Kabbalah and Jewish Mysticism
Safed School Cordoverian. For a fuller list of Kabbalistic mystics and texts, see List of Jewish Kabbalists. This timeline shows general developments:. While the prophets differed from many not Hasidic Jewish mystics in their social role, there are mystical passages in the prophetic books; eg. Ezekiel 1 became the basis of Merkabah mysticism.
The Talmud says that there were hundreds of thousands of prophets among Israel: twice as many as the , Israelites who left Egypt; but most conveyed messages solely for their own generation, so were not reported in scripture Judaism Prophets and Prophecy. Scripture identifies only 55 prophets of Israel.
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In Meditation and the Bible , Aryeh Kaplan reconstructs meditative-mystical methods of the Jewish prophetic schools. Blumenthal Philosophic Mysticism and anthologies reads Maimonides as a rationalist mystic : "The thesis of the book is that medieval philosophers had a type of religious mysticism that was rooted in, yet grew out of, their rationalist thinking.
Kabbalah and Jewish Mysticism / Torah / Mechon Mamre
The religious experience of "philosophic mysticism" was the result of this intellectualist and post-intellectualist effort. Some medieval Meditative Kabbalists also followed the Theosophical Kabbalah , though not its greatest exponent Abulafia in his esoteric system. In turn, the 16th century Safed culmination of theosophy by Cordovero, Luria and Vital dominated and subsumed the previous divergent Kabbalistic streams into their meditative methods, drawing from the earlier schools. After Luria, Meditative Kabbalah followed his new system of Yichudim.
In Kabbalah: New Perspectives , Yale University Press , chapter 5 Mystical Techniques, Moshe Idel reinstates the meditative and experiential dimensions of Kabbalah as an inherent companion to the theosophical in academic historiography. Kabbalists often attributed their theosophical doctrines to new meditative revelations.
Identifies Chaim of Volozhin as the main kabbalistic-theological theorist of Mitnagdism , and Schneur Zalman of Liadi as the main theorist of Hasidism , based on interpretation of Lurianic Tzimtzum. For Chaim Volozhin, Divine immanence is monistic the acosmic way God looks at the world, reserved for man only in elite kabbalistic prayer and Divine transcendence is pluralistic man relates to God through pluralistic Jewish law , leading to Mitnagdic transcendent Theism and popular ideological Talmudic study focus.
Thus, postmodern Jewish thinking is thinking about God, Jews, and the world—with the texts of the Torah—in the company of fellow seekers and believers. It utilizes the tools of philosophy, but without their modern premises. Spiritualism and spiritism. Stanley Hall Trevor H. Hall William A. Hammond C. New Age movement. List of parapsychologists Skeptics of parapsychology. Category Commons. Divine Science. Malinda Cramer Nona L. Brooks Fannie Brooks.
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Forms Prophets. Apocalyptic literature. Merkabah and Hekhalot. Sefer Yetzirah. Chassidei Ashkenaz. Lurianic Kabbalah. Academic study. Prophetic Judaism . Prophetic meditation, divine encounter, mystical elements: Isaiah Ezekiel Zechariah. Mystical and apocalyptic speculation, heavenly angelology and eschatology : 1 Enoch Daniel. Mystical elements in Second Temple period sects.
It flowered in 13th century Spain with the writing of the Zohar, which was originally attributed to the 2nd century sage Shimon bar Yohai. The Zohar is a commentary on the Torah, concerned primarily with understanding the divine world and its relation to our world. However, God can be understood and described as revealed in ten mystical attributes, or sefirot. Much of all future Kabbalah, including the important 16th-century Kabbalah of Isaac Luria —whose intricate theology of creation describes how God contracted to make room for the world—concerns itself with the sefirot.
Abraham Abulafia was the most important of the medieval intensive mystics.
He tried to achieve a state of prophecy through methods of experiential Kabbalah. Hasidism, a religious movement that emerged in the 18th century, spread mystical thinking and living to the masses of European Jewry by teaching that all people could have an experiential connection with God. In addition, the academic study of Jewish mysticism has flourished in recent decades, due primarily to the work of a single scholar, Gershom Scholem.
Scholem discovered and interpreted a wide range of mystical manuscripts and shed light on the origins and development of Jewish mysticism. With the emergence of New Age spirituality, Jewish mysticism has also experienced a popular renaissance. Jewish groups like the Renewal movement teach mysticism to spiritually inclined, nontraditional Jews, while controversial institutions such as the Kabbalah Centre offer a more universal and magical mysticism to Jews and non-Jews alike.