This book provides impressive dossier on the phenomenon of Saturnism, offering a new interpretation of aspects of Judaism, including the emergence of Sabbateanism. This book explores the phenomenon of Saturnism, namely the belief that the planet Saturn, as described by ancient astrology, influenced Jews, reverberating into Jewish life. Taking into consideration the astrological aspects of Judaism, Moshe Idel demonstrates that they were instrumental in the conviction that Sabbatei Tzevei, the mid-17th-century messianic figure in Rabbinic Judaism, was indeed the Messiah. Offering a new approach to the study of this mass-movement known as Sabbateanism, Idel also explores the possible impact of astrology on the understanding of Sabbath as related to sorcery and thus to the concept of the encounter of witches in the late 14th and early 15th century. This book further analyzes aspects of 20th-century scholarship and thought influenced by Saturnism, particularly lingering themes in the works of Gershom Scholem and seminal figure Walter Benjamin.
"The Robert and Arlene Kogod Library of Judaic Studies" publishes new research which provides new directions for modern Jewish thought and life and which serves to enhance the quality of dialogue between classical sources and the modern world. This book series reflects the mission of the Shalom Hartman Institute, a pluralistic research and leadership institute, at the forefront of Jewish thought and education. It empowers scholars, rabbis, educators and layleaders to develop new and diverse voices within the tradition, laying foundations for the future of Jewish life in Israel and around the world.
Moshe Idel is Max Cooper Professor of Jewish Thought at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, and Senior Research Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute, Israel. He is an expert in Kabbalah and has been a recipient of the prestigious Israel Prize for excellence in the field of Jewish Philosophy.
Preface; 1. From Saturn, Sabbath and Sorcery to the Jews; 2. From Saturn to Sabbatai Tzevi: A Planet that Became Messiah; 3. From Saturn to Melancholy; 4. Conclusion; Appendix; Abbreviations; Bibliography; Index.