In the early part of the twentieth century, Gershom Scholem (1897-1982) founded the academic discipline of the study of Jewish Mysticism. In so doing, he not only broke new scholarly ground; but he also revolutionized the field of Judaic Studies as a whole and left an indelible mark on the study of religion.
This book presents essays by several of Israel's eminent scholars, reflecting on Scholem's impact on the academic and Jewish worlds, and his life as a scholar, a Jewish thinker, and an activist. The editor has provided an intellectual and spiritual biography of Scholem, which complements the papers by Ephraim Urbach, Joseph Ben-Shlomo, Isaiah Tishby, Rivka Schatz, Malachi Beit-Arié, Nathan Rotenstreich, and Joseph Dan. Together, they highlight the enduring signficance of Scholem's work, which has remained the touchstone for all further scholarship on Jewish Mysticism and Kabbala. This volume thus sets the context for the current debate conducted by a new generation of scholars, who have introduced fresh ideas, new methodologies—and radical critique of the man they still revere as their master.
Paul Mendes-Flohr is Professor of Jewish Thought and Intellectual History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is the co-editor of The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy and has written and edited numerous books, among them Divided Passions: Jewish Intellectuals and the Experience of Modernity and (with Jehuda Reinharz) The Jew in the Modern World. He has recently completed a volume entitled A Land of Two Rivers: The German-Jewish Vision of New Babylon. He is currently Acting Director of The Franz Rosenzweig Research Center for German-Jewish Literature and Cultural History at The Hebrew University. He has served as a guest professor at universities in the United States and in Germany.