skip to content

Faculty of Divinity


Zoom book launch for Tsimtsum and Modernity: 11 March, 6 p.m. UK time


Join us for the book launch for Tsimtsum and Modernity: Lurianic Heritage in Modern Philosophy and Theology (De Gruyter, 2021), edited by Agata Bielik-Robson and Daniel H. Weiss.


This volume is the first-ever collection of essays in philosophy, theology, and intellectual history, devoted to the Lurianic concept of tsimtsum (God’s contraction/withdrawal in creation for the sake of created beings). It contains eighteen studies which demonstrate the historical development of this notion and its evolving meaning: from the Hebrew Bible and the classical midrashic collections, through Kabbalah, Isaac Luria himself and his disciples, up to modernity (ranging from Spinoza, Böhme, Leibniz, Newton, Schelling and Hegel to Scholem, Rosenzweig, Heidegger, Benjamin, Adorno, Horkheimer, Levinas, Jonas and Derrida). 


The panelists for the book launch itself include Catherine Pickstock (University of Cambridge); the editors of the volume, Agata Bielik-Robson (University of Nottingham) and Daniel H. Weiss (University of Cambridge); and other authors of individual chapters in the volume.  The discussion will focus on the significance of this kabbalistic concept for modern philosophy and theology – its surprising but profound impact on the past few centuries of modern Christian, Jewish, and secular thought, as well as its potential significance for present and future philosophy and theology.  Following discussion by the panelists, the floor will be open to the audience for further questions and engagement.


The event will be held in conjunction with the Philosophy of Religion research seminar (the ‘D Society’) at the Faculty of Divinity at the University of Cambridge.



To register for the event, please go to


Attendees who wish to purchase the volume will also be eligible for a 20% discount from De Gruyter.






Agata-Bielik Robson and Daniel H. Weiss

Preface: Tsimtsum in Modernity: A Case of Dramatic Dissemination


Agata Bielik-Robson

Introduction: An Unhistorical History of Tsimtsum – A Break with Neoplatonism?



Part 1: Tsimtsum and the Jewish Tradition


Paul Franks

The Midrashic Background of the Doctrine of Divine Contraction: Against Gershom Scholem on Tsimtsum


Daniel H. Weiss

Tsimtsum between the Bible and Philosophy: Levinas, Luria, and Genesis 1


Reuven Leigh

Hasidic Thought and Tsimtsum’s Linguistic Turn



Part 2: Tsimtsum and Modern Philosophy


Kenneth Seeskin

Tsimtsum and the Root of Finitude


Alex S. Ozar

Unfolding the Enfolded: Schelling and Lurianic Kabbalah


Elliot R. Wolfson

Tsimtsum, Lichtung, and the Leap of Bestowing Refusal: Kabbalistic and Heideggerian Metaontology in Dialogue


Adam Lipszyc

Taking Space Seriously: Tehiru, Khora and the Freudian Void


Eli Friedlander

The Retreat of the Poet in Walter Benjamin’s “Two Poems of Friedrich Hölderlin”


Benjamin Pollock

“The Kabbalistic Problem is not Specifically Theological”: Franz Rosenzweig on Tsimtsum


Asaf Angermann

Tsimtsum as Eclipse: Anthropomorphism and Transcendence in Buber and Horkheimer



Part 3: Tsimtsum after the Holocaust


Przemysław Tacik

Tsimtsum as the Traumnabel of Modern Jewish Philosophy: Between History and Revelation


Martin Kavka

Tsimtsum and Political Theology in the Thought of Gershom Scholem


Simon D. Podmore

‘Abyss Calls Unto Abyss’: Tsimtsum and Kenosis in the Rupture of God-forsakenness


Michael L. Morgan

Traces of Tsimtsum: Berkovits, Fackenheim, Levinas


Michael Fagenblat

Transcendental Tsimtsum: Levinas’s mythology of meaning


Agata Bielik-Robson

Derrida Denudata: Tsimtsum and the Derridean Metaphysics of Non-Presence


Christoph Schulte

Tsimtsum: Media and Arts