The Voices of Moses : Theologies of Revelation in an Early Hasidic Circle

The subject of revelation appears with striking frequency in the writings and sermons of the early Hasidic masters. Their attempts to reimagine Sinai and to redefine its spiritual significance were key to their theological project. The present article examines the theophany at Sinai as presented in...

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Main Author: Mayse, Ariel Evan 1986- (Author)
Format: Electronic Article
Language: English
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Published: [2019]
In: Harvard theological review
Year: 2019, Volume: 112, Issue: 1, Pages: 101-125
Further subjects: B Jewish mysticism
B revelation
B modern Jewish thought
B Hasidism
Online Access: Resolving-System
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Summary: The subject of revelation appears with striking frequency in the writings and sermons of the early Hasidic masters. Their attempts to reimagine Sinai and to redefine its spiritual significance were key to their theological project. The present article examines the theophany at Sinai as presented in the teachings of three important Hasidic leaders: Menaḥem Naḥum of Chernobil, Ze'ev Wolf of Zhitomir, and Levi Yitsḥak of Barditshev, all of whom were students of Rabbi Dov Ber Friedman, the Maggid of Mezritsh. Each of the three constructed their teachings upon foundational elements of the Maggid's theology. This shared inheritance links Dov Ber's students to one another, but careful consideration of these Hasidic sources will reveal important differences in foci and ideational message. These homilies refer to revelation as an unfolding process in which the ineffable divine is continuously translated into human language, reflecting upon-and justifying-the emergence of Hasidism and its theology through reimagining revelation. Such fundamental questions of language and devotion also throb at the heart of religious revivals the world over. When read critically and carefully, these Hasidic sources have much to offer scholars interested in the interface of renewal, exegesis, and revelation more broadly.
ISSN: 1475-4517
DOI: 10.1017/S0017816018000366
Persistent identifiers: DOI "10.1017/S0017816018000366"