For those who want to understand the important differences between an academic study of Kabbalah and the real thing - there is an interesting article by Boaz Huss Ask No Questions Gershom Scholem & the Study of Contemporary_Jewish_Mysticism.
Scholem insisted on approaching kabbala as an "it" - something to be examined from outside and something which lacked vitality. He had no interest in contemporary kabbalists and having failed to have any mystical experiences [Idel - New Perspectives in Kabbala ] insisted on dealing with kabbala as something entombed in the letters of musty old texts rather than a living entity touching the souls of profound and complex men. I bring this up because it is obvious that many who have been commenting on these issues - come from his perspective. A related attitude was expressed by Shaul Leiberman who said
"In an introduction to a lecture Scholem delivered at the seminary, Lieberman said that several years earlier, some students asked to have a course here in which they could study kabbalistic texts. He had told them that it was not possible, but if they wished they could have a course on the history of kabbalah. For at a university, Lieberman said, "it is forbidden to have a course in nonsense. But the history of nonsense, that is scholarship." wikipedia
By way of introduction, let me recount something that happened to a young acquaintance of mine in 1924. The fellow came to Jerusalem,unpretentiously bearing his training in philology and modern history,and sought to get in touch with a circle of latter-day kabbalists who had preserved, for over 200 years, the traditional mystical teachings of the Jews of eastern lands. Eventually, he met a kabbalist who told him:“I am prepared to teach you Kabbalah, but on one condition that I’m not sure you’ll be able to fulfill.” Some of my readers may not guess that condition: “Ask no questions.”1
Gershom Scholem used this mythical tale to open his lecture“Kabbalah and Myth” at the Eranos Conference in Ascona, Switzerland,in 1949—the first time he lectured at that conference. In a 1974 interview with Muki Zur, Scholem disclosed that he himself was the young man in the story, a fact that had no doubt been clear to his audience at Eranos. He went on to tell of his reaction to the condition imposed by R. Gershon Vilner, the aged Ashkenazi kabbalist from the “Bet-El”yeshiva, a reaction that was likewise unsurprising: “I told him I wanted to consider it. And then I told him I couldn’t do it.”2
Paradoxically enough, by his negative response Scholem effectively accepted the condition proposed by the kabbalist, for he chose not to ask questions about—and not to study—Kabbalah as a living, contemporary phenomenon.3
In his partial autobiography From Berlin to Jerusalem , Scholem mentions several more encounters with kabbalists and mystics, but he presents these meetings anecdotally, never raising the possibility that these mystics might be the subjects of study or research. 4
Indeed, Scholem’s meeting with contemporary kabbalists left no impression whatsoever on his vast corpus of scholarly work. He labored to examine the most out-of-the-way kabbalistic manuscripts he could find, but he devoted not a single study to the Bet-El kabbalists or any other kabbalistic stream of his own time. The kabbalistic yeshivas that functioned in Jerusalem during Scholem’s time (“Bet-El,” “Rehovot ha-Nahar,” and“Sha‘ar ha-Shamayim”) and prominent kabbalists, most of them likewise in Jerusalem during Scholem’s period, such as R. Saul ha-Kohen Dwlck, R. Judah Petaiah, R. Solomon Eliashov, and R. Judah Ashlag, go nearly unmentioned in Scholem’s studies. That is the case as well with respect to the few mystics of his generation for whom Scholem expressed esteem—Rabbi Kook, R. Menahem Mendel Schneerson,and R. Ahrele Roth.