In the letters, we witness the travails and vicissitudes of the Scholem family, a drama in which Gershom is banished by his father for his anti-kaiser Zionist sentiments; his antiwar, socialist brother is hounded and murdered; and his mother and remaining brothers are forced to emigrate. We see Scholem's friendships with some of the most intriguing intellectuals of the twentieth centurysuch as Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin, and Theodor Adornoblossom and, on occasion, wither. And we learn firsthand about his Zionist commitment and his scholarly career, from his move to Palestine in the 1920s to his work as Professor of Jewish Mysticism at the Hebrew University. Over the course of seven decades that comprised the most significant events of the twentieth century, these letters reveal how Scholem's scholarship is informed by the experiences he so eloquently described.
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About the Author
Anthony David Skinner is the author of The Patron: A Life of Salman Schocken.
Table of Contents
I. A Jewish Zarathustra, 1914-1918
II. Unlocking the Gates, 1919-1932
III. Redemption through Sin, 1933-1947
IV. Master Magician Emeritus, 1948-1982
What People are Saying About This
A biography of Gershom Scholem lies in these well selected and edited letters. Reading biographically between the letters' lines, in the manner of Gershom Scholem, Master Scholar, you can learn how he found his own story between the lines of the Kabbalah's texts he almost signlehandedly restored to life; and how he wrote his autobiography out so intensely, with such vast erudition and brilliance, in all his commentaries on the Kaballah that it became, over his lifetime, a biography of the whole endlessly resilient, culturally prolific Jewish people, a 20th century national epic.
Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, author of Hannah Arendt: For Love of the World