Jonathan Garb

Jonathan Garb received his doctorate in 2000 from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he is now associate professor of Jewish Thought. In 2010, he was awarded the Hebrew University President’s Prize for Outstanding Researcher.

His Manifestations of Power in Jewish Mysticism from Rabbinic Literature to Safedian Kabbalah was published by Magnes Press in 2004, his “The Chosen will Become Herds”: Studies in Twentieth Century Kabbalah by Yale University Press in 2009. His Shamanic Trance in Modern Kabbalah will be published in April 2011 by The University of Chicago Press.

Jonathan Garb

Jonathan Garb


Mussar, Talmudic Methodology and Exegesis in the Circle of Ramhal

This project forms part of two books on R. Moshe Hayyim Luzzatto (Ramhal) and his 18th century Italian circle: The first is the first comprehensive intellectual biography of Ramhal, which shall place this influential figure within the wider context of his period, both Jewish and general. The second covers the numerous commentaries on the entire Bible written by Ramhal’s close associate R. Moshe David Valle, many of which are only found in manuscripts.

During my period at the Center, I shall relate the kabbalistic thought of these (and other) leaders of the circle to various domains of Jewish civilization: Mussar (‘ethics’), Talmudic methodology and rhetoric and Midrashic exegesis of the Bible. The wider methodological and cultural implication of this endeavor is that the research of Kabbalah cannot be divorced from other branches of Jewish creativity and learning.

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