An Introduction to the Kabbalah
Dr. Joshua Abelson’s book is a concise classic on the salient features of Jewish mysticism and its impact on Jewish thought and worship. Based on researches of Jewish scholars, and reinforced by author’s acquaintance with Talmudic and rabbinical literature, the book covers Essenism, Merkabah mysticism, the book “Yetsirah,” “Zohar” mysticism, the ten Sefirot, the Soul, and more.
Abelson puts the Kabbalah into context as the outgrowth of a long-term evolution of Jewish mystical thought, starting with the Essenes and the Merkabah (Chariot) mysticism of the Talmundic era. Abelson explains how neo-Platonism, Gnosticism, Christianity and other currents influenced and were in turn impacted by Jewish mysticism.
Jewish Mysticism: An Introduction to the Kabbalah is a succinct exploration that serves as an introduction to the general study of Jewish mysticism. This is a book that is accessible to the general reader, and offers a good background to anyone interested in the Kabbalah or Mysticism at any level.
SOME EARLY ELEMENTS: ESSENISM
THE Old Testament is the fountain-head of Judaism. Hence if it is true, as is contended in a previous page, that the Old Testament contains mystical elements, then the starting-point in any treatment of Jewish mysticism on historical, or even semi- historical, lines must be the Old Testament. But this course will not be adopted here. The Old Testament will be omitted, and for a reason which has already been hinted. The mysticism of the Old Testament is of an elementary, naïve, and unconscious kind, whereas what this book is intended to show is the consciously-elaborated, professional mysticism of the Jews. What we get in the Old Testament are the ground-work and the scaffolding, the indispensable beginnings of the edifice; but not the edifice itself.READ MORE