The University of Wisconsin Press
Poetry / Jewish Studies
The Fullness of Time
Poems by Gershom Scholem
Translated by Richard Sieburth
Introduction by Steven M. Wasserstrom
“Alternately humorous and grave, civic and private, lyrical and doggerel, Scholem’s acts of poetry still speak to us (and against us) to this very day, simultaneously grounded as they are in the impossibly eternal and profoundly occasional.”
Richard Sieburth, from his translator’s note
One of the greatest scholars of the twentieth century, Gershom Scholem virtually created the subject of Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism as a serious area of study. His influence, however, has been felt far beyond the confines of the academy and to this day extends into the realm of literature and the arts. Literature played a critical part in Scholem’s own life, especially in his formative years, and he wrote poems from his teens on. This bilingual volume in English and German gathers together the best of them for the first time in any language. It contains dark, shockingly prescient poems about Zionism, parodies of German and Jewish philosophers, and poems to other writers, including a series of powerful lyrics to his close friend Walter Benjamin.
“[Gershom Scholem] is the rarest of spirits. . . . He is at once a philosopher, a social historian, a wise and a forceful essayist . . . and a man who has lived an extraordinary life.”
Robert Coles, Harvard University
“Gershom Scholem’s achievement has already put a generation of readers in his debt. He has intrepidly, singlehandedly, almost monomaniacally pursued the task of saving the literature of Jewish mysticism . . . restoring it to an estate of respect, honor, and importance.”
Arthur A. Cohen, New York Times Book Review
“Gershom Scholem’s scholarship was of [the] rare, life-giving kind. Not only have his studies of the Kabbalah altered . . . the image of Judaismbut his explorations, translations, and presentations of Kabbalistic writings exercise a formidable influence on literary theory at large, on the ways in which non-Jewish and wholly agnostic critics and scholars read poetry.”
George Steiner, New Yorker
“Scholem’s massive achievement can be judged as being unique in modern humanistic scholarship, for he has made himself indispensable to all rational students of his subject. . . . [He] is a Miltonic figure in modern scholarship, and deserves to be honored as such.”
Harold Bloom, author of Kabbalah and Criticism
Gershom Scholem was born in Berlin in 1897 and settled in Jerusalem in 1923. For years he was professor of Jewish mysticism at the Hebrew University. His many books include Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism, On the Kabbalah and Its Symbolism, Sabbatai Sevi: The Mystical Messiah, and Walter Benjamin: The Story of a Friendship. He died in 1982.
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