Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Zohar Talk at Rutgers


The Zohar: Masterpiece of Kabbalah

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2012 AT 7:30 P.M. 
Daniel Matt, translator of the Zohar
Supported in part by the Sagner Family Foundation
Daniel Matt
Daniel Matt is one of the world's leading authorities on Kabbalah. He has published over ten books, including The Essential Kabbalah (translated into seven languages),Zohar: Annotated and Explained, and God and the Big Bang: Discovering Harmony between Science and Spirituality.
Matt is currently engaged in an immense project of translating and annotating theZohar, the masterpiece of Kabbalah. So far, he has completed seven volumes of The Zohar: Pritzker Edition (Stanford University Press), covering more than two-thirds of the Zohar's commentary on the Torah. For this work, Daniel has been honored with a National Jewish Book Award and a Koret Jewish Book Award. The Koret award called his translation "a monumental contribution to the history of Jewish thought."
Dr. Matt has been featured in Time Magazine and has appeared on National Public Radio and the History Channel. For twenty years, he served as professor at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, and has also taught at Stanford University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

And from

A masterpiece of Kabbalah

This week’s Stanford Report profiles the Zohar project: a collaboration between Stanford University Press and the Pritzker Foundation to bring the fundamental body of Kabbalah literature to the English-speaking world. 

Daniel Matt has completed four of a projected dozen volumes of the Zohar’s unique combination of biblical commentary, mysticism, and myth. As the Report describes, the origins of this text are a puzzle: Matt believes that “75 to 80 percent comes from [Castilian Jew] Moses [ben Shem Tov de León], who died in 1305,” although Moses claimed that he was merely translating a second-century manuscript. “‘It matches no Aramaic dialect in the world… it’s amazing.’ Matt said. And the most amazing thing, he adds, is its crazy, invented language that revels in the sounds of strange words.” 

The Zohar also reaches some controversial conclusions about the nature of God. In Matt’s words, the Zohar concludes that “humans actualize God by living ethically and spiritually. Human holy actions fulfill God.”

The Report’s article links to some excerpts from Volume IV of the Zohar; additional commentary and excerpts from Volume I can be found on the SUP Zohar page, along with the original Aramaic text Matt’s translation is based upon. You can also sign up to be kept appraised of new developments related to the Zohar.

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