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Horizontes Antropológicos

Print version ISSN 0104-7183


PACE, Enzo. Extreme messianism: the Chabad movement and the impasse of the charisma. Horiz.antropol. [online]. 2007, vol.3Selected edition, pp. 0-0. ISSN 0104-7183.

The article deals with the social construction of the charisma of the seventh leader (rebbe) of the Jewish Chabad movement, Menachem Mendel Schneerson (19021994). The comprehensive analysis of the charismatic carrier of the leader shows the process by which the spiritual power of Schneerson moved from a classical (according to Weber) interaction between charisma and a community that recognizes this power to a identification of his figure with the Messiah. Schneerson and the Chabad movement actually represent an effort to modernize one of the two tendencies present in the Chassidic tradition concerning the figure of Messiah: in contrast with the idea that considers not predictable the arrival of Messiah, Chabad, particularly because of the Schneerson's charisma, believe the advent of Messiah imminent. The task of the leader consequently is to pay attention on the premonitory signs of the forthcoming event. The identification between charisma and Messiah in Chabad movement represents a case study of extreme messianism that means a real impasse to solve and rule the question of succession of charisma after the death of the Rebbe.

Keywords : charisma; messianism; Chassidic tradition; Ultra-orthodox Judaism.

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