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Gershom Scholem's contribution to the understanding of Jewish mysticism is so dramatic that it warrants a separate introduction. As a young student of mathematics, he became a Zionist and his interest shifted to Jewish history. Scholem moved from Germany to become the librarian of the new University and National Library in Jerusalem in 1923 and served as a professor at Hebrew University from 1935 to 1965. Before him, Jewish historians during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries scorned the ignored mystical dimension of Judaism as a relic of premodern superstition and ignorance. Scholem's erudition and deep insight gave Cabala a scholarly audience. His writings are often difficult to read, but they are indispensable for any thorough knowledge of the subject of Jewish mysticism. (Bowker Author Biography)
— biography from Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism
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Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism 764 copies, 5 reviews
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Origins of the Kabbalah 248 copies, 3 reviews
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Judaica 3 2 copies
CABALA 9 1 copy
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Short biography
Gershom Scholem was born Gerhard Scholem to an assimilated German Jewish family in Berlin. In 1915, he enrolled at the Humboldt University of Berlin, where he studied mathematics, philosophy, and Hebrew. He met Martin Buber, Shmuel Yosef (S.Y.) Agnon, and other Jewish philosophers. He studied mathematical logic at the University of Jena and received a degree in Semitic languages at the University of Munich. Having become a Zionist as a young man, Scholem left Germany to live in Palestine (changing his first name) in 1923, along with S.D. Goitein. He got a job as librarian at the newly-established Hebrew University of Jerusalem and spent the rest of his life at that institution. He is widely regarded as the founder and pre-eminent scholar of modern Jewish mysticism, becoming the first Professor of Jewish Mysticism at the Hebrew University. Martin Buber said, "All of us have students, schools, but only Gershom Scholem has created a whole academic discipline!" His close friends included Walter Benjamin and Leo Strauss, and selected letters from their correspondence have been published. Prof. Scholem published more than 40 books and close to 700 articles and trained three generations of scholars of Kabbalah. He's best known for his collection of lectures called Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism (1941) and for his biography Sabbatai Zevi, the Mystical Messiah (1973). His book On Kabbalah and Its Symbolism (1965) another collection of speeches and essays, has helped to spread knowledge of Jewish mysticism among non-Jews.
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