Scholars of Jewish Mysticism have often commented upon the phenomenological similarities between important forms of Jewish mysticism and of Western Esotericism (see, e.g., the theosophical systems of the Zohar and of Jacob Boehme). Indeed, Western Esotericism may roughly be characterized as the parallel within Christian culture (but extending to its post-Christian secularized derivations) of what Jewish Mysticism represents within Jewish culture. Such parallels invite comparative research, preferably based upon close interaction and exchange between scholars in both domains.
Jewish Mysticism has been of major historical importance in the development of Western Esoteric traditions since the Renaissance. The phenomenon of "Christian Kabbalah" is a central phenomenon in this respect, which has in turn influenced the development of Jewish mysticism in the modern period. Beyond the Renaissance period, the influence of Jewish mysticism or specific aspects of it may be traced (albeit in increasingly derivative forms) throughout the history of Western Esotericism. Patterns of historical influence and interaction between Jewish Mysticism and Western Esotericism, in their various historical manifestations, are therefore of crucial importance.
the above summary has been borrowed (with slight editorial modifications) from a news message on a symposium of Western Esotericism and Jewish Mysticism
Links Jewish Mysticism - a number of on-line mystical texts, and short bios. Part of the Mysticism in World Religions site.
"Sefer Yetsirah" - Time Line - not just the Sefer Yetsirah but includes much on the history of Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism in general
Selected Bibliography on Kabbalah and Jewish Mysticism - a good list of references
Soc.Culture.Jewish Reading List - Kabbalah, Mysticism, and Messianism - Introduction Or skip the intro and go straight to the section index.
back to Kabbalah main page
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