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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 12Focusing on Galicia: Jews, Poles and Ukrainians 1772-1918$
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Israel Bartal and Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774594

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774594.001.0001

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Review Essays The Historical Besht: Reconstruction or Deconstruction?

Review Essays The Historical Besht: Reconstruction or Deconstruction?

(p.297) Review Essays The Historical Besht: Reconstruction or Deconstruction?
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 12

Immanuel Etkes

Liverpool University Press

This chapter reviews Moshe Rosman's book, Founder of Hasidism: A Quest for the Historical Ba'al Shem Tov. This is a historical reassessment of the life and work of the Ba'al Shem Tov (known as the Besht). This re-evaluation stems from a comprehensive, systematic study, which focuses critically on both the findings of previous research and the methodological premisses on which that research relied. Unlike scholars whose attention to the beginnings of hasidism arose out of a general interest in Jewish mysticism, Rosman came to the subject from the social and economic history of Polish Jewry. These factors influenced Rosman's work, and the chapter surveys each part of the Founder of Hasidism with that in mind.

Keywords:   Moshe Rosman, Founder of Hasidism, Ba'al Shem Tov, Besht, Hasidism, Jewish mysticism, Polish Jewry, book review

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