1 A good deal of scholarship on
Merkavah mysticism deals with comparative aspects: How does it relate to
Gnosticism, Rabbinic religion, etc.
2 A difficult book, but brilliant, like a good detective
story. Reconstructing the "esoteric" era in Kabbalistic studies, before the
appearance of the Zohar, is an interesting task.
3 See the chapter in Major Trends for an overview.
A lot of English-language scholarly attention has been devoted to their social
and ethical ideas (as found in the Book of the Pious), but less to the
4 Very different from standard Jewish mystics: He developed a
yoga-like system of ecstatic meditation, which did not catch on. See Major
5 The main text of classical Kabbalah, it is not a systematic
work of doctrine but of homiletical exegesis. after studying some of the
existing commentaries (Matt, Tishby Lachower, etc.) you might wish to try your
own hand at a passage they do not deal with.
6 Selected translations without commentary.
7 The standard complete translation, with minimal notes.
8 A colourful, complex and attractive,movement, full of
remarkable personalities. Can be approached from many perspectives.
9 Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav's symbolic "fairy-tales" have been
translated and interpreted by several scholars.
10 Buber has translated and interpreted Hasidism for modern readers.
Several scholars (including Scholem) have questioned the accuracy of his
11 Maybe the only English translation of a full Hasidic Bible
12 A complex and influential figure in recent Jewish thought.
13 Encounters with representatives of different Jewish mystical
trends in the `60's.
14 An interesting episode: Christians attracted to
Kabbalah, adapting it to their own ideology.
15 Kabbalah is the only important movement in traditional Judaism
that speaks (for better or for worse) of femine aspects of God, a fact that has
endeared it to Jewish feminists.
16 Yes, Scholem and his views have now become a topic of
scholarly interpretation in their own right.