Between Historiography and Literature: “Gershom Scholem’s Intellectual Biography”


Between Historiography and Literature: “Gershom Scholem’s Intellectual Biography”

October 10, 2017 / 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm / Add to Google
3401 Dwinelle Hall

The famous Kabbalah scholar Gershom Scholem (1897-1982) occupies a central role in our intellectual imagination. He was “the creator of an intellectual discipline,” according to Martin Buber, and is discussed by historians, literary scholars, and philosophers. Yet despite his charismatic personality and the many books and articles he wrote, there is something about him that remains mysterious and somewhat enigmatic. Who was Gershom Scholem and what is it that he contributed, most decisively to our understanding of culture, history, and politics? In this talk I will address the “Gershom Scholem” enigma and describe the path I took in my book Gershom Scholem: an Intellectual Biography to unravel some of its most intriguing aspects, including his historiography of the Kabbalah and the stories that he told about his life, known simply as “from Berlin to Jerusalem.”

Amir Engel teaches in the German Department at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He studied philosophy, literature, and culture-studies at the Hebrew University and completed his PhD in the German Studies department at Stanford University. He also taught and conducted research at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main. His current project is a historical analysis of the term “Jewish mysticism” and a project on postwar European culture, titled “After the Shock: The Uniqueness of the Immediate Postwar.”

This event is sponsored by the UC Berkeley Center for Jewish Studies. RSVP to