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Gershom Scholem: A Life in Letters, 1914-1982

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Gershom Scholem: A Life in Letters, 1914-1982 
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Perhaps the greatest scholar of Jewish mysticism in the twentieth century, Gershom Scholem (1897-1982) once said of himself, "I have no biography, only a bibliography." Yet, in thousands of letters written over his lifetime, his biography does unfold, inscribing a life that epitomized the intellectual ferment and political drama of an era. This selection of the best and most representative letters--drawn from the 3000 page German edition--gives readers an intimate view of this remarkable man, from his troubled family life in Germany to his emergence as one of the leading lights of Israel during its founding and formative years.

In the letters, we witness the travails and vicissitudes of the Scholem family, a drama in which Gershom is banished by his father for his anti-kaiser Zionist sentiments; his antiwar, socialist brother is hounded and murdered; and his mother and remaining brothers are forced to emigrate. We see Scholem's friendships with some of the most intriguing intellectuals of the twentieth century--such as Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin, and Theodor Adorno--blossom and, on occasion, wither. And we learn firsthand about his Zionist commitment and his scholarly career, from his move to Palestine in the 1920s to his work as Professor of Jewish Mysticism at the Hebrew University. Over the course of seven decades that comprised the most significant events of the twentieth century, these letters reveal how Scholem's scholarship is informed by the experiences he so eloquently described.

Review:

"The tale-teller is not just the melancholy memory artist, soaking in the lukewarm bath of tradition, but a magician in his own right, [one] who conjures up the lost meanings of forgotten tasks and symbols. Gershom Scholem needs to be understood in this sense, too ? as tradition's willful, brilliant conjurer, who performed an elusive and absolutely vital magic of his own." Anthony Grafton, The New Republic (read the entire New Republic review)

Review:

"A lively...collection, which follows Scholem from his fevered adolescence to the sovereign authority of his final years." Cynthia Ozick, New Yorker

Review:

"Anthony David Skinner had chosen the letters wisely and offers excellent overviews of the periods in which they were written." Sylvia Rothchild, Jewish Advocate

Review:

"A biography of Gershom Scholem lies in these well selected and edited letters. Reading biographically between the letters' lines, in the manner of Gershom Scholem, Master Scholar, you can learn how he found his own story between the lines of the Kabbalah's texts he almost signlehandedly restored to life; and how he wrote his autobiography out so intensely, with such vast erudition and brilliance, in all his commentaries on the Kaballah that it became, over his lifetime, a biography of the whole endlessly resilient, culturally prolific Jewish people, a 20th century national epic." Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, author of Hannah Arendt: For Love of the World

Synopsis:

Koret Jewish Book Awards Finalist in the Biography, Autobiography and Literary Studies Category

Synopsis:

Perhaps the greatest scholar of Jewish mysticism in the twentieth century, Gershom Scholem (1897-1982) once said of himself, "I have no biography, only a bibliography." Yet, in thousands of letters written over his lifetime, Scholem's biography does unfold, inscribing a life that epitomized the intellectual ferment and political drama of an era. This selection of the best and most representative letters--drawn from the 3000 page German edition--gives readers an intimate view of this remarkable man, from his troubled family life in Germany to his emergence as one of the leading lights of Israel during its founding and formative years.< /p>

About the Author

The noted scholar Gershom Scholem (1897-1982) was a close friend of Walter Benjamin and ?was Professor of Jewish Mysticism at Hebrew University.?Anthony David Skinner is the author of The Patron: A Life of Salman Schocken.

Table of Contents

Introduction

I. A Jewish Zarathustra, 1914-1918

II. Unlocking the Gates, 1919-1932

III. Redemption through Sin, 1933-1947

IV. Master Magician Emeritus, 1948-1982

Notes

Selected Bibliography

Chronology

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780674006423
Editor:
Skinner, Anthony David
Translator:
Skinner, Anthony David
Author:
Scholem, Gershom Gerhard
Author:
Scholem, Gershom
Author:
Skinner, Anthony David
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Location:
Cambridge, Mass.
Subject:
Religious
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Judaism - General
Subject:
Jewish scholars.
Subject:
Scholem, Gershom Gerhard
Subject:
Biography-Religious
Copyright:
Series Volume:
72-67.
Publication Date:
April 2002
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
8 halftones
Pages:
560
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 32 oz

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Related Subjects

Biography » Literary
Biography » Religious
History and Social Science » World History » General
Religion » Judaism » General
Religion » Judaism » Thought and Culture

Gershom Scholem: A Life in Letters, 1914-1982 New Hardcover
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Product details 560 pages Harvard University Press - English 9780674006423 Reviews:
"Review" by , "The tale-teller is not just the melancholy memory artist, soaking in the lukewarm bath of tradition, but a magician in his own right, [one] who conjures up the lost meanings of forgotten tasks and symbols. Gershom Scholem needs to be understood in this sense, too ? as tradition's willful, brilliant conjurer, who performed an elusive and absolutely vital magic of his own." (read the entire New Republic review)
"Review" by , "A lively...collection, which follows Scholem from his fevered adolescence to the sovereign authority of his final years."
"Review" by , "Anthony David Skinner had chosen the letters wisely and offers excellent overviews of the periods in which they were written."
"Review" by , "A biography of Gershom Scholem lies in these well selected and edited letters. Reading biographically between the letters' lines, in the manner of Gershom Scholem, Master Scholar, you can learn how he found his own story between the lines of the Kabbalah's texts he almost signlehandedly restored to life; and how he wrote his autobiography out so intensely, with such vast erudition and brilliance, in all his commentaries on the Kaballah that it became, over his lifetime, a biography of the whole endlessly resilient, culturally prolific Jewish people, a 20th century national epic."
"Synopsis" by , Koret Jewish Book Awards Finalist in the Biography, Autobiography and Literary Studies Category
"Synopsis" by , Perhaps the greatest scholar of Jewish mysticism in the twentieth century, Gershom Scholem (1897-1982) once said of himself, "I have no biography, only a bibliography." Yet, in thousands of letters written over his lifetime, Scholem's biography does unfold, inscribing a life that epitomized the intellectual ferment and political drama of an era. This selection of the best and most representative letters--drawn from the 3000 page German edition--gives readers an intimate view of this remarkable man, from his troubled family life in Germany to his emergence as one of the leading lights of Israel during its founding and formative years.< /p>
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