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Jewish Concepts of ScriptureA Comparative Introduction$
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Benjamin D. Sommer

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814740620

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814740620.001.0001

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Concepts of Scripture in Jewish Mysticism

Concepts of Scripture in Jewish Mysticism

(p.157) Chapter 10 Concepts of Scripture in Jewish Mysticism
Jewish Concepts of Scripture

Moshe Idel

NYU Press

This chapter talks about the Jewish mystical movements concerned with what is known as kabbalah. In these movements, a conception of God as Ein Sof—infinite, transcendent, yet related to the world through several manifestations known as sefirot—emerges. Together with this understanding of God, a view of the Torah as infinite, transcendent, yet connected with the world emerges as well. Similarly, earlier mystical theologies of heikhalot literature, which refers to prekabbalistic Jewish mysticism of the Talmudic era, entails their own conceptions of Torah related to magical powers. The chapter illustrates the connections among these earlier and later conceptions of Torah in various types of Jewish mysticism. Particularly, these varied conceptions of Torah provide a lens through which one can study the development of Jewish concepts of God.

Keywords:   Jewish mystical movements, God, kabbalah, Ein Sof, sefirot, heikhalot literature, Talmudic era, Torah, Jewish mysticism

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