HDS 3030

Gender and Sexuality in Jewish Mysticism and Theology

Yakir Englander


Because mysticism is a genre hidden from the public, it is a space where theologians can deal with the most intimate elements in human life. Does God have a body? If so, is it feminine or masculine? What does it mean when we read sources where God cries and laughs? How do our sexual lives influence our understanding of God? And how does Jewish mysticism influence contemporary Jewish law and the gender structure of Orthodox communities? After learning the tools necessary to read secret Jewish texts, we will read mystical writings through the lens of gender theory. The goal is to see how this can enrich our understanding of the sexual and gender images of God. We will apply their thought to the Talmud, the Zohar, Rabbi Nachman of Breslev and his stories, Zionist Orthodoxy and the Ultra-Orthodox theology. All texts will be in English.

Enrollment Limited: Limited to 15 students. Instructor's permission required.
Open to BTI Students: Yes

Course website


0.50 credits
Fall 2014
Thurs 4pm-6pm
Rockefeller Hall Room 116

Relationship to Program Requirements

Program Requirement Area / Category / Art / Designation
MTS Area(s) of Focus
  • Jewish Studies
  • Women, Gender, Sexuality, and Religion
MDiv Distribution Category/ies
  • Judaism
MDiv Art(s) of Ministry None
Language Course Designation(s) None