A Critical Return to Moshe Idel s Kabbalah: New Perspectives: An Appreciation

Daniel Abrams


The publication of Moshe Idel s book, Kabbalah: New Perspectives marks a turning point in the field of Jewish mysticism. In this volume, Moshe Idel offered phenomenology as an alternative key to appreciating the history and ideas of Jewish mystical traditions. This study returns to this book in order to assess and critique the meaning and function of phenomenology in his early scholarship, as a prelude to the developing and possibly changing methodologies that he has employed in numerous studies published since the appearance of his now classic study. The study considers the connection between phenomenology and experience and its role within the multiple perspectives suggested in the volume. Moshe Idel s methodology is thus appreciated within the larger context of his work, positioned within the history of scholarship in the field and serves as a measure of the turn to new perspectives.


Idel, Moshe; Kabbalah; phenomenology; Jewish mysticism; methodology; history

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