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Elliot Wolfson

WOLFSON, ELLIOT (1956– ), U.S. professor of Judaic studies. He received a bachelor of arts and master of arts degree from Queens College (1979) and a master of arts (1983) and doctoral degree (1986) from Brandeis University. He conducted research at The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, in 1984 and 1985 and was a fellow at the International Center for the University Teaching of Jewish Civilization in the Diaspora. In 1986 and 1987 he was an Andrew W. Mellon Teaching Fellow in the Humanities at Cornell University.

Wolfson taught at Queens College in 1988–89, then at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America from 1989 to 1993. He taught at Princeton University in 1992, was a visiting professor at the University of Chicago and the Russian State University for the Humanities, and an adjunct professor of Jewish history at Columbia from 1989 to 2000. Wolfson became an assistant professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University in 1987, then an associate professor in 1991, and he was appointed professor in 1995. In 1996 he was named the Abraham Lieberman Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies. He served as the director of Religious Studies from 1995 to 2002.

Wolfson's research interests include the history of Jewish mysticism, comparative mysticism, the phenomenology of religion, hermeneutics, literary theory, and gender studies. His works include The Book of the Pomegranate: Moses de León's Sefer ha-Rimmon (1988); Through a Speculum That Shines: Vision and Imagination in Medieval Jewish Mysticism (1994); Circle in the Square: Studies in the Use of Gender in Kabbalistic Symbolism (1995); Abraham AbulafiaKabbalist and Prophet: Hermeneutics, Theosophy, and Theurgy (2000); Pathwings: Poetic-Philosophic Reflections on the Hermeneutics of Time and Language (2004); and Language, Eros, Being: Kabbalistic Hermeneutics and Poetic Imagination (2005). Through a Speculum That Shines received in 1995 an award from the American Academy of Religion.

Wolfson edited Rending the Veil: Concealment and Secrecy in the History of Religion (1999) and coedited, with A. Ivry and A. Arkush, Perspectives on Jewish Thought and Mysticism (1998). He wrote extensively for academic journals, including the Association for Jewish Studies Review, Harvard Theological Review, Jewish Quarterly Review, and others, and contributed to many collections of essays, including Gender and Judaism (1995) and Perspectives on Jewish Thought and Mysticism (1998).

A fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research, Wolfson is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the World Union of Jewish Studies, and the Medieval Academy of America.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.