Year of publication:
Titel der Quelle:
Journal of Jewish Studies
Angaben zur Quelle:
74,2 (2023) 359-381
Abulafia, Abraham ben Samuel, Criticism and interpretation
Sefer Yezirah Criticism, interpretation, etc.
Abraham Abulafia was a unique Jewish mystic of the thirteenth century. He was well versed in the works of Moses Maimonides and other philosophers and also had a deep understanding of letter permutation mysticism developed from various commentaries of Sefer YeṢirah. These diverse influences led Abulafia to develop a world-view emphasizing the differences between philosophical, traditional and Kabbalistic discourses. However, he argued that, ultimately, they refer to similar dynamics. This article focuses on the central role of divine flow (shefa) and the holy spirit in Abulafia's thought. The concept of the holy spirit as overflow was widely used in medieval literature across various religious traditions, such as Judaism, Islam and Christianity, to understand the nature of divine agency, causality and inspiration. Abulafia utilized this broad understanding to argue that all forms of discourse, whether philosophical or religious, are limited forms of the divine overflow. The only actual reality is the unified flow that transcends all forms of discourse and metaphysical and mental structures. Therefore, according to Abulafia, the mystical path is to transcend all forms of discourse and one's mental faculties and reach the state of union with the absolute divine flux.
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