Dr. Eliezer Baumgarten

The perception of the idea of ‘space’ as abstract and theoretical concepts and as a concrete image.

I focus on intellectual history of Kabbala and visualization of kabbalistic knowledge in the early modern period. I completed my Ph.D in Jewish thought at Ben-Gurion University under the guidance of Prof. Boas Huss. In my Ph.D dissertation, which is about Kabbalah in the circle of the Vilna Gaon, I tried to prove that kabbalistic writing must be read as rooted in a specific social and political context of the place where it was written.

Kabbalistic language is defined by society as a ‘different’ type of language, which deals with theological issues only. As so, it is free of time and place. In my research, I tried to find local context to kabbalistic activity, and show that the interpretations kabbalists give Kabbalah writings enables a political and social discourse.

As a continuation of my research, I worked on kabbalistic commentary in the early modern age in other areas such as Ashkenaz in the 17th century, as well as in addition to Italy and South Africa in the beginning of the 18th century.

Furthermore, I am taking part in the ‘Ilanot Project’ [ www.ilanot.haifa.ac.il ] under the guidance of Dr. Yossi Chajes in the department of Jewish History at Haifa University.

Married to Vardit and a father to Dvir, Canna, Noam and Elhcanan.

Current Project

My current research focuses on the perception of the idea of ‘space’ as abstract and theoretical concepts and as a concrete image.

Kabbalists in the early modern world, a period of scientific revolutions, gave thought to changes in cosmological structures which underlie kabalistic perceptions, in addition to changes in perceptions of cartography and geography.

I would like to present that the way kabbalists relates to these issues has social and political meaning.

Selected Publications

• `Halacha, kabbala and Science in the library of R’ Naftali Hirz Halevi`, Cathedra 135, Jerusalem 2010 89-130

• `The Gra and His Disciples Attitude towards the Authority of the Ari`, Daat 71, ramat-gan 2011 51-74

• `From Morroco to Uman Ethnic Transitions in the New Breslev’s Chasidut`, Peamim 131 Jerusalem 2012 147-178

• `Comments on Rav Naftali Bachrach’s Usage of Pre-Lurianic Sources`, AJS Review 37:2 (November 2013) א-כג