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The Heart and the Fountain: An Anthology of Jewish Mystical Experiences [Paperback]

Joseph Dan

Price: 12.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Sep 2003
Joseph Dan is one of the world's leading authorities on Jewish mysticism. In this superb anthology, Dan not only presents illuminating excerpts from the most important mystical texts, but also delves into the very meaning of mysticism itself. Dan takes readers through the historical development of Jewish mysticism, from late antiquity to the modern period. He explores the Kabbalah, the esoteric tradition that delves into the secrets delivered by God to Moses on Mount Sinai, the emergence of Hasidism, and much more. He presents the great texts, from Hekhalot Rabbati, "The Greater Book of Divine Palaces," set in the temple in Jerusalem; to the apocalyptic vision of Abraham Abulafia in the thirteenth century; to the Zohar, perhaps the best-known volume of all. For each piece, he offers an extended introduction that deftly places the work in the context of its time and its antecedents.
"Mysticism is that which cannot be expressed in words, period," Dan writes. In this remarkable volume, he guides us through that seemingly impenetrable barrier to show how the inexpressible has been expressed in some of the most profound and challenging writing in existence.

Product details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (1 Sep 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195139798
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195139792
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.6 x 2.2 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 339,587 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Dan...carefully explodes several misconceptions. More than 25 selections reflect the remarkable scope of Jewish mysticism, from the visions of Rabbi Akiba and Rabbi Ishmael to the secrets of the Zohar; from the apocalyptic, messianic, and magical texts to the vibrant writing of four contemporary Israeli poets-an unconventional inclusion."--Publishers Weekly, starred review"Dan's writing is lucid and engaging, bringing an expert's view to a subject that has, unfortunately, been subsumed into popular culture."--Library Journal"Author of more than fifty books and winner of the 1997 Israel Prize, Joseph Dan is one of the world's leading authorities on Jewish mysticism. In this anthology, Dan not only presents illuminating excerpts from the most important mystical texts but also delves into the very meaning of mysticism itself."--Gadfly Online

About the Author

Joseph Dan is the Gershom Scholem Professor of Kabbalah at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. A winner of the Israel Prize in 1997, he is recognized as one of the most influential scholars of Jewish mysticism in the world today.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Illuminating 13 Mar 2002
By Kerry Walters - Published on
Too frequently in this day and age, when the word "mysticism" is used, what comes to mind is either New Age razzamatazz or Christian unitive experiences such as those described by John of the Cross or Theresa of Avila. The first trivializes mysticism, the second reduces it to but one kind of experience. In either case, a long, hallowed, and cross-cultural relationship with God is distorted.
Joseph Dan's new anthology on Jewish mysticism is a gem. In its 50-page Introduction--which by itself is worth the price of the book--he carefully points out that there's more to mysticism than merely unitive experiences, carefully distinguishes the mystical from the religious (without implying that one is "better" than the other), and explores the relationship between mysticism and language.
More specifically, in regards to the Jewish mystical tradition, Dan points out that it's as foolish to identity Kabbalah with Jewish mysticism (a near-ubiquitous confusion) as it is to identify Sufism with Islamic mystical experience. Different historical periods and different temperaments have given rise to a variety of Jewish mystical approaches. The virtue of this excellent anthology is to allow these different voices to speak. Dan offers selections in chronological order, ranging from the earliest Temple writings through the medieval Zohar to modern Hasidism to contemporary Israeli poetry-mysticism. A beautiful, revelatory book, both for those who know nothing about the Jewish mystical tradition and for those looking for a convenient compendium. Enthusiastically recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 of 3 in the a class on Western Mysticism this one is my fav. 30 May 2013
By Joel Blair - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A great sampling of brilliance. Dan does his own translations in much of this and makes his comments and introductions informative and readable. Scholars sometimes forget that real people are reading the writing. This one does not. Dan inspires a more complete look into every mystic. He inspired me to fall in love with Bailik
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