Jewish Gnosticism, Merkabah Mysticism, and Talmudic by Gershom Scholem

By Gershom Scholem

This little ebook offers Gershom Scholem discoveries within the zone of Jewish Gnosticism which cross at the back of of what he already did in his “Major developments in Jewish Mysticism”. the following, Scholem offers a thorough second look of traditions embedded in Hekhalot Books preserved in Rabbinic circles which had retained deep attachment to Pharisaism. Having underrated the antiquity of those texts, such a lot students hence have been not able to correctly evaluation the phenomenon. Gnosticism, a non secular stream that believed in mystical esotericism for the go with derived from illumination and the purchase of the information of heavenly issues, now turns out to were as regards to the very center of Judaism in Roman Palestine and based on Scholem needs to be ascribed to both the Tannaitic or the early Amoraic interval. Did the differentiation of the top God and Demiurge, supposedly God of Israel, preceeded the increase of Christianity and probably served as some extent of departure for convinced Christian heresies? Scholem indicates that files of Christian Gnosticism presuppose the lifestyles of uncomplicated conceptions of Merkabah Mysticism and derides students who glance towards Iranian sources…

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Nl'nlH, in Wertheimer, ·n� 353. Odeberg's text, incorporated in his late M S of 3 Enoch (Chap. 48), has the corrupt readings ;J't:lt:ln and, later on, H't:lt:l}7. •6 Sanhedrin 44b. These names are found among the secret names of Metatron in the Merkabah Rabbah, ;JCt,lll ;J�:I,C, fol. Sa. One could argue that they were actually never names of Gabriel but of Michael or Metatron. nllll ,,c, I I , 48 GNOSTICISM , MYSTICISM, AND TALMUDIC TRADITION i ntroduced into Judaism only then ; indeed, there is every reason to assume that they were much older.

Origen writes :8 It is said that the custom of the Jews is that no one who has not reached full maturity is permitted to hold this book in his hands. And not only this, but although their rabbis and teachers are wont to teach all the scriptures and their oral traditions [Mish­ nayoth ; Origen uses the Greek term deuteroses ] to the young boys, they defer to the last [in the original : ad ultimum reservari] the following four texts : The beginnings of Genesis, where the creation of the world is described ; the beginning of the prophecy of Ezekiel, where the doctrine of the angels is expounded [in the original : de cherubim refertur] ; the end [of the same book] which contains the description of the future temple ; and this book of the Song of Songs.

3 I think there can be no doubt that the interpretation according to which "The Finger of God became a Metatron to Moses and showed him the whole land of Israel," is a medieval misunderstanding of a good text. 4 I f there had been a Tannaitic tradition to the effect that ' Cf. ,,;'Jlo 38b ; m•m 1 5a ; and :"111 :"1,1:1V 3 b . Odeberg, 3 Enoch, pp. 188-192. The references to the appellative l�i:J:"' :"11 :"1' in the literature of the Hekhaloth are numerous. Cf. Odeberg, op. , p. 33, and the writer"s remarks in Major Trends, p.

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