By Yaacob Dweck
The Scandal of Kabbalah is the 1st publication concerning the origins of a tradition conflict that all started in early glossy Europe and keeps to this present day: the talk among kabbalists and their critics at the nature of Judaism and the which means of spiritual culture. From its medieval beginnings as an esoteric type of Jewish mysticism, Kabbalah unfold through the early sleek global and have become a crucial function of Jewish existence. students have lengthy studied the progressive effect 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 way of Leon Modena in Venice in 1639. during this scathing indictment of Venetian Jews who had embraced Kabbalah as an genuine kind of historical esotericism, Modena proved the hot origins of Kabbalah and sought to persuade his readers to come back to the spiritualized rationalism of Maimonides.
The Scandal of Kabbalah examines the hallmarks of Jewish modernity displayed via Modena's attack--a serious research of sacred texts, skepticism approximately non secular truths, and self-consciousness concerning the past--and exhibits how those characteristics and the later historical past 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 existence instead of centuries later as such a lot students have thought.