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Messianic Mystics


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About the Author

Moshe Idel is professor of Jewish thought at Hebrew University. Among his many books is Kabbalah: New Perspectives (ISBN 0 300 04699 5 pb. #14.95), published by Yale University Press.


This relatively compact book covers the spectrum of Jewish mystic tradition, from pre-Kabbalistic messianism to some of its modern reverberations. After Gershom Scholem's Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism (Schocken, 1995. reprint), this is the next all-embracing critical compendium. The author does not repeat Scholem's work but rather gives his own approach to every period and teaching. The book is highly innovative, reworking the structure of Jewish mysticism in its relations to history and philosophy. Idel (Jewish thought, Hebrew Univ.; Kabbalah: New Perspectives, LJ 3/1/88) shows the steps in the development of mystic traditions, sometimes completely overturning Scholem's ideas. Though writing at a high academic level, Idel uses clear and popular language; he doesn't overload the book with technicalities in describing the essence and meaning of the teachings. Highly recommended for both general and specialized collections; suitable for beginners in Jewish studies as well as readers already familiar with Jewish mysticism.ÄHayim Y. Sheynin, Gratz Coll. Lib., Melrose Park, PA

"Moshe Idel is one of the most original minds in Judaic studies today. Messianic Mystics offers a refreshingly novel perspective on a fundamental theme of Jewish thought and historical experience. Idel's new synthesis will inevitably join his path-breaking Kabbalah: New Perspectives as a major articulation of his historical reconstruction of Judaism." David Ruderman "[An] arresting new study." Dorfman, Lingua Franca

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