The Archaeology of the Zohar: Sifra Ditseniʽuta as a Sample Text

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The authorship of the Zohar has long been an open and often disputed question. Opinions are divided between those who believe that it was written by a single author, and others who see it as the product of multiple authors who each contributed to what must be recognized as a collaborative work. Those who argue for a single author fall into one of two groups: some uphold the tradition whereby the entire work was written in the Land of Israel by the second-century tannaitic Sage Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai, while others – among them both rabbinic and academic scholars – claim that the author was the thirteenth-century Spanish kabbalist Moses de Leon. As for those who argue for multiple authors – they, too, can be divided into groups: some attribute the Zohar to several discrete thirteenth-century authors, some to a coherent thirteenth-century kabbalistic circle ( ḥ avurah ), while others stipulate multiple groups of thirteenth-century authors, whose work was subjected to a continuous process of redaction by subsequent generations of kabbalists My own position on this question has changed over time. Originally I subscribed to the view that the Zohar was composed by multiple authors during the relatively short period from the end of the thirteenth century to the beginning of the fourteenth. I now believe that the process of composition was much more protracted, stretching from the eleventh century to approximately the third decade of the fourteenth.
Translated title of the contributionהארכיאולוגיה של ספר הזוהר: ספרא דצניעותא כדוגמה
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)IX-LXXXV
Journalדעת: כתב-עת לפילוסופיה יהודית וקבלה
StatePublished - 2016

IHP Publications

  • ihp
  • Archaeological dating
  • Criticism, Textual
  • Identification
  • Zohar


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