Book info

Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction (2005)

Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction (2005)
Author
Rating
3.55 of 5 Votes: 1
ISBN
0195300343 (ISBN13: 9780195300345)
languge
English
publisher
oxford university press, usa
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Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction (...
Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction (2005)

About book: I'll get the one negative point out of the way first: This book is trying to cover over a thousand years worth of Jewish and Christian religious thought... in a hundred pages. This is why, despite it being a very short book, it has actually taken a while to read: Some pages are so jam-packed with names, alien concepts and new terminology that you have to put it down every now and again to let some of it sink in. It could all do with a bit of space to breathe.But hey, it is a "Very Short Introduction" so let's give it a pass on that one.Joseph Dan has attempted to outline the major developments in Kabbalistic thought from ancient Jewish mysticism right up to it's place in modern culture. For the most part he is clear and, for this layperson, seems to have picked out the key changes over time. I am completely new to this subject area so I cannot critique his accuracy but he seemed to take an unbiased, purely academic approach - not promoting one view of the kabbalah as better or truer than any other - something that this atheist appreciated.If you have any interest at all in how religions change and adapt over time, how stuff which has clearly just been made up can be presented as divine truth, and if you want to hear some absolutely nuts but also very cool concepts about the nature of the universe and the battle between good & evil, you should read this.It is only a hundred pages! (But it might take you slightly longer than you expect.)

A great introduction to Kabbalah. For one thing, it is, indeed, very short, which is good if you're looking for information but don't have a lot of extra time on your hands to mull over a mire of minutae. There was a good amount of general information without overmuch detail, just the right amount for an introduction - ideal for those who don't know what kabbalah is really all about and are just starting out learning about it. It is a clear and concise account of the history and practices of the movement and gives a good account of how it ties into other, more mainstream and better understood religions of today. For one not intimately acquainted with much Jewish tradition and history and who's wondered about the recent kabbalah craze in Hollywood, it's a really good book for satisfying curiosity about the roots of the movement and what it was all about before it became a fashion statement.
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Reviews
Xenophon Hendrix
I wanted an introduction to the kabbalah that was written by an authoritative non-crank. This book served that purpose.The author mostly confines his presentation to the Jewish kabbalah. Approximately seven percent of the text describes Christian and western esoteric kabbalah.Given my level of interest in the subject, the book being short is one of its most attractive features. Unfortunately, it is also dry. Over a period of several days, I fell asleep several times as I made my way through the text. Given that the kabbalah is a root work of contemporary mysticism and one of my interests is how mysticism influences humanity, I'm not disappointed that I stuck with the book and finished it, but it was tough going.It would be nice to find a similarly authoritative description and history of Christian kabbalah, perhaps one that's more lively.
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