By Moshe Idel

During this prizewinning new interpretation of Jewish mysticism, Moshe Idel emphasizes the necessity for a comparative and phenomenological method of Kabbalah and its place within the historical past of faith. Idel presents clean insights into the origins of Jewish mysticism, the relation among mystical and old event, and the impression of Jewish mysticism on western civilization. "Idel's publication is studded with significant insights, and leading edge ways to the full background of Judaism, and mastery of it is going to be crucial for all severe scholars of Jewish thought."-Arthur eco-friendly, big apple instances booklet evaluation "Moshe Idel's unique, scholarly, and stimulating examine of Kabbalah comprises the promise of a masterwork."-Elie Wiesel "Moshe Idel's ebook might help the nonspecialized reader to re-evaluate the total of Kabbalistic culture compared to many elements of latest thought."-Umberto Eco "There could be no dispute in regards to the significance and originality of Idel's paintings. supplying a wealth of complementary insights to Gershom Scholem and his institution, it is going to command loads of recognition and severe discussion."-Alexander Altmann

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If so, the scholar making a serious comparison among mystics, even when they belong to the same religious group, must limit himself to an analysis of their motifs, ideas, and sources, abjuring inferences as to the similarities or differences between the actual experiences. Another important consequence is that attempts to characterize the mystical experiences in a given religion must be limited to the expressions found in its literature alone, without attempting to infer from them the typology of the experiences themselves.

The more obvious, although less important, reason is the loss of several interesting books written by central Kabbalistic figures, the loss having been caused in part by the vicissitudes of Jewish history; pogroms and expulsions are not conducive to the preservation of unique manuscripts. This seems to be the reason, for example, for the loss of some of the writings of R. Moses of Burgos, R. Moses de Leon, 4 R. Isaac of Acre5 and R. 6 Another important reason for the disappearance of Kabbalistic works was the self-censorship imposed by the Kabbalists themselves.

20 This last observation expresses the possibility or probability that Kabbalah was actually a practical-experiential type of mysticism more than a speculative theory. It was comprehensive, as it commonly included both mystical perceptions of being and attempts to modify it. A scholar who approaches Kabbalistic literature only textologically (almost the single main perspective in present research) is unable to be sensitive to vital aspects of Kabbalistic phenomena. I have already discussed the possible contributions of comparative study to a more precise understanding of this lore.

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