cabala

(redirected from Cabalist)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.

cabala:

see kabbalahkabbalah
or cabala
[Heb.,=reception], esoteric system of interpretation of the Scriptures based upon a tradition claimed to have been handed down orally from Abraham.
..... Click the link for more information.
.

Cabala

 

(an ancient Hebrew word, literally meaning “traditional lore”), a mystical current in Judaism.

Cabala combined the pantheistic constructions of Neoplato-nism and the mythologems of gnosticism with a Jewish belief in the Bible as a world of symbols. The Book of Creation, a treatise written between the third and the eighth century A.D. and the first attempt at abstract speculation in the Hebrew language, teaches about the 32 elements in the creation of the world. These elements included the ten fundamental numbers (as in Pythagoreanism in Greece) and the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The cabala in the proper sense of the word arose in the early 13th century among Jews of Spain and Provence and developed in a complex interrelationship of mutual influence and conflict with an Arabic Jewish philosophical movement in Andalusia.

The fundamental work of the cabala is the Book of Splendor, or Zohar, which was written in Aramaic in Castile at the end of the 13th century. The book was probably written by Moses de Leon (Moshe de Leon), who, however, preferred to attribute it to the second-century Talmudic sage Simeon ben Yokhai. The Zohar takes the typical form of allegorical interpretations of biblical texts. The cabala took god as an absolute, incorporeal, indefinable, and boundless entity (Ein Sof), a negation of everything objective. However, this nothingness is at the same time everything in the objects into which its essence flows, and it limits itself for this purpose. Thus, the cabala replaces the theory of the creation of the world with the concept of emanation. The indefinable god acquires definition in the ten Sefirot, or stages in the unfolding of its meaning, which are analogous to the spheres of gnosticism (Supreme Crown, Wisdom, Intelligence, Love, Power, Compassion, Lasting Endurance, Majesty, Foundation of the World, and Kingdom); the relation of these hypostasized attributes of god is represented in a “tree of Sefirot.” In their totality, the Sefirot form the cosmic body of the perfect essence of the primeval man, the Adam Kadmon, in whom are concentrated the potentials of world being (compare the gnostic myth of the divine man who existed before the beginning of time). Strictly speaking, the cabala does not recognize anything besides or outside of god, and evil may therefore be presented, in this strictly monistic system, merely as a mode of the divine substance itself.

So-called practical cabala is a special aspect of cabala based on the faith that with the help of special rituals, prayers, and inner acts of will man can actively interfere in the divine cosmic process of history (for example, he can hasten the coming of the Messiah), since every “impulse from below” (from man) must necessarily be reciprocated by an “impulse from above” (from god). The major authority of practical cabala was Isaac Luria (Yitskhak ben-Shlomo Ashkenazi), or Ari (1534-72); his system of cabalistic theurgy had an influence on mystical currents in Judaism from the 17th to the 19th century, such as Shabbateanism and Hasidism.

Interest in cabala began spreading in the 15th century among Christian scholars of Europe, who tried to synthesize it with the dogmas of Christianity within the framework of a universal religion that would embrace all mankind (G. Pico della Mirándola, J. Reuchlin, C. Agrippa, Paracelsus). J. Boehme’s theory that world conflict originates in the very nature of god was very similar to cabalistic theory. Certain practices of the Masons show a superficial assimilation of cabalistic symbolism. G. Hegel, V. Solov’ev, N. Berdiaev, C. G. Jung, and M. Buber were directly or indirectly influenced by cabalistic mysticism.

Marxism views cabala, like other currents of Western European mysticism of the period, as a fanciful reflection in the social consciousness of the crisis that accompanied the transition from the Middle Ages to modern times.

REFERENCES

Langer, G. Liebesmystik der Kabbah. Munich, 1956.
Scholem, G. Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism, 4th print. New York, 1969. Pages 119-286.

S. S. AVERINTSEV

cabala

Jewish oral traditions, originating with Moses. [Judaism: Benét, 154]
References in periodicals archive ?
But if the primary target of this book is the current wave of Pyrrhonist skepticism, it also contains a reminder of Mersenne's opposition to "those magicians and charlatans known as Brothers of the Rosy Cross, who boast of understanding [Hermes] Trismegistus and all the cabalists of antiquity."(45)
In a brilliant exhaustive and groundbreaking study Booth who is publishing director at Century and has taught philosophy and theology at Oriel College Oxford gathers the insights of so-called secret societies such as the Freemansons the Rosicrucians the Knights Templars the alchemists and the Cabalists into the mysteries surrounding the creation of the world and humanity the forces of good and evil and the end of time.
Gunnar, poet of the best-selling book Watermelanin, has "the ear of academics, the street denizens, and political cabalists." His universal appeal to various groups positions him as "leader of the Black Community" because "there is no better job fit." Although Gunnar's self-description "as a poet, and thus expert in the ways of soulful coercion" makes him "eminently qualified" for the race man position, his mocking of that position is telling (1).
An imaginary being, supposed by the cabalists, to inhabit the inner parts of the earth, and to be the guardians of mines, quarries, &c.
Pius X classifies Modernists as open rebels, hidden cabalists, or well-intending but confused Catholics.
Surely something would have come when I meditated under the direction of the Cabalists." Despite his training in the magical manipulation of symbols, his readers simply were not getting it.
To keep David's heroic image polished like a shield, supple like a sling, the cabalists worked overtime on the alibis he needed for the things he did to luckless types like Bathsheba's hubby.
There are Alchemists and Cabalists. Great countries are ruled by kings who ride into battle wearing armor.
(18.) The philosophical system of Theosophy has long roots, going back perhaps to the Gnostics and the Cabalists. Renaissance thinker Paracelsus is sometimes regarded as an early exponent.
(Rather confusingly, Dooley would have Urban VIII mad at Galileo both for being an astrologer and for his disdain of astrology in the 1632 Dialogue on the Two World Systems.) And he wants the trial to have been the moment when "business as usual" Renaissance politics died, when it was no longer possible to "keep up appearances" by day, all the while consulting astrologers, cabalists, and magicians by night.
Nowadays it seems so natural and so usual that we manipulate it with ease and we discover its ancestors among medieval cabalists or among other commentators of sacred texts.
In the five-act drama Der Golem in Bayreuth, studded with parodies of Wagner's Parsifal, choruses of young boys, seven cabalists, and the Festspiel society, Berkewicz uses popular and traditional music combined with familiar alienation techniques to explore questions of identity and transcendence in the Judeo-Christian setting.