Kabbalah

Authored by: Peter J. Forshaw

The Occult World

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  December  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415695961
eBook ISBN: 9781315745916
Adobe ISBN: 9781317596769

10.4324/9781315745916.ch54

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Abstract

Kabbalah has its origins in the Middle Ages, for it is in twelfth-century France that we find the first historical stages of this form of Jewish mysticism described as ‘Kabbalah’ and practitioners who call themselves ‘Kabbalists’ (Scholem 1978, p. 42ff). The Hebrew term Kabbalah is generally translated as ‘reception’, ‘received lore’, or ‘doctrine received by oral tradition’, referring to a series of revelations stretching back variously to Moses, Abraham and, for some, even Adam, that had been preserved in the form of a secret oral tradition, passed down over the generations from master to disciple. In Christian Cabala the most commonly reported tradition described a twin revelation on Mount Sinai when Moses, receiving both the Law and the knowledge of wondrous things, was told ‘These words shalt thou declare, and these shalt thou hide’ (2 Esdras 14:6). Consequently, while the Ten Commandments were revealed to all, a secret teaching was transmitted only to the elect few.

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