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Professor Blumenthal only asks that the requisite courtesy and law be observed in crediting him. He welcomes inquiries and can be reached at reldrb emory. Reading Genesis.

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Web version. Commentary to Sefer Yetsira. Portal for Jewish Prayer , Reverberations. This Home Page and the material linked to it is copyrighted c. French scholar, Guillaume Postel , translated into Latin and published the main Hebrew emanational manuscripts, Zohar and Sefer Yetzirah , before they were published in Hebrew. These Latin texts were influential in standardizing the teachings of the Christian Kabbalists of the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe.

Kabbalah: Sefer Yetzirah - clase 6

Christian Kabbalah reached the final phase of development during the 17th and 18th centuries, when it incorporated alchemical symbolism and Rosicrucian philosophy. Those who believe, as I do, that Freemasonry is rooted in both Rosicrucian and Hermetic belief systems, will also see the influence of the Kabbalah as well.

Concept of the Trinity in the Christian Kabbalah. These word manipulations seemed to have assisted in convincing recently "converted" Spanish Jews to embrace this extremely important tenet of the Christian faith - the Trinity!

More should be said about this concept. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Christian Cabalists did their utmost to cite other proofs of the Trinitarian concept from Jewish texts. At the beginning of this essay, I stated that the Zohar was the most important document expressing the doctrines of the Jewish Kabbalah.

The following is an excerpt from the Jewish Encyclopedia published article on the Zohar :. They were led to this belief by the analogies existing between some of the teachings of the Zohar and certain of the Christian dogmas, as for instance the fall and redemption of man, and the dogma of the Trinity, which is expressed in the Zohar in the following terms:. He reveals himself in three archetypes, all three forming but one. He is thus symbolized by the number Three. They are revealed in one another. None knows what He contains; He is above all conception.

Word and Image in Medieval Kabbalah

He is therefore called for man 'Non-Existing' [Ayin] Zohar, iii. This and also the other doctrines of Christian tendency that are found in the Zohar are now known to be much older than Christianity; but the Christian scholars who were deluded by the similarity of these teachings to certain Christian dogmas deemed it their duty to propagate the Zohar. Shortly after the publication of the work Mantua and Cremona, Joseph de Voisin translated extracts from it which deal with the soul.

The number three was important in the Christian Kabbalah in other ways. They divided the Cosmos into three divisions: elemental, celestial, and intelligible. Giovanni Pico wrote that the first division, the black pit of darkness, is the Earth, the intelligible division is the world of pure light and, in the celestial division, light and darkness are in perfect balance. Francesco Giorgi wrote about these three souls in his book De Harmonia Mundi.

He described a high, middle, and lower soul in the long poem contained in the book. Christian Kabbalist at Work? Portion of Lehrtafel center panel showing Sephiroth 1 through 6, each indicated by a white oval. P ortion of Lehrtafel center panel showing Sephiroth 6 through 10, each indicated by a white oval. The German scholars who inspired the design of the "Lehrtafel of Princess Antonia" were almost certainly Freemasons and Rosicrucians who were familiar with the philosophy of the Christian Kabbalah.

As shown in the above photograph, a Kabbalistic "Tree of Life" diagram is hidden within the center panel of the triptych. The German scholar and theologian, Otto Betz has performed a brilliant analysis of the Kabbalistic elements contained within the Lehrtafel in his book entitled: Licht vom unerschaffnen Lichte.

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Die kabbalistische Lehrtafel der Prinzessin Antonia. People who are deeply interested in the Christian Kabbalah should refer to his book; unfortunately, it has never been translated into English. My elementary discussion of some of the Kabbalistic and other esoteric aspects of the Lehrtafel is given in the following paragraphs. The overall design of the Lehrtafel displays a contrasting yet complementary, twofold structure. This twofold structure is presented on many different levels of understanding, but only a single theme is contained within each level.

Let me mention just a few examples:.

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Two different babies, one in each picture - baby Jesus and baby Moses - but the story concerning each child takes place in Egypt. The triptych is subtly pointing out that both Moses and Jesus were in Egypt as children. This is another juxtaposition of the Moses and Christ themes. The standard crucifixion of Christ scene is set alongside a scene involving a crucified serpent, derived from the story of Moses and the Brazen Serpent see Numbers, Chapter 21, Verses The basic message conveyed by these two crucifixions is quite clear.

Just as an Israelite who had been bitten by a viper could be purified from the effect of the venom simply by gazing upon a brazen serpent nailed to a pole, so could a sinner who was poisoned by his own sins have them purified or washed away by the blood of Christ who had been nailed to a cross.

Conversely, most Christian mystics believe that their belief system is based upon the secret, oral teaching of Jesus, while the Gospels contain his written, exoteric teaching. The esoteric Kabbalah compared to exoteric Judaism is equivalent to esoteric Rosicrucianism compared to exoteric Protestant Christianity. There is little scriptural evidence to support this position, but I am able to make the following comments. However, certain, mostly oral, alchemical and Gnostic traditions assert that Jesus, as a young man, studied for a time in Alexandria, which then had a large Jewish community.

Indeed, historians have stated that, in that era, more Jews lived in Egypt than in Palestine!

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  • Jesus is supposed to have been initiated into the mysteries of the Serapis religion and also into certain other secret societies. There was and still is a Coptic and Gnostic tradition that Jesus had not only been in Alexandria, but that he and his family had initially settled in the city of Leontopolis, at which a Jewish colony was located; this colony flourished from about B.

    C until it was destroyed by order of the Emperor Vespasian in 73 A. Leontopolis was near the city of Heliopolis which had been one of the greatest centers of learning among the native Egyptians. Otto Betz see above believed that the Lehrtafel is intended to show that the pathway to human salvation, in both the Christian and Jewish understanding, is concerned with the connections between nature and history, love and suffering, kingship and service, et al.

    The Tree of Life, with its ten Sephiroth, helps explain this belief.

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    It is arranged as a stylized tree or as a pattern of a human figure. The following table compares the ten Sephiroth of the Jewish Kabbalah with the corresponding Christian Sephiroth depicted in the Lehrtafel:. Other than the ninth Sephirah, all of the principles of the Christian "Tree of Life" differ from the Jewish version. The ninth Sephirah, called Foundation in English, also can mean a vehicle or device through which action may be taken; in the Lehrtafel, this Sephirah has been given a likeness of Princess Antonia herself.

    I interpret this to mean that she is expected to perform a major role in the promulgation of the mystical, emanationist philosophy symbolized in the painting. A major difference between Jewish and Christian Trees of Life is that the first three Sephiroth pertain to the Trinity in the Christian version. I find that one of the most interesting characteristics of the Lehrtafel Tree is that the images representing seven of the Sephiroth are women; the only exceptions are Kether God the Father , Chokhmah God the Son and Malkuth which is a depiction of Christ as a man holding the Cross.

    Kabbalah and the Tarot. In recent times, many "New Age" practitioners of the Kabbalah do so in conjunction with the use of the Tarot. I consider this to be a completely spurious approach, if one's goal is the achievement of higher states of consciousness. Accordingly, I will conclude this essay with a quote from a recent interview given by the noted artist and Tarot expert, Robert M.

    His words are well expressed and reflect my sentiments exactly:. In the 's, the French occultist Eliphas Levi was enamored with the Kabbalah and tried to synthesize all occult teachings into one Kabbalistic system. He also became interested in the Tarot and for him to make it part of his synthesis he had to demonstrate that the Tarot was Kabbalistic. He picked up on an idea that was mentioned before him by Court de Gebelin , namely, that the 22 trump cards are related to the 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. The Hebrew letters in the Kabbalistic system are also each related to a sign of the zodiac, a planet, or an element.

    So, once the cards are assigned to the letters, they also are connected to the astrological system. Many people still find this a satisfying way to think about the Tarot. But I find it disappointing. The symbolism of the Hebrew alphabet and the zodiac simply does not fit with the images that are in the Tarot trumps. Levi force fit it for the sake of his theory. This system of correspondences leads one away from the symbolism that is actually presented in the pictures on the cards. It denies the story that is there.