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16613095 R EliorMysticism Magic and AngelologyThe Perception of Angels in Hekhalot Literature

16613095 R EliorMysticism Magic and AngelologyThe Perception of Angels in Hekhalot Literature

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Mysticism,Magic,andAngelology
ThePerceptionofAngelsinHekhalotLiterature
RACHEL
EUOR
Formanstandsupontheearth,andhisheadreachesuntotheheavens,andtheangelsoftheLordascendanddescendwithinhim.JacobJosephofPolonnoye,Ben-PoratYosef,fol.42a.AnexaminationofthesynopticeditionoftheHekhalot!LiteratureandthevarioustextswhichrelatetotheMerkabah!tradition)revealsanabundanceofdifferentcomponents,comprisingtheinterwovenfabricoftheearlytrendsofJewishmysticism,anditclearlyshowsthevari-etiesofstylesandthemeswithinthattradition+Acomparativeanalysisofthevarioussourceswilldemonstratethatthisisnotawellformulatedcorpusofliteratureproducedwithina
I
Hekhalot,heavenlypalaces,orcelestialtemples.
2
TheMerkabahistheDivineChariot,referringtothevisiondescribedatthebeginningofthebookofEzekiel,whichatanearlydatecametobedesignatedasthevisionoftheM~rkabah.
)See:
P.
Schafer,incollaborationwithM.SchlaterandH.G.vonMutius,
SynapsezurHekhalotLiteratur;Text«
undStudien
zum
AntikenJudentum
2,
(Tubingen
1981)(henceforth:"Synopsis");
P.
Schafer,
Genna-Fragmente
zur
HekhalotLiteratur,
TexteundStudien
zum
AntikenJudentum
6,(Tubingen1984)(henceforth:"GenizaFragments");M.Margaliot,
Seferha-Razim,
"YediotAhronot"edition(TelAvivandJerusalem1966)(henceforth:"S.ha-Razim");M.S.Cohen,
TheShiurQomah.Texts
andRecensions(t\\\)\t\p\9'-5)~het\ce{ot\h·.Sh\'utQomah")~
R.
H\ot,
Hekhalol
Zutarti,
scholarlyedition,JerusalemStudiesinJewishThought,AppendixA(Jerusalem1982)(henceforth:"HekhalotZutarti");P.S.Alexander,"HebrewApoca-lypseofEnoch,"inJ.H.Charlesworth(ed.),
TheOldTestamentPseudepigrapha,
vol.I(NewYork1983),pp.223-31S(henceforth:"Alexander,Enoch").
4
G.Scholem,
MajorTrends
in
JewishMysticism
(NewYork1941)(henceforth:"Scholem,Trends"),pp.67,70;M.Smith,"ObservationsonHekhalotRabati,"inA.Altmann(ed.),
BiblicalandOtherStudies
(Cambridge1963)(henceforth:"Smith,Hekhalot"),p.149;
1.
Dan,"Anafiel,Metatron,andtheMakerofCreation"(Hebrew),
Tarbiz
S2
(1983),pp.447-4S0;idem,"TheSeventyNamesofMetatron,
ProceedingsoftheEighthWorldCongressofJewishStudies,
vol.III,(Jerusalem1982),pp.19-23.
_5nMfiet
QuuIm)'..,,_
I(l99l)
 
4
RachelElior
lSQI
distinctcircle,forvarioussegmentsoftheHekhalottraditionarediffer-entiatedfromoneanotherbytheirliterarystyle,bythequalityoftheireditingandtransmission,bythenamesoftheauthoritiescited,andbytheircontent,structure,andlinguisticpatterns.Almostcertainlytheyarealsoto
be
distinguishedbythedateofthecompositionofthevariousparts,andbytheplaceswheretheywerecomposed.!Someofthesetraditionspossessadecidedlymysticalandnuminouscharacter.sothersbearacharacteristicmagicalandtheurgicstamp;"somehaveapronouncedcosmologicalbent,whileothersaremarkedbytheirangelologicalcharacter.sHowever,despiteallthedifferencesincontentandstyle,ingenreandininterrelationship,itispossibletoidentifyafundamentalunderlyingcommondenominator,whichdeter-
S
ScholarsdonotagreeregardingtheextentofthecorpuswhichisincludedinHekhalotandMerkabahliterature.VarioussystemsofclassificationrelatingtovariousworksandmanuscripttraditionshavebeenproposedbyG.Scholem,J.Dan,and
P.
Schafer.See:G.Scholem,
JewishGnosticism,MerkabahMysticism,andTalmudicTra-dition
(NewYork1965
2)
(henceforth:"Scholem,Gnosticism"),pp.5-7;P.Schafer,"TraditionandRedactioninHekhalotLiterature,"
JournaloftheStudyofJudaism(JSJ),
vol.XIV,no.2(1983),pp.172-181;J.Dan,"ThreeTypesofAncientJewishMysticism,"SeventhAnnualRabbiLouisFeinbergMemorialLectureinJudaicStud-ies,UniversityofCincinnati,April26,1984(henceforth:"Dan,Three").Forade-scriptionofthevariousworks,see:
I.
Gruenwald,
ApocalypticandMerkavahMysticism
(Leiden/Cologne1980)(henceforth:"Gruenwald,Apocalyptic"),pp.127-234.
6
TheworkswhichareknownasHekhalotRabati,HekhalotZutarti,Ma'asehMerkabah,Shi'urQomah,:andSeferHekhalot-ThirdEnochincludetraditionsofdecidedlymysticalcharacter.Forthenumberingoftheirpassagesinthesynopticeditionandforanindicationofearliereditions,seeSchafer,Synopsis,pp.x-xvii.Foreditionspublishedafterthepublicationofthesynopticeditionorclosetothetimeofitspublication,andwhichwerenotincludedintheindicationsofprintings,seenote3above.Highlyinterestingmysticaltraditionswhichwerelirstpublishedinthesynopticeditionarefoundinparagraphs384-488and947-963ofthesynopticeditionandintheGenizafragments,paragraphs8,II,22.Cf.
I.
Gruenwald,"NewFragments"(Hebrew),
Tarbiz
38(1968-69),pp.368-372.Seenowconcerningthesetreratisesandtheconceptofangelsinthem:P.Schafer,
TheHiddenandManifestGod:SomeMajorThemes
in
EarlyJewishMysticism,
Albany,NY:SUNYPress,1992.
1
ConsultS.ha-Razim,Introduction,p.4l:HarbadeMoshe,Synopsis,pars.360-367,489-495,623-639,598-622;andcompareGenizafragments,pars.13-21.Fortheurgicaluse,seeSynopsis,pars.563-569,572,204-205.Magicspells,incanta-tions,praxes,andseals,listsofnamesandcharmsarefoundthroughoutHekhalotliterature.
8
DeatiledcosmologicaltraditionsarefoundintheBookofEnoch,inMasekhetHekhalot,andinmanyparagraphsoftheSynopsis.
See,
forexample,paragraphs51-55,346-356,367-374,518-525,546,554-555,558-559,743-777,778-798.AngelologicaltraditionscomprisethemajorpartoftheHekhalotliteratureandtheyarepresentedinhundredsofparagraphs
in
theSynopsis;somanythatitwouldbeimpossibletolistthemindetail.InGenizafragmentsinterestingangelologicaltraditionsarealsopresented,seefragmentsno.8,19,21,22.
 
JSQl
Mysticism,Magic,andAngelology
5
minesthecharacterofHekhalotliterature,andtonotethecombinationofthreeofitsmostpronouncedtraits,whichcreatesitsuniqueness.Hekhalottraditionsrepresenta"differentreality,"onewhichisnotanchoredwithinearthlyexistence,norinthehistoricaldimension,noryetinthetraditionaltextualcontext.Theydonotexpressaconceptionofacommonhistoricalpast,adefinedpresent,orayearningforafuture,nordotheyopenlydrawuponadistinctsocialmilieu,aconven-tionalexegeticalframework,orastructureofbeliefsandopinionswhichreflectdirectlyaparticularreality?TheHekhalottraditioncon-tainspseudepigraphiaandanalternativechronology,whichbothrelatetotheworldoftheTannaim,wholivedafterthedestructionoftheTemple,alongwithanimaginativegraspofreality,whichrelatestotheperiodwhentheTemplestood.Thesetendenciesexpressadistinctalienationfromtangiblerealityandadifferentviewofhistoricalper-ception.!"TheHekhalotliteraturefocusesonacosmicrealmwhichdrawsup-onamysticalvision,uponmythicalelements,anduponaritualtradi-tion,allofwhichareincludedwithintheconcept"Merkabah"(divinechariot).This"otherreality"isacelestialreality,transcendingtimeand'place,withavisionaryandnuminouscharacter,revealedinitssplendo-rousbeautytothosewho"descendtotheMerkabah"inordertoascendheavenwards,"InvariouswaystheHekhalottraditionsexpressthetranscendentalexaltednessofthiscelestialreality,describinginpoeticfashionthevariousdimensionsofvisionaryrealityanddiscuss-ingindetailthecomponentsofthedivineworld:
9
ForvariousviewsofthehistoricalandsocialbackgroundoftheauthorsoftheHekhalottraditions,cf.Scholem,Trends,pp.40-43;E.E.Urbach,"ha-Mesorot'alToratha-Sodbe-Tekufatha-Tanaim,"in
Mehkarimbe-Kabbalahu-ve-Toldotha-DatotMugmhimle-G.Scholem
(Jerusalem1965),pp.I-28;D.
1.
Halperin,The
FacesoftheChariot
(Tublngen1988)(henceforth:"Halperin,Chariot"),pp.359-446;R.Elior,"MerkabahMysticism,aCritialReview,"
Numen
(1990),vol.XXXVII,rase.2,pp.233-249;
I.
Chernus,"IndividualandCommunityintheReductionoftheHekhalotLiterature,HUCALII(1981),
pp.
253-274.
10
See
Scholem,Trends,pp.72-73andcf.
J.
Dan,"Telisatha-Historiabe-Sifrutha-Hekhalotve-ha-Merkabah,"
Be-OrahMad'a,Mehkarimbe-TarbutIsraelMllga-shimIe-A.Mirski,
MakhonHaberman
(Lod
1986),pp.117-129.ItseemsthatthereisreasontoreexaminetheconnectionbetweenthealienationfromhistoricalrealitywhichisreflectedinHekhalotRabatiandtheresponsetoasituationwhichwastoodifficulttobearafterthedestructionoftheTemple,andsocreatedanalternative,visionaryreality.
II
Fortheconceptof"theotherreality,"seeR.Otto,The
IdeaoftheHoly
(Oxford1973),p.72.Seealso:V.Thrner,The
RitualProcess,StructureandAn/i-Structure
(Ithaca,NewYork1977),pp,vii,15.ConsulttheSynopsis,pars.:180-188,198,214-219,236,247,276,337-356,468-478,554-556,559,586-596.

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