This is a new and revised edition of the book first published 1980. It contains new introductory and concluding chapters as well as a Bibliography and updated Index. Furthermore, substantial corrections, updates, and changes have been made in the original text. The changes concern matters of language and style, they nuance the line of argumentation, and they update the discussion of major issues. The new chapters fill several scholarly gaps that have opened since the initial publication of this book in 1980. The new Introductory Chapter explores new venues and issues in the study and assessment of the Hekhalot literature and relevant passages in apocalyptic literature, and this in light of epistemological and ontological considerations. The Concluding Chapter discusses the ritual praxis of the experience of the Hekhalot mystics and its affitnity to magic, and this in terms of new approaches to ritual theory.
Ithamar Gruenwald is Professor Emiritus at Tel Aviv University. He taught, and chaired for several years, the Department of Jewish Philosophy and the Program in Religious Studies. His major publications include From Apocalypticism to Gnosticism (Verlag Peter Lang, 1988) and Rituals and Ritual Theory in Ancient Israel (Brill, 2003).
'...the synthetic argument Gruenwald makes is still a powerful one and must be taken into account by those studying apocalyptic, rabbinic, or hekhalot texts or those studying early Jewish mysticism. An outstanding study has become accessible once again, with useful improvements, and for that we must be very grateful indeed!'
Andrew R. Guffey, McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, Illinois, RBL 06/2017
Scholars and general readers interested in Jewish Mysticism, Ancient Magic, History of Religion in Early Christian Times, and Ritual Studies.