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Through a Speculum That Shines


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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction3Ch. 1"Israel: The One Who Sees God" - Visualization of God in Biblical, Apocalyptic, and Rabbinic Sources13Ch. 2Vision of God in Mystical Sources: A Typological Analysis52Ch. 3Visionary Ascent and Enthronement in the Hekhalot Literature74Ch. 4Theories of the Glory and Visionary Experience in Pre-Kabbalistic Sources125Ch. 5Haside Ashkenaz: Veridical and Docetic Interpretations of the Chariot Vision188Ch. 6Visionary Gnosis and the Role of the Imagination in Theosophic Kabbalah270Ch. 7The Hermeneutics of Visionary Experience: Revelation and Interpretation in the Zohar326Conclusion393Appendix: Manuscripts Cited399Select Bibliography of Primary Sources Cited401Select Bibliography of Secondary Sources Cited409Index439

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Wolfson brilliantly shows that the visionary mode of religious experience is central to Jewish spirituality from antiquity through the late Middle Ages ... A landmark study from one of our most gifted scholars. -- Elliot Ginsburg, University of Michigan The book is a dazzling accomplishment, a landmark study from one of our most gifted scholars. -- Elliot Ginsburg, University of Michigan

About the Author

Elliot R. Wolfson is the Abraham Lieberman Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University, and Director of Religious Studies. He is the author of several books on the history of Jewish mysticism, including Along the Path: Studies in Kabbalistic Myth, Symbolism, and Hermeneutics and Circle in the Square: Studies in the Use of Gender in Kabbalistic Symbolism.


Winner of the 1995 Sarah H. and Julius Kushner Award, National Jewish Book Council One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 1995 Winner of the 1994 Excellence in Book Publishing Award, American Academy of Religion "Massive, magisterial... Wolfson has amassed an impressive array of texts to establish the foundational importance of seeing God for Jewish mysticism ... and his book formulates many questions that will undoubtedly occupy subsequent investigators as they grapple with the significance of its findings... This book comprises a manifold contribution to our appreciation of Jewish mysticism and Jewish intellectual history in the Middle Ages."--Jeremy Cohen, American Historical Review "Energy and excitement ... burst forth from page after page of this remarkably wide-ranging yet tightly argued work... Wolfson's work is scholarship in the grand tradition--sweeping in scope and references, precise in analysis and argumentation."--Everett Gendler, Theological Studies "A learned, authoritative and scrupulously documented study of visionary experiences among medieval Jewish prophets and mystics."--Earle J. Coleman, Menorah Review "Arguing that kabalistic experience is first and foremost a visual rather than an aural experience ... Wolfson traces the subject in rich detail, from its biblical origins through the mystical sources of the talmudic and posttalmudic era... With the publication of this major study, Wolfson has confirmed his position as one of the leading students of medieval Jewish mysticism."--Choice

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