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Kabbalah and Ecology
God's Image in the More-Than-Human World

  • Date Published: July 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107081338


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About the Authors
  • Kabbalah and Ecology is a groundbreaking book that resets the conversation about ecology and the Abrahamic traditions. David Mevorach Seidenberg challenges the anthropocentric reading of the Torah, showing that a radically different orientation to the more-than-human world of nature is not only possible, but that such an orientation also leads to a more accurate interpretation of scripture, rabbinic texts, Maimonides and Kabbalah. Deeply grounded in traditional texts and fluent with the physical sciences, this book proposes not only a new understanding of God's image but also a new direction for restoring religion to its senses and to a more alive relationship with the more-than-human, both with nature and with divinity.

    • Reorients our reading of the Jewish tradition, which is often distorted by medieval philosophy, the Enlightenment, and modern humanism
    • Proposes a new way to look at the Kabbalistic tradition - through the lens of Kabbalah's relation to the more-than-human
    • Delineates ways to implement these insights on an ethical level and proposes several new frameworks for environmental ethics
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This book will be of interest in numerous disciplines, including Jewish studies, conservation and environmental studies, and religion. Recommended for all Jewish libraries.' David B. Levy, Association of Jewish Libraries News

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107081338
    • length: 420 pages
    • dimensions: 237 x 160 x 30 mm
    • weight: 0.75kg
    • contains: 1 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Notes on translation, transliteration, and bibliography
    Overview of Kabbalah and Ecology
    Introduction. Jewish ecological thought and the challenge for scriptural theology
    Part I. Midrash:
    1. Tselem Elohim (God's image) in Midrash and commentary, part 1: the angels and the heavens, the chain of Being, intellect and speech
    2. Tselem Elohim in Midrash and commentary, part 2: the body, gender, dominion, and ethics
    3. Tselem, dignity, and the 'infinite value' of the other
    4. The soul and the others: humans, animals and other subjectivities
    5. Ethics and the others: moral fellowship with animals and beyond animals
    Intermediate conclusions: from Midrash to Kabbalah
    Part II. Kabbalah:
    6. Tselem Elohim in Kabbalah, part 1: the Sefirot, the soul and body, the hypostases, and the heavens
    7. Tselem Elohim in Kabbalah, part 2: the more-than-human world - holism and unifications, trees, birds, animals, and colors
    8. Of rocks, names, and codes: the letters of Creation
    9. Adam Qadmon: the universe as God's image
    10. Gaia, Adam Qadmon, and Maimonides
    11. Qomah: the stature of all beings
    Intermediate conclusions: from Kabbalah to ecotheology
    Part III. Ecotheology:
    12. Nigun, Shirah, the singing of Creation, and the problem of language
    13. Further theological reflections
    Conclusions: a new ethos, a new ethics
    Excursus 1. Nefesh and related terms
    Excursus 2. The prayer of P'ri 'Ets Hadar
    Appendix. The Sefirot, the Tree of Life, and a brief history of Kabbalah
    Bibliography of primary Jewish sources
    General index
    Index of scriptural verses
    Index of scriptural sources.

  • Author

    David Mevorach Seidenberg
    David Mevorach Seidenberg received his doctoral degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary for his work on ecology and Kabbalah and was ordained by both the Jewish Theological Seminary and Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. He also studied physics and mathematics at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, educational philosophy at Harvard University, Massachusetts, and social ecology at the Institute for Social Ecology, Vermont. He teaches Jewish thought in Europe, Israel and throughout North America, in communities and universities, and through his organization,, focusing on ecology and spirituality, Talmud, Maimonides, Kabbalah and Hasidic thought; on embodied Torah, dance and nigunim (Hasidic song); and on ecological and environmental ethics. In addition to scholarly articles, he was a contributing editor of the Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, and his writing has been featured in The Jewish Daily Forward, Huffington Post, The Times of Israel, and the Los Angeles Jewish Journal.

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