Eveline Goodman-Thau (Jerusalem)

He gives her a rib and she gives him a soul in return“ – On the Dialectics of Body and Soul as a Paradigm of Holiness from the Sources of Judaism

“The soul is Yours and the body Your creation, protect Your work.”

Abraham Ibn Ezra (1089 – 1164)

Reading Class

In the biblical story of creation, the creation of woman introduces a new dimension in the notion of man. It not only pertains to the biological difference between man and woman, but serves as one of the basic questions of monotheistic religions, namely the relationship between Man and God.

As Adam and Eve leave paradise, both having the Knowledge of Death, but Eve, in addition, also has the Knowledge of Life. It is here, that the source of the connection between bodily and spiritual existence is located. For this reason we have chosen to read some core texts from biblical and rabbinic sources on this topic, which have implications for a great number of other questions concerning the body-soul problem, such as duality, holiness, freedom, guilt, sin, purity, immortality, resurrection, redemption, etc.

Jewish tradition, which did not develop a dogma, but has left the bible at all times open to interpretation, shows a great variety of opinions on these topics, which we hope to encounter in our common readings.

Biblical text readings

– Genesis ch. 1-4
– Leviticus ch. 19

Rabbinic text readings:

– Babylonian Talmud (Sanhedrin 90a-91b)


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