Haviva Pedaya is Full Professor at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, where she teaches Judaism and Culture in the Department of Jewish History. She received her doctorate from the Hebrew University and is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts in Jerusalem. Her multi-faceted fields of research include the origins of the Kabbalah in Provence and Spain; the origins of Hassidut in the eighteenth century; ancient Jewish mysticism; apocalypolitics; myth and ritual. She is also involved in issues related to the history of the Jewish religion and culture. In her research into mysticism, in particular in the fields of sight and hearing and introversive and extroversive mysticism, she has created new paradigms. Among the central topics in her research are time and place; center and periphery; Messianism; and questions of language and linguistic form. She is also involved in critiquing literature and poetry and has published essays on principles in cultural criticism.
She is the producer and art director of both musical and theatrical projects: she established the Yonah Ensemble which has succeeded in revitalizing liturgical and mystical music of the Near East, and founded the "Reshimo Association: Spiritual and Material Environment", an association for the promotion of the arts, culture and education in the periphery. Prof. Pedaya is a member of the steering committees of the Metulla Poetry Festival; Kehilot Sharot and the Piyut website. Aside from her involvement in the arts and music she is also working on creating paradigms for the processes of constructing identity with an affinity to music and art.
Prof. Pedaya has been awarded numerous scholarships and prizes, among which are the Yehuda Amichai Prize for Hebrew Poetry, grants from The Jewish Cultural Memorial Fund, the Yaniv Foundation and the Lacritz Foundation, the Harry Hershon award, the Presidential Award (for her poetry book Motzah Hanefesh), the Publishers Association's award (for her poetry book Miteiva Stuma), and a grant from the National Foundation of Academic Sciences for her research on ecstasy.