Beholders of Divine Secrets: Mysticism and Myth in the by Vita Daphna Arbel

By Vita Daphna Arbel

"A wide-ranging exploration of the Hekhalot and Merkavah literature, a magical Jewish culture from overdue antiquity, together with a dialogue of the potential cultural context of this material's creators."

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Additional info for Beholders of Divine Secrets: Mysticism and Myth in the Hekhalot and Merkavah Literature

Sample text

Ishmael . . Jacob . . the twelve tribes . . Amram . . Moses . . Aaron and Miriam . . Joshua . . the Judges . . 40 Beholders of Divine Secrets Eli . . Phineas . . Elkanah . . Samuel . . the Kings of Judah . . the Kings of Israel . . the Kings of the gentiles . . their deeds and their thoughts . . 90 His new sentient state allows Rabbi Ishmael to be free of human limitations, historical situations, and the circumstances of passing time. He can gaze not only at the remote past, but also at the far future.

The most famous event is the revelation at Mt. Sinai. 10 Hekhalot and Merkavah Mysticism 25 In several of the Hekhalot and Merkavah writings a different spiritual outlook finds expression. The communication between God and human beings is not limited to a unique divine revelation and its continuous manifestation in the Torah. Likewise, human encounters with God are no longer divinely initiated and proclaimed to people merely through prophetic or angelic mediators. Instead, Hekhalot and Merkavah mysticism emphasizes a personal visionary praxis of attaining God, constituted by humans.

52 An examination of other passages of the Hekhalot and Merkavah literature discloses that the terminology applied conveys details regarding the effect of various methods and practices on the adept’s inner perception. 53 Concepts such as consciousness, perception, or inner insight are not explicitly mentioned. They are nonetheless recognized in the narratives as the capability to behold God, to observe the Merkavah, and to see divine visions, which is the main objective of the various techniques.

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