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Through a Speculum That Shines Paperback – December 14, 1997

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Winner of the 1995 Sarah H. and Julius Kushner Award, National Jewish Book Council

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 1995

Winner of the 1994 Excellence in Book Publishing Award, American Academy of Religion

"Massive, magisterial. . . . Wolfson has amassed an impressive array of texts to establish the foundational importance of seeing God for Jewish mysticism . . . and his book formulates many questions that will undoubtedly occupy subsequent investigators as they grapple with the significance of its findings. . . . This book comprises a manifold contribution to our appreciation of Jewish mysticism and Jewish intellectual history in the Middle Ages."--Jeremy Cohen, American Historical Review

"Energy and excitement . . . burst forth from page after page of this remarkably wide-ranging yet tightly argued work. . . . Wolfson's work is scholarship in the grand tradition--sweeping in scope and references, precise in analysis and argumentation."--Everett Gendler, Theological Studies

"A learned, authoritative and scrupulously documented study of visionary experiences among medieval Jewish prophets and mystics."--Earle J. Coleman, Menorah Review

"Arguing that kabalistic experience is first and foremost a visual rather than an aural experience . . . Wolfson traces the subject in rich detail, from its biblical origins through the mystical sources of the talmudic and posttalmudic era. . . . With the publication of this major study, Wolfson has confirmed his position as one of the leading students of medieval Jewish mysticism."--Choice

From the Back Cover

"Wolfson brilliantly shows that the visionary mode of religious experience is central to Jewish spirituality from antiquity through the late Middle Ages . . . . A landmark study from one of our most gifted scholars."--Elliot Ginsburg, University of Michigan

"The book is a dazzling accomplishment, a landmark study from one of our most gifted scholars."--Elliot Ginsburg, University of Michigan

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; Revised ed. edition (November 24, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691017220
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691017228
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,547,494 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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Kabbalah is one of those mysticisms I had always wondered about. and wasn't able to get into, though I tried with Green. Didn't work. I can safely say that after trudging through hundreds of pages of "Through a Speculum That Shines" I have received much more than an inkling about a few medieval Jewish mystics and their joint effort, Zohar. Using impeccable scholarship as a ploy, Wolfson takes us into the inner sanctum of medieval hermeneutics in a homoerotic fellowship of scholars in 13th century Castile. He tickles my mind. Also recommended is the chapter on Wolfson in Kripal's Roads of Excess, Palaces of Wisdom.
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Format: Paperback
While it is a challenging read and not for the faint of heart, I would recommend it is worth the effort for anyone who is interested in either mysticism, Jewish or otherwise, or the intersection of religion and philosophy.

I found Speculum to be both a careful reading of the texts, and an excellent analysis of the issue at hand - vision in Jewish mystical texts. It was fascinating to discover this thread of the visionary throughout Jewish mysticism, and how it manifested itself in the various epochs, etc. Fortunately (and quite surprisingly in this field), Wolfson neither glosses over nor exaggerates anything. Rather, he presents it in a balanced manner, with brilliant analysis.

If there was one book to read about Jewish mysticism, this is it.
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By A Customer on September 5, 1996
Format: Hardcover
I rate this book a 10 in academic brilliance but only a 3
in presentation. There is no doubt that Dr.Elliot Wolfson
is a world class scholar in the field of Jewish Mysticism.
However I had to wind my way through extremely dense
scholarship to get at the material. I unfortunately
find this to be an annoying trait of most books in
this genre... Overall I rate this book highly and would
recommend it... but be prepared to invest the time and
effort...
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