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Some Considerations On Enoch/Metatron In The Jewish Mystical Tradition

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Chapter Summary

According to Gershom G. Scholem and other scholars who followed his line of reasoning, the first manifestation of an esoteric tradition in Judaism was the emergence, in the 1st century B.C.E., of a special preoccupation with ecstatic ascensions, through various mystical techniques, to the Divine Chariot and Throne of Glory, called Ma'aseh Merkabah. An important set of texts related to Merkabah mysticism consists of the two-plus-one versions of the Book of Enoch - two-plus-one, because the Hebrew version belongs to the later stratum of Hekhalot mystical literature, and was actually known under the name of Sefer Hekhalot. It was probably written several centuries after Hekhalot Rabbati. Merkabah mysticism, which evolved into the ecstatic type of kabbalistic writings and ritual practices, dealt with the mystic's ascension to the divine realm, initially just to contemplate the Throne and Chariot, but later, starting with Abraham Abulafia, to try and obtain unio mystica.

Keywords: Book of Enoch; Jewish Mystical Tradition; kabbalistic writings; Ma'aseh Merkabah



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