A substantial introduction to the study of early Jewish and Christian mysticism, this volume examines major aspects of the mystical tradition within early Judaism and Christianity.  This tradition was centered on the belief that a person directly, immediately, and before death can experience the divine, either as a rapture experience or one solicited by a particular praxis.  The essays define and analyze the nature and practices of mysticism as it emerges within early Judaism and Christianity, recognizing this emergence within a variety of communal environments.  Larger questions about the relationship between hermeneutics and experience, as well as the relationship between mysticism and apocalypticism are also discussed, and a substantial bibliography of the field is provided.  The book is the result of ten years of work of the Early Jewish and Christian Mysticism unit of the Society of Biblical Literature.  Contributors are Afzal, Arbel, Bautch, Boustan, Davila, DeConick, Deutsch, Elior, Flannery-Dailey, Gieschen, Lesses, Lieber, Morray-Jones, Orlov, Rowland, Sanders, Segal, and Sullivan.

"This volume will be of interest not just to specialists, but to biblical scholars in general.  It maps out a new paradigm for analysing mystical texts and in its several essays offers rich veins of research.  This is a highly significant volume." Paul Foster, School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh, from Review in Expository Times 118:9 (2007) page 467

Paul Foster, Expository Times 118:9 (2007) pages 466-467.