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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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The History of Zohar Criticism

The History of Zohar Criticism

(p.239) Chapter Seven The History of Zohar Criticism
Zohar: Reception and Impact

Boaz Huss

Liverpool University Press

This chapter looks at those Jewish scholars who rejected the value of the Zohar altogether and did everything in their power to subvert its revered status. It surveys the criticism of the Zohar, focusing on the measures the maskilim took against kabbalah in general, and against the Zohar in particular, in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Such criticism was part of the maskilic struggle against traditional Jewish circles, especially the hasidic movement in eastern Europe. The rejection of the Zohar played an important role in their endeavour to create a modern European, enlightened Jewish identity. It also allowed them to distinguish themselves from traditional east European Jewish culture, in which that work had gained canonical status.

Keywords:   Jewish scholars, Zohar, maskilim, kabbalah, hasidic movement, Jewish identity, east European Jewish culture, traditional Jewish circles

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