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Books of Contemplation, The

Medieval Jewish Mystical Sources

Mark Verman

Publication Year: 1992

The earliest medieval Jewish mystical writings, or kabbalah, date from the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. This is the first book to focus on the most prodigious group active at that time—the ‘Circle of Contemplation’.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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CONTENTS

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pp. vii-viii

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PREFACE

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pp. x-

The Jewish mystical tradition constitutes a vast repository of texts. There has never been a comprehensive attempt to enumerate all of them. Undoubtedly, such an undertaking would yield thousands upon thousands of entries. Only a small fraction of these has ever ...

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. xii-

Profound thanks to the Compassionate One. This research project began many years ago, as a Harvard University dissertation. I am grateful to Professor Isadore Twersky, my dissertation adviser, for his encouragement and wide-ranging support, as well as the critical insights of Professors Bernard Septimus ...

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1. INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF CONTEMPLATION, THE FOUNTAIN OF WISDOM, AND THE BOOK OF UNITY

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pp. 1-30

In western Europe, around the year 1230,1 an obscure Jewish luminary writing under the nom de plume, Rabbi Hammai, composed a short yet profound theosophical treatise, probing the recondite nature of the Divine realm.Hammai, it should be noted, is an ...

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2. THE BOOKS OF CONTEMPLATION AND THE FOUNTAIN OF WISDOM

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pp. 31-119

The following texts represent the corpus of writings referred to in the previous chapter as The Books of Contemplation. Most of these works have never been published, and none have been treated critically. Some have been preserved in unique manuscripts, whereas others have a rich scribal heritage. Where feasible, both a Hebrew edition ...

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3. COSMOLOGICAL THEORIES OF THE "CIRCLE OF CONTEMPLATION": THE COSMOLOGY OF THE BOOKS OF CONTEMPLATION

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pp. 121-163

In the previous chapter we have presented the writings that constitute The Books of Contemplation. Now we are able to explore the rich theosophical texture of these works. The major theme of all of the recensions of Contemplation is how the cosmos came into being and ...

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4. HISTORICAL DIMENSIONS

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pp. 165-192

Having presented and discussed the array of texts connected with The Books of Contemplation, we are now in a position to assemble the historical data that is available, in order to pinpoint the time and place of composition of these works. In so doing, we shall have occasion ...

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5. HISTORICAL CONNECTIONS

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pp. 193-210

The writings of the "Circle of Contemplation" were not composed in an intellectual vacuum. Rather, they display points of contact with other contemporary groups of Jewish mystical theologians, active in the early thirteenth century. In this chapter we shall investigate connections with the ...

APPENDIX I: CONTEMPLATION'S SUBTEXTS

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pp. 211-238

APPENDIX II: TEXTUAL RELATIONSHIPS

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pp. 239-248

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

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pp. 249-252

INDEX

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pp. 253-270


E-ISBN-13: 9781438422886
E-ISBN-10: 1438422881
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791407196
Print-ISBN-10: 0791407195

Page Count: 286
Publication Year: 1992

Series Title: SUNY series in Judaica: Hermeneutics, Mysticism, and Religion
Series Editor Byline: Michael Fishbane