neusner returns to reform!

Yeah, well...I guess some people are still feeling the aftershocks from the Shabbetai Tsvi debacle...seems like kind of a knee-jerk reaction at this point.
well, it's a funny thing, but the excesses of that debacle have affected the position of kabbalah from that day to this - i personally blame it for much of the false dichotomy that has led to the alleged divorce of the "spiritual" from the "religious". it was at that point where we realised where the ungoverned lure of the "spiritual" could lead, but in my view, getting rid of both the spiritual and the rules that kept it in check was quite shortsighted and we are suffering the consequences still.

That's what Gershom Scholem says, but quite frankly I could NEVER see the connection between the Jacob Frank antinomian types and the early Reform movement. I remember reading those paragraphs over and over again in his book trying to figure it out, but I just didn't get it and still don't.
i don't remember how he sourced it (he tends to be quite thorough in such matters) but it seems reasonable to assume that disgust at the frankists, combined with the attractiveness of their antinomian position, replacing the tyranny of freedom with the tyranny of rationalism. on the other hand, i understand your objection and i might be prepared to go along with it rather than assuming that scholem is correct, after all i disagree with him in numerous areas, so why not this if he's wrong?