The Mysteries of the Qabalah
THE MYSTERIES OF THE QABALAH.
Written down by seven pupils of
And prepared for publication by one of them whose symbol is
THE YOGI PUBLICATION SOCIETY
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Scanned, proofed and formatted at sacred-texts.com, April, 2008 by John Bruno Hare. This text is in the public domain in the US because it was published prior to 1923.
WHO GAVE ME ALL THE MATERIALS FOR THE BUILDING, POINTING OUT THE PATH TO ME WHICH HE HIMSELF WITH BLEEDING FEET HAS TRODDEN.
ONE OF THE SEVEN.
THE LITERATURE OF
Throughout the Ages
A Short History of the Qabalah as Shown in its Bibliography.
Date b.c.? From earliest times this oral knowledge was prevalent amongst the Jews and others. It can be traced back into the night of time, on the monuments and in the sacred scrolls and hieroglyphs of all nations.
a.d. 100-200. It is generally accepted by Qabalists that the various doctrines found in the Sepher Yetzirah or Book of Becoming (Formation), in the Book of Splendour (Zohar) and in the Bahir, were written down during this period by certain students after discussion with a teacher, probably the Rabbi Shimeon ben Yochai. From this time onward many MSS. were copied and circulated throughout Europe, being, however, carefully guarded by esotericists.
1070. Little is known of any actual Qabalistic writings during the period between the first and tenth centuries, although there are many MSS. now in the Vatican which treat of the doctrines. These are quoted by Bartolocci in his Bibliotheca Magna Rabbinica (vol. 4). There was, moreover, a floating body of esoteric wisdom known to students as "Secrets and Mysteries" (see Furst's Bibliotheca Judaica) during this epoch, for references to which see the works of Ibn Gebirol (Isaac Myer's Qaballah).
1100-1400 a.d. The great outstanding work of this period was the inspired effort of Rabbi Moses de Leon, who either collected together the different manuscripts of the disciples of Rabbi Shimeon and edited and arranged them in book form as a complete work (The Sepher Ha-Zohar), or was impressed from higher spheres—inspired—to give forth certain knowledge he had acquired through oral teaching and in dreams, etc., that intuitional knowledge which comes ever to the true disciple. Very many other Qabalistic works were written during this period, though few are actually called "Qabalah," this name being as it were an after-thought of the scholars and of comparatively modern invention. A name was required to cover the whole ground, to include all these "mysteries" and "superstitions," as Kircher calls them, and hence this name Qabalah was used, meaning the "Received Doctrine." It is said by the editor of the complete
[paragraph continues] Zohar which Jean de Pauly translated, that the word Qabalah was first used by Rabbi Aaron Ashkenazi, but otherwise the Qabalistic doctrines were simply known as "Secrets and Mysteries,"
1150-1190. Maimonides’ works produced, chief amongst them being the Moreh Nebochim, of which there is a modern English translation by Friedlander, called The Guide to the Perplexed.
1190-? Isaac the Blind. The supposed writer of the Sepher Ha-Bahir, a work containing similar doctrines to those of the Zohar and Yetzirah. Treats of Reincarnation, Karma, the Trinity and Emanations, etc.
1190-1270. Nahmanides’ different commentaries produced. Many Qabalistic work ascribed to him and printed in later centuries. Sha’ar Emunah. On Prayers, The Decalogue, etc. Penish Sepher Yetzirah (Mantua, 1562, imp.). Bi’ur le-Sefer ha-Rimmon Eden Gan Elohim, etc.
1200? Commentary on the Ten Sephiroth, by Azriel Ben Menahem (edited by N. A. Goldberg, 1850, Berlin). Sepher ha-Milluim, (1719, Mantua, Nachmanides) .
1270? Midrash de R. Shimeon ben Yochai by Moses de Leon. This is the famous Zohar already mentioned. It was written in Aramaic, and has been many times translated in different languages.
1270-1350-? Poske Hilkot by Recanati (1538, Bologna). He wrote also many Qabalistic commentaries, endeavoring to support the views of Qabalistic fellow students.
1310—. Ars Magna, by Raymond Lully.
1370-1430. Commentary on the Sepher Yetzirah by Moses Botarel (Mantua, 1562; Zolkiev, 1745; Grodno, 1806).
1455. Works of Johann Reuchlin, De Arte Cabalistica, etc.
1460-1500? Commentary called Ziyyuni, by Menahem ben Meir (or Zioni), (printed at Cremona, 1559).
1463. Writings of Pico de Mirandola.
1487-1535. De Occulta Philosophia (many editions), a Qabalistic writing by H. Cornelius Agrippa.
1490. De Harmonia Mundi, by Francesco Zorri.
1493. Theophrastus Paracelsus (works).
1519. Alpha Beta, of Rabbi Akiba (various editions).
1533-72. Various works of Isaac de Luria, said to be "the founder of the modern Cabala" (Jewish Encyclopaedia).
[paragraph continues] Many of his writings printed from 1595-1839. A list of same may be seen in Jewish Encyclopaedia (art. Luria). The most important are: The Purification of the Soul (1595, Venice), Derek Emeth, Annotations on Zohar (1663, Venice), Notes on Zohar he-Hadash (1663, Venice), Perush Sepher Yetzirah (1719, Amsterdam).
1535. Philo's works, Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum (Basel), etc., 1527.
1550—. Ez Hayyim (Korzec, 1784), the teachings of Luria, collected by his disciple, Hayyim Vital. Dealing with the different Qabalistic doctrines of Reincarnation and Interpretation of Scripture, etc.
1552. Abrahami Patriarchæ liber Yetzirah. Guillemo Postello.
1558. Mantua Text of Zohar, etc.
1550. Cremona Text of Zohar, etc.
1562. Mantuah Text of Yetzirah, etc.
1566. Sepher Yuhasin (Book of Genealogies), by R. Abraham ben Zakut (1492).
1574. Works of Robert Fludd.
1580. Works of Jacob Boehme.
1585. Works of J. B. von Helmont.
1587. Artis Cabalisticae Scriptores ex biblioth. Pistorii.
1602. Oedipus Aegyptiacus. Athenasius Kircher.
1607. Lexicon Chaldaicum of Buxdorf.
1615. Works of De Voisin.
1650. Gaffael's Unheard of Curiosities (trans. from French).
1652. Thomas Vaughan's Works.
1662. Liber Yesirah qui Abrahmae patriarchae adscribitur (with Rabbi Abraham's commentary).
1677. Kabbala Denudata. Knorr von Rosenroth.
1678. Bibliotheca Magna Rabbinica. J. Bartolocci.
1707. Histoire de la Religion des Juifs (Vol. 3). J. Basnage.
1721. Introductio ad historiam philosophiae Hebraeorum. J. F Buddaeus.
1743. Nistorah R. Shimeon ben Yochai (Salonica).
1783. Kontros Sepher Ha-Zohar. J. Satanov (Berlin).
1785. Pitche Chochmah. Korez.
1786. Ueber die Natur und den Ursprung der Emanations-lehre bei den Kabbalisten (Riga).
1798. Commentary on the Sephiroth. Azariel.
1815. La Langue Hebraique Restituée. Fabre D’Olivet.
1827-1853. Philosophie der Geschichte uber die Tradition. F. J. Molitor (said to be the greatest Qabalistic work of this century).
1832. Philosophia Cabbalistica. Freystadt.
1833. Dictionnaire de la Conversation, S. Munk; and other writings of great importance.
1837. De ortu Cabbaloe. F. A. Tholuck.
1843. La Kabbale. Dr. A. Franck.
1844. Die Kabbala von Dr. Franck. A. Jellinek.
De l’harmonie entre L’Eglise et la Synagogue. Chev. Drach.
1849. Die Religions-philosophie des Sohar. Dr. H. Joel.
1851. Bibliotheca Judaica and
1857. Melanzes Juives. Both in French.
1865. Gesch. der Philosophie des Mittelalters (Vol. II). Stöckl.
1869. Le Juif. G. des Mousseaux.
1872. Philo . . . als Auslegger des Alten Testaments. C. Siegfried.
1876. History of Philosophy. (I. 417). F. Ueberweg.
1880. System der altsynagogalen palastinischen Theologie. F. Weber.
Talmudic Miscellany. P. J. Herson.
1881. Historie de l’exegèse biblique. L. Wogue.
1883. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Dr. Schiller-Szinessy.
1884. Mission des Juifs. St. Ives D’Alveydre.
1887. Kaballah Unveiled. S. L. McGregor Mathers.
Sepher Yetzirah. Trans. by Dr. Papus (Paris).
Leelenlehre des Qabalah. Leiningen.
1888. Qabalah. Isaac Myer.
Isis Unveiled. H. P. Blavatsky.
Masonic Review. Cincinnati. Railston Skinner's Articles on Qabalah.
1889. Commentary on Sepher Yetzirah. Eleazer of Worms.
1890. Essias des Sciences Mandites. Stanislas de Ginta.
1819. Graetz. History of the Jews. English Ed. (useless to the mystic).
1893. The Secret Doctrine. H. P. Blavatsky.
Sepher Yetzirah, trans. Wynn Westcott.
1894. Le Livre des Splendeurs. Eliphas Levi.
1896. History of the Jews. Edersheim (3rd edition).
Book of the Secrets of Enoch, trans. Charles.
1898. Traité Elémentaire de Science Occulte (5th edition).
1901. Histoire de la Litterature Juive. Ch. 5.
Etude sur les Origines du Zohar. Karppe.
1902. Philosophie, Qabbala und Vedanta. Flugel.
1903. Jewish Encyclopaedia. Art. Kaballah. Ginsburg (an article of rare worth).
1906. Sepher Ha-Zahor (6 vols.), Jean de Pauly. Edited by Lafume-Giraud (the finest translation extant and most complete edition of all).
1909. La Clef du Zohar. Albert Journet.
1910. Introduction to the Kabalah. Wynn Westcott (from p. 31 onwards).
Those that give us food nourish our mortal body only, those that entertain and instruct us in things of this world enchant our lower minds alone, but those who awaken the eternal spark within us, to them love and devotion are ever due.
—From The Zohar.