalytic performance theory, and defends it with readings of passages from Sefer hazohar that demonstrate two specific rhetorical strategies: the image series and the kabbalistic "mixed metaphor."

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3311
Print ISSN
0272-9601
Pages
pp. 335-362
Launched on MUSE
2009-05-17
Open Access
No
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