Born in South Africa, Jonathan Garb is the Gershom Scholem Professor of Kabbalah and lectures in the department of Jewish Thought at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which he chaired 2017-2018. In 2014, he was awarded the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities’ Gershom Scholem Prize for Kabbalah Research. He has lectured and researched in, among other centers, L’école des hautes études en sciences sociales (Paris), Johns Hopkins University, New York University, and the University of Hamburg. His latest books in English are Shamanic Trance in Modern Kabbalah(The University of Chicago Press, 2011), Yearnings of the Soul: Psychological Thought in Modern Kabbalah(The University of Chicago Press, 2015), and A History of Kabbalah: From the Early Modern Period to the Present Day(Cambridge University Press, 2020).
How can Jewish Studies help us rethink concepts like "the political"? In this response to our episode featuring Carsten Wilke interviewed by Sidney Castillo, Jonathan Garb highlights additional aspects of "the rise of kabbalah as a potent cultural force in the early modern period" that challenge the limits of cross-cultural comparison.