Rationalism vs. Mysticism; Schisms in Traditional Judaism by Natan Slifkin
KNOWLEDGE Do we obtain reliable knowledge about the world from ongoing supernatural revelation, or from scientific investigation? NATURE Is it preferable to perceive God as working through nature, or through supernatural miracles? Are we surrounded by all kinds of supernatural forces and entities, such as demons and the Evil Eye? MITZVOT Do the commandments function to change our thoughts and behavior, or to manipulate mystical forces? Is Torah a Divine guide for life, or is it also a metaphysical blueprint for creation with all kinds of supernatural qualities? Rationalism vs. Mysticism is a thorough study of how these questions were answered very differently by various rabbinic scholars over history, reflecting two fundamentally different views of the nature of Judaism. Part One is an overview of many different aspects of these divergent schools of thought and their consequences, while Part Two contains in-depth studies of several topics. Rationalism vs. Mysticism will profoundly deepen your understanding of Judaism and many of the intellectual conflicts that have arisen in Jewish history.
Year first published: 2021