Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Visiting Professor Elliot R. Wolfson will be presenting The Israel and Ida G. Bettan Lecture on Thursday, April 18, 2002 at 7:00 pm in Mayerson Auditorium. "Between Death and Truth: Time, Hermeneutics, and the Crafting of Zoharic Homiletics" will examine the connection between death and truth as it emerges in select zoharic homilies. The lecture is free of charge and open to the public. Mayerson Auditorium, located at 3101 Clifton Avenue on the HUC-JIR/Cincinnati campus, is handicap accessible.
The lecture will explore the appropriation of the midrashic sense of time by the medieval Spanish kabbalists responsible for the composition of Sefer ha-Zohar, the main work of esoteric lore. By examining this theme, Professor Wolfson will illustrate the way in which the zoharic kabbalists' perception of time informed their sense of homiletic innovation under the guise of retrieving the ancient tradition.
Elliot R. Wolfson is the Abraham Lieberman Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies and Director of the Program in Religious Studies at New York University. He is the author of many publications on the history of Jewish mysticism, including Through the Speculum That Shines: Vision and Imagination in Medieval Jewish Mysticism (Princeton University Press, 1994), which won the American Academy of Religion's Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion in the category of Historical Studies in 1995 and the National Jewish Book Award for Excellence in Scholarship in 1995.
In addition, he is the author of Along the Path: Studies in Kabbalistic Hermeneutics, Myth, and Symbolism and Circle in the Square: Studies in the Use of Gender in Kabbalistic Symbolism, both published in 1995 (State University of New York Press). His most recent monograph, Abraham Abulafia Kabbalist and Prophet: Hermeneutics, Theosophy, and Theurgy, was published in 2000 (Cherub Press). He is currently working on three monographs: Language, Eros, and Being: Kabbalistic Hermeneutics and the Poetic Imagination; Venturing Beyond: Laws of Limit and Limits of Law in Kabalistic Piety; and Time, Truth, and Narrativity: Kabbalistic Ontology and the Grammar of Becoming.
Rabbi Israel Bettan was a professor of rabbinics and homiletics at HUC-JIR. His unique style of interactive teaching and concern for students' ability to think creatively continues to influence the way rabbinics and homiletics are taught. HUC-JIR periodically invites homileticians to present their works as The Israel and Ida G. Betten Lecturer. The inaugural Bettan Lecture was delivered by Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, President of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations in November 1996.
In addition to the Bettan Lectureship, The Israel and Ida G. Bettan Scholarship Fund and The Israel Bettan Memorial Prize, awarded to a senior student who is most creative and imaginative in pulpit presentation, honor the memory of the Bettans. Dr. Edward A. Goldman holds The Israel and Ida Bettan Professorsorship of Midrash and Homiletics at HUC-JIR in Cincinnati.