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A Brief History of the Qabbalah – Part 2

By Frater Barrabbas

Sepher Yetzirah and Qabbalah Ma’asit. From the 3rd Century C.E., the primary concept of 32 emanations with Mystical Names of Power is established. The practical Qabbalah became a system of theurgy based upon an occult epistemology. The influences of Greek Neoplatonic philosophy is apparent in the use of Emanationism and represents a borrowing and reinterpreting of both the traditional Hebrew sources and Greek Philosophy. Although, according to Scholem, specific Neoplatonic ideas, such as Emanationism, deliberately found their way into the Qabbalah at a later time. The influences pervading the Sepher Yetzirah would appear to be more associated with Jewish Gnosticsm and its heterodoxic incorporation of various Greek philosophical elements and influences.

The Sepher Yetzirah (Book of Creation) is a product of the fulfillment of the esoteric speculation of the ma’aseh bereshit (act of creation), from which it produced a detailed cosmology and cosmogony. It is considered the earliest Hebrew text of this kind of systematic thought, and although it was brief and concise, its influences were to have a profound impact on Jewish mystical and occult speculation. Divine wisdom is an important theme for the Sepher Yetzirah, since the creation of the cosmos is evidently accomplished through “32 secret paths of wisdom.” These 32 secret paths of wisdom are defined as consisting of ten numbers and twenty-two elemental letters, and represent the foundation for all creation. The word for number is Sephiroth, which is, according to Scholem, an unusual word usage, since the typical Biblical word would have been “misparim” for numbers, signifying that the author of this book had a more metaphysical or esoteric definition for this term (they weren’t just ordinary numbers).

Read the original article at: Talking About Ritual Magick

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