Gershom Scholem: The Scholar Who Unveiled the Secrets of the Kabbalah
Gershom Scholem was a German-born Israeli philosopher and historian who is widely regarded as the founder of modern academic study of the Kabbalah, the mystical tradition of Judaism. He was appointed the first professor of Jewish mysticism at Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1925 and devoted his life to researching and publishing on various aspects of the Kabbalah.
In this article, we will explore some of his major works and contributions to the field of Kabbalah studies, as well as his personal life and legacy. We will also provide a link to download a PDF version of his book \"La Cabala\", which was published in Spanish in 1987 and contains 22 chapters on different topics related to the Kabbalah.
Who was Gershom Scholem?
Gershom Scholem was born on December 5, 1897, in Berlin, Germany, to a secular Jewish family. He was interested in Jewish culture and history from an early age and learned Hebrew and Aramaic on his own. He also became fascinated by the Kabbalah, which he discovered through reading books and manuscripts in libraries and private collections.
He studied mathematics, philosophy, and Hebrew at various universities in Germany and Switzerland, but he was dissatisfied with the academic approach to Judaism and Zionism. He decided to emigrate to Palestine in 1923, where he joined the newly founded Hebrew University of Jerusalem as a librarian. He soon became a lecturer and then a professor of Jewish mysticism, a position he held until his retirement in 1965.
He married Fania Freud in 1929 and had two sons with her. He died on February 21, 1982, in Jerusalem, Israel.
What did Gershom Scholem write about?
Gershom Scholem wrote dozens of books and hundreds of articles on various aspects of the Kabbalah, such as its history, doctrines, symbols, texts, movements, personalities, and influences. He also wrote about Jewish history, philosophy, literature, and art. Some of his most famous works include:
\"Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism\" (1941), which is considered his magnum opus and a classic introduction to the Kabbalah for general readers.
\"Origins of the Kabbalah\" (1962), which is a comprehensive study of the emergence and development of the Kabbalah in medieval Europe.
\"Sabbatai Zevi: The Mystical Messiah\" (1973), which is a biography of the 17th-century Jewish false messiah who claimed to be the incarnation of God.
\"Kabbalah\" (1974), which is a concise overview of the main themes and concepts of the Kabbalah for beginners.
\"On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead\" (1991), which is a collection of essays on various topics related to the Kabbalah's understanding of God's nature and attributes.
Besides these works, Gershom Scholem also edited and translated many important texts from the Kabbalistic tradition, such as the Zohar, the Sefer Yetzirah, the Bahir, and the writings of Isaac Luria.
Why is Gershom Scholem important?
Gershom Scholem is important because he was the first scholar to apply rigorous historical and philological methods to the study of the Kabbalah. He revealed the richness and diversity of this tradition that had been largely ignored or misunderstood by previous generations of scholars and thinkers. He also showed how the Kabbalah was not only a mystical phenomenon but also a cultural and intellectual one that influenced many aspects of Jewish life and thought throughout history.
Gershom Scholem also inspired many other scholars and writers who followed his footsteps or engaged with his ideas. Some of them include Martin Buber, Walter Benjamin, Hannah Arendt, Jacques Derrida, Harold Bloom, Moshe Idel, Elliot Wolfson, Daniel Matt, Arthur Green, Lawrence Fine, David Biale 29c81ba772