Gershom Scholem was a professor of Jewish mysticism at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem until his death in 1982. Among his most important works areMajor Trends in Jewish Mysticism, The Messianic Idea in Judaism,andOn the Kabbalah and Its Symbolism.
Richard Sieburth is Associate Professor of French, New York University.Gershom Scholem's contribution to the understanding of Jewish mysticism is so dramatic that it warrants a separate introduction. As a young student of mathematics, he became a Zionist and his interest shifted to Jewish history. Scholem moved from Germany to become the librarian of the new University and National Library in Jerusalem in 1923 and served as a professor at Hebrew University from 1935 to 1965. Before him, Jewish historians during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries scorned the ignored mystical dimension of Judaism as a relic of premodern superstition and ignorance. Scholem's erudition and deep insight gave Cabala a scholarly audience. His writings are often difficult to read, but they are indispensable for any thorough knowledge of the subject of Jewish mysticism.