Gershom Scholem and the Mystical Dimension of Jewish History by Joseph Dan
Gershom Scholem (1897-1982) is without question a “master” of Jewish studies, particularly Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah. Indeed, he once commented that when he began his studies, “All I found were scattered, shabby pages, and I transformed them into history.” Here Dan, who is Gershom Scholem Professor of Kabbalah at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, presents an excellent overview of the history of Jewish mysticism, from its early beginnings to contemporary Hasidism, and Scholem’s role in creating this history from the “scattered, shabby pages.” While this is a scholarly and complex work, with extensive notes (mostly primary sources), it is accessible to the intelligent general reader as well. Recommended. Marcia G. Fuchs, Guilford Free Lib., Ct.