Cabala


Cabala
(also written Kabbalah)
   A body of Hebrew mystical speculation, purporting to represent an ancient oral tradition of biblical interpretation and meditation that contained secret insights into the true spiritual meaning of Scripture. Originally, cabalistic writings were esoteric—something to be divulged only to persons who were intellectually and spiritually prepared to seek direct experience of God. The earliest cabalists passed their doctrines on by word of mouth, but eventually the texts were written down. There is considerable evidence of mystical practices and secret (sometimes quite unorthodox) beliefs going all the way back to the first century B.C. One of the earliest cabalistic texts to be preserved, Sefer Yetzirah / The Book of Creation, was probably written between the third and sixth centuries. It contains speculation on the elements of which the world is composed, which are identified as the 10 primordial numbers (the sephiroth) and the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, which are symbols for the forces through which God made the world. This secret knowledge is believed to confer power over the universe; hence Sefer Yetzirah, like many cabalistic works, is linked to magic—that is, to efforts to gain practical control over material things—as well as to mystical contemplation.
   Cabalistic learning flourished in Italy and Spain in the 13th and 14th centuries. One of the most influential scholars, Abraham Abulafia (1240-after 1291), born in Spain, spent several years travelling in the Middle East and Italy in quest of spiritual enlightenment. After returning to Spain about 1270, he studied Sefer Yetzirah and wrote several commentaries on it. From other cabalists he also learned techniques of biblical interpretation based on manipulation of the numerical values of letters and words in the Hebrew Bible, seeking to learn the true name of God and the names of the sephiroth. The greatest medieval cabalistic book was the Sefer ha-Zohar / Book of Splendor, which claimed to have been written in the second century but in fact was compiled by an anonymous mystic in 13th-century Spain.
   In the later 15th century, a number of Italian Christian scholars, mainly Neoplatonists interested in mystical speculation, studied Cabala. The most important of these was Giovanni Pico della Mirándola, who learned Hebrew and sought religious truths in cabalistic texts. Like most of the early Christian cabalists, Pico interpreted these treatises in a Christian sense. A similar desire to prove Christian truths out of cabalistic literature motivated the first important Christian cabalist from north of the Alps, Johann Reuchlin, and the Christian cabalist who most aggressively pursued the idea that magical power could be obtained from the Cabala, Agrippa von Nettesheim. Cabalistic learning was suspect among traditional theologians because of its Jewish origins, because it was often associated with doctrines (transmigration of souls, for example) incompatible with Christian belief, and because of its links with magic.

Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. . 2004.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • cabală — CABÁLĂ, (2) cabale, s.f. 1. Interpretare ebraică ezoterică şi simbolică a Vechiului testament; doctrină bazată pe această interpretare. 2. fig. Uneltire, intrigă. – Din fr. cabale, germ. Kabale. Trimis de ana zecheru, 13.09.2007. Sursa: DEX 98 … …   Dicționar Român

  • Cabala — oder Čabala ist der Name der folgenden Personen: Christian Cabala (1973−2010), als Chriss Tuxi bekannter österreichischer Discjockey und Schlagersänger Ivan Čabala (* 1960), slowakischer Fußballspieler und trainer Diese Seite ist eine …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Cabala — (alternately Kabbala(h) or Qabala(h)) may refer to one of several systems of Mysticism: * Kabbalah, the religious mystical system of Judaism * Practical Kabbalah, an agglomeration of all the magical practices that developed in Judaism from the… …   Wikipedia

  • cábala — sustantivo femenino 1. Conjunto de doctrinas filosóficas y religiosas que surgieron en el judaísmo para interpretar mística y alegóricamente el Antiguo Testamento: Algunos intelectuales europeos sentían gran curiosidad por las doctrinas de la… …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • cabala — s. f. 1. Interpretação mística da Bíblia (entre os antigos judeus). 2. Ciência oculta. 3. Intriga secreta, trama. 4. Pessoas que entram na cabala …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • Cabala — Cab a*la (k[a^]b [.a]*l[.a]), n. [LL. See {Cabal}, n.] 1. A kind of occult theosophy or traditional interpretation of the Scriptures among Jewish rabbis and certain medi[ae]val Christians, which treats of the nature of god and the mystery of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cabala — index mystery Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • CABALA — locus in Sicilia, ubi Dionysius contra Carthaginenses dimicans, victoriâ potitus est. Diodor. Sic. l. 15. Item urbs Ciliciae, Appianus. Est etiam Thraciae oppid. Cedrenus et Zonaras …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • cabala — / kabala/ (o cabbala; anche kabala, kabbala) s.f. [dall ebr. qabbālāh, propr. ricezione, tradizione ]. 1. (relig., filos.) [complesso delle dottrine mistiche ed esoteriche ebraiche circa Dio e l universo] ▶◀ ‖ esoterismo, misteriosofia. 2.… …   Enciclopedia Italiana

  • cabala — (n.) 1670s, variant of CABBALA (Cf. cabbala). Related: Cabalist …   Etymology dictionary

  • cábala — (Del hebr. qabbālāh, escrituras posteriores a las mosaicas1). 1. f. Conjetura, suposición. U. m. en pl.) 2. En la tradición judía, sistema de interpretación mística y alegórica del Antiguo Testamento. 3. Conjunto de doctrinas teosóficas basadas… …   Diccionario de la lengua española


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.