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By Gershom Scholem, 494 Pages, Paperback.

With origins extending back in time beyond the Dead Sea Scrolls, the body of writings and beliefs known as the Kabbalah has come to be increasingly recognized not only as one of the most intriguing aspects of Judaism but also as an important part of a broader mystical tradition. He is one of the most enlightening studies ever to plumb its complex depths and range over its rich history, written by the late Gershom Scholem, the world's leading authority on the Kabbalah.

Illumined in this fascinating work are the centuries of efforts by Kabbalists to discover the secrets of God and the universe through symbols of the physical world and the mysteries of language- a mammoth search set against a background of Jewish life in Spain, Portugal, Germany, and the rest of Europe. Brought to life are such remarkable personalities as Shabbetai Zevi, the 17th century pseudo-Messiah who raised the Jewish world to near ecstasy before plunging it into disillusion; and the charismatic Jacob Frank, who threatened to disastrously divide the Jewish religion. We learn the connection between the Kabbalah and such haunting legends as the Dybbuk, the Golem, and Lilith, as well as the relationship to the practice of white magic, palm reading and satanism.