Sunday, June 08, 2003

A very fascinating article on Gershom Scholem, the great founder of the study of Jewish mysticism. If you're interested in the Kabbalah, his books are the place to start. He essentially made the Kabbalah a legitimate subject for scholarly examination and reformulated Jewish history to accomodate its mystical side, which had heretofore been ignored by scholars desperate to prove that Judaism had always been a systemic, rational, legalistic faith. Scholem pretty much proved that to be nonsense, and asserted the existence of an ancient and hugely influential mystical tradition that had provided much of the creative force behind Judaism's constant metamorphoses. Genius, pure and simple.


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