Kabbalah and the politics of inauthenticity: The controversies over the kabbalah center

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Abstract

This article examines the controversies and polemics against the Kabbalah Center, and probes the cultural significance of the denunciations of the KC as "inauthentic." The study shows that the accusation of inauthenticity is directed both at the KC's modern features, which are perceived as incompatible with "authentic" Kabbalah, as well as against the kabbalistic practices and doctrines of the KC which are perceived as incompatible with "authentic" modern Western values. It argues that the hostility to the KC is stimulated to a large degree by the postmodern features of the KC and its transgression of the fundamental cultural boundaries of modern Western culture. Furthermore, it shows that the indictment of inauthenticity is used to amplify the cultural power of competing Kabbalists and academic scholars of Kabbalah, who present themselves as experts on "authentic" Kabbalah.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-225
Number of pages29
JournalNumen
Volume62
Issue number2-3
DOIs
StatePublished - 16 Mar 2015

Keywords

  • Kabbalah Center
  • New Religious Movements
  • contemporary Kabbalah
  • cult controversies
  • inauthenticity

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