By Joseph Dan, Ronald C. Kiener

Within the past due 12th century, on the top of the center a long time that observed the flowering of the paranormal point in Christendom, the Rabbinic Judaism of southern Europe used to be remodeled via the eruption of latest, Gnostic attitudes and symbolism. This new flow, often called Kabbalah (literally the 'Tradition'), was once characterised by way of the logo of the 10 sefirot. via the sefirotic imagery, almost the full of lifestyle used to be associated with the cosmic measurement in a singular and hugely unique model that under pressure the dynamic, evolutionary portion of the Godhead and the synergistic courting among the human will and the motion of God in the world. in the course of a century of creativity, a close approach of symbols and ideas used to be created via the writer of the Sefer ha-Bahir, the Kabbalists of Provence, the Iyyun circle, and the mystics of Provence and Castile that set the degree for the good Kabbalists of the Zohar iteration.

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Extra info for The Early Kabbalah (Classics of Western Spirituality)

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Chern us, Mysticism In Rabbimc Judaism (Berlin, 1982). 5. " 6. This work was recently published as a critical edition by R. Elior,Jerusalem Studies in Jewish Thought, Supplement I, 1982. The manuscripts of all these texts were published in P. Shiifer's Synopse zur Hekhalot Literatur (Tiibingen, 1981). 7. The Sefer ha-Bahir, the first work of Kabbalah, was attributed to Rabbi Nehunia; other Kabbalistic works in later times were similarly attached to his name because of his prominence in the early merkavah texts.

There are some connections between the Bahir and the esoteric literature used by the Ashkenazi I:Jasidim. An ancient book entitled The Great Secret (Raza' 28 INTRODUCTION Rabbah) captured the imagination of some of the German Pietists as well as the author of the Bahir. 47 Both the Pietists and the Bahir were indebted to a collection of obscure commentaries to the Holy Divine Names. 48 These shared sources may help to clarify the origins of the Bahir, but it should be noted that none of these sources contain anything even remotely similar to the sefirotic or Gnostic doctrines characteristic of the Bahir.

37 INTRODUCTION Notes 1. The term "early Kabbalah" is sometimes used to denote the pre-Lurianic Kabbalah, or the Kabbalah as it developed until the radically new mysticism of Rabbi Isaac Luria of the sixteenth century. In this book however, the term is used consistently to denote the first century of Kabbalistic creativity, until the generation of the author of the lohar. For a comprehensive introduction to the lohar, see G. Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism (henceforth MTJM) (New York, 1954), pp.

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