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Kabbalah Refracted: Review Essay

Kabbalah Refracted: Review Essay KABBALAH REFRACTED Review Essay by MarkVerman Depanment of Religion Carleton College Through a Speculum That Shines: Vision and Imagination in Medieval Jewish Mysticism, by Elliot Wolfson. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994. 452 pp. Elliot Wolfson is arguably the country's premier scholar of Jewish mysticism. Through a Speculum That Shines (hencefonh Speculum) represents his most imponant and provocative work to date. It is a very informative, thought-provoking, and audacious book that warrants serious consideration. The density of this panoramic presentation, combining a plethora of primary sources from biblical to medieval writings and beyond, with pointed critical analysis and wide-ranging methodological discussions, makes for challenging reading. This is compounded by the copious footnotes, which constitute perhaps a third of the text. Although formidable, Speculum is richly rewarding. Wolfson lays out a multi-faceted thesis at the outset and explores these core issues throughout the book. His staning point is the contention that despite biblical Judaism's advocacy of aniconism, which absolutely rejects any imaging of God (as in Exodus 20:4), graphic visionary experiences abound. These frequently assumed anthropomorphic form. This position in itself is easily substantiated. Wolfson, however, frames this discussion in gender terms. He contends that Jewish mysticism was an androcentric http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies Purdue University Press

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Purdue University Press
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Copyright © Purdue University.
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1534-5165
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Abstract

KABBALAH REFRACTED Review Essay by MarkVerman Depanment of Religion Carleton College Through a Speculum That Shines: Vision and Imagination in Medieval Jewish Mysticism, by Elliot Wolfson. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994. 452 pp. Elliot Wolfson is arguably the country's premier scholar of Jewish mysticism. Through a Speculum That Shines (hencefonh Speculum) represents his most imponant and provocative work to date. It is a very informative, thought-provoking, and audacious book that warrants serious consideration. The density of this panoramic presentation, combining a plethora of primary sources from biblical to medieval writings and beyond, with pointed critical analysis and wide-ranging methodological discussions, makes for challenging reading. This is compounded by the copious footnotes, which constitute perhaps a third of the text. Although formidable, Speculum is richly rewarding. Wolfson lays out a multi-faceted thesis at the outset and explores these core issues throughout the book. His staning point is the contention that despite biblical Judaism's advocacy of aniconism, which absolutely rejects any imaging of God (as in Exodus 20:4), graphic visionary experiences abound. These frequently assumed anthropomorphic form. This position in itself is easily substantiated. Wolfson, however, frames this discussion in gender terms. He contends that Jewish mysticism was an androcentric

Journal

Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish StudiesPurdue University Press

Published: Oct 3, 1996

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