Jewish Mysticism and Kabbalah

New Insights and Scholarship

272 pages

5 illustrations

November, 2011

ISBN: 9780814732861



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Frederick E. Greenspahn is Gimelstob Eminent Scholar of Judaic Studies at Florida Atlantic University.  He is the editor of The Hebrew Bible, Women in Judaism, Jewish Mysticism and Kabbalah, and Contemporary Israel, as well as author/editor of numerous other titles, including When Brothers Dwell Together.

All books by Frederick E. Greenspahn

Over the past generation, scholars have devoted increasing attention to the diverse forms that Jewish mysticism has taken both in the past and today: what was once called “nonsense” by Jewish scholars has generated important research and attention both within the academy and beyond, as demonstrated by the popular fascination with figures such as Madonna and Demi Moore and the growing interest in spirituality.  

In Jewish Mysticism and Kabbalah, leading experts introduce the history of this scholarship as well as the most recent insights and debates that currently animate the field in a way that is accessible to a broad audience. From mystical outpourings in ancient Palestine to the Kabbalah Centre, and from attitudes towards gender to mystical contributions to Jewish messianic movements, this volume explores the various expressions of Jewish mysticism from antiquity to the present day in an engaging style appropriate for students and non-specialists alike.


  • "An excellent summary of the history of Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah and the notes here, as in all of the essays, will provide readers with much additional reading material and resources... This is an excellent book for general readers who wish to learn about this fascinating area of Jewish life and literature, as the jargon of scholar-speak is kept to a minimum."

    Jewish Book Council

  • "Libraries serving religion and Judaic programs will want to add this volume."

    —S.T. Katz, CHOICE

  • "If you have an interest in Kabbalah, but are not aware of recent trends in the field, this is the book to pick up."

    —Daniel Scheide, AJL Reviews

  • “This carefully edited collection of essays on Jewish mysticism effectively delivers on its promise to be accessible to broad audiences. The volume amounts to a thoughtful and lucid conversation among leading scholars . . . It provides a sense of overall coherence as themes set forth in one essay regularly intersect with themes developed in other essays, the sum nicely ending up greater than the parts. The literate lay reader as well as faculty and students in a wide range of university courses will find this to be a most useful gateway to Jewish mysticism as well as an illumining account of current trends in scholarship.”

    —Jeremy Zwelling, Wesleyan University

  •  “Greenspahn has assembled many of the ‘usual suspects’ along with some welcome teachers from a newer generation of scholars. The buffet he sets before us refreshingly summarizes much of the current thinking about mysticism in general and Kabbalah in particular. The essays are thoughtful, provocative, and frequently even inspiring.” 

    —Lawrence Kushner, author of I'm God; You're Not: Observations on Organized Religion & Other Disguises of the Ego