Rabbi Kook in Žeimelis: A Big Data Analysis

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In this study I demonstrate a distant reading of Rabbi Kook's early writings from the Žeimelis period, using advanced tools of big data analytics. Analyzing frequent words and phrases in the Žeimelis corpus is coupled with a comparison to the most important corpus of Kook's writing: Shemonah Qevaim. This parallelization illustrates the clear and consistent differences between the corpora - verbal and phrasal - as well as some similarities. The Žeimelis period can be described as more particularistic in nature, with an emphasis on traditional rabbinic writing: a strong linkage to rabbinic classical sources, a clear differentiation between Halakhah and Kabbalah, and a wide perspective on numerous subjects, yet without blending them into one. Kook's original teachings were not abandoned in later phases but rather reshaped in a more sophisticated manner. A pan(en)theistic disposition dominates his later works, effecting content and form in unique ways, and creating a more complex and intertwined philosophy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-275
Number of pages27
JournalEuropean Journal of Jewish Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

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  • Jewish philosophy
  • Rabbi Kook
  • big data
  • religious Zionism


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