Discipline: Humanities

Topic: Judaic Studies


Ashkenazi Hasidism in the History of Jewish Thought

Joseph Dan

The Ashkenazi Hasidic movement, which flourished mainly in the 12th and 13th centuries, created one of the central phenomena in Jewish thought in the Middle Ages. Its developers and teachers laid the foundation for a comprehensive theology with esoteric and mystical overtones, transmitted from generation to generation as an occult religious outlook in Ashkenazi Judaism. At the same time it engendered a popular school of moral philosophy which, to a large extent, shaped the religious and moral life of Ashkenazi Judaism.


This 3-volume series focuses on milestones in the history of the movement, its esoteric and occult aspects, and its extensive moral doctrine.

Volume 1: Ashkenazi Hasidism in the history of Jewish thought; historical background: relations between Jews and gentiles as reflected in the literature of Ashkenazi Hasidim; The Book of the Hasidim (1990, 368 pp., cat. # 10297-1)

Volume 2: Main concepts of the Ashkenazi-Hasidic moral doctrine; the repentance doctrine of Ashkenazi Hasidism; moral behavior in the social arena in Ashkenazi Hasidic religious thought; fictional literature; hagiography (1990, 292 pp., cat. # 10297-2)

Volume 3: The concept of God; honor and revelation; the Creation and the legend of the Golem; philosophy of providence and the problem of Secrets of Prayer (1990, 272 pp., cat. # 10297-3)


Professor Joseph Dan, Gershom Scholem professor of Kabbala at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, received the 1997 Israel Prize for his studies on the history of Jewish mysticism, thought, ethics, and literature. One of the world's leading authorities on Jewish mysticism, his numerous publications include The Heart and the Fountain: An Anthology of Jewish Mystical Experiences (Oxford University Press, 2002).

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