Mystical Bodies, Mystical Meals: Eating and Embodiment in Medieval Kabbalah - Raphael Patai Series in Jewish Folklore and Anthropology (Hardback)Joel Hecker (author)
Hardback 312 Pages / Published: 30/04/2005
- We can order this
Mystical Bodies, Mystical Meals is the first book-length study of mystical eating practices and experiences in the kabbalah. Focusing on the Jewish mystical literature of late-thirteenth-century Spain, author Joel Hecker analyzes the ways in which the Zohar and other contemporaneous literature represent mystical attainment in their homilies about eating. What emerges is not only consideration of eating practices but, more broadly, the effects such practices and experiences have on the bodies of practitioners. Using anthropology, sociology, ritual studies, and gender theory, Hecker accounts for the internal topography of the body as imaginatively conceived by kabbalists. For these mystics, the physical body interacts with the material world to effect transformations within themselves and within the Divinity. The kabbalists experience the ideal body as one of fullness, one whose boundaries allow for the intake of divine light and power and for the outward overflow of fruitfulness and generosity; at the same time, the body retains sufficient integrity to confer a sense of completeness, as the perfect symbol for the Divinity itself. Nourishment imagery is used throughout the kabbalah as a metaphor signifying the flow of divine blessing from the upper worlds to the lower, from masculine to feminine, and from Israel to the Godhead. The body's spiritual continuity allows for union between the kabbalistic devotee and his food, table, chair, and wine and is exemplified in the practices and experiences surrounding the consumption of food; this continuity is also applicable to other aspects of embodiment, such as the kabbalist's union with his fellow man. Mystical Bodies, Mystical Meals underscores the homosocial quality of the kabbalistic fraternity, in which gendered hierarchies of master and disciple are linked to the imagery and dynamics of nourishment and sexuality. Bringing this entire spectrum into focus, Hecker ultimately considers how the oral cavity and stomach, even the emotions associated with festive meals, are mobilized to produce the soul of the mystical saint in medieval kabbalah.
Publisher: Wayne State University Press
Number of pages: 312
Weight: 544 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 21 mm
You may also be interested in...
£16.99Leather / fine binding
Please sign in to write a review
Simply reserve online and pay at the counter when you collect. Available in shop from just two hours, subject to availability.
Thank you for your reservation
Your order is now being processed and we have sent a confirmation email to you at
When will my order be ready to collect?
Following the initial email, you will be contacted by the shop to confirm that your item is available for collection.
Call us on or send us an email at
Unfortunately there has been a problem with your order
Please try again or alternatively you can contact your chosen shop on or send us an email at