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April 1, 1950

The Maggid of Caro: The Mystic Life of the Eminent Codifier Joseph Caro as Revealed in His Secret Diary

JAMA. 1950;142(13):1032. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.02910310076037

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This book deals with the life of Joseph Caro (1488-1575), an exiled Spanish Jew who for more than 52 years received messages from his familiar spirit, or Maggid, which communications were described by him in Aramaic in his diary, "Maggid Mesharim." Representative selections from the diary, which with the author's comments occupy more than half the book, are said to be its first translation into any other language.

These messages came to Caro uttered aloud from his own mouth, as was attested by various scholars. The nature of them constitutes the book's center of interest. To this end the views of fourteen authorities, mostly psychiatrists, are presented first of all, with almost as many different conclusions and diagnoses as to the diarist's mental state. Dr. Gordon himself favors an interpretation of hallucinations and hypnagogic dreams but no psychosis. Analogies with other mystics come to mind, but here is found in

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