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The original text of Sefer Yeṣira or the earliest recoverable text ?

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Chapter Summary

Sefer Yeṣra (SY) is a short, enigmatic text which sets out to demonstrate how God created the world by using what it calls the 'thirty-two wondrous paths of wisdom' constituted by the sefirot: the Spirit of the Living God, air, water, fire, the six dimensions of space, together with the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. SY first appears in two tenth century manuscripts, one now in the Vatican Library and beautifully written in the square Hebrew script used for biblical texts. The other is in a scroll found in the Cairo Geniza and now in three separate parts in Cambridge University Library. In preparing an edition of this text the author had to confront and make decisions on a number of problems, many of which are common to scholars working on the text-criticism and edition of Jewish texts from antiquity.

Keywords: God; Hebrew alphabet; Jewish texts; Sefer Yeṣra (SY)



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