The paradoxical intellectualism of Gershom Scholem

Gershom Scholem (1897-1982) is widely known as the founder of the academic study of Jewish mysticism or Kabbalah. In the nearly thirty-five years since his death, Scholem’s star has continue to
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Gershom Scholem (1897-1982) is widely known as the founder of the academic study of Jewish mysticism or Kabbalah. In the nearly thirty-five years since his death, Scholem’s star has continued to shine brightly in the intellectual firmament and perhaps even more brightly now than in his lifetime. This year alone, two books about Scholem are appearing in English, with a third scheduled for next year, and several more in the pipeline. What accounts for this growing fascination with a figure whose field of research was highly esoteric, and inaccessible to those without specialized knowledge? The answer to this question is both sociological and intellectual. Scholem occupied an unusual place among German intellectuals of the twentieth century. A committed Zionist, he left Germany for Palestine in 1923. But, from a cultural point of view, he never really left. He continued throughout his long career to write and publish in German. When Hitler came to power and a flood of German Jewish. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Philosophy

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