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Mystic Quest: An Introduction to Jewish Mysticism

Popular Features. New Releases. Kabbalah : The Mystic Quest in Judaism. Ariel beautifully presents the complex elements of Jewish mysticism's major ideas in clear, understandable, and accessible language for Jewish and non-Jewish readers alike.

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Hailed as "brilliant" by Publishers Weekly, the book has a completely revised Introduction that sets a contemporary context for understanding Jewish mysticism. Concluding with how Kabbalah can be incorporated into our daily lives, Kabbalah: The Mystic Quest in Judaism, is an intellectually sophisticated yet straightforward book studded with deep insights on what Jewish mystical thought is all about.

Review quote Ariel Laura and Alvin Siegal College of Judaic Studies offers a helpful, readable introduction to the complex, arcane world of kabbalah. Most importantly, the book is an accurate description of its subject not always true for books on Jewish mysticism.

Mystic Quest: An Introduction to Jewish Mysticism by David Ariel

Following a useful review of scholarly views on the nature of mysticism, Ariel presents a brief history of Jewish mysticism from the 6th century BCE and the prophecy of Ezekiel following the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem, to the composition and publication of the most famous work of kabbalah, the Zohar, at the end of the 13th century.

Two chapters review the esoteric doctrines of the Zohar, especially the Sefiroth, God's emanated attributes; included is a discussion of the Shekinah, the feminine aspect of the divine. Four additional chapters take up other central topics, such as the meaning of Torah according to the kabbalists, the destiny of one's soul, the mystical meaning of Jewish ritual obligations mitzvot , the practice of meditation, and the influence of kabbalah in Hasidism.

Overall, this is a wide-ranging, thoughtfully constructed, user-friendly introduction to kabbalah.


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Libraries serving Judaica and religion programs will want to purchase it. Lower-level undergraduates through graduate students. David Ariel has found that very special place from which to teach Kabbalah.

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He is analyst and participant, objective scholar and passionate believer and thus speaks to our minds and hearts. People outside the Jewish faith are exploring concepts of Kabbalah and applying them to life situations, so this revised edition represents the perfect study for all faiths to provide a focus on academic scholarship and understanding Jewish mysticism.


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From basic concepts of the divine world in the Kabbalah to the influences of Greek and other philosophies, Kabbalah: The Mystic Quest In Judaism is packed with memorable insights. The Mystic Quest is a lucid, accessible introduction to the esoteric mystical tradition in Judaism known as Kabbalah. Jewish mysticism is a rich and varied tradition of secret teachings and practices that has been a part of Judaism since antiquity.

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Ariel locates the Jewish mystical tradition within the context of Jewish history and traces its evolution throughout the ages, concluding with the role of mysticism in contemporary Judaism. David S. Ariel is president of the Cleveland College of Jewish Studies.


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  • The Mystic Quest by David S. Ariel may be the most accessible and sophisticated introduction to Jewish mysticism available. Ariel starts by comparing Jewish mysticism to Christian mystical traditions, drawing on writers such as William James and Sigmund Freud to define his terms. He then provides a history of Jewish mysticism, starting with Ezekiel's vision of the chariot and working up to the present day, with special attention to the ways that kabbalah has influenced mainstream Judaism.

    One notable detail is that Lekha Dodi, or "Come, My Beloved," the Friday-evening prayer, is a hymn to the kabbalist-derived feminine dimension of God. In the book's concluding chapters, Ariel gives practical advice about how contemporary Jews can cultivate mystical spirituality. By demonstrating the pervasive mystical dimension of Jewish culture, Ariel gives his Jewish readers the great gift of enlarging their understanding of what they already know, enabling them to find new revelation in the religion that has always guided them.

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    This book will surprise and enlighten many readers, as it guides them through the puzzling and profound world of Jewish mysticism. Convert currency.

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