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The Holy Cabala of Changes

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Jacob Böhme and Jewish Esotericism

image of Aries

This study examines affinities between kabbalah and Böhme’s theosophy. There are hints in Böhme’s writings of an awareness of the esoteric dimension of Judaism, regarding the mystical-magical power of the name. For Böhme, the Tetragrammaton signifies the efflux of the Word, which through Wisdom, facilitates the transition from infinite unity to finite multiplicity. The aspect of Böhme’s incarnational theosophy most indebted to the kabbalah concerns the role of the imagination as the faculty wherein the body of God is reflected as the anthropos in the sophianic mirror of nature. Böhme’s speculation on the seven properties parallels what kabbalists aver regarding the ten sefirotic potencies that collectively disclose the hidden essence of the infinite in the attributes of lovingkindness on the right and judgment on the left of the Tree of Life. Finally, the study assesses the conceptual correspondence between the desire of the Ungrund in Böhme and the jouissance of the kabbalistic Ein Sof.

Affiliations: 1: University of California, Santa Barbara ewolfson@religion.ucsb.edu

10.1163/15700593-01801002
/content/journals/10.1163/15700593-01801002
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/content/journals/10.1163/15700593-01801002
2018-01-01
2018-10-19

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