Greetings from Angelus: Selected Poems


Translated from by

Published: Coming January 2018

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Book Description

Gershom Scholem’s Greetings from Angelus contains dark, lucid political poems about Zionism and assimilation, parodies of German and Jewish philosophers, and poems to friends such as Walter Benjamin, Hans Jonas, Ingeborg Bachmann, and S.Y. Agnon, among others. The earliest poems in this volume date 1915 and extend to 1967, revealing the formative place of poetry in Scholem’s life and career. Translator Richard Sieburth comments, “Scholem’s acts of poetry still speak to us (and against us) to this very day, simultaneously grounded as they are in the impossible eternal and profoundly occasional.” The volume is edited and introduced by Steven M. Wasserstrom, who situates the poems in Scholem’s historical, biographical, and theological landscape.

Gershom Scholem's scholarship was of [the] rare, life-giving kind. Not only have his studies of the Kabbalah altered ... the image of Judaism--but 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, The New Yorker

Scholem has rare gifts for synthesis and generalization, as several of his more recent essays on Jewish messianism and tradition demonstrate, but his mind is equally remarkable for the way it adheres to the smallest particles of particular historical experience.

Robert Alter, "The Achievement of Gershon Scholem"

Scholem has the kind of ironic intelligence that delights in contradictions, that can hold the multiple attributes of the subjects it scrutinizes in clear simultaneous view, and that is even capable on occasion of a certain teaching archness, for all its scholarly gravity.

Robert Alter, "The Achievement of Gershon Scholem"

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... Scholem's formidable achievement is as much rhetorical or figurative as it is historical... He has the same relation to the texts he has edited and written commentaries upon that a later poet like John Milton had to the earlier poems he absorbed and, in some ways, transcended. Scholem is a Miltonic figure in modern scholarship and deserves to be honored as such.

Harold Bloom, Modern Critical Views: Gershom Scholem

Scholem's particular genius is that he did not stumble, but walked nimbly upon that rope, which he called neither religion nor nihilism.

Harold Bloom, Modern Critical Views: Gerhsom Scholem

Read about Gershom Scholem’s friendship with Hannah Arendt and their  correspondence on the “banality of evil.”

Visit Scholem’s page in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Read Cynthia Ozick on Scholem’s Jewish mysticism, at The New Yorker.

Theodor Adorno and Scholem’s editorial collaboration over Walter Benjamin’s posthumous writings grew from an unlikely friendship and correspondence.

A 1980 interview with Scholem in the New York Review of Books.

Read about the pivotal role Gershom Scholem played in the development of Jewish mysticism in the Times Literary Supplement.