This book provides a comprehensive view of the history, the beliefs and practices, and the sociology of the Hasidic Movement. Simultaneously it provides a reflection of the development of the scholarly understanding of Hasidism from the 18th century to the present. For the first time, the English reader will have access to Dubnow's presentation of Israel Baal Sheen Tov, founder of Hasidism, Dinur's analysis of the 18th-century sermons and other rabbinic literature which formed the background for the appearance of the movement and Wertheim's flawed but fascinating description of the behaviour of the Hasid. The volume concludes with a synthesis of the sociological literature on contemporary Hasidism. The contributors include Solomon Maimon, Simon Dubnow, Ben Zion Dinur, Murray Jay Rosman, Shmuel Ettinger, Mordecai L. Wilensky, Gershom Scholem, Ada Rapoport-Albert, Louis Jacobs, Aaron Wertheim, Raphael Mahler, Martin Buber, and Stephen Sharot.