The 18th World Congress of Jewish Studies

Between Middot and Sefirot: Musar in Moshe Cordovero

Looking at Cordovero`s impressive oeuvre, it is striking that all his writings are classified as kabbalistic literature. A partial exception, albeit a theoretically important one, is the small booklet Tomer Devorah, which is attributed to the genre of musar. In my presentation, I will explore the question of how Tomer Devorah became a musar book. In doing so, I will approach this question in three different ways: First, I will address whether the manuscript versions of this short composition already provide indications for such a classification. Second, I will examine how the paratexts of the printed editions of Tomer Devorah changed over time. And third, I will consult Jewish and non-Jewish bibliographies to illustrate the diverse characterizations of the work. Ultimately, these perspectives will serve as a basis for asking how thinking in terms of genre affects the way we read texts.