Kabbalah in America

Ancient Lore in the New World


Kabbalah in America includes chapters from leading experts in a variety of fields and is the first-ever comprehensive treatment of the title subject from colonial times until the present. Until recently, Kabbalah studies have not extensively covered America, despite America’s centrality in modern and contemporary formations. There exist scattered treatments, but no inclusive expositions. This volume most certainly fills the gap.

It is comprised of 21 articles in eight sections, including Kabbalah in Colonial America; Nineteenth-Century Western Esotericism; The Nineteenth-Century Jewish Interface; Early Twentieth-Century Rational Scholars; The Post-War Counterculture; Liberal American Denominationalism; Ultra-Orthodoxy, American Hasidism and the ‘Other’; and Contemporary American Ritual and Thought. This volume will be sure to set the tone for all future scholarship on American Kabbalah.

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Brian Ogren, Ph.D. (2008), Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is the Anna Smith Fine Associate Professor of Judaic Studies in the Department of Religion at Rice University in Houston, Texas. He has published two previous monographs and one prior edited volume.
List of Contributors

1 Introduction: On the Formation of Research on Kabbalah in America
Brian Ogren

Part 1: Kabbalah in Colonial America

2 “They Have with Faithfulnesse and Care Transmitted the Oracles of God unto us Gentiles”: Jewish Kabbalah and Text Study in the Puritan Imagination
Michael Hoberman

3 The Zohar in Early Protestant American Kabbalah: on Ezra Stiles and the Case for Jewish-Christianity
Brian Ogren

Part 2: Nineteenth-Century Western Esoteric Trends

4 The Abyss, the Oversoul, and the Kabbalistic Overtones in Emerson’s Work: Tracing the Pre-Freudian Unconscious in America
Clémence Boulouque

5 The Qabbalah of the Hebrews and the Ancient Wisdom Religion of Asia: Isaac Myer and the Kabbalah in America
Boaz Huss

6 Kabbalah in the Ozarks: Thomas Moore Johnson, The Platonist, and the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor
Vadim Putzu

Part 3: The Nineteenth-Century Jewish Interface

7 A Kabbalistic Lithograph as a Populariser of Judaism in America—Max Wolff, The Origin of the Rites and Worship of the Hebrews (New York, 1859)
Peter Lanchidi

8 Isidor Kalisch’s Pioneering Translation of Sepher Yetsirah (1877) and Its Rosicrucian Legacy
Jonathan D. Sarna

Part 4: Early Twentieth-Century Rational Scholars

9 Pragmatic Kabbalah: J.L. Sossnitz, Mordecai Kaplan and the Reconstruction of Mysticism and Peoplehood in Early Twentieth-Century America
Eliyahu Stern

10 Solomon Schechter, Abraham J. Heschel, and Alexander Altmann: Scholars on Jewish Mysticism
Moshe Idel

Part 5: The Post-War Counterculture

11 Jewish Mysticism as a Universal Teaching: Allen Ginsberg’s Relation to Kabbalah
Yaakov Ariel

12 Shlomo Carlebach on the West Coast
Pinchas Giller

13 Aryeh Kaplan’s Quest for the Lost Jewish Traditions of Science, Psychology and Prophecy
Alan Brill

Part 6: Liberal American Denominationalism

14 American Reform Judaism’s Increasing Acceptance of Kabbalah: the Contribution of Rabbi Herbert Weiner’s Spiritual Search in 9½ Mystics
Dana Evan Kaplan

15 American Conservative Judaism and Kabbalah
Daniel Horwitz

Part 7: Ultra-Orthodoxy, American Hasidism, and the ‘Other’

16 The Calf Awakens: Language, Zionism and Heresy in Twentieth-Century American Hasidism
Ariel Evan Mayse

17 “The Lower Half of the Globe”: Kabbalah and Social Analysis in the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Vision for Judaism’s American Era
Philip Wexler and Eli Rubin

18 To Distinguish Israel and the Nations: E Pluribus Unum and Isaac Hutner’s Appropriation of Kabbalistic Anthropology
Elliot R. Wolfson

Part 8: Contemporary American Ritual and Thought

19 Kabbalah as a Tool of Orthodox Outreach
Jody Myers

20 Everything is Sex: Sacred Sexuality and Core Values in the Contemporary American Kabbalistic Cosmos
Marla Segol

21 Identity or Spirituality: the Resurgence of Habad, Neo Hasidism and Ashlagian Kabbalah in America
Ron Margolin
All interested in Kabbalah, American Studies, Jewish Thought, American Religious History, Jewish Studies and Western Esotericism. The volume is intended for specialists and nonspecialists alike.
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