A collection of poetry, in both German and English, exploring Zionism, German and Jewish philosophers, and the work of writers such as Walter Benjamin and Hans Jonas.
Written by Gershom Scholem, the founder of the modern study of Kabbalah and a former Professor of Jewish Mysticism at the Hebrew University.
Translated by and afterword written by Richard Sieburth, a preeminent translator of German poetry.
Edited and introduced by Steven M. Wasserstrom, author of Religion after Religion and the Moe and Izetta Tonkon Professor of Judaic Studies and the Humanities at Reed College.
“Gershom Scholem’s scholarship was of [the] rare, life-giving kind. Not only have his studies of the Kabbalah altered…the image of Judaism—but his explorations, translations, and presentations of Kabbalistic writings exercise a formidable influence on literary theory at large, on the ways in which non-Jewish and wholly agnostic critics and scholars read poetry.” —George Steiner, New Yorker
“Gershom Scholem’s achievement has already put a generation of readers in his debt. He has intrepidly, singlehandedly, almost monomaniacally pursued the task of saving the literature of Jewish mysticism…restoring it to an estate of respect, honor, and importance.” —Arthur A. Cohen, New York Times Book Review
“Abrupt, magisterial, quizzical, sometimes acidulous, and at moments poignantly wistful…. Scholem’s verses return to an authentic Hasidic tradition of indicting God.” —Harold Bloom
“An excellent bilingual selection. Richard Sieburth’s versions are lucid, sensitive, forceful, and always attentive to the originals. Steven Wasserstrom’s incisive commentary provides the ideal context…. Given the complexities that it resolves-historical, biographical, theological, literary-this edition is a model of its kind.” —Jeremy Adler, The Times Literary Supplement
“Scholem has rare gifts for synthesis and generalization, as several of his more recent essays on Jewish messianism and tradition demonstrate, but his mind is equally remarkable for the way it adheres to the smallest particles of particular historical experience” - Robert Alter
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