Gershom Scholem

Scholem, Gershom Gerhard

Gershom Gerhard Scholem (gĕr´shôm gĕr´härt shō´ləm), 1897–1982, Jewish scholar, b. Berlin. He studied at the universities of Berlin, Jena, Bern, and Munich. Scholem received (1922) his doctorate for a dissertation on the earliest extant kabbalistic work, Sefer ha-Bahir (c.1230). In 1923 he left Germany and settled in Palestine. His revolutionary translation and commentary, published as Das Buch Bahir (1923), began a career that was to remove the history of kabbalah from the shadows of Jewish scholarship and to make the study of it and of Jewish mysticism in general important scholarly disciplines. Scholem was the librarian of the Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem and National Library (1923–27), lecturer at the university (1925–32), and professor of Jewish mysticism and kabbalah there from 1933 until his retirement in 1965. He was the author of over 500 articles and books; his major works in English include Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism (1941), Jewish Gnosticism, Merkabah Mysticism, and the Talmudic Tradition (1960), The Messianic Idea in Judaism (tr. 1971), Sabbatai Zevi, the Mystical Messiah (1973), and Kabbalah (1974).

See his autobiography, From Berlin to Jerusalem (1980); A. D. Skinner, Gershom Scholem: A Life in Letters, 1914–1982 (2002); study by D. Biale (2d ed. 1982).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Religion after Religion: Gershom Scholem, Mircea Eliade, and Henry Corbin at Eranos
Steven M. Wasserstrom.
Princeton University Press, 1999
Origins of the Kabbalah
Gershom Scholem; R. J. Zwi Werblowsky; Allan Arkush.
Princeton University Press, 1987
The German-Jewish Dialogue: An Anthology of Literary Texts, 1749-1993
Ritchie Robertson.
Oxford University, 1999
Librarian’s tip: "Gershom Scholem from His Diaries" begins on p. 186
Binah: Studies in Jewish Thought
Joseph Dan.
Praeger Publishers, vol.2, 1989
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 10 "Gershom Scholem: Between History and Historiosophy"
The Ritual of New Creation: Jewish Tradition and Contemporary Literature
Norman Finkelstein.
State University of New York Press, 1992
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Gershom Scholem and Literary Criticism"
Defenses of the Imagination: Jewish Writers and Modern Historical Crisis
Robert Alter.
Jewish Publication Society of America, 1977
Librarian’s tip: "Gershom Scholem: History and the Abyss" begins on p. 67
The Books of Contemplation: Medieval Jewish Mystical Sources
Mark Verman.
State University of New York Press, 1992
Librarian’s tip: "Scholem's Historiography of Early Kabbalah" begins on p. 165 and "Scholem's Historiography and R. Isaac Cohen's Legends" begins on p. 170
The German-Jewish Dialogue Reconsidered: A Symposium in Honor of George L. Mosse
Klaus L. Berghahn.
Peter Lang, 1996
Librarian’s tip: "Gershom Scholem between German and Jewish Nationalism" begins on p. 177
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