Recent Books on Jewish Mysticism / Kabbalah

The Heart of the Matter: Studies in Jewish Mysticism and Theology by Arthur GreenBibliography compiled by Gabor Por for the Contemporary Jewish Writing Class at Congregation Beth Ami in April-May 2015

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  • Abraham Joshua Heschel: The Call of Transcendence by Shai Held  (Indiana UP, 2013) 352 pages,
    Focusing on the idea of transcendence―or the movement from self-centeredness to God-centeredness―Held puts Heschel into dialogue with contemporary Jewish thinkers, Christian theologians, devotional writers, and philosophers of religion.
  • Divine Scapegoats: Demonic Mimesis in Early Jewish Mysticism by Andrei A. Orlov (State University of New York Press, 2015) 352 pages,
    A wide-ranging exploration of the parallels between the heavenly and the demonic in early Jewish apocalyptical accounts.
  • The Heart of the Matter: Studies in Jewish Mysticism and Theology by Arthur Green (JPS, 2015) 392 pages,
    These essays brings together Green’s scholarly writings, centered on the history of early Hasidism, and his highly personal approach to a rebirth of Jewish spirituality in our own day.
  • Kabbalah: A Neurocognitive Approach to Mystical Experiences  by Shahar Arzy, Moshe Idel (Yale UP, 2015),
    The authors endeavor to decode the brain mechanisms underlying these phenomena. Arzy and Idel analyze first-person descriptions to explore the Kabbalistic techniques employed by most prominent Jewish mystics.
  • Kabbalah and Ecology: God’s Image in the More-Than-Human World by David Mevorach Seidenberg (Cambridge UP, 2015), 376 pages,
    Challenges the anthropocentric reading of the Torah, showing that a radically different orientation to the more-than-human world of nature leads to a more accurate interpretation of scripture, rabbinic texts, Maimonides, and Kabbalah.
  • Kabbalah and Jewish Modernity by Roni Weinstein (Littman, 2015), 208 pages,
    Challenges the common assumption that the kabbalistic world-view owes its popularity to its theological and metaphysical content. Rather, he argues, the social context of kabbalistic thought is at least as significant.
  • Kabbalah in Art and Architecture by Alexander Gorlin ( Pointed Leaf Pres, 2013) 192 pages,
    Beautifully illustrated and insightfully written, Alexander Gorlin bridges the Kabbalistic tradition with contemporary art and architecture in his authoritative tour de force, Kabbalah in Art and Architecture.
  • Kabbalistic Revolution: Reimagining Judaism in Medieval Spain by Hartley Lachter (Rutgers UP, 2014), 260 pages,
    Kabbalah flourished in a specific time and place, emerging in response to the social prejudices that Jews faced.
  • The Long Shorter Way: Discourses on Chassidic Thought by Adin Steinsaltz (Koren, 2014) 360 pages,
    Focuses on the profound dilemma of the beinoni, the intermediate person who, neither purely wicked nor purely good, must struggle with evil and temptation throughout his or her life.
  • Ohr HaShachar: Torah, Kabbalah and Consciousness in the Daily Morning Blessings by David Bar-Cohn (Urim, 2014), 256 pages,
    Ideas such as tzadik v’ra lo and the story of Iyov, the Creation and Garden of Eden narratives, and many more central themes within Torah and Kabbalah are examined.
  • The Revealed and Hidden Writings of Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav: His Worlds of Revelation and Rectification  by Zvi Mark (de Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2015), 385 pages,
    The first section, Revelation, explores Rabbi Nachman’s spiritual revelations, personal trials and spiritual experiments. The second section is dedicated to the rituals of rectification that Rabbi Nachman established.
  • Time and Eternity in Jewish Mysticism: That Which is Before and That Which is After by Brian Ogren (Editor) (Brill, 2015), 228 pages,
    Offers a multivalent picture of the topic of time and eternity, not only by including contributions from an array of academics who are leaders in their fields, but by proposing six diverse approaches to time and eternity in Jewish mysticism.
    See more books published by Brill:
  • Yearnings of the Soul: Psychological Thought in Modern Kabbalah by Jonathan Garb (U of Chicago P, 2015)
    Returning psychology to its roots as an attempt to understand the soul, he traces the manifold interactions between psychology and spirituality that have arisen over five centuries of Kabbalistic writing.
  • The Zohar: Pritzker Edition by Daniel Matt , SCL*
    Volume Eight March, 2015 –  Consists of commentary on the end of Leviticus and the beginning of Numbers. Its most remarkable section is Idra Rabba—a dramatic narrative, in which Rabbi Shim’on and his Companions gather to explore the deepest secrets of God’s nature.
    Volume Nine December, 2015 – Completes this running commentary on the Torah. Rabbi Shim’on and his Companions explore passages from the middle of the book of Numbers through the end of Deuteronomy.
    Full info at Stanford UP:

* Books marked with SCL are available at the Sonoma County Library

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