Friday, September 11, 2009

New Book on Pre-Kabbalistic Jewish Mysticism

Peter Schaefer has published a new book with Mohr-Siebeck entitled the Origins of Jewish Mysticism.

Here's the (English) blurb:

This book provides the reader for the first time with a history of
pre-kabbalistic Jewish mysticism. It covers a wide range of quite
diverse literatures, from the biblical book of Ezekiel to the ascent
apocalypses, the Qumran literature, Philo, Rabbinic literature, and
finally the Hekhalot literature, which provides us with the first
full-fledged mystical movement in late antiquity (Merkavah mysticism).
Instead of imposing on these different literatures a preconceived
notion of "mysticism," Peter Schäfer offers a close reading of the key
texts and asks what they wish to convey about the age-old human desire
to get close to and communicate with God.The author of this book has
dedicated much of his scholarly life to the history of Jewish
mysticism. The Origins of Jewish Mysticism summarizes his views in an
accessible way, directed at specialists as well as at a broader

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