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Zohar: Reception and Impact$
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Boaz Huss

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113966

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113966.001.0001

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Revelation versus Concealment in the Reception History of the Zohar

Revelation versus Concealment in the Reception History of the Zohar

(p.184) Chapter Six Revelation versus Concealment in the Reception History of the Zohar
Zohar: Reception and Impact

Boaz Huss

Liverpool University Press

This chapter explores the tension between the desire to disseminate the Zohar and the wish to limit access to it. This tension is inherent in the economic logic of cultural systems as described by Pierre Bourdieu: ‘all the goods offered tend to lose some of their relative scarcity and their distinctive value as the number of consumers both inclined and able to appropriate them grows’. To increase and maintain the value of cultural products, then, a fine balance must be struck between their circulation, on the one hand, and restrictions on their accessibility on the other. In establishing the Zohar's image as a sacred and authoritative text, some circulation was necessary; yet uncontrolled access to the book was to diminish its value. The chapter focuses on eighteenth-century popularization attempts, mainly by Sabbatians, and the reactions that followed, leading to the imposition of restrictions on kabbalistic study.

Keywords:   Zohar, cultural systems, cultural products, circulation, authoritative text, popularization, Sabbatians, kabbalistic study

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