Paralipomena. Remains of Gospels and Sayings of Christ by B. Pick

By B. Pick

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Sample text

But the relationship between religion and histori­ cal conditions is constantly changing and cannot be reduced to any simple common denominator. A sound answer would require a knowledge of all the historical factors and of the specific con­ ditions under which the mystics embarked on their activities. Yet perhaps there is one exception to this statement: those mystics who may be characterized as innately radical-a specific personal quality that is by no means limited to mystics. There are plenty of men who incline by nature to the radical formulation of their ideas, who chafe at authority of any kind and have no patience whatever with the folly of their fellow men.

8 Philo, Vita Mosis, II, 5 r . IN JEWISH MYS TICISM laws and harmonious order which pervade and govern all exist­ ence. In addition the Kabbalists were able to read in the esoteric and apocalyptic books of the Talmudic period that heaven and earth were created by the Name of God. 1 It was only natural to combine statmeents of this kind with the notion of the Torah as the instrument of Creation, that is, the Great Name of God. This basic idea of the Torah as the Name of God was the source of certain other Kabbalistic developments.

Usually these dividing lines are not so clear. Often enough the conflict takes place quite openly and the mystic is perfectly con­ scious of it. In such cases the mystic knows that he must oppose the existing authority, that he has been chosen to found a new authority or to do away with authority altogether. This was the case with the great leaders of the Anabaptists, whose mystical inspiration is undeniable, and of the Quakers, to cite only these two striking examples from the history of Chris­ tianity.

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