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Originally Posted by Zephyros View Post
Kabbalah probably began from Merkabah mysticism which was (probably, maybe) the formal beginnings of proper Jewish mysticism, around 800 BC.
I'm not so sure about that. Merkabah mysticism seems to have been something separate and distinct. It is only in modern times that it has been absorbed under the 'umbrella definition' of Kabbalah.

The same thing seems to have happened to the Sepher Yetzirah. Was it originally a cosmological treatise or an early Jewish grammar? Who knows? But at a later date it gets pulled within the umbrella heading of Kabbalah and it instantly becomes one the earliest Kabbalistic texts! Revisionist history?

Even the term 'Jewish mysticism' is problematic in relation to Kabbalah. The early "Chariot Riders" may indeed have been Jewish mystics, seeking direct experience of the divine. But when the Kabbalah appears in the middle ages it is mainly concerned with scriptural exegesis and theological speculation. It's almost the exact opposite of mysticism. But fast forward to today and Kabbalah means Jewish Mysticism to most people because a lot of different strands of thought have been absorbed within the term, Kabbalah.
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Originally Posted by Barleywine View Post
A couple of questions: where does Knorr von Rosenroth fit into the picture? I understand he wrote in Latin.
He translated portions of the Zohar into Latin. In particular three books. The Book of Concealed Mystery, The Greater Holy Assembly, The Lesser Holy Assembly.

In 1888 S.L. MacGregor Mathers printed an English translation under the title, The Kabbalah Unveiled.
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Originally Posted by Barleywine View Post
And I'd like to know more about its origins as an "oral tradition," or "received teaching."
It's a secret.
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foolmoon, I don't know if Zalewski's book will address the questions you raise but it's a good source for the GD's Kabbalah specifically. The whole subject of Kabbalah generally tends to put me to sleep.
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Originally Posted by Abrac View Post
foolmoon, I don't know if Zalewski's book will address the questions you raise but it's a good source for the GD's Kabbalah specifically. The whole subject of Kabbalah generally tends to put me to sleep.
The Tree of Life is what keeps me engaged. Trying to read Mathers' Kaballah Unveiled or Waite's Holy Kaballah in any kind of edifying sense is a tall order.
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A useful classification of Qabalah can be found in Mathers, The Kabbalah Unveiled. Mathers breaks the Qabalah down into four separate headings.

1. The Practical Qabalah
2. The Literal Qabalah
3. The Unwritten Qabalah
4. The Dogmatic Qabalah.

No.1 concerns all matters of theurgy, ritual magick, divination, tarot, talismans, group ceremony, etc. This is the form of Practical Qabalah that underpins the Golden Dawn Qabalah and provides it's theoretical and structural basis. It's main focus is the Tree of Life and it's practical application.

No.2 is Gematria, Temurah, and Notariqon. All forms of letter/number manipulation are covered in this category.

No.3 is oral teachings. There's not much that can be said about this due to it's very nature. This is the realm of 'secret doctrines' held within specific groups of initiates. If these teachings are ever published they usually include 'blinds' to misdirect non-initiates.

No.4 is doctrinal teachings found in works such as the Zohar and the Bahir. The main emphasis is biblical, scriptural exegesis and theological speculation about the nature of God and creation. Much of what passes under the heading of Rabbinical Kabbalah is to be found here.
(Lon Milo DuQuette humorously refers to this as "counting the nostril hairs of God.")

Golden Dawn Qabalah is mainly focused on no.1. With a bit of 2 and 3, and a smattering of no.4.

In Rabbinical Kabbalah the main focus is on no.4, with a bit of 2 and 3. Some threads might also include aspects of no.1.

That's a rough 'n ready break down and totally unsatisfactory. But it does partially explain the difference between the Golden Dawn and Rabbinical streams.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeon418 View Post
A useful classification of Qabalah can be found in Mathers, The Kabbalah Unveiled. Mathers breaks the Qabalah down into four separate headings.

1. The Practical Qabalah
2. The Literal Qabalah
3. The Unwritten Qabalah
4. The Dogmatic Qabalah.

No.1 concerns all matters of theurgy, ritual magick, divination, tarot, talismans, group ceremony, etc. This is the form of Practical Qabalah that underpins the Golden Dawn Qabalah and provides it's theoretical and structural basis. It's main focus is the Tree of Life and it's practical application.

No.2 is Gematria, Temurah, and Notariqon. All forms of letter/number manipulation are covered in this category.

No.3 is oral teachings. There's not much that can be said about this due to it's very nature. This is the realm of 'secret doctrines' held within specific groups of initiates. If these teachings are ever published they usually include 'blinds' to misdirect non-initiates.

No.4 is doctrinal teachings found in works such as the Zohar and the Bahir. The main emphasis is biblical, scriptural exegesis and theological speculation about the nature of God and creation. Much of what passes under the heading of Rabbinical Kabbalah is to be found here.
(Lon Milo DuQuette humorously refers to this as "counting the nostril hairs of God.")

Golden Dawn Qabalah is mainly focused on no.1. With a bit of 2 and 3, and a smattering of no.4.

In Rabbinical Kabbalah the main focus is on no.4, with a bit of 2 and 3. Some threads might also include aspects of no.1.

That's a rough 'n ready break down and totally unsatisfactory. But it does partially explain the difference between the Golden Dawn and Rabbinical streams.
Thanks for this, I will have to approach The Kabbalah Unveiled again. I got lost somewhere among the "nose hairs" and got sneezed out.
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Originally Posted by Barleywine View Post
Thanks for this, I will have to approach The Kabbalah Unveiled again. I got lost somewhere among the "nose hairs" and got sneezed out.
Actually I think Mathers' introduction to that book is pretty good. However the book itself is very dense and obscure. Plus the point of view of all the exegesis and speculations is naturally Rabbinical. Whether you wish to accept that philosophical point of view is up to you.
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Originally Posted by Abrac View Post
foolmoon, I don't know if Zalewski's book will address the questions you raise but it's a good source for the GD's Kabbalah specifically. The whole subject of Kabbalah generally tends to put me to sleep.
It had been the case for me too. But recently I realised that if I want to connect with God through Tarot, then Tree of Life and Cabala would be ideal path to go. No other methods, ways or paths are good for the task, hence started reading up about Cabala.

For predictions, Astrological connection with Tarot works OK, and for mundane readings, horary, finding lost items and electional questions, symbolism and keyword system of Tarot works better.
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Then problem with Hermetic Cabala is that it does not deal with God all that much if at all.

The whole point of Cabala is, to connect with the divine, and that is what Tree of Life is about. But Hermetic Cabala is mute in that regards. It feels strange, and even pointless?
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Originally Posted by foolMoon View Post
Then problem with Hermetic Cabala is that it does not deal with God all that much if at all.

The whole point of Cabala is, to connect with the divine, and that is what Tree of Life is about. But Hermetic Cabala is mute in that regards. It feels strange, and even pointless?
I see the tree of life as representing emanations of God becoming more fixed as you reach the the tenth Sephira Malkuth - Earth the ultimate manifestation. Everything is made up from and therefore part of God. I'm not so religious to identify God further, so that works for me.

I have just been skimming Bonner's Qabalah, A magical primer. (Aeon's recommendation)

something similar - God the Creator "one omnipotent and omnipresent being, who creates from his own substance as an act of divine will"

Hope you are keeping well x
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