Boekhandel Douwes Den Haag

The Heresy of Jacob Frank

From Jewish Messianism to Esoteric Myth

Jay Michaelson

The Heresy of Jacob Frank

The Heresy of Jacob Frank

From Jewish Messianism to Esoteric Myth

The Heresy of Jacob Frank

 

Jacob Frank (1726-1791) was once known as the most sinister of Jewish heretics, a man who led his sect to convert en masse to Christianity and led sexual orgies in secret meetings. But what was the truth behind these myths?


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Beschrijving The Heresy of Jacob Frank

The Heresy of Jacob Frank is the first monograph length study on the religious philosophy of Jacob Frank (1726-1791), who, in the wake of false messiah Sabbetai Zevi, led the largest mass apostasy in Jewish history. Based on close readings of Frank's late teachings, recorded in 1784 and 1790, this book challenges scholarly presentations of Frank that depict him as a sex-crazed "degenerate," and presents Frank as an original and prescient figure at the
crossroads of tradition and modernity, reason and magic, Kabbalah and Western Esotericism.

Frank's worldview combines a skeptical rejection of religious law as ineffectual and repressive with a supernatural, esoteric myth of immortal beings, material magic, and worldly power. With close readings of the theological and narrative passages of Frank's teachings, Michaelson shows how the Frankist sect evolved from its Sabbatean roots and the infamous 1757-59 disputations before the Catholic Church, into a Western Esoteric society based on alchemy, secrecy, and sexual liberation. Sexual
ritual, apparently tightly limited and controlled by the sect, was not a libertine bacchanal but an enactment of the messianic reality, a corporealization of what would later become known as spirituality.

While Frank was undoubtedly a manipulative, even abusive leader whose sect mostly disappeared from history, Michaelson suggests that his ideology anticipated themes that would become predominant in the Haskalah, Early Hasidism, and even contemporary 'New Age' Judaism. In an inversion of traditional religious values, Frank's antinomian theology held personal flourishing to be a religious virtue, affirmed only the material, and transferred messianic eros into social, sexual, and political
reality.


ISBN
9780197530634
Pagina's
288
Verschijnt
NUR
700
Druk
1
Uitvoering
Hardback
Taal
Engels
Uitgever
OUP USA

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