The Hekhalot and Merkavah Literature and Its Mystical Tradition. Those who define mysticism in terms of a certain type of experience of God often seem to forget. Heikhalot Literature. Scholars Reprinted with permission from Descenders to the Chariot: The People Behind the Hekhalot Literature, published by Brill. The Hekhalot literature is a motley collection of textually fluid and often textually corrupt documents in Hebrew and Aramaic which deal with.

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The last belongs, strictly speaking, to the magical literature rather than the Litersture literature; but see the discussion below on the relation between these two genres. Space permits only a few preliminary observations.

Finally, he snatched a stone from the underworld, and then revived near the root of the tree he was about to cut down, having been fully instructed as a shaman. First, the call may be either imposed from an external source usually the spirits or a voluntary decision of the future shaman. And let it be a great seal upon the limbs of my body, as it is written, “Holy, holy, holy” Isa 6: This text combines a Hekhalot liferature with physiognomic and astrological speculation.

Yediot Achronot, Hebrew. In this case the goal seems to be the magical granting of a wish. In the sixth he entered as a skeleton and was “forged” into a shaman.

And if he adds or subtracts, his blood is on his own head. Citations from the Physiognomy of R. The anthropological approach used here has focused on descriptions of cultic praxes and revelatory experiences and the Hekhalot literature gives us much more information on these areas than any of the other corpora. In general the Hekhalot Zutarti focuses on the gaining of theurgical power by the individual.


Thus, the “call” of the descenders to the chariot seems to be connected with physiognomic, and perhaps astrological, criteria, just as is sometimes true for shamans. In order to hekbalot up this assertion it is necessary to define a number of terms and draw some important distinctions. Nehuniah “stood and made me descend to the chariot.

The entire song is about four times the length of this excerpt and contains lines unintelligible to the translator and his informants.

Hekhalot Literature

Akiva during which God on his throne enthusiastically affirmed the value of these praxes for learning Torah paras. Ishmael’s question, “What are these songs that one recites who seeks to observe the vision of the chariot so as to descend safely and to ascend safely? Wertheimer and Adolph Jellinek. Shortly after this another vision of God’s throne is narrated by R. Ishmael narrates his ascent through the seven palaces, and his singing of a hymn in the seventh. Near the end of the Hekhalot Rabbati we are given a set of songs that are recited daily by the throne of glory, which the descender to the chariot should also sing paras.

Since it is widely agreed that the latter two documents are literary reformulations of Hekhalot material that are redactionally later than the other texts, I leave them out of consideration here.

Where can one find those? Macmillan, andrespectively. Seven heavens are mentioned occasionally in the Hekhalot texts e. Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan discusses this material extensively in Meditation and Kabbalah.

And let him insert this midrash of literatire prince of Torah into the prayer three times in every single day; it is after the prayer that he should pray it from its beginning to its end. I take no position in this paper on the date of composition and redaction of the Hekhalot literature or on its precise relationship to Second Temple apocalyptic and esoteric literature on the latter question, see the discussion in the last two sections of litwrature article.


Usually this intermediation involves influencing the spirits to act on behalf of human beings. There is not a firm consensus among scholars as to when it was written but there is general agreement to a range of C.

Hekhalot Literature Research Papers –

At the end of his ordeal in the snow hut, Igjugarjuk was visited by a spirit in the form of a beautiful woman who came as a sign that he was to become a shaman.

The Merkavah Rabba, after prescribing the standard praxes paras. University of Nebraska, originally published in ] This connection reinforces the other indications of real praxis. The voice of the fifth: He allows for the possibility that the writers sometimes had visionary experiences or “hallucinations,” but he sees the major developments as literary.

Whether this is because Metatron had his roots in Second Temple traditions about Enoch or because the theurgic elements have been deliberately purged from 3 Enoch, or perhaps for both reasons, is open to discussion.

The Hekhalot literature is post-rabbinical, and not a literature of the rabbis, but since it seeks to stand in continuity with the Rabbinic literature often pseudepigraphical.

The Sar Panim contains elements of both genres, and it is not clear that it should be assigned exclusively to either.

He was four years old when the spirits first called him. They are repeatedly described as “meriting from one to four crowns” PRI paras. The following additional diacritical marks are used:. These disciplines, especially the endurance of cold, eventually fill the shaman with heat and spiritual might.