Comments on Prof. Huss's Post

by Dr Bryan Griffith Dobbs


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I am in substantial agreement with Professor Huss in his assessment of Professor Dugin's dichotomy of exoteric versus mystical Judaism as derivative of Christian kabbalah.

I wish to differ with Professor Huss, however, on a few points:

[1] He states:

"Interestingly, a similar dualistic perception of Judaism was adopted by modern Jewish scholars, including Scholem, who regarded Kabbalah as a mystical and mythical rebellion against non-mystical non-mythical Rabbinic tradition."

This may indeed have been Scholem's early position, but from 1960 forward, he saw ancient Jewish mysticism [see in particular his seminal volume on "Jewish Gnosticism, Merkavah Mysticism and Talmudic Tradition"] as consonant with talmudic and midrashic traditions.

[2] Professor Huss writes further:

"This perception adopted the Christian Hebraists notion of Kabbalah (indeed, Scholem regarded Reuchlin as the first scholar of Kabbalah), and was motivated by Scholem's own national Zionist and romantic ideology."

Although Scholem admired Reuchlin [for reasons which I have yet to fathom, given Reuchlin's profound antijudaism and antisemitism (Reuchlin declared that the Jews were fit to be the custodians -- janitors -- of the Hebrew language but were not fit to interpret it)], I do not find that that admiration translated in any way to the active implementation of Reuchlinian doctrine.  Professor Huss is, of course, correct in stating that Scholem's  Zionist and Romantic notions highly coloured his historical studies of Jewish mysticism.  I am in agreement with him and with Professor Idel that Scholem specifically excluded theurgic kabbalism or underestimated its importance in favour of extended study of theosophic speculation.

I have in another post today disagreed with Professor Huss's assertion that Judaism views the human creature as Divine. His citation does not prove his argument.  Rather, a close reading of the biblical text undercuts his case substantially.

Nevertheless, he is correct in rejecting Professor Dugin's creationist versus manifestationist dichotomy.

Professor Dugin has described himself as a follower of Guénon and, therefore, a believer in a "philosophia perennis".  Although I am a Comparatist, I do not accept that fundamental notion nor do I subscribe to the notion that the religious consciousness of all traditions is superposable. Rather, I endorse the practice of Professor Andrew Wilson, who has been juxtaposing his insights into religious topoi in serialized form on this list, in excerpts taken from his magisterial anthology.

Similarity is not the same as identity.

This is the profound error that Traditionalists and Universalists make.


posted on the Donmeh mail list
Tue, 26 Oct 1999

About the author: Bryan Griffith Dobbs, Phd, lecturer and scholar, is Principal Consultant of The Circuit Communications Group, Sometime Professor of Jewish Studies in the Universities of Texas at Austin and Arizona, among other numerous awards, honours, and positions held, and is an Admiral in the Navy of the Republic of Texas.


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previousIsaac Luria and Sabbatai Zevi in Russian Orthodoxy - Professor Alexander Dugin

previousProf. Dugin On "Exoteric" vs. "Mystical" Judaism - Professor Boaz Huss

previousResponses to Dr. Tom Hickey's Post - Dr Bryan Griffith Dobbs

nextGod's Seed: A Comment On Union with God in Judaism- Professor Boaz Huss

next Prof. Dobbs on A. Dugin's Philosophy - Professor Evgeny Torchinov

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