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Bibil Identifier bibil:204129
Publication Type Journal article
Title (English, Long) The Mystical and Magical Powers of Letters and Numbers in the Jewish Tradition
Author Waldman, Felicia
Journal Biblische Notizen (Volume: 137)
Year (Publication) 2008
Year (Original (1st Edition)) 2008
Year (Copyright) 2008
Year (Reference) 2008
Year (Second publication) 2008
Language English
Pages 75-104 Pages
Genre Original
Abstract In Jewish interpretation of the Holy Scripture, the article discusses the importance of the concept of letters and numbers as the basic instruments of creation. This approach to scriptures is seen as a form of creation and hence creates a certain liberty in the reading of the Torah's mystical sense. A deeper meaning is hidden in the text that awaits revelation by the learned and prepared sage. This study surveys the various attempts to disclose the secrets concealed in the Torah, i.e. the use of symbols, the existence of four levels of reading, the seventy meanings of letters and words, the 600,000 personal decoding keys, the interchange of the sequence of characters, and the supposition that e.g. a single character or even two whole books could be missing from the Torah. The author concludes that these are perceived as hcrmcncutical means to enter and understand the divine. Special attention is given to the methods based on letters and numbers which the kabbalists developed to access not only the divine secret concealed in the text but also the divine itself, i.e. gematria, temurah and notarikon. The last section of this article is devoted to the magical use of letters and numbers in a practical exercise: the Golem, seen as a (limited) imitation of (or competition with?) the divine creation.
Keywords Thesaurus BiBIL : Old Testament (Introduction) : Theology : Themes : Mysticism
Thesaurus BiBIL : Unbound Keywords : Oral Tradition
Thesaurus BiBIL : Milieu : Ancient Judaism : Important Persons and Movements : Themes : Kabbala
Thesaurus BiBIL : Milieu : Ancient Judaism : Themes : Mysticism
Last modification 2017-10-27