MembersMessianism, Mysticism and Judaism

A critical examination necessary for for understanding messianism undertones in Judaism today

By Solomon Kirsch | | Topics: Jewish Messianism
Photo: Yaakov Naumi/Flash90

The other great consequential messianic movement in history was the 17th century Sabbatian movement, second only to the Early Christian messianic movement of the 1st century as recorded in the New Testament following Jesus of Nazareth.

Though Sabbateanism had some bizarre features, it survived the conversion of the messianic leader to Islam. This was possible among other reasons by using and also twisting Kabbalist concepts, these are concepts new to messianism, perhaps new to Judaism of the Talmud. (for more on this see The Other Consequential Messianic Movement in Jewish History)

In order to understand what messianism means to many in Judaism today, it is worth a brief look at some of the elements and developments of mysticism in Judaism and how the esoteric mixes with messianism.

As mentioned in our previous look at Shabbati Zvi, the popular theology of Sabbateanism was that of Nathan of Gaza, the prophet and theologian. The central principle was the concept of “descent for the sake of ascent.” Thus, Natan spiritualized the mood swings...

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