Gershom Scholem's Kabbalah and the German-Jewish Myth

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The objective of this essay is to explore Gershom Scholem's intellectual appropriation of certain key elements of the German Romantic tradition in his conceptualization of the history of Jewish mysticism. I will show that Scholem is especially indebted to the Romantic concept of the "symbol" and to its powerful impulse to create "a new mythology." I will also show that Scholem developed his principle of historical interpretation about the role of the kabbalah in Jewish history within a matrix of ideas that were typical among Romantic thinkers. In conclusion, I will argue that these intellectual debts made Scholem a fascinating example of a postwar and post-Holocaust German- Jewish thinker.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationIJS Studies in Judaica
EditorsMirjam Zadoff, Noam Zadoff
PublisherBrill Academic Publishers
Number of pages17
StatePublished - 2019

Publication series

NameIJS Studies in Judaica
ISSN (Print)1570-1581

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Brill Academic Publishers. All rights reserved.


  • Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling
  • German Idealism
  • German Romanticism
  • kabbalah
  • new mythology
  • postwar culture
  • theory of the symbol


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