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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: July 2020

7 - Recurrent Themes


This chapter traces recurring topics of the entire modern period and its academic treatment, summarizing the differences between subperiods, briefly pointing at domains for further research, and outlining current scholarly trends. Modern Kabbalah has consistently returned to the Lurianic corpus and to the general themes of gender, messianism and experience. It can be divided into three phases: early, high and late modernity. A crisis of authority posed by Sabbateanism and blended with a more general religious crisis distinguishes the early modern period. This was in turn resolved through the high modern canons of the eighteenth century, an era of stabilization and proliferation of Kabbalah. The rapprochement between Kabbalah and philosophy characterizes the late modern period, along with its messianism, modernism and globalization. Possible areas for future research include a survey of the commentaries on Luria, a treatment of the modern kabbalistic exegesis of a handful of earlier binding sources and a discussion on the role of technology — both in the facilitating and propagation of Kabbalah, and as a theme in kabbalistic discourse.

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