For a historical work that also dives deep into the divergent philosophies of different Hasidic sages, it is hard to beat Hasidism: A New History by David Biale, David Assaf, Benjamin Brown, Uriel Gellman, Samuel Heilman, Moshe Rosman, Gadi Sagiv, and Marcin WodziƄski. It actually contains much more than you are looking for as it is an in-depth study of ...


One of the answers above mentioned Rabbi David Berger; here is his well-known article: https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/berger-rebbe-messiah. In it he presents a lot of the evidence discussed above, and also clarifies some of the evidence that was left out by people on various sides. He is a very un-sympathetic narrator - as he makes clear.

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