Thursday, July 16, 2015

Pious Fraud

Visions of a Compassionate World by Menachem Ekstein is purported to be a work of Polish Chasid between the world wars.  Ekstein wrote this book as a meditation manual.  In this regard, it is successful. Visions presents all the major methods of meditation, giving clear and concise examples of both theory and practice.

The problem is, the book has a very contemporary tone and feel.  There is nothing about it that suggests a Chasid in 1930 would have written it, let alone a secular Jew engaged in meditation.  All of the theories and practices in this work are well-known in contemporary Jewish and non-Jewish circles.  I have the strange feeling that the translators of this book, who have the requisite background in modern meditation, are engaged in a bit of pious fraud.
It is my hunch that Starrett and Zeller are the real authors of Visions of a Compassionate World.

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