Wolfson Columbia University Press. Add to Cart. Marked by conflicting tendencies, Schneerson was a radical messianic visionary who promoted a conservative political agenda, a reclusive contemplative who built a hasidic sect into an international movement, and a man dedicated to the exposition of mysteries who nevertheless harbored many secrets. Schneerson astutely masked views that might be deemed heterodox by the canons of orthodoxy while engineering a fundamentalist ideology that could subvert traditional gender hierarchy, the halakhic distinction between permissible and forbidden, and the social-anthropological division between Jew and Gentile.
While most literature on the Rebbe focuses on whether or not he identified with the role of Messiah, Elliot R. Wolfson, a leading scholar of Jewish mysticism and the phenomenology of religious experience, concentrates instead on Schneerson's apocalyptic sensibility and his promotion of a mystical consciousness that undermines all discrimination.
elliot r. wolfson: scholarship
For Schneerson, the ploy of secrecy is crucial to the dissemination of the messianic secret. To be enlightened messianically is to be delivered from all conceptual limitations, even the very notion of becoming emancipated from limitation. War is no longer a proving ground for heroism in the same way it used to be.
Instead, war now is something that we must avoid at all costs—because genocides often take place under the cover of war. We are no longer all potential soldiers though we are that too , but we are all potential victims of the traumas war creates. This, at least, is one important development in the way Western populations envision war, even if it does not always predominate in the thinking of our political leaders.
Perhaps he needs a translator most of all; though the most penetrating and provocative of his generation, his ideas are probably the least well known.
And recently a new wave of academics, mostly in Israel, has come of age, with exciting results. Finally, the academic and popular trends are beginning to converge, often in surprising ways. First, more and more scholars are studying contemporary Kabbalah, with fruitful results. Other scholars find that they are as much participants and observers in the work they do.
Avraham Elqayam, a professor at Bar-Ilan, has questioned the very basis of academic study of Kabbalah, charging that it is elitist and Eurocentric. Even this article, by someone who teaches Kabbalah both in universities and at retreat centers, and who is writing both a non-academic book on nondual Judaism and an academic dissertation on Jacob Frank, is in some respects an exercise in participant-observation and boundary-crossing.
Perhaps Kabbalah has not gone out of style so much as it has come of age. For some, Kabbalah answers an unmet need for myth, symbol and access to the trans-rational.
husacutoci.ml For others, it is a flowering of Jewish poetic imagination, worthy of study and examination. As they say, all that glitters is not gold.
But after 10 years, maybe some of it is. Home Share Search.
Related Venturing Beyond: Law and Morality in Kabbalistic Mysticism
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