Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction: A Very Short Introduction

Paperback | May 15, 2007

byJoseph Dan

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In Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction, Joseph Dan, one of the world's leading authorities on Jewish mysticism, offers a concise and highly accurate look at the history and character of the various systems developed by the adherents of the Kabbalah. Dan sheds light on the many misconceptions about what Kabbalah is and isn't--including its connections to magic, astronomy, alchemy, and numerology--and he illuminates the relationship between Kaballah and Christianity on the one hand and New Age religion on the other. The book provides fascinatinghistorical background, ranging from the mystical groups that flourished in ancient Judaism in the East, and the medieval schools of Kabbalah in Northern Spain and Southern France, to the widening growth of Kabbalah through the school of Isaac Luria of Safed in the sixteenth century, to the mostpotent and influential modern Jewish religious movement, Hasidism, and its use of kabbalistic language in its preaching. The book examines the key ancient texts of this tradition, including the Sefer Yezira or "Book of Creation," The Book of Bahir, and the Zohar. Dan explains Midrash, the classicalJewish exegesis of scriptures, which assumes an infinity of meanings for every biblical verse, and he concludes with a brief survey of scholarship in the field and a list of books for further reading.Embraced by celebrities and integrated in many contemporary spiritual phenomena, Kabbalah has reaped a wealth of attention in the press. But many critics argue that the form of Kabbalah practiced in Hollywood is more New Age pabulum than authentic tradition. Can there be a positive role for theKabbalah in the contemporary quest for spirituality?In Kabbalah, Joseph Dan debunks the myths surrounding modern Kabbalistic practice, offering an engaging and dependable account of this traditional Jewish religious phenomenon and its impact outside of Judaism.

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In Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction, Joseph Dan, one of the world's leading authorities on Jewish mysticism, offers a concise and highly accurate look at the history and character of the various systems developed by the adherents of the Kabbalah. Dan sheds light on the many misconceptions about what Kabbalah is and isn't--including ...

Joseph Dan is the Gershom Scholem Professor of Kabbalah in the Department of Jewish Thought, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His many books include The Heart and the Fountain: Jewish Mystical Experiences, The Early Kabbalah, and The Teachings of Hasidism. He resides in Jerusalem and in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he is a v...

other books by Joseph Dan

Jewish Mysticism: Late Antiquity
Jewish Mysticism: Late Antiquity

Kobo ebook|Nov 1 1998

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:144 pages, 4.29 × 6.81 × 0.39 inPublished:May 15, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195327055

ISBN - 13:9780195327052

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"Culling over fifty years of Kabbalah research, Joseph Dan presents a schematic introduction to Kabbalah, its major periods, personalities, and ideas. This slim volume is a window into the intriguing history of this esoteric wisdom - its Christian and Islamic influences, the proliferation ofChristian Kabbalah, its influence on modern philosophy, and the important periods of Jewish heresy. From the ancient world to New Age spirituality, Dan lucidly covers the key ideas of Kabbalah as they developed over the centuries. Accessible, readable, and informative."--Shaul Magid, IndianaUniversity