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Ascensions on High in Jewish Mysticism

Pillars, Lines, Ladders

Ascensions on high took many forms in Jewish mysticism and they permeated most of its history from its inception until Hasidism. The book surveys the various categories, with an emphasis on the architectural images of the ascent, like the resort to images of pillars, lines, and ladders.

After surveying the variety of scholarly approaches to religion, the author also offers what he proposes as an eclectic approach, and a perspectivist one. The latter recommends to examine religious phenomena from a variety of perspectives. The author investigates the specific issue of the pillar in Jewish mysticism by comparing it to the archaic resort to pillars recurring in rural societies.

Given the fact that the ascent of the soul and pillars constituted the concerns of two main Romanian scholars of religion, Ioan P. Culianu and Mircea Eliade, Idel resorts to their views, and in the Concluding Remarks analyzes the emergence of Eliade's vision of Judaism on the basis of neglected sources.

About the Author

Moshe Idel is historian and philosopher of Jewish mysticism. He is Emeritus Max Cooper Professor in Jewish Thought at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and Senior Researcher at the Shalom Hartman Institute.


"His control of literature is impressive, and his proposal is suggestive. Throughout, Idel shows mastery of a very wide range of primary and secondary sources. Summing up: recommended."—Choice
Central European University Press

9789637326028 : ascensions-on-high-in-jewish-mysticism-idel
261 Pages
$75.00 USD
9789637326035 : ascensions-on-high-in-jewish-mysticism-idel
Paperback / softback
260 Pages
$24.95 USD

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