The participation of god and the torah in early kabbalah

Adam Afterman*, Ayal Hayut-Man

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

All Abrahamic religions have developed hypostatic and semi-divine perceptions of scripture. This article presents an integrated picture of a rich tradition developed in early kabbalah (twelfth–thirteenth century) that viewed the Torah as participating and identifying with the God-head. Such presentation could serve scholars of religion as a valuable tool for future comparisons between the various perceptions of scripture and divine revelation. The participation of God and Torah can be divided into several axes: the identification of Torah with the Sefirot, the divine gradations or emanations according to kabbalah; Torah as the name of God; Torah as the icon and body of God; and the commandments as the substance of the Godhead. The article concludes by examining the mystical implications of this participation, particularly the notion of interpretation as eros in its broad sense, both as the “penetration” of a female Torah and as taking part in the creation of the world and of God, and the notion of unification with Torah and, through it, with the Godhead.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)471
Number of pages1
JournalReligions
Volume12
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2021

Keywords

  • Godhead
  • Jewish mysticism
  • Kabbalah
  • Participation in the Godhead
  • Scripture
  • Torah

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