Religious Studies and Theology, Vol 25, No 2 (2006)

Zoharitic hints at the historical development of the Sefi rot

Elliot B. Gertel
Issued Date: 30 Apr 2008

Abstract


Citing references in the Zoharitic literature (compiled in the late thirteenth century) to the historical development of the Kabbalistic doctrine of the Sefi rot (Divine Emanations), I argue that these references indicate historical
consciousness on the part of the Kabbalists that pre-dates the nineteenth century historians of the Wissenschaft des Judentums. These references may also be indicative of a process of debate and of refinement of that doctrine,
as well as an effort to shield this process from Jewish and Christian critics by camouflaging it under general discussions of the Shem Hameforash, the Ineffable Divine Name, a term that in and of itself was a lightening rod to some critics, who would have associated it with magic and superstition.

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DOI: 10.1558/rsth.2006.25.2.125

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