By James Devitt
August 31, 2012
Elliot Wolfson, the Abraham Lieberman Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, has won an American Academy of Religion Award for his 2011 work, A Dream Interpreted Within a Dream: Oneiropoiesis and the Prism of Imagination (Zone Books).
Wolfson’s book was recognized in the category of “Constructive-Reflective Studies.”
Dreams have been the focus of curiosity and analysis for thousands of years, but often from singular perspectives. Wolfson explores the oneiric phenomena from a variety of academic disciplines—psychoanalysis, phenomenology, literary theory, and neuroscience. Utilizing these different methodological approaches, he proposes a linguistic archaeology to elucidate the nature of the dream in a vast array of biblical, rabbinic, philosophical, and kabbalistic texts. By interpreting the dream within the dream, Wolfson articulates how a productive paradox emerges to reveal the wakeful character of the dream and the dreamful character of wakefulness.
Wolfson has published extensively in the area of Jewish mysticism and philosophy in the medieval and modern eras. His books include: Through a Speculum That Shines: Vision and Imagination in Medieval Jewish Mysticism; Language, Eros, Being: Kabbalistic Hermeneutics and Poetic Imagination; Alef, Mem, Tau: Kabbalistic Musings on Time, Truth, and Death; Venturing Beyond: Morality and Law in Kabbalistic Mysticism; and Open Secret: Postmessianic Messianism and the Mystical Revision of Menahem Mendel Schneerson.
The American Academy of Religion Awards recognize new scholarly publications that make significant contributions to the study of religion, the academy said in announcing this year’s winners. The awards honor books of distinctive originality, intelligence, creativity and importance, books that affect decisively how religion is examined, understood, and interpreted.