Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies, Vol 9, No 2 (2007)

Kabbalah Recreata:

Egil Asprem
Issued Date: 5 Sep 2007

Abstract


In the early twentieth century, certain elements of the Kabbalah were transformed by being given new interpretations and uses in the context of what I term the “programmatic syncretism” of modern, fin de siècle occultism. In so doing I will focus specifically on one text by Aleister Crowley, which I consider the full-blown example of the phenomenon in question. The text demonstrates how the occultists' Kabbalah functions first and foremost as a classificatory tool and a mnemonic system, mainly for practical use in magical rituals. That use is part of a reinterpretation of the Kabbalah in the modern occult revival, mainly from Eliphas Levi through the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, culminating in the works of Aleister Crowley. It is my intention that this focus will not only shed light on a process of reinterpretation peculiar to fin de siècle occultism, but also on the processes characteristic of religious innovation in the modern age in general.

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DOI: 10.1558/pome.v9i2.132

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