Hermeneutics in Hasidism

Moshe Idel


The present article argues that the Hasidic exegesis differs dramatically from most of the Kabbalistic schools that preceded it. Symbolic exegesis based upon the importance of a theosophical understanding of divinity was relegated to the margin. One major characteristic of the Hasidic masters is that they preferred binary types of oppositions that in their view shape the discourse of the sacred texts. They became much less interested in the Bible as a reflection of the inner and dynamic life of God, than in the understanding of the text as referring to the inner spiritual development of the mystic. From this point of view, Hasidism was closer to the metaphorical approach of the ecstatic brand of Kabbalah, which also emphasized the paramount importance of inner transformation. What is also characteristic of Hasidic exegesis is the monadization: a combination of the atomization of the biblical text, with both magical and mystical understandings of the verbal human activity related to ritual.


monadization; Hermeneutics; Hasidic exegesis; The mystical implication; the Hasidic righteous

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