This chapter provides a methodological case study of possible approaches to the recovery of the historical person behind Hadism. It serves as an antidote to the ideologically weighted approach by focusing more on the materials that can be drawn on to construct a description, rather than on the description itself. The chapter focuses on materials, interpretations, and methodological considerations that should now be taken into account when portraying the Besht. It also summarizes the issues and results of previous Ba’al Shem Tov research and presents contexts within which the Besht lived his life. It also examines the primary texts that contain information about Besht.
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