Page 80 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 47

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
(Jerusalem, Markus, 1981 [Hebrew]). Both books have failed
to clarify fully the historical setting of the emergence of the
hasidic story which led to its emergence mainly in the mid-19th
century. Actually, the writers of hasidic tales followed the ro­
mantic trend of the Maskilim who disseminated their stories
for didactic purposes.
The many titles of books that have been briefly reviewed in
our article demonstrate the wide interest many scholars have
shown in the study of Jewish Mysticism.26 Although the cen­
trality of Kabbalah in Jewish history is debatable, no one doubts
any longer the value of the ongoing research into Jewish Mys­
ticism for a better understanding of the spiritual sphere in Jew­
ish history. In recent years we have lost great scholars, like
Scholem, Georges Vajda and Alexander Altmann, who contrib­
uted major works to the study of Jewish Mysticism. Still, no
less important are the writings of their disciples who have built
upon their studies and who have sometimes challenged their
findings.
26. Popular works continue to come from the presses. During 1988 there ap­
peared:
The Mystic Quest: An Introduction to Jewish Mysticism
(Northvale, NJ
& London, Jason Aronson), by David Ariel;
The World of the Mystic
(New
York, Philosophical Library), by Samuel Umen; and a reprint o f
Kabbalah:
The Way of theJewish Mystic
(Boston & London, Shambhala) by Perle Epstein.
Attention should be drawn also to
Jewish Mysticism: An Annotated Bibliography
on the Kabbalah in English,
by Sheila L. Spector (New York, Garland, 1984).