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Title: Time in the teachings of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi
Author: Tworek, W.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5364 7238
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis concerns the teachings of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi (known by the acronym of his title and name as Rashaz; 1745-1813), founder of the Habad movement, which remains to this day one of the largest and most influential schools of Hasidism. It focuses on his concept of time, which features in various contexts in both his mystical and his legal writings. The thesis challenges the commonly held view that Rashaz’s teachings form primarily a mystical doctrine concerned with supra-temporal transcendence. It begins with a description of his teachings as an integration of the philosophical definition of time into his kabbalistically informed worldview. Next, it analyses the historiosophical underpinnings of these teaching, claiming that messianic redemption played a key role in Rashaz’s model of spirituality. His messianic awareness is further explored in a critical discussion of his view of the imminence of the messianic advent, the role of the messianic figure, and the various ways in which the redeemed world will be experienced in the future-to-come. By focusing next on the significance that Rashaz ascribed to setting regular times for normative Torah study, the thesis demonstrates his keen awareness of the crucial role of time in the service of the divine, an insight which enabled him to turn Habad into a movement that attracted not only the spiritual-intellectual elite but also many ordinary, non-scholarly Jews. Finally, the thesis explores the nexus of time and femininity in Rashaz’s teachings, attempting to establish whether the significance he attached to the kabbalistic female aspect of God in the world to come entailed the prospect of any actual change in the position of women within his own community, either before or after the anticipated redemption.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available