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Otto Zykov
Otto Zykov

An Introduction To The Study Of The Kabalah: With Eight Diagrams


The origin of the text is, as might be expected, obscure. In the mythological version, the culture hero Fu Xi, a dragon or a snake with a human face, studied the patterns of nature in the sky and on the earth: the markings on birds, rocks, and animals, the movement of clouds, the arrangement of the stars. He discovered that everything could be reduced to eight trigrams, each composed of three stacked solid or broken lines, reflecting the yin and yang, the duality that drives the universe. The trigrams themselves represented, respectively, heaven, a lake, fire, thunder, wind, water, a mountain, and earth (see illustration below).




An introduction to the study of the Kabalah: With eight diagrams



This book documents when, where, and why Jews began to visualize and to draw the mystical shape of the Divine as a Porphyrian tree. At once maps, mandalas, and memory palaces, ilanot provided kabbalists with diagrammatic representations of their structured image of God. Scrolling an ilan parchment in contemplative study, the kabbalist participated mimetically in tikkun, the development and perfection of Divinity. Chajes reveals the complex lore behind these objects. His survey begins with the classical ilanot of pre-expulsion Spain, Byzantine Crete, Kurdistan, Yemen, and Renaissance Italy. A close examination of the ilanot inspired by the Kabbalah taught by R. Isaac Luria in sixteenth-century Safed follows, and Chajes concludes with explorations of modern ilan amulets and printed ilanot. With attention to the contexts of their creation and how they were used, The Kabbalistic Tree investigates ilanot from collections around the world, including forty from the incomparable Gross Family Collection.


Kabbalah is a form of Jewish mysticism that adds spiritual depth to Jewish practice, knowledge, and texts. It is an esoteric tradition, traditionally reserved for those who have intensely studied Torah for years, and is easily misunderstood by those without this intimate knowledge. Some who study Kabbalah have become more open to sharing some of this knowledge with less-informed Jewish people, but with the understanding that these teachings and traditions are not to be taken at face value; there is always more to be revealed. Additionally, there has been concern that one who is not yet mature of mind will misuse this knowledge, causing previous generations of Jewish religious and legal authorities to encourage limiting access to Kabbalah.


Following the expulsion of the Jewish population from Spain in 1492 and Portugal in 1536, many Jewish people from these countries moved back towards Israel. Rabbi Yosef Caro of Spain settled in Safed, Israel, along with many other Jewish people from Spain and Portugal. Kabbalah had just begun its rise in medieval Spain, and Rabbi Caro and his contemporaries of Safed continued the study of Kabbalah in their new home. Rabbi Caro authored two great Jewish works: Shulchan Aruch (Code of the Jewish Law) and the mystical work Maggid Mesharim. Maggid Mesharim documents Caro's dreams involving an angel that he believes revealed sacred knowledge to him.


New York: Behrman's Jewish Book House, 1939. First Edition. Hardcover. Large Octavo. xiv + 356 pp. Original blue cloth with gold titling to red panels on spine, frontispiece illustration, notes, bibliography, glossary of Hebrew terms, index. A comprehensive study of Jewish occult and magical practices from the 10th to the.....More


From the 1920s onward, the scientific study of religion became lessconcerned with grand unifying narratives, and focused more onparticular religious traditions and beliefs. Anthropologists such asEdward Evans-Pritchard (1937) and Bronisław Malinowski (1925) nolonger relied exclusively on second-hand reports (usually of poorquality and from distorted sources), but engaged in serious fieldwork.Their ethnographies indicated that cultural evolutionism was adefective theoretical framework and that religious beliefs were morediverse than was previously assumed. They argued that religiousbeliefs were not the result of ignorance of naturalistic mechanisms.For instance, Evans-Pritchard (1937) noted that the Azande were wellaware that houses could collapse because termites ate away at theirfoundations, but they still appealed to witchcraft to explain why aparticular house collapsed at a particular time. More recently,Cristine Legare et al. (2012) found that people in various culturesstraightforwardly combine supernatural and natural explanations, forinstance, South Africans are aware AIDS is caused by the HIV virus,but some also believe that the viral infection is ultimately caused bya witch.


Psychologists and sociologists of religion also began to doubt thatreligious beliefs were rooted in irrationality, psychopathology, andother atypical psychological states, as James (1902) and other earlypsychologists had assumed. In the US, in the late 1930s through the1960s, psychologists developed a renewed interest for religion, fueledby the observation that religion refused to decline and seemed toundergo a substantial revival, thus casting doubt on thesecularization thesis (see Stark 1999 for an overview). Psychologistsof religion have made increasingly fine-grained distinctions betweentypes of religiosity, including extrinsic religiosity (being religiousas means to an end, for instance, getting the benefits of being amember of a social group) and intrinsic religiosity (people who adhereto religions for the sake of their teachings) (Allport & Ross1967). Psychologists and sociologists now commonly study religiosityas an independent variable, with an impact on, for instance, health,criminality, sexuality, socio-economic profile, and socialnetworks.


Several historians (e.g., Hooykaas 1972) have argued that Christianitywas instrumental to the development of Western science. Peter Harrison(2007) maintains that the doctrine of original sin played a crucialrole in this, arguing there was a widespread belief in the earlymodern period that Adam, prior to the Fall, had superior senses,intellect, and understanding. As a result of the Fall, human sensesbecame duller, our ability to make correct inferences was diminished,and nature itself became less intelligible. Postlapsarian humans(i.e., humans after the Fall) are no longer able to exclusively relyon their a priori reasoning to understand nature. They mustsupplement their reasoning and senses with observation throughspecialized instruments, such as microscopes and telescopes. As theexperimental philosopher Robert Hooke wrote in the introduction to hisMicrographia:


The problem with this narrative is that orthodox worries aboutnon-Islamic knowledge were already present before Al-Ghazālīand continued long after his death (Edis 2007: chapter 2). The studyof law (fiqh) was more stifling for science in the Islamicworld than developments in theology. The eleventh century saw changesin Islamic law that discouraged heterodox thought: lack of orthodoxycould now be regarded as apostasy from Islam (zandaqa) whichis punishable by death, whereas before, a Muslim could only apostatizeby an explicit declaration (Griffel 2009: 105). (Al-Ghazālīhimself only regarded the violation of three core doctrines aszandaqa, namely statements that challenged monotheism, theprophecy of Muḥammad, and resurrection after death.) Given thatheterodox thoughts could be interpreted as apostasy, this created astifling climate for science. In the second half of the nineteenthcentury, as science and technology became firmly entrenched in Westernsociety, Muslim empires were languishing or colonized. Scientificideas, such as evolutionary theory, became equated with Europeancolonialism, and thus met with distrust. The enduring associationbetween western culture, colonialism, and science led to a moreprominent conflict view of the relationship between science andreligion in Muslim countries.


Natural theology also flourished in the pre-colonial period,especially in the Advaita Vedānta, a darśana thatidentifies the self, ātman, with ultimate reality,Brahman. Advaita Vedāntin philosopher Adi Śaṅkara(fl. first half eighth century) was an author who regarded Brahman asthe only reality, both the material and the efficient cause of thecosmos. Śaṅkara formulated design and cosmologicalarguments, drawing on analogies between the world and artifacts: inordinary life, we never see non-intelligent agents produce purposivedesign, yet the universe is suitable for human life, just like benchesand pleasure gardens are designed for us. Given that the universe isso complex that even an intelligent craftsman cannot comprehend it,how could it have been created by non-intelligent natural forces?Śaṅkara concluded that it must have been designed by anintelligent creator (C.M. Brown 2008: 108).


Over the past decades, authors in the Christian religion and scienceliterature have explored these two interpretations (Irenaean,Augustinian) and how they can be made compatible with scientificfindings (see De Smedt and De Cruz 2020 for a review). Scientificfindings and theories relevant to human origins come from a range ofdisciplines, in particular geology, paleoanthropology (the study ofancestral hominins, using fossils and other evidence), archaeology,and evolutionary biology. These findings challenge traditionalreligious accounts of humanity, including the special creation ofhumans, the imago Dei, the historical Adam and Eve, andoriginal sin.


The Feature Paper can be either an original research article, a substantial novel research study that often involvesseveral techniques or approaches, or a comprehensive review paper with concise and precise updates on the latestprogress in the field that systematically reviews the most exciting advances in scientific literature. This type ofpaper provides an outlook on future directions of research or possible applications.


Va-Daath, and the angelic names, Shinanim, ShNANIM (Ps. lxviii. 18), or MLKIM, Melakim, kings. Thus by the union of justice and mercy we obtain beauty or clemency, and the second trinity of the Sephiroth is complete. This Sephira, or "Path," or "Numeration"--for by these latter appellations the emanations are sometimes called--together with the fourth, fifth, seventh, eighth, and ninth Sephiroth, is spoken of as ZOIR ANPIN, Zauir Anpin, the Lesser Countenance, or Microprosopus, by way of antithesis to Macroprosopus, or the Vast Countenance, which is one of the names of Kether, the first Sephira. The sixth Sephiroth of which Zauir Anpin is composed, are then called His six members. He is also called MLK, Melekh, the King.


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