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Indiana University Bloomington
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Countenancing God: Facial Revelation and Ritual in the Zohar

A workshop for faculty and graduate students with

Ellen Haskell, University of North Carolina, Greensboro

Friday, November 03, 2017
12 noon
Global & International Studies Building, Room 4067

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Among Sefer ha-Zohar’s mystical companions, face-to-face encounters both produce and affirm spiritual transformations. This workshop explores facial engagement among the Zoharic kabbalists, including the mystics’ manifestation of the divine countenance, techniques for facial contemplation, and attitudes regarding therapeutic physiognomy. Through ritually structured facial interactions, the kabbalists teach themselves to inhabit a world transformed by access to God that is potentially present in the most common human meetings.

Ellen Haskell is Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Director of Jewish Studies, and the Herman & Zelda Bernard Distinguished Scholar of Jewish Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Educated at the University of Chicago Divinity School and the University of Michigan, her field of expertise is the study of Jewish mysticism, with special emphasis on classical Kabbalah and Sefer ha-Zohar. She is the author of two monographs, Suckling at My Mother’s Breasts: The Image of a Nursing God in Jewish Mysticism, and Mystical Resistance: Uncovering the Zohar’s Conversations with Christianity. Her research interests include Jewish mysticism’s relationship to its cultural environments, Jewish responses to Christianity, and Jewish religious imagery, especially that which incorporates gender and teachings on the human body.