The Chosen Will Become Herds Studies in Twentieth-Century Kabbalah Jonathan Garb, Yaffah Berkovits-Murciano

Publication date:
25 Aug 2009
Yale University Press
240 pages: 235 x 156 x 14mm
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The popularity of Kabbalah, a Jewish mystical movement at least 900 years old, has grown astonishingly within the context of the vast and ever-expanding social movement commonly referred to as the New Age. This book is the first to provide a broad overview of the major trends in contemporary Kabbalah together with in-depth discussions of major figures and schools.


A noted expert on Kabbalah, Jonathan Garb places the “kabbalistic Renaissance” within the global context of the rise of other forms of spirituality, including Sufism and Tibetan Buddhism. He shows how Kabbalah has been transformed by the events of the Holocaust and, following the establishment of Israel, by aliyah. The Chosen Will Become Herds is an original piece of scholarship and, in its own right, a new chapter in the history of Kabbalah.

Jonathan Garb, a leading authority on modern Kabbalah, is a senior lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

“The first comprehensive survey of the major developments in the history of Kabbalah as well as the spiritual life in Israel in the twentieth-century…This is an original piece of scholarship, written by a first-rank scholar.”—Moshe Idel

“Garb's monograph is the grounding study of twentieth-century Kabbalah. The volume offers a profound appreciation of the social and political forces in play amongst the schools that study and produce Kabbalistic literature in our day.”—Daniel Abrams, Bar Ilan University, Editor of Kabbalah: Journal for the Study of Jewish Mystical Texts

“Jonathan Garb traces the astonishing transformation of the Kabbalah from an obscure, initially devalued scholarly domain to a bold, generative movement of twentieth-century mystical speculation. His approach is at once critical, skeptical, and empathic in the finest sense of the word, and the story he tells is illumined by a broad comparative vision and by his immense erudition in the classical Jewish sources. This essay is an exemplary instance of modern, historically informed comparative religion.”—David Shulman, Hebrew University

"The best book I've read on modern Jewish mysticism. Jonathan Garb gives us an insightful overview of contemporary Kabbalah and Hasidism, including the impact of Zionism, postmodernism, New Age, and the internet."—David R. Loy, author of Nonduality: A Study in Comparative Philosophy

“Jonathan Garb presents a fascinating picture of the latest phase of development in Jewish Mysticism, in particular its complete break with esoteric restrictions and traditions.”—Moshe Halbertal, New York University School of Law

"Garb shows how 20th-century Kabbalah impacted multiple political, religious, and cultural arenas in Israel and beyond. Simply put, this is the best available map of modern Kabbalah."—William Parsons, Rice University