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Jewish mysticism as it developed in the 12th century and after. Essentially an oral tradition, it laid claim to secret wisdom of the unwritten Torah communicated by God to Adam and Moses. It provided Jews with a direct approach to God, a notion regarded as heretical and pantheistic by Orthodox Judaism. A major text was the 12th-century Book of Brightness, which introduced the doctrine of transmigration of souls to Judaism and provided Kabbala with extensive mythical symbolism. In 13th-century Spain the tradition included the Book of the Image, which asserted that each cycle of history had its own Torah, and the Book of Splendour, which dealt with the mystery of creation. In the 16th century the centre of Kabbala was Safed, Galilee, where it was based on the esoteric teachings of the greatest of all Kabbalists, Isaac ben Solomon Luria. The doctrines of Lurianic Kabbala, which called for Jews to achieve a cosmic restoration (Hebrew: tiqqun) through an intense mystical life and an unceasing struggle against evil, were influential in the development of modern Hasidism.
Variants of KABBALA
Kabbala or Cabbala
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Kabbala, visit Britannica.com.
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