Jewish mysticism is one of the foundations for Western Esotericism and this video explores some of the earliest strata of those mystical texts. In the Merkaba (chariot) / Hekhalot (palaces) texts mystics describe the terrifying and awe-inspiring descent – not ascent – into the divine palaces, meet with fearsome angels, gain control over angelic power, become transformed into beings of fire, and mount the very throne of G-d to carefully measure the vasts dimensions of the divine body. This video also explores the Sar Torah (Torah Prince) literature where mystics engage in Jewish theurgy in order to gain immediate knowledge of legal, magical, and religious lore. We also setup a future discussion of early Jewish magical texts such as the Sefer haRazim (The Book of Secrets) and the most obscure, taciturn, and amazing Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Formation).
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James Davila – Hekhalot Literature in Translation: Major Texts of Merkavah Mysticism – 978-9004252158
James Davila – Descenders to the Chariot: The People Behind the Hekhalot Literature – 978-9004115415
Vita Daphna Arbel – Beholders of Divine Secrets: Mysticism and Myth in the Hekhalot and Merkavah Literature – 978-0791457245
Gershom Scholem – Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism – 978-0805210422
Menachem Kellner – Maimonides’ Confrontation with Mysticism – 978-1904113294
Michael D. Swartz – Scholastic Magic: Ritual and Revelation in Early Jewish Mysticism – 978-0691010984 (Great text mostly dealing with Sar Torah Mysticism)
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