Elliot R. Wolfson's new work is a masterful exposition of the phenomenology and ontology of Habad thought, particularly its bearing on messianic mysteries and consciousness. This study is an extraordinary integration of precise philology, philosophical comprehension, and the inner course of Habad theosophy as it flows through the discourses of its seven masters. Wolfson analyzes the climactic position of Rabbi Schneerson within this complex with exemplary and original insight.
(Michael Fishbane, Nathan Cummings Professor of Jewish Studies, University of Chicago)
Elliot R. Wolfson's dark brilliance is itself an open secret, unfolding mesmerizing rhythms of chiastic paradox. The relevance of his commentary cannot be confined to the study of a particular movement, religion, or discipline. In this philosophical meditation on a controversial strand of recent messianism, a profound historical kabbalism appears edged with a postmodern Kafkaesque ironyin the legacy of a 'future that is already present as the present that is always future.'
(Catherine Keller, Drew University, and author of Face of the Deep: A Theology of Becoming
This highly original reading of Menachem Mendel Schneerson's messianic doctrine renders irrelevant much of the ongoing speculation and debate on the question of whether or not the Lubavitcher Rebbe, like the bulk of his following, believed that he was the Messiah. The book argues insightfully that beneath his well-attested endeavors to demonstrate the imminence the messianic advent, and his resort to the traditional language of Jewish messianic speculation, lays the paradoxical 'open secret' of a totally impersonal Messiah who, reflecting the nature of the infinite kabbalistic godhead itself, can be revealed in the world only by way of concealment. His advent is conceptualized as a universal expansion of spiritual consciousness, a nonevent that continuously occurs, has occurred, and will occur 'immediately, without delay, in actuality,' which effectively means beyond measurable time.
(Ada Rapoport-Albert, University College London)
Wolfson's spiritual quest is contagious, and the intrepid reader will brave the many difficult passages in order to follow him
(Lawrence Grossman Forward
Every researcher or enlightened reader should be interested in this profound construction, in order to understand the most significant Jewish messianic phenomenon in the Jewish world of the last two generations.
(Alon Dahan H-Judaic
Wolfson has not only produced an excellent study of Rabbi Mena?em Mendel Schneerson's views, but he has argued convincingly that this work will serve as a paradigm for Jewish philosophic thought.
(H.D. Uriel Smith Philosophy East and West
A poetic blend of scholarship and philosophy unprecedented and often breathtaking in its boldness, Open Secret negotiates the vast range of Lubavitcher literature by and about Menahem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe. From an authoritatively learned but nonsectarian perspective, Open Secret reads the Rebbe's messianism seriously. Elliot R. Wolfson confronts the Rebbe as a major figure in the Jewish esoteric tradition. The Lubavitcher Rebbe's Messiah presents a challenge that is inescapable for anyone who seeks to understand a twenty-first-century globalized Judaism, and Wolfson compellingly engages that challenge.
(Steve Wasserstrom, Reed College)