The Zohar: Reception and Impact

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


From its first appearance, the Zohar has been one of the most sacred, authoritative, and influential books in Jewish culture. Many scholarly works have been dedicated to its mystical content, its literary style, and the question of its authorship. This book focuses on different issues: it examines the various ways in which the Zohar has been received by its readers and the impact it has had on Jewish culture, including the fluctuations in its status and value and the various cultural practices linked to these changes. This dynamic and multi-layered history throws important new light on many aspects of Jewish cultural history over the last seven centuries.
Boaz Huss has broken new ground with this study, which examines of the reception and canonization of the Zohar as well as its criticism and rejection from its inception to the present day. His underlying assumption is that the different values attributed to the Zohar are not inherent qualities of the zoharic texts, but rather represent the way it has been perceived by its readers in different cultural contexts. He therefore considers not only the attribution of different qualities to the Zohar through time but also the people who were engaged in attributing such qualities and the social and cultural functions associated with their creation, re-creation, and rejection.
For each historical period from the beginning of Zohar scholarship to the present, Huss considers the social conditions that stimulated the veneration of the Zohar as well as the factors that contributed to its rejection, alongside the cultural functions and consequences of each approach. Because the multiple modes of the reception of the Zohar have had a decisive influence on the history of Jewish culture, this highly innovative and wide-ranging approach to Zohar scholarship will have important repercussions for many areas of Jewish studies.
Translated title of the contribution כזוהר הרקיע
Original languageEnglish
PublisherLiverpool University Press
Number of pages392
ISBN (Electronic)9781789624861, 9781835532706
ISBN (Print)9781904113966, 9781802075847
StatePublished - May 2016

Publication series

NameLittman Library of Jewish Civilization
PublisherThe Littman Library of Jewish Civilization


  • Cabala
  • Mysticism -- Judaism
  • Zohar -- Criticism
  • interpretation
  • Zohar -- Commentaries


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