By Yaacob Dweck
The Scandal of Kabbalah is the 1st ebook in regards to the origins of a tradition struggle that started in early glossy Europe and maintains to at the present time: the talk among kabbalists and their critics at the nature of Judaism and the which means of non secular culture. From its medieval beginnings as an esoteric type of Jewish mysticism, Kabbalah unfold in the course of the early smooth international and have become a primary characteristic of Jewish lifestyles. students have lengthy studied the innovative impression of Kabbalah, yet, as Yaacob Dweck argues, they've got misunderstood the nature and timing of competition to it.
Drawing on more than a few formerly unexamined resources, this publication tells the tale of the 1st feedback of Kabbalah, Ari Nohem, written by means of Leon Modena in Venice in 1639. during this scathing indictment of Venetian Jews who had embraced Kabbalah as an actual kind of historic esotericism, Modena proved the new origins of Kabbalah and sought to persuade his readers to come to the spiritualized rationalism of Maimonides.
The Scandal of Kabbalah examines the hallmarks of Jewish modernity displayed by means of Modena's attack--a serious research of sacred texts, skepticism approximately non secular truths, and self-consciousness concerning the past--and exhibits how those features and the later heritage of his polemic problem traditional understandings of the connection among Kabbalah and modernity. Dweck argues that Kabbalah was once the topic of serious inquiry within the very interval it got here to dominate Jewish lifestyles instead of centuries later as so much students have thought.