Gershom Scholem (1897-1982) was born in Berlin, educated at the universities of Jena and Bern, and emigrated to Palestine in 1923, where he devoted himself to the study
of the Jewish mystical tradition and the Kabbala. One of the greatest scholars of the twentieth century, admired both for his philological prowess and his philosophical insight, Scholem was the author of many books, including Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism, On the Kabbalah and Its Symbolism, Sabbatai Sevi: The Mystical Messiah, and On Jews and Judaism in Crisis, a collection of autobiographical writings and essays on Zionism. The Correspondence of Gershom Scholem and Walter Benjamin and Gershom Scholem: A Life in Letters were published posthumously.
Gershom Scholem was a precocious teenager when he became Walter Benjamin’s close friend. His account of that relationship is at once a tribute to his friend’s genius and a lament for his personal and, as Scholem sees it, intellectual self-destructiveness.