Open Secret: Postmessianic Messianism and the Mystical Revision of Menahem Mendel Schneerson

Hardcover | October 21, 2009

byElliot R. Wolfson

not yet rated|write a review

Menahem Mendel Schneerson (1902-1994) was the seventh and seemingly last Rebbe of the Habad-Lubavitch dynasty. Marked by conflicting tendencies, Schneerson was a radical messianic visionary who promoted a conservative political agenda, a reclusive contemplative who built a hasidic sect into an international movement, and a man dedicated to the exposition of mysteries who nevertheless harbored many secrets. Schneerson astutely masked views that might be deemed heterodox by the canons of orthodoxy while engineering a fundamentalist ideology that could subvert traditional gender hierarchy, the halakhic distinction between permissible and forbidden, and the social-anthropological division between Jew and Gentile.

While most literature on the Rebbe focuses on whether or not he identified with the role of Messiah, Elliot R. Wolfson, a leading scholar of Jewish mysticism and the phenomenology of religious experience, concentrates instead on Schneerson's apocalyptic sensibility and his promotion of a mystical consciousness that undermines all discrimination. For Schneerson, the ploy of secrecy is crucial to the dissemination of the messianic secret. To be enlightened messianically is to be delivered from all conceptual limitations, even the very notion of becoming emancipated from limitation. The ultimate liberation, or true and complete redemption, fuses the believer into an infinite essence beyond all duality, even the duality of being emancipated and not emancipated?an emancipation, in other words, that emancipates one from the bind of emancipation.

At its deepest level, Schneerson's eschatological orientation discerned that a spiritual master, if he be true, must dispose of the mask of mastery. Situating Habad's thought within the evolution of kabbalistic mysticism, the history of Western philosophy, and Mahayana Buddhism, Wolfson articulates Schneerson's rich theology and profound philosophy, concentrating on the nature of apophatic embodiment, semiotic materiality, hypernomian transvaluation, nondifferentiated alterity, and atemporal temporality.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$77.05 online
$90.00 list price (save 14%)
In stock online
Ships free on orders over $25

From the Publisher

Menahem Mendel Schneerson (1902-1994) was the seventh and seemingly last Rebbe of the Habad-Lubavitch dynasty. Marked by conflicting tendencies, Schneerson was a radical messianic visionary who promoted a conservative political agenda, a reclusive contemplative who built a hasidic sect into an international movement, and a man dedicat...

Elliot R. Wolfson is the Abraham Lieberman Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of the American Academy of Jewish Research. He is the author of numerous essays and books, including Through a Speculum that Shines: Vision and Imagination i...

other books by Elliot R. Wolfson

Language, Eros, Being: Kabbalistic Hermeneutics and Poetic Imagination
Language, Eros, Being: Kabbalistic Hermeneutics and Poe...

Kobo ebook|Aug 25 2009

$29.29 online$37.99list price(save 22%)
Suffering Religion
Suffering Religion

Kobo ebook|Sep 2 2003

$76.05

see all books by Elliot R. Wolfson
Format:HardcoverDimensions:472 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:October 21, 2009Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231146302

ISBN - 13:9780231146302

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of Open Secret: Postmessianic Messianism and the Mystical Revision of Menahem Mendel Schneerson

Reviews

Extra Content

Table of Contents

PrefaceNote on the TransliterationIntroduction: Behind the Veil Unveiled1. Concealing the Concealment: The Politics of the Esoteric2. A/voiding Place: Apophatic Embodiment3. Semiotic Transubstantiation of the Somatic4. Messianic Torah: Hypernomian Transvaluation5. Female Encircles Male: Gender Transposition6. Apocalyptic Crossing: Beyond the (Non)Jewish OtherPostface: In an Instant-Advent of the (Non)eventNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

Wolfson has not only produced an excellent study of Rabbi Mena?em Mendel Schneerson's views, but he has argued convincingly that this work will serve as a paradigm for Jewish philosophic thought.