The historic impulse, on the other hand, was bound up with thedesire to influence the writer's contempora~ies.Hence the searchfor historic continuity
the sanctification of authority, and thetendency to lend to Kabbalistic literature the lustre of some greatname from Biblical or Talmudic times. The Zohar, or the "Bookof Splendor", is the most famous, but by no means the sole
ample, of such pseudepigraphy. But not
preferred anonymity and
is thanka to them that we areable to place the authors of the pseudepigraphic writings in theirproper historic setting.
think it will
appropriate to sum up thecontribution of Spanish Kabbalism to the treasury of Jewish mysti-cism by characterizing the most outspoken representatives of itsmain currents, the outspoken illuminates and ecstatics and, on theother hand, the masters of pseudepigraphy.In the opening lecture
referred to the fact that Jewish mystics
reticent about the hidden regions of the religiouslife, including the sphere of experiences generally described as ec-
mystical union with
and the like. Experience8 of thiskind lie at the bottom of many Kabbalistic writings, though not, ofcourse, of all. Sometimes, however, this fact is not even mentionedby the author. Of one bulky volume, Rabbi Mordecai Ashkenazi'sbook Eshel
have been able to prove for instance thatit was written against a background of visionary dreams. But forthe fact that one of the author's notebooks, a kind of mystical diary,has come down to us,
this, for it isin vain that one looks for a single allusion to the source of hisideas.' The treatment of the subject remains throughout Strictlyobjective. Other Kabbalists deal at length with the question of theindividual's approach to mystical knowledge, without any referenceto their own experience. But even writings of this kind, if they arereally manuals of the more advanced stages of mystical practice andtechnique, have seldom been published. To this dass belongs, forinstance, a penetrating analysis of various fork and stage6 ofmystical rapture and ecstasy written by Rabbi Dov Baer (died1827). son of the famous Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Ladi, the founderof Habad-Hasidism, in his
Ha-Hithpaaluth-roughly trans-lated "An Enquiry into Ecstasy."'
take the case of the famousKabbalist, Rabbi Hayim Vital Calabrese (1543-16so), the leadingdisciple
Rabbi Isaac Luria, himself one of the central figurea of