Gershom Scholem's Kabbalah and the German-Jewish Myth

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The objective of this essay is to explore Gershom Scholem's intellectual appropriation of certain key elements of the German Romantic tradition in his conceptualization of the history of Jewish mysticism. I will show that Scholem is especially indebted to the Romantic concept of the "symbol" and to its powerful impulse to create "a new mythology." I will also show that Scholem developed his principle of historical interpretation about the role of the kabbalah in Jewish history within a matrix of ideas that were typical among Romantic thinkers. In conclusion, I will argue that these intellectual debts made Scholem a fascinating example of a postwar and post-Holocaust German- Jewish thinker.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationIJS Studies in Judaica
EditorsMirjam Zadoff, Noam Zadoff
PublisherBrill Academic Publishers
Number of pages17
StatePublished - 2019

Publication series

NameIJS Studies in Judaica


  • Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling
  • German Idealism
  • German Romanticism
  • kabbalah
  • new mythology
  • postwar culture
  • theory of the symbol

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Religious studies


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