Kabbalah: The Mystic Quest in Judaism

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9780742545649: Kabbalah: The Mystic Quest in Judaism
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Today, many people from all faiths are exploring the Kabbalah. What were once controversial and esoteric teachings from medieval Jewish mystics now is becoming one of the latest spiritual trends sweeping across America. In the wake of this renewed interest comes David Ariel's Kabbalah: The Mystic Quest in Judaism, a thoroughly updated edition of his classic best selling book, The Mystic Quest. Ariel beautifully presents the complex elements of Jewish mysticism's major ideas in clear, understandable, and accessible language for Jewish and non-Jewish readers alike. Hailed as "brilliant" by Publishers Weekly, the book has a completely revised Introduction that sets a contemporary context for understanding Jewish mysticism, given the current fascination with Kabbalah in today's culture. Several chapters are substantially revised, making key ideas less abstract and more comprehensible to readers. Because it can be easy to misunderstand the intricate teachings of Jewish mysticism, the book now includes a section called the "10 Main Conceptual Principles" of Jewish mysticism, putting the main concepts in clear, easy to grasp, modern language. Concluding with how Kabbalah can be incorporated into our daily lives, Kabbalah: The Mystic Quest in Judaism, is an intellectually sophisticated yet straightforward book studded with deep insights on what Jewish mystical thought is all about.

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About the Author:

David Ariel is President of the Laura and Alvin Siegal College of Judaic Studies in Cleveland. He is the author of the best selling book What Do Jews Believe? The Spiritual Foundations of Judaism, and Spiritual Judaism: Restoring Heart and Soul to Jewish Life. Ariel lives in the Cleveland, Ohio area.

Review:

Ariel (Laura and Alvin Siegal College of Judaic Studies) offers a helpful, readable introduction to the complex, arcane world of kabbalah. Most importantly, the book is an accurate description of its subject (not always true for books on Jewish mysticism). Following a useful review of scholarly views on the nature of mysticism, Ariel presents a brief history of Jewish mysticism from the 6th century BCE and the prophecy of Ezekiel following the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem, to the composition and publication of the most famous work of kabbalah, the Zohar, at the end of the 13th century. Two chapters review the esoteric doctrines of the Zohar, especially the Sefiroth, God's emanated attributes; included is a discussion of the Shekinah, the feminine aspect of the divine. Four additional chapters take up other central topics, such as the meaning of Torah according to the kabbalists, the destiny of one's soul, the mystical meaning of Jewish ritual obligations (mitzvot), the practice of meditation, and the influence of kabbalah in Hasidism. Overall, this is a wide-ranging, thoughtfully constructed, user-friendly introduction to kabbalah. Libraries serving Judaica and religion programs will want to purchase it. . . . Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through graduate students. (M. F. Nefsky, emerita, University of Lethbridge CHOICE, October 2006)

This is the first book in the post Kabbalah is chic era that does not sacrifice personal meaning for intellectual depth. David Ariel has found that very special place from which to teach Kabbalah. He is analyst and participant, objective scholar and passionate believer and thus speaks to our minds and hearts. (Rabbi Irwin Kula, President, National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership (CLAL))

Kabbalah: The Mystic Quest In Judaism by David Ariel is the first book to provide an intellectual focus on Kabbalah, providing a scholarly study of Jewish mysticism suitable for the nonspecialist as well as the Jewish thinker. People outside the Jewish faith are exploring concepts of Kabbalah and applying them to life situations, so this revised edition represents the perfect study for all faiths to provide a focus on academic scholarship and understanding Jewish mysticism. From basic concepts of the divine world in the Kabbalah to the influences of Greek and other philosophies, Kabbalah: The Mystic Quest In Judaism is packed with memorable insights. (Midwest Book Review)

David Ariel has produced a wonderful description and explication of Kabbalah in his work Kabbalah: the Mystic Quest in Judaism. (Jewish Book World)

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