Jewish Gnosticism, Merkabah Mysticism, and Talmudic Tradition

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9780873341783: Jewish Gnosticism, Merkabah Mysticism, and Talmudic Tradition
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The description below refers to an alternate Paperback edition, which can be found at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0873341783/ref=dp_bookdescription?_encoding=UTF8&n=283155 This little book presents Gershom Scholem discoveries in the area of Jewish Gnosticism which go behind of what he already did in his “Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism”. Here, Scholem presents a radical re-evaluation of traditions embedded in Hekhalot Books preserved in Rabbinic circles which had retained deep attachment to Pharisaism. Having underrated the antiquity of these texts, most scholars thus were unable to properly evaluate the phenomenon. Gnosticism, a religious movement that believed in mystical esotericism for the elect derived from illumination and the acquisition of the knowledge of heavenly things, now seems to have been close to the very core of Judaism in Roman Palestine and according to Scholem must be ascribed to either the Tannaitic or the early Amoraic period. Did the differentiation of the highest God and Demiurge, supposedly God of Israel, preceded the rise of Christianity and possibly served as a point of departure for certain Christian heresies? Scholem shows that documents of Christian Gnosticism presuppose the existence of basic conceptions of Merkabah Mysticism and derides scholars who look toward Iranian sources...

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About the Author:

Gerhard (Gershom) Scholem (1897-1982) was a scholar of Jewish mysticism who revolutionized the understanding of kabbalah and its history. “...all of us have students, schools - said of him Martin Buber,- but only Gershom Scholem has created a whole academic discipline!” Prolific author, he published more 40 books and almost 700 articles. He also raised three generations of scholars of Kabbala. Scholem was among a select group of German-Jewish intellectuals from the Weimar period who rejected their parent's assimilationism in favor of Jewish nationalism and made aliyah.

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Gershom G. Scholem
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