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Was the Golden Calf so Bad? Literary and Kabbalistic Perspectives on Avodah Zarah [Alien Worship] in the Tanakh

Drisha Faculty / November 7, 2016

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The making of the Golden Calf is usually viewed as the primordial collective sin of the Jewish people, indeed often taken as a model for understanding the most grievous religious errors throughout the centuries. Surprisingly, many key texts in the Jewish tradition found it difficult to specify exactly what made it sinful. Classical kabbalists, prolific creators of the most elaborate myths about infinite numbers of structures and personages in the divine realm, also found this to pose a difficult issue, giving rise to complex and even shocking expositions. This session was led by Daniel Matt, is a Kabbalah scholar and professor at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. He is best known for his work translating the Zohar into English.




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