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"Authorized Guardians": The Polemics Of Academic Scholars Of Jewish Mysticism Against Kabbalah Practitioners

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Chapter Summary

In this chapter the author examines the polemics of academic scholars against contemporary kabbalah practitioners, and analyzes its social and cultural significance. He suggests that the polemical stance of these academic scholars is an expression of the ideological and theological perspective of scholars engaged in the field of Jewish mysticism, who aspire not only to study kabbalah as a historical and sociological phenomenon, but also to determine its symbolic value and control its increasing cultural capital in the modern world. He claims that the polemics of the modern scholars against contemporary kabbalists is an expression of their claim to be the "authorized guardians" of kabbalah in the modern world. Following the growing interest in kabbalah in non-Jewish European culture, Jewish intellectuals in both Western and Eastern Europe reaffirmed the value of kabbalah and Hasidism.

Keywords: Jewish mysticism; jewish thinkers; kabbalah; Polemics



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