Do we obtain reliable knowledge about the world from ongoing supernatural revelation, or from scientific investigation?
Is it preferable to perceive God as working through nature, or through supernatural miracles?
Are we surrounded by all kinds of supernatural forces and entities, such as endless conscious angels, demons and the Evil Eye?
Do the commandments function solely to change our thoughts and behavior, or primarily to manipulate mystical forces?
Is Torah a Divine guide for life, or is it also a metaphysical blueprint for existence with all kinds of supernatural qualities?
Rationalism vs. Mysticism is a thorough study of how these questions were answered very differently by various rabbinic scholars over history, reflecting two fundamentally different views of the nature of Judaism. It will profoundly deepen your understanding of Judaism and many of the intellectual conflicts that have arisen in Jewish history.
Rationalism vs. Mysticism: Schisms in Traditional Jewish Thought (US)
Published and Distributed by The Torah and Nature Foundation/ Gefen Books
All proceeds from books sold on this website go directly to supporting the Biblical Museum of Natural History
576 pp. Hardcover. Please allow several weeks for delivery to US, Canada, and Europe. For Israel orders, we also offer the option of delivery to a pickup collection in your city. For orders from Australia and South Africa, please email office@BiblicalNaturalHistory.org.
Table of Contents
Part One: An Overview of Rationalism vs. Mysticism
II: The Order of Nature
III: Supernatural Entities
IV: The Function of Mitzvot
V: The Nature of Torah
Part Two: Studies in Rationalism vs. Mysticism
1. Sod Hashem Liyreyav —When God Reveals His Scientific Secrets
2. Messianic Wonders and Skeptical Rationalists
3. Rambam’s Naturalization of Miracles
4. Students Disputing Teachers
5. The Evolution of the Olive
6. The Sages vs. Science: The Sun’s Path at Night
7. Maharal’s Multiple Revolutions in Aggadic Scholarship
8. The Question of the Kidneys’ Counsel
9. Brain Death and Organ Donation
10. The Sages’ Powers of Life and Death
11. Wrestling with Demons
12. The Evil Eye
13. Shiluach haKein: The Transformation of a Mitzvah
14. What Can One Do for the Deceased?
Appendix I: The Role of Belief in Judaism
Appendix II: The Authenticity and Authority of the Zohar