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Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #162)

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  132 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
In Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction, Joseph Dan, one of the world's leading authorities on Jewish mysticism, offers a concise and highly accurate look at the history and character of the various systems developed by the adherents of the Kabbalah.
Dan sheds light on the many misconceptions about what Kabbalah is and isn't--including its connections to magic, astronomy,
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Hardcover, 130 pages
Published November 1st 2005 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published October 6th 2005)
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Xenophon Hendrix
Aug 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
I wanted an introduction to the kabbalah that was written by an authoritative non-crank. This book served that purpose.

The author mostly confines his presentation to the Jewish kabbalah. Approximately seven percent of the text describes Christian and western esoteric kabbalah.

Given my level of interest in the subject, the book being short is one of its most attractive features. Unfortunately, it is also dry. Over a period of several days, I fell asleep several times as I made my way through the
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Ahmad Sharabiani
Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #162), Joseph Dan

In Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction, Joseph Dan, one of the world's leading authorities on Jewish mysticism, offers a concise and highly accurate look at the history and character of the various systems developed by the adherents of the Kabbalah.
that cute little red-eyed kitten
Perhaps I'm being unfair to the author here when I say the book is "boring", maybe it is only my own lack of patience with the oh-so-many paths to a god I don't believe exists, I might as well read about the hidden meanings in the gospel of Batman. Or something. I can kind of see the appeal, though, in the idea of kabalah (or similar), it's esoteric, you must study to gain "knowledge", and it's definitely not for everyone. I can't help myself but prefer when the kabalistic system is used to tell ...more
Jody Mena
Aug 02, 2011 added it
Shelves: nonfiction
A great introduction to Kabbalah. For one thing, it is, indeed, very short, which is good if you're looking for information but don't have a lot of extra time on your hands to mull over a mire of minutae. There was a good amount of general information without overmuch detail, just the right amount for an introduction - ideal for those who don't know what kabbalah is really all about and are just starting out learning about it.

It is a clear and concise account of the history and practices of the
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Michelle
Nov 29, 2011 rated it did not like it
Instead of "A Very Short Introduction", the subtitle of this book should be "A Very Boring History of People and Books Related to the Word Kabbalah". Ugh. I'm sure it's all very accurate, but it sure as hell isn't interesting.
Colin Goldin
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joseph Dan doesn't mince words and the taut spare academic style will not be to everyone's tastes. Its a positive virtue in his area of expertise (and he is clearly an expert) because the subject is infected with so much claptrap and nonsense that a surgeon's calculating knife is exactly what is needed to get clarity.

In particular the chapters linking the development of Lurianic Kabbalah with the development of both modern messianic (Sabbatean) mysticism and modern Hasidic orthodoxy is very help
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Cole
Aug 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Solid overview
Fatih Başar
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Gereksiz detay agirmeden Kabala ve Yahudi mistisizminin diğer unsurlarını açıklayan güzel bir eser. Konu hakkında hiçbir fikri olmayan birinin kolayca kavrayabileceği düzeyde ve aynı zamanda önemli neredeyse tüm unsurların tarihsel gelişimiyle işlenmesi de söz konusu.
Jennifer W
Mar 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
So let me explain why I picked up this book. I have a love for novels about Jewish characters. Historical, like The Red Tent or contemporary like The Ladies Auxiliary or a bit of both like People of the Book. It seems that whenever I hear about Jewish practices in the news, though, they focus on practitioners of Kabbalah. I figured this would be a good book to fill in some knowledge gaps that make novels so fascinating and also bring me up to speed on the modern Jewish practices. Unfortunately, ...more
Stephen Olley
Apr 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'll get the one negative point out of the way first: This book is trying to cover over a thousand years worth of Jewish and Christian religious thought... in a hundred pages. This is why, despite it being a very short book, it has actually taken a while to read: Some pages are so jam-packed with names, alien concepts and new terminology that you have to put it down every now and again to let some of it sink in. It could all do with a bit of space to breathe.
But hey, it is a "Very Short Introduc
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Anthony
Jul 06, 2014 rated it liked it
left me wanting to check out the bibliography in the back of the book, so i think it served it's purpose? really liked the historical overview of the medieval origins of kabbalah in the bahir and the zohar, explanations of the differing views of the sefirot, appropriations of kabbalah in christian mysticism and western esotericism, its historical centrality to hasidism, without providing any illusions that there is one single way of defining kabbalah as it has meant different things to different ...more
Alejandro
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Definitely one of my favorite books on the subject. The research work is mesmerizing, pretty much al there's to know (on a general basis) is described from a very formal point of view. The citations are always on point and the explanations left me satisfied at every moment.
The sincere and direct speech of the author very valuable, as is his objectivity. His tone is solid and confident enough to be perceived wise and studied but not as super authoritative or rigid as some authors on the field m
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Rita
Jan 22, 2009 rated it liked it
Very interesting book, but poorly written. It is a great introduction into Kabbalah. It's amazing that Kabbalahists believe that they can affect the future in the present. There are many ideas and beliefs mentioned in this book that I'd like to learn more about.

Overall, worth a read for a brief intro.
Napalmlolita
Jan 12, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Learned nothing. Waste of time.
Vikas Datta
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite interesting...
BoBandy
Jan 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Informative, but rather academic for an introduction. Could have used a glossary for all the Hebrew words!
RC
Sep 06, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good, very short, very introductory. What more can you ask for?
yamiyoghurt
Sep 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
A historical presentation of Kabbalah.
Rhiannon Grant
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