Dr. Tanja Werthmann

Areas of specialization:

Early Kabbalah and particularly Zoharic Literature, Medieval Jewish Philosophy, Ancient Greek Philosophy

Areas of competence:

Platonism, Jewish Philosophy and Mysticism, Islamic Philosophy and Mysticism, Musicology


My current research explores the role of philosophical sources in the emergence of Kabbalah. It focuses on the transmission of ancient Greek concepts through their Arabic and Jewish adaptations into early Kabbalistic literature and on the ways in which they were appropriated by the early Kabbalists in forming a new system of thought.
I completed my PhD at the Department of Jewish Thought at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2018 under the supervision of Prof. Moshe Idel and Dr. Caterina Rigo. My dissertation is entitled “Forms of Platonic Eros in the Zohar: Metamorphoses of Ancient Greek Metaphysics in 13th Century Kabbalah”.
Prior to my PhD, I studied Philosophy and Musicology at Heidelberg University. My M.A. thesis is in ancient Greek philosophy and was written under the supervision of Prof. Jens Halfwassen. Parallel to my studies at Heidelberg University, I obtained a diploma from the Mannheim University of Music and Performing Arts with the major specialization in piano.


“Spirit to Spirit’: The Imagery of the Kiss in the Zohar and its Possible Sources”, Harvard Theological Review 111 (2018), pp. 586-609.

“Myth and Metaphysics: The Popularization of Platonic and Neo-Platonic Motifs through Kabbalistic Theosophy”, in: The Popularization of Philosophy in Medieval Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, ed. Marieke Abram, Steven Harvey, Lukas Muehlethaler (Forthcoming).