Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction

By Joseph Dan

In Kabbalah: a truly brief Introduction, Joseph Dan, one of many world's prime specialists on Jewish mysticism, bargains a concise and hugely actual examine the historical past and personality of some of the structures built by way of the adherents of the Kabbalah.

Dan sheds gentle at the many misconceptions approximately what Kabbalah is and isn't--including its connections to magic, astronomy, alchemy, and numerology--and he illuminates the connection among Kaballah and Christianity at the one hand and New Age faith at the different. The publication presents attention-grabbing old historical past, starting from the paranormal teams that flourished in old Judaism within the East, and the medieval colleges of Kabbalah in Northern Spain and Southern France, to the widening development of Kabbalah during the college of Isaac Luria of Safed within the 16th century, to the main powerful and influential sleek Jewish spiritual move, Hasidism, and its use of kabbalistic language in its preaching. The booklet examines the main historical texts of this custom, together with the Sefer Yezira or "Book of Creation," The booklet of Bahir, and the Zohar. Dan explains Midrash, the classical Jewish exegesis of scriptures, which assumes an infinity of meanings for each biblical verse, and he concludes with a quick survey of scholarship within the box and a listing of books for extra reading.

Embraced by way of celebrities and built-in in lots of modern non secular phenomena, Kabbalah has reaped a wealth of cognizance within the press. yet many critics argue that the shape of Kabbalah practiced in Hollywood is extra New Age pabulum than genuine culture. Can there be a favorable function for the Kabbalah within the modern quest for spirituality?

In Kabbalah, Joseph Dan debunks the myths surrounding glossy Kabbalistic perform, delivering a fascinating and loyal account of this conventional Jewish non secular phenomenon and its influence open air of Judaism.

About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and elegance, Very brief Introductions supply an advent to a couple of life's finest themes. Written by means of specialists for the newcomer, they show the best modern brooding about the principal difficulties and concerns in countless numbers of key issues, from philosophy to Freud, quantum conception to Islam.

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So much Sabbatians, despite the fact that, remained inside Jewish groups, and created an underground of believers in all strata of Jewish society, basic humans, intellectuals, and rabbis. They imitated their messiah in a type of “sacred hypocrisy”: they pretended to be orthodox Jews, adhering to the traditional exilic culture, whereas secretly they worshiped ninety M O D E R N T I M E S I I I : T H E S A B B A T I A N M E S S I A N I C M O V E M E N T the messiah and the Torah of the age of redemption. They expressed this in a variety of methods. a standard one used to be to have a good time the birthday of the messiah, which happened at the day of mourning and fasting for the destruction of the temple— tisha’a be-Av; whilst everyone was once crying and praying they celebrated the top of the exile and the arrival of the messiah. we all know of a ranking or extra separate Sabbatian sects in Judaism within the overdue 17th century and in the course of the eighteenth. Their teachings have been various, as have been their practices. there have been numerous teams that traveled to Jerusalem to look forward to the go back of the messiah. Others assembled round leaders who claimed to be the heirs or reincarnations of Shabbatai Zevi. there has been no principal authority or association, nor any normative theology. a number of writers produced books pertaining to visions and messianic reviews. a few teams have been led by way of messianic figures, who weren't at once regarding the Sabbatian culture. The life of those heretical sects hiding in lots of groups evoked a response: there have been a number of rabbis who committed themselves to the searching and gaining knowledge of Sabbatian believers and picking books reflecting a Sabbatian worldview. A sour controversy arose within the 1730s whilst the manager rabbi of Prague, a well known pupil, Rabbi Jonathan Eibschutz, was once accused of being a mystery believer in Shabbatai Zevi—an accusation that sleek scholarship has proved to be right. one among Scholem’s major theses used to be the remark that this profound hindrance that conventional Judaism used to be present process within the eighteenth century served as a foundation for the emergence of the enlightenment stream in Judaism, which preached the mixing of Jews in eu society and tradition. in keeping with him, the partitions of the Jewish ghettos in Europe fell down from inside of, earlier than they have been breached from the surface via the method of the emancipation of eu Jews. the normal norms misplaced their strength less than the onslaught of Sabbatian principles, and ready Jews for a brand new period of freedom and ninety one okay A B B A L A H openness. it is a profound thesis, even if there are only a few info that may be offered to turn out it. in the midst of the eighteenth century, Jacob Frank, a Pole who claimed to be a reincarnation of Shabbatai Zevi, awarded an intensive, heretical interpretation of the concept that of the hot, religious Torah. one of many slogans that he propagated was once “the denial of the Torah is the real expression of adherence to it. ” every little thing in conventional legislations has now to be re-versed, and prohibitions at the moment are optimistic commandments.

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