The Origins of Jewish Mysticism

The Origins of Jewish Mysticism

Peter Schäfer / Nov 24, 2020

The Origins of Jewish Mysticism The Origins of Jewish Mysticism offers the first in depth look at the history of Jewish mysticism from the book of Ezekiel to the Merkavah mysticism of late antiquity The Merkavah movement is widely r

  • Title: The Origins of Jewish Mysticism
  • Author: Peter Schäfer
  • ISBN: 9780691142159
  • Page: 454
  • Format: Paperback
  • The Origins of Jewish Mysticism offers the first in depth look at the history of Jewish mysticism from the book of Ezekiel to the Merkavah mysticism of late antiquity The Merkavah movement is widely recognized as the first full fledged expression of Jewish mysticism, one that had important ramifications for classical rabbinic Judaism and the emergence of the Kabbalah in tThe Origins of Jewish Mysticism offers the first in depth look at the history of Jewish mysticism from the book of Ezekiel to the Merkavah mysticism of late antiquity The Merkavah movement is widely recognized as the first full fledged expression of Jewish mysticism, one that had important ramifications for classical rabbinic Judaism and the emergence of the Kabbalah in twelfth century Europe Yet until now, the origins and development of still earlier forms of Jewish mysticism have been largely overlooked.In this book, Peter Schafer sheds new light on Ezekiel s tantalizing vision, the apocalyptic literature of Enoch, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the writings of the Hellenistic Jewish philosopher Philo, the rabbinical writings of the Talmudic period, and the esotericism of the Merkavah mystics Schafer questions whether we can accurately speak of Jewish mysticism as a uniform, coherent phenomenon with origins in Judaism s mythical past Rather than imposing preconceived notions about mysticism on a great variety of writings that arose from different cultural, religious, and historical settings, he reveals what these writings seek to tell us about the age old human desire to get close to and communicate with God.

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    About "Peter Schäfer"

      • Peter Schäfer

        Peter Sch ferPositions2005 2013 Director, Program in Judaic Studies, Princeton University1998 2013 Ronald O Perelman Professor of Jewish Studies and Professor of Religion, Princeton University1983 2008 University Professor of Jewish Studies and Director, Institut f r Judaistik, Freie Universit t Berlin1982 83 Professor of Jewish Studies, University of Cologne1974 82 Au erplanm ssiger Professor of Jewish Studies, University of Cologne1974 Wissenschaftlicher Assistent, Martin Buber Institut f r Judaistik, University of Cologne1969 74 Wissenschaftlicher Assistent, Institutum Judaicum, University of T bingenprinceton pschafer


    557 Comments

    1. A very scholarly survey of early Jewish texts containing mystical elements. The book begins with the apocalyptic accounts in Ezekiel and Daniel and covers apocryphal Second Temple period writings, the Qumran documents, Philo, the Mishna and Talmud, and the Hekhalot ("palaces") and Merkabah ("chariot") literature.This was a very tough book to get through and I definitely wouldn't recommend it for the casual reader who's just generally interested in mysticism or Judaism. One problem is that Schafe [...]


    2. I have used this book for two different purposes, one was in University class which analyzed ascension texts and the second was for a personal study of mysticism as it relates to the Jesus Mystics of today. The book was information for both.This book is supplemental to the texts it analyses and the wise reader will read such items as the Apocalypse of Abraham and Hekalot literature in conjunction with Origins, otherwise the available depth may be lost. Perhaps more valuable than the commentary o [...]


    3. A significant scholarly achievement. Schäfer cements his status as one of the most careful and astute scholars of things Jewish working today. The significance of this achievement is magnified due to the vexing subject matter. The final chapter, a broadside attack on the 'Jewish binitarian' hypothesis (expounded most forcefully by another Jewish studies luminary, Daniel Boyarin), is especially interesting.


    4. Although there are numerous points of interpretation in which Schäfer and I differ--particularly the dichotimization between exegesis and experience, which he sufficiently nuances in his conclusion--it is an impressive book that reflects upon a lifetime of scholarship. It is a must read for anyone interested in Jewish Mysticism.


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