Jewish Studies

Nathaniel Berman

Demonic Writing: Textuality, Otherness and Zoharic Proliferation

Section: Articles
Jewish Studies Quarterly (JSQ)

Volume 24 () / Issue 4, pp. 356-386 (31)

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A central preoccupation of the Zoharic literature is the relationship between the divine and the demonic, the Sitra Ahra (Other Side). This article argues that understanding this relationship requires a close examination of the rhetorical techniques employed to portray it. The article is located in the spirit of the literary turn in Zohar scholarship, but marks a fresh departure in its methods of analysis and theoretical background. Its analysis demands a rethinking of the Zoharic conception of the formation of divine and demonic subjectivity. It borrows, for this purpose, from the work of Julia Kristeva, which is informed by both literature and psychoanalysis. The article thus contributes to Zohar and kabbalah studies generally, to discussions of interpretive methodologies drawn from the humanities in the study of religious texts, and to broader discussions of Otherness in a variety of fields in the humanities and social sciences.
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