Introduction by Werner Dannhauser
"These essays, dealing as they do with modern Jewish history, literature, and religion, sustain a continuity of conviction that cannot help but inspire a new generation of Jewish intellectual life."—New York Times Book Review
Essays, letters, and articles written by the distinguished Jewish scholar over a fifty-year period. Includes three essays on Walter Benjamin.
On Jews and Judaism in Crisis presents Gershom Scholem confronting, studying, and judging the important ideas, events, and figures of twentieth-century Judaism. It includes essays on Martin Buber, S. Y. Agnon, and Scholem's friend Walter Benjamin; also his famous 1964 letter to Hannah Arendt. In a 1975 interview, Scholem provides fascinating information about his own life.
"There is a revelation in store…for the Jewish reader who has not previously encountered Scholem, and even for the non-Jewish reader concerned about the meaning and preservation of ‘peoplehood’ in the twentieth century…On the meaning and problems of Israel, on the search through tradition for seeds of rebirth, on the resurrection of Hebrew, on the possibility of a modern Jewish theology, on the Jewish relationship to history, Scholem is precise, passionate, skeptical, wholly original."—Kirkus Reviews
"Gershom Scholem is historian who has remade the world…He is coming to be seen as one of the greatest shapers of contemporary thought, possibly the boldest mind-adventurer of our generation."—Cynthia Ozick, New York Times Book Review
Gershom Scholem (1897–1982) was born in Berlin and educated at the Universities of Berlin, Jena, Bern, and Munich. In 1923, he immigrated to Palestine, where he devoted the rest of his life to the study of the Jewish mystical tradition and the Kabbala. In Jerusalem, he was appointed the first professor of Jewish mysticism at Hebrew University and served as president of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Scholem was the author of many books, including Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism, On the Kabbalah and Its Symbolism, Sabbatai Sevi: The Mystical Messiah, and From Berlin to Jerusalem (also now available from Paul Dry Books).