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BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg 2021

Academic Study of Kabbalah and Occultist Kabbalah

From the book Occult Roots of Religious Studies

  • Boaz Huss


The article examines the complex and ambivalent relations between Kabbalah scholarship and western esotericism. It shows that in the late 19 and early 20th century, several scholars of Kabbalah found interest in the occult and had connections with western esoteric movements. It analyses the complicated and nuanced attitude toward western esotericism of Gershom Scholem and shows that although he disparaged occult Kabbalists, he had a more positive appreciation of Christian Kabbalah and early modern western esoteric currents. Furthermore, the article argues that Kabbalah academic scholarship and western esoteric and occult circles share some significant terms, presuppositions, and theological perspectives. The article claims that Kabbalah scholarship and Occult Kabbalah have common genealogies, significant connections, and shared ideas and that the recognition, and study, of these complex relations, may contribute to a better and more nuanced understanding of both Kabbalah scholarship and modern western esotericism.

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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