Brian Ogren

Brian Ogren specializes in Jewish thought and is particularly interested in philosophy and kabbalah during the early modern period. He was raised in California and was educated in Jerusalem, where he lived for thirteen years. Dr. Ogren's concentration has been upon the flow and reception of ideas amongst diverse intellectual communities, and he has explored uses of intellectual discourse as a means of asserting authority and of forming identity. He is particularly interested in textual exploration, including manuscript study, reception history, hermeneutics and historical and canonical exegesis. In other words, he is interested in the unexplored historical record of thought, the ways by which ideas have been received and transformed, and in processes of eliciting meaning from texts and contexts through variant forms of interpretation.

Dr. Ogren has authored three monographs and has edited two volumes. He is currently working on a book related to cinematic representations of Jewish mysticism, and has begun another extensive project on early modern Jewish notions of love. His work continually examines issues of center and periphery, as well as continuity and change, in regard to Jewish philosophical and mystical traditions.


FWIS 101 The Bible in Popular Culture
FWIS 177 Bizarre Biblical Stories
RELI 104 Introduction to Jewish Mysticism
RELI 108 Introduction to Judaism
RELI 116/MDEM 116 Mysticism Throughout the Ages
RELI 215/FILM 215 Mystic Cinema
RELI 300/504 Religions in America
RELI 302/526 People of the Book
RELI 363 Jewish Philosophy
RELI 472/582 Kabbalah Seminar


Kabbalah and the Founding of America: The Early Influence of Jewish Thought in the New World (New York University Press, 2021)
The Beginning of the World In Renaissance Jewish Thought: Ma'aseh Bereshit in Italian Jewish Philosophy and Kabbalah, 1492-1535 (Brill, 2016)
Renaissance and Rebirth: Reincarnation in Early Modern Italian Kabbalah (Brill, 2009)

Edited Volumes:
Kabbalah in America: Ancient Lore in the New World (Brill, 2020)
Time and Eternity in Jewish Mysticism: That Which is Before and That Which is After (Brill, 2015)

Research Areas

Jewish Philosophy, Kabbalah, Hebrew Bible Interpretation, Jewish-Christian Relations, Religious Polemics, the Jewish Textual Tradition, Jewish Thought in America


PhD, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

M.A., Hebrew University of Jerusalem

B.A., University of California at Santa Barbara

Honors & Awards

2022. Senior Fellow, Maimonides Centre for Advanced Studies, University of Hamburg

2019-20 NEH Senior Fellow, Center for Jewish History, New York

2017 Sid and Ruth Lapidus Fellowship, American Jewish Historical Society

2015-16 Lila Wallace Reader's Digest Fellowship, Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, Florence, Italy


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