Academic Study of Kabbalah and Occultist Kabbalah

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The article examines the complex and ambivalent relations between Kabbalah scholarship and western esotericism. It shows that in the late 19 and early 20th century, several scholars of Kabbalah found interest in the occult and had connections with western esoteric movements. It analyses the complicated and nuanced attitude toward western esotericism of Gershom Scholem and shows that although he disparaged occult Kabbalists, he had a more positive appreciation of Christian Kabbalah and early modern western esoteric currents. Furthermore, the article argues that Kabbalah academic scholarship and western esoteric and occult circles share some significant terms, presuppositions, and theological perspectives. The article claims that Kabbalah scholarship and Occult Kabbalah have common genealogies, significant connections, and shared ideas and that the recognition, and study, of these complex relations, may contribute to a better and more nuanced understanding of both Kabbalah scholarship and modern western esotericism.

Original languageEnglish GB
Title of host publicationOccult Roots of Religious Studies
Subtitle of host publicationOn the Influence of Non-Hegemonic Currents on Academia around 1900
EditorsYves Mühlematter, Helmut Zander
Publisherde Gruyter
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9783110664270
ISBN (Print)9783110660173
StatePublished - 25 May 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (all)


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