Joel Hecker: Mystical Bodies, Mystical Meals (2005)

hecker.gifLast summer’s issue of the Journal of Religion and Popular Culture has an indepth review of Joel Hecker’s Mystical Bodies, Mystical Meals: Eating and Embodiment in Medieval Kabbalah, “the first book-length study of mystical eating practices and experiences in the kabbalah.” Here is the most interesting sentence from the review: “An essential insight in Hecker’s study is the recognition that the metaphor of eating was used in Zoharic Kabbalah to signify the flow of energy from Israel to the divine and vice versa.” And I liked this segment form the publisher’s site:

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.

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