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5861Jewish mysticism

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  • lady_caritas
    May 7, 2002
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      "Jewish mysticism then can be dated back pretty far, but not all
      Jewish mystical forms are specifically `Kabbalah'." (PMCV, #5860)

      Yes, of course, agreed, PMCV. I think perhaps Hermetic Star might be
      aware of this from his comment ~

      "Even if the Kabbalah is a fairly new creation . ." (Hermetic Star,
      #5857)

      ~ and that, as you suggest, PMCV, it's more a matter of nomenclature,
      mistakenly referring to the ancient roots as well as the medieval
      form of Kabbalah under the same term "Kabbalah." Then again, I might
      be entirely wrong here and should probably let Hermetic Star speak
      for himself. LOL

      Anyway, PMCV, you mention, "There are changes that happened that make
      Kabbalah destinct from the Merkabah mysticism."

      Are you (or others) familiar with this article?

      http://www.metatronics.net/lit/anxiety.html

      From the text ~

      "By the time of the writing of the Zohar, however, God was submerged,
      related to the visible world through an intricate web of sefirotic
      symbolism. The world, and the human soul, were seen as deep
      structures. Kabbalah took on the philosophical project of explaining
      the mitzvot, and the rest of creation, apparently without questioning
      why the world is necessarily "deep" to begin with. Again, while it
      took many of its answers for how the inner structure of the world was
      built and how it related to God from non-philosophical sources, it
      took its project from philosophy.

      Once again, it would be helpful if a Kabbalist had written somewhere
      that philosophy had helped him see that there were layers of meaning
      beyond the surface, and that was the reason why Provencal and
      Geronese Kabbalists in the 12th and 13th century suddenly began
      explaining the deeper significance of Jewish ritual life. But such a
      text does not exist. And, as before, I am persuaded by Scholem's and
      Dan's arguments that Kabbalah does not invent itself because of the
      rationalist threat. But, before the twelfth century, and in areas
      where philwas not historically widespread, Jewish rabbinic and
      mystical thought was not at all interested on the "inner meanings" of
      the commandments. After the twelfth century, Kabbalah was all about
      them.

      Indeed, as Kabbalah flowered, the distinction between "shell"
      and "kernel" became the foundation of the entire Kabbalistic
      ontology. Here again, the doctrines were likely of ancient origin:
      the phenomenological likeness between the Kabbalah's layer of worlds
      to gnosticism is quite compelling. But Jewish mysticism had for one
      thousand years made use of gnostic imagery and symbolism without
      constructing an elaborate system of "inner meanings" of prayer,
      ritual acts, and the entirety of human life.

      […]

      I have suggested that philosophy and Kabbalah are more alike than
      different, in that they share the same questions and concerns, even
      though they differ greatly on the answers to those questions and the
      way those concerns are played out. So successful has the "victory"
      been that it is hard even to imagine a religious worldview that is
      not particularly interested in how the world was created, and that
      doesn't try to uncover the deeper meaning of right human action.

      And yet, both the Talmudic-rabbinic and mystical veins within Judaism
      appear to be just that. A Yored Merkavah may meditate, utter divine
      names, and have a vision of the Chariot, but he is unlikely to
      connect that vision either with the nature of the universe or with
      the inwardness of his prayers.33 Likewise, the revealed nature of the
      commandments was enough for the Rabbinic Jew, who placed value in
      their proper performance, not in their intellectual or symbolic inner
      structure. To reassert such structures could have been the response
      of Judaism to the philosophical challenge -- it would have been an
      interesting debate, but it would not have been Kabbalah."
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