Hasidic mysticism as an activism

Religious Studies 42 (3):343-349 (2006)


In her important work, Hasidism as Mysticism: Quietistic Elements in Eighteenth Century Hasidic Thought, the late Rivkah Schatz-Uffenheimer depicted early eighteenth-century Hasidism as a movement with pronounced ‘quietist tendencies’. In this paper I raise several difficulties with this thesis. These follow from social-activist features of early Hasidism as well as from a selection from the writings of leading early Hasidic masters. I conclude that a major stream of thought in early Hasidim was not quietist in tendency. Finally, I compare the intentions of the masters I cite to some non-quietist themes in Eastern mystical thought. (Published Online July 10 2006).

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