On the Kabbalah and Its Symbolism by Gershom Scholem

By Gershom Scholem

"Along with Scholem's significant tendencies in Jewish Mysticism, this can be the traditional paintings in its field." -- Choice

"Comprises a few of Scholem's so much widely conceived highbrow efforts, facing such common matters as creativity and culture, Scripture and its interpretation, faith and fantasy, and the character of non secular authority." -- Arthur eco-friendly, Brandeis University

"Makes the complex and engaging global of kabbalistic image and fable obtainable to a much broader viewers, rendering it in phrases which are of curiosity to modern readers." -- Elliot R. Wolfson, big apple University

In "On the Kabbalah and Its Symbolism", Gershom Scholem courses the reader throughout the crucial subject matters within the complex heritage of the Kabbalah; clarifying the relatives among mysticism and proven non secular authority, the mystics' interpretation of the Torah and their makes an attempt to find the hidden that means underlying Scripture, the strain among the philosophical and the magical techniques of God, and the symbolism hired in mystical religion.

About the author
Gershom Scholem, who died in 1982, continues to be the most important gun in kabbalah scholarship, and "On the Kabbalah and its Symbolism" may be his so much available booklet at the topic. It comprises definitive essays at the relation of the Torah to Jewish mysticism, the mythology of the kabbalah, and where of Jewish mystics within the Jewish neighborhood. This publication helped reinvigorate 20th-century Jewish reports with an expertise of the residing fact of God, after the nineteenth century's extra astringent scholarly emphasis on legislations and philosophy. It exhibits how Jewish mystics were much less eager about adherence to orthodoxy than their Christian opposite numbers, and freer of their expression of the divine points of eroticism. additionally, Scholem bargains nice perception in regards to the ways in which kabbalah has not just threatened the authority of institutional faith, but in addition served as a resource of its power.

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Example text

But the relationship between religion and histori­ cal conditions is constantly changing and cannot be reduced to any simple common denominator. A sound answer would require a knowledge of all the historical factors and of the specific con­ ditions under which the mystics embarked on their activities. Yet perhaps there is one exception to this statement: those mystics who may be characterized as innately radical-a specific personal quality that is by no means limited to mystics. There are plenty of men who incline by nature to the radical formulation of their ideas, who chafe at authority of any kind and have no patience whatever with the folly of their fellow men.

8 Philo, Vita Mosis, II, 5 r . IN JEWISH MYS TICISM laws and harmonious order which pervade and govern all exist­ ence. In addition the Kabbalists were able to read in the esoteric and apocalyptic books of the Talmudic period that heaven and earth were created by the Name of God. 1 It was only natural to combine statmeents of this kind with the notion of the Torah as the instrument of Creation, that is, the Great Name of God. This basic idea of the Torah as the Name of God was the source of certain other Kabbalistic developments.

Usually these dividing lines are not so clear. Often enough the conflict takes place quite openly and the mystic is perfectly con­ scious of it. In such cases the mystic knows that he must oppose the existing authority, that he has been chosen to found a new authority or to do away with authority altogether. This was the case with the great leaders of the Anabaptists, whose mystical inspiration is undeniable, and of the Quakers, to cite only these two striking examples from the history of Chris­ tianity.

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