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Beyond The Burden Of Idealism: For A New Appreciation Of The Visual Lore In The Kabbalah

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Chapter Summary

This chapter provides a comprehensive inventory of all the extant kabbalistic drawings. One of the many questions the author asked himself during his journey through the visual kabbalah was why the terrain had remained practically untouched so far. Had such a gap in historical research been caused by a conscious dislike or by an unconscious underestimation of graphic representations? In order to clarify this point, the chapter provides briefly the cultural background that influenced modern scholarship on Jewish mysticism. The study of the kabbalah in Europe has begun twice, a first time at the height of the Italian Renaissance and a second time during the blossoming of German Romanticism. The most interesting example is offered by Meyer Heinrich Hirsch Landauer (18081841), who studied the Hebrew manuscripts in the Munich Library and attempted the first scholarly survey of Jewish mysticism.

Keywords: German Romanticism; Hebrew manuscripts; Italian Renaissance; Jewish mysticism; kabbalistic studies



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