The mystical origins of Hasidism /

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Main Author: Elior, Rachel. (Author)
Format: Book
Language:English
Published:Oxford ; Portland, Or. : Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2006.
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Main Author:Elior, Rachel.
Uniform Title:Ḥerut ʻal ha-luḥot. English
Summary:

The words'hasid' and 'hasidism' have become so familiar to people interested in theJewish world that little thought is given to understanding exactly whathasidism is or considering its spiritual and social consequences.

What, forexample, are the distinguishing features of hasidism? What innovations does itembody? How did its founders see it? Why did it arouse opposition? What is theessential nature of hasidic thought? What is its spiritual essence? What doesits literature consist of? What typifies its leadership? What is the secret ofits persistence through the centuries? How have scholars explained its origins?Is hasidism an expression of mystical ideas, or a response to changing socialcircumstances? What is its connection to kabbalah? To Shabateanism? Tomessianism? What is its relationship to the traditional structures of authorityin the Jewish world? This book aims to answer all these questions in a lucidand accessible manner.

Rachel Eliorfocuses on the fundamental positions and the factors of primary importance: thesubstantial issues that recur in the hasidic texts, including how hasidim haveseen themselves over the centuries, how they have constructed a new spiritualand social ideal, and how that ideal has stood the test of reality. The goal isto present the main characteristics of the hasidic movement and to examine thesocial implications of its mystical ideas. The text is fully supported byreferences to the relevant hasidic sources and academic literature. The bookconcludes with a list of the hasidic texts on which the discussion is based anda comprehensive bibliography of scholarly works on kabbalah and hasidism.

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Physical Description:xii, 258 p. ; 24 cm.
Bibliography:Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN:1874774846.
Author Notes:

Rachel Elior is John and Golda Cohen Professor of Jewish Philosophy and Jewish Mystical Thought at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She has been a research fellow and visiting professor at University College London, the University of Amsterdam, Oberlin College, the University of Michigan atAnn Arbor, the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Case Western University, Yeshiva University, Tokyo University, and Princeton University. She is the author of numerous works on Jewish mysticism and hasidism, two of which are also published by the Littman Library: The Three Temples: On theEmergence of Jewish Mysticism (2004), and Jewish Mysticism: The Infinite Expression of Freedom (2007). The recipient of many honours, she was awarded the 2006 Gershom Scholem Prize for the Study of Kabbalah and Jewish Mysticism by the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

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