How the Zohar Reimagines God

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
Office: (212) 678-8950

October 10, 2007, New York, NY

Dr. Daniel C. Matt

Madonna may have popularized Kabbalah in the twenty-first century, but the study of this mystical spiritual wisdom has been ongoing for centuries. Beyond the red string and celebrity appeal, what is the significance of Kabbalah for us today?

Dr. Daniel C. Matt, an award-winning scholar of Kabbalah and the Zohar, the principal text of Kabbalah, will explore "How the Zohar Reimagines God" at the Gerson D. Cohen Memorial Lecture at The Jewish Theological Seminary. The event will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, November 19 at JTS, 3080 Broadway (at 122nd street), New York City.

Dr. Matt’s current project is of historic scope: an eleven-volume, annotated English translation of the Zohar. This translation—The Zohar: Pritzker Edition—is the first to be based on a critical Aramaic text of the Zohar, established by Dr. Matt from numerous original manuscripts. The fourth volume, containing material on the first half of the Book of Exodus, has just recently been published. His work has been honored with a National Jewish Book Award and a Koret Jewish Book Award, which cited his translation as “a monumental contribution to the history of Jewish thought.”

Among Dr. Matt’s numerous other publications are the best-selling The Essential Kabbalah (translated into six languages); Zohar: Annotated and Explained; and God and the Big Bang: Discovering Harmony Between Science and Spirituality. He has been featured in Time magazine and on National Public Radio and the History Channel. Dr. Matt received his PhD from Brandeis University and for twenty years served as professor of Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He has also taught at Stanford University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

In conjunction with the lecture, a small exhibit of Zohar materials from The Library's rare collection will be on display on the fifth floor for several weeks.

The annual Gerson D. Cohen Memorial Lecture was established in 1993 by The Honorable Howard M. Holtzmann, honorary chairman of the JTS Board of Trustees, as a tribute to the late Gerson D. Cohen, who served as chancellor of JTS from 1972 to 1986. Admission is free but reservations and valid photo identification are required for admission. Attendees are asked to arrive at least fifteen minutes prior to the program. For more information and to register, please call the JTS Department of Public Events at (212) 280-6093 or email

Editors/Reporters: To cover The Gerson D. Cohen Memorial Lecture, please contact Sherry S. Kirschenbaum in the Department of Communications at (212) 678-8953.

Founded in 1886 as a rabbinical school, The Jewish Theological Seminary today is the academic and spiritual center of Conservative Judaism worldwide, encompassing a world-class library and five schools. JTS trains tomorrow's religious, educational, academic and lay leaders for the Jewish community and beyond.