Moshe Idel (Kabbalah: New prospectives)

Yale University Press, 1990 – 419 pages

Kabbalah: New prospectives is the prizewinning new interpretation of Jewish mysticism, Moshe Idel emphasizes the need for a comparative and phenomenological approach to Kabbalah and its position in the history of religion. Idel provides fresh insights into the origins of Jewish mysticism, the relation between mystical and historical experience, and the impact of Jewish mysticism on western civilization.

“Idel’s book is studded with major insights, and innovative approaches to the entire history of Judaism, and mastery of it will be essential for all serious students of Jewish thought.”–Arthur Green, New York Times Book Review

“Moshe Idel’s original, scholarly, and stimulating study of Kabbalah contains the promise of a masterwork.”–Elie Wiesel

“Moshe Idel’s book can help the nonspecialized reader to reconsider the whole of Kabbalistic tradition in comparison with many aspects of contemporary thought.”–Umberto Eco

“There can be no dispute about the importance and originality of Idel’s work. Offering a wealth of complementary insights to Gershom Scholem and his school, it will command a great deal of attention and serious discussion.”–Alexander Altmann

Moshe Idel is Max Cooper Professor of Jewish Thought at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem

A selection of the B’nai B’rith Book Club and the Jewish Book Club

“Idel’s book is studded with major insights, and innovative approaches to the entire history of Judaism, and mastery of it will be essential for all serious students of Jewish thought.” – Arthur Green, New York Times Book Review “Moshe Idel’s original, scholarly, and stimulating study of Kabbalah contains the promise of a masterwork.” – Elie Wiesel “Moshe Idel’s book can help the nonspecialized reader to reconsider the whole of Kabbalistic tradition in comparison with many aspects of contemporary thought.”-Umberto Eco “There can be no dispute about the importance and originality of Idel’s work. Offering a wealth of complementary insights to Gershom Scholem and his school, it will command a great deal of attention and serious discussion.” – Alexander Altmann

Famous Quote

“…the Kabbalist was interested not in the perfected text whose author is dead and can no longer respond but in contact with the living Author for whom the text is an intermediary. Even when the pneuma was needed in order to better understand the Bible, the content of this deeper apprehension was, in many cases, a better insight into divine matters. According to the French philosopher, the death of the author is a condition for finalizing the text and rendering it into a static perfection, allowing for a “complete” relation. This request is based upon a rigid attitude toward the contents, which are to be approached when they can no longer change. It is an axiom of the Kabbalists that the sacred text is in an ongoing process of change, evidently a symptom of its inherent infinity and divinity. For them, Scripture is a way of overcoming the post-prophetic eclipse of revelation, an endeavor to recapture the presence of the Author and its nature; the biblical text produces a silent dialogue and eventually even union between Author and reader,..”