By Moshe Idel
In this wide-ranging dialogue of Kabbalah -- from the magical developments of medieval Judaism to trendy Hasidism -- one of many world's most appropriate students considers diversified visions of the character of the sacred textual content and of the ways to interpret it.
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Additional info for Absorbing Perfections. Kabbalah and Interpretation
His purpose is to show the Kabbalists’ very varied ways of locating the central values of the Hebrew Bible, and also to illuminate their modes of interpretation for revealing those values. This purpose was Gershom Scholem’s before it was Moshe Idel’s: what is the difference between these two masters of Kabbalah? Idel’s reverent critique of Scholem informs all his writings; in Messianic Mystics (1998), he speaks of “an oftentimes critical dialogue with the magisterial studies” of his precursor. ” Scholem contrasts the ritual of rabbinical Judaism, which “makes nothing happen and transforms nothing” with rituals established by Isaac Luria (1534–1572), the innovative genius who created later Kabbalism in Safed, Palestine.
27 Moreover, the relations between allegorical-philosophical hermeneutics and the combinatory one will engage us in Chapter 11, and the integration of various exegetical trends will be shown in Appendix 1. This interpenetration between the various approaches is one of the reasons for the absence of sectarian tendencies that are characteristic of purist approaches. V. THREE MAJOR KABBALISTIC MODELS The working hypothesis behind my approach to Jewish mysticism since the Middle Ages is that differing speculative models informed the thought, praxis, and subsequently the writings of various Kabbalists and Hasidic masters.
As the main concern of my discussions below will be Kabbalistic hermeneutics, I shall focus my analyses on the implications of different Kabbalistic trends on the ensuing hermeneutics, relegating the implications of the distinctions of the other forms of arcanization to the margin. It is quintessential, however, to be aware of the ongoing intertwining and overlapping relations between these three modes. Direct influences, open and hidden forms of antagonism, and a variety of syntheses between them account for many of the characteristics of the historical developments and the phenomenology of Jewish hermeneutics.
Absorbing Perfections. Kabbalah and Interpretation by Moshe Idel