Absorbing perfections: Kabbalah and interpretation by Moshe Idel

By Moshe Idel

During this dialogue of Kabbalah - from the paranormal traits of medieval Judaism to trendy Hasidism - Moshe Idel considers assorted visions of the character of the sacred textual content and of the the way to interpret it. he is taking as a kick off point the truth that the post-biblical Jewish global misplaced its geographical centre with the destruction of the temple and so used to be left with a textual centre, the Holy e-book. Idel argues text-oriented faith produced language-centred different types of mysticism. by contrast history, the writer demonstrates how a variety of Jewish mystics amplified the content material of the Scriptures in an effort to comprise every thing: the area, or God, for instance. hence the textual content turns into an enormous realm for contemplation, and the translation of the textual content often turns into an come upon with the private nation-states of truth. Idel delineates the actual hermeneutics belonging to Jewish mysticism, investigates the revolutionary filling of the textual content with secrets and techniques and hidden degrees of which means, and considers intimately a few of the interpretive ideas had to decodify the arcane dimensions of the textual content.

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An attempt has been made to o√er a balanced picture of the themes under consideration as they occur in the various forms of Kabbalistic and Hasidic literature. However, the immense amount of material creates great problems in attaining an equilibrium between various Kabbalistic schools—Sefardi, Italian, North African, Safedian, or Ashkenazi—between the Cordoverian Kabbalah and the Lurianic one, or between the Hasidic and the contemporary Mitnaggedic attitudes. Determining the weight of influence of the earlier rabbinic hermeneutics on Jewish mystical hermeneutics is a major issue that demands much more research, as does the spiritualistic hermeneutics of the Jewish Sufi in the Near East during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries and their spiritualistic counterparts in Europe.

The opening of the Torah and the taking out of names seem to reflect a certain understanding of the ‘‘emergence’’ of the names from the text, conceived of now as a box where the names are deposited and, presumably, kept in secret. This implies another type of imaginary, in comparison to that of Ma¢ayan ha-Hokhmah, ∞ 30 ∞ The World-Absorbing Text where the secrets, though also closely related to the text of the Torah, are disclosed by an external agent, angels, which teach Moses where precisely in the Bible to find the verse that generates the name pertinent to the cure of a malady or o√ering a remedy for a certain problem.

Either in its cognitive-symbolic role or in its theurgical-operational function, language has been conceived by this type of Kabbalah as hypersemantic. This means that not only is the ordinary sense of language maintained by the Kabbalists, but its basic function as part of the Kabbalistic enterprise is due to a surplus of meaning, which adds semantic fields to that or those designated by the ordinary meaning. The two aspects, the symbolic (referential) and the theurgical (performative), di√erent as they may be from each other, should not be viewed as totally independent.

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