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Roads to UtopiaThe Walking Stories of the Zohar$
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David Greenstein

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780804788335

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804788335.001.0001

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The Quotidian Utopia of the Zohar

The Quotidian Utopia of the Zohar

(p.215) Conclusion The Quotidian Utopia of the Zohar
Roads to Utopia

David Greenstein

Stanford University Press

The walking stories of the Zohar are its unique literary feature. Charting the motif suggests a consistent concern that connects various segments of the zoharic library, although recent scholarship has emphasized their separateness. This study seeks to understand the walking motif on its own terms, as a spatial practice, without depriving it of its uniqueness by subsuming it into the Zohar's other mystical concerns--concerns that privilege a sacred, vertical, space-denying axis. The abundant yet elusive quality of the motif points to the Zohar's persistent struggle to recognize the mundane space of the road, which is “nowhere” in particular, a “utopian” space. Through this motif, the Zohar engages in conversation and in polemic with surrounding non-Jewish and Jewish groups. In picturing the Companions walking on the road, the Zohar created a fitting image for its own daring independence.

Keywords:   walking, motif, mundane, space, spatial practice, utopia, scholarship, vertical axis

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