Jeremy Phillip Brown
Position title: Kingdon Fellow (2023-2024)
Jordan H. Kapson Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies, Theology, University of Notre Dame
A World of Piety is Built: The Pietism of Medieval Castilian Kabbalah
What compelled Rabbi Moses de León of Guadalajara to embark on his ambitious project of writing the Zohar, the celebrated masterpiece of medieval kabbalah? An intensive examination of hard-won archival evidence shows that the thirteenth-century author sought to harness the wisdom of kabbalah to spur a penitential movement within medieval Jewish society. To realize this goal, de León proposed a socially transformative program of pious living whose pillars my project analyzes in detail. The project of establishing de León’s pietism and locating it within the Zohar yields novel observations about the social aspirations and hortative character of Castilian kabbalah. These observations expand both the thematic and historical scope of existing scholarship and challenge its inherited assumptions.
Jeremy Phillip Brown is the Jordan H. Kapson Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies and Assistant Professor of Theology, at the University of Notre Dame, where he also serves as a Faculty Fellow of the Medieval Institute. Brown has served as Simon and Ethel Flegg Postdoctoral Fellow in Jewish Studies at McGill University in Montreal, where he was born. He has also taught at University of San Francisco, in the place where he grew up, and New York University, where he earned a doctoral degree in Hebrew and Judaic Studies. His studies have appeared in Harvard Theological Review, History of Religions, Journal of Religion, Jewish Quarterly Review, and other venues. Teaching and research interests include medieval Judaism, religion in medieval Iberia, Jewish-Christian polemic, kabbalah, and pietism.