Studien zum Chassidismus –
Der Maggid von Mesritsch
Hamburg 2017, 396 Seiten
ISBN 978-3-8300-9448-7 (Print), ISBN 978-3-339-09448-3 (eBook)
about this book
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Dov Ber Friedman (about 1710–1772), known as the „Great Maggid of Mezhirech“ is for sure one of the most important Hasidic thinkers. He succeeded the famous Ba’al-Schem Tov and guided many important Hasidic teachers like Schne’ur Zalman of Liadi.
The author analyzes and explains the teaching of the Maggid. Important writings like Or ha-Emeth or Maggid Devarav Lejakov are thematically compiled, translated and interpreted. The research wants to convey knowledge about the thinking of the Great Maggid for interested people, especially with regard to the examination and discussion of some popular debates on the right understanding of Hasidism.
The book starts with a synopsis of the research on Hasidism. After methodological considerations about the right access and scientific study of Hasidism, the author examines the homilies of the Maggid. The author explains the Maggid’s thought with regard to three spheres: God, world and human being. These are three very important dimensions in the thinking of the Maggid and guarantee the transparency of this study. After the explanation of the Maggid’s thinking, important questions about the role of body and spirit, messianic elements and the kind of unity with God are subject of a discussion.
This study leads to the point that the Maggid created a mystical model of its own, with a special focus on the kingdom of God and God’s delight, but thus also reinterpreting the classic-qabbalistic role of the human being. It is not a mystical model aiming towards an unio mystica. The unity with the Sephiroth is rather a type of wisdom, leading to a special responsibility for fellow human beings. The reading of this book gives a very good opportunity to comprehend this mystical thinking. The PhD-thesis that underlies this book has been awarded with the “Bernhard-Welte-Preis” of the University of Freiburg.
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