Blavatsky Bookstore
Sponsored by Blavatsky Study Center


Kabbalah
Introductions & Overviews
9 Recommended Titles


Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction

Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction
by Joseph Dan

This book has not yet been published.  Available November 2005.

"In Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction, Joseph Dan, one of the world's leading authorities on Jewish mysticism, offers a concise and highly accurate look at the history and character of the various systems developed by the adherents of the Kabbalah. Dan sheds light on the many misconceptions about what Kabbalah is and isn't--including its connections to magic, astronomy, alchemy, and numerology--and he illuminates the relationship between Kabbalah and Christianity on the one hand and New Age religion on the other. The book provides fascinating historical background, ranging from the mystical groups that flourished in ancient Judaism in the East, and the medieval schools of Kabbalah in Northern Spain and Southern France, to the widening growth of Kabbalah through the school of Isaac Luria of Safed in the sixteenth century, to the most potent and influential modern Jewish religious movement, Hasidism, and its use of kabbalistic language in its preaching."

"The book examines the key ancient texts of this tradition, including the Sefer Yezira or 'Book of Creation,' The Book of Bahir, and the Zohar. Dan explains Midrash, the classical Jewish exegesis of scriptures, which assumes an infinity of meanings for every biblical verse, and he concludes with a brief survey of scholarship in the field and a list of books for further reading. Embraced by celebrities and integrated in many contemporary spiritual phenomena, Kabbalah has reaped a wealth of attention in the press. But many critics argue that the form of Kabbalah practiced in Hollywood is more New Age pabulum than authentic tradition. Can there be a positive role for the Kabbalah in the contemporary quest for spirituality? In Kabbalah, Joseph Dan debunks the myths surrounding modern Kabbalistic practice, offering an engaging and dependable account of this traditional Jewish religious phenomenon and its impact outside of Judaism."

Buy from Amazon.com


The BeliefNet Guide to Kabbalah

The Beliefnet Guide to Kabbalah
by Arthur Goldwag

"This comes under the everything-you-wanted-to-know umbrella. Goldwag does an excellent job of introducing a complicated subject, neatly balancing the history of the topic with more practical application. The text begins with an informative overview and then backtracks into the origins of Kabbalah and a discussion of its later adherents. It also includes a description of kabbalistic practices and some nicely chosen short meditations, inspired by Kabbalah, 'some dating back to the Zohar, some as contemporary as the Internet.' The personal conclusion takes readers to the heart of Jewish mysticism and what it means to individual lives. A well-rounded and eminently readable account; an extensive bibliography leads readers further"

"This lively, easy-to-follow guide to Kabbalah introduces the ancient Jewish mystical tradition that has captured the interest of Hollywood stars and the general public alike.  Curiosity about this ancient Jewish mystical tradition continues to grow. The Beliefnet Guide to Kabbalah is a highly informative, reader-friendly overview of Kabbalah, whose messages Moses is said to have received from God on Mount Sinai. A collection of speculations on the nature of divinity, the creation, the origins and fate of the soul, and the role of human beings in the world, Kabbalah’s meaning and messages have influenced Jews, Christians, and others alike—and intrigued scholars for generations."

"The Beliefnet Guide to Kabbalah covers the essentials of Kabbalah’s history, sheds light on what Kabbalists believe (including their views on angels and demons and on the afterlife), and provides instructions on both traditional and contemporary meditative, devotional, mystical, and magical practices. Sidebars featuring key facts, anecdotes, and frequently asked questions add to the book’s scope and appeal."

Buy from Amazon.com


Kabbalah: An Introduction and Illumination for the World Today

Kabbalah: An Introduction and Illumination for the World Today
by Charles PoncÚ

"Here is a detailed introduction to this ancient system of Jewish mysticism. Over 100 illustrations, many reproductions of historic book plates, diagrams, and charts, bring the theories of Kabbalah vividly to life. Students of Kabbalism and anyone interested in esoteric thought will find Kabbalah an essential handbook on the background, doctrines, and applications of this rich and important mystical system."

"PoncÚ opens with a full history of traditional Jewish literature.  Clear information is also given about the two forms of Kabbalism (practical & speculative), the links that can be made with astrology, the tarot, eastern philosophies as well as explanations of the Hebrew alphabet and gematria, variations of the Sephirothic tree, the Sephira, etc. There is a large section about Kabbalistic teachings and doctrines."

"Drawing on both traditional and interpretive texts, PoncÚ offers an unusually clear and inspiring explication of this method of achieving illumination, linking it with the similarities found in Yoga, Buddhism, Gnosticism and other religions."

"The book is beautifully illustrated with sumptuous prints from the Renaissance and later kabbalistic treatises."

Buy from Amazon.com


The Essential Kabbalah: The Heart of Jewish Mysticism

The Essential Kabbalah: The Heart of Jewish Mysticism
by Daniel C. Matt

"Kabbalah is the deeply spiritual study of the soul and internal mysteries of Jewish philosophy clothed in allegory and requiring extensive knowledge of the Torah and Talmud. Daniel C. Matt provides a clear overview of the tenets and history of Kabbalah, along with illuminating excerpts from the original texts."

"Daniel Matt has presented the essential principles of the Kabbalah in a very straightforward way."

"Here is a compact presentation of all the primary texts of Kabbalah, elegantly rendered with poetic nuances, exotic imagery, and bold innovation -- from one of the foremost authorities on Jewish mysticism."

"In this book I offer a section of what I consider to be essential teachings from the immense trove of Kabbalah.  I have translated the passages from the original Hebrew and Aramaic texts, and supplied notes to guide you through the maze.  The introduction traces the history of Kabbalah and explains its salient concepts and symbols.  A brief bibliography suggests titles for further study."   Daniel Matt in the Foreword.

Buy from Amazon.com


Kabbalah

Kabbalah
by Gershom Scholem

"A collection of Scholem's articles from the Encyclopaedia Judaica.   The most comprehensive single volume on the Kabbalah, covering its historical development and major concepts and personalities."  Daniel C. Matt

"With origins extending back in time beyond the Dead Sea Scrolls, the body of writings and beliefs known as the Kabbalah has come to be increasingly recognized not only as one of the most intriguing aspects of Judaism but also as an important part of a broader mystical tradition. Here is one of the most enlightening studies ever to plumb its complex depths and range over its rich history, written by the late Gershom Scholem, the world's leading authority on the Kabbalah."

"It is a wonderful reference work on the subject -- probably the best in existence. Its entries are voluminous, even exhaustive....includes short biographies of major Kabbalists as well as chapters on the main concepts of Kabbalah, origins, etc."

See Table of Contents

Buy from Amazon.com


Kabbalah Decoder: Revealing the Messages of the Ancient Mystics

More than 300 beautiful illustrations in this book.

Kabbalah Decoder: Revealing the Messages of the Ancient Mystics
by Janet Berenson-Perkins

"The Kabbalah is an ancient mystical tradition within Judaism, offering insights and inspiration that can be valuable to people of all faiths. Since its beginnings in the third century of the present era, the Kabbalah has continued to evolve, collecting wisdom, symbols, and lore which, when combined, offer an explanation of the divine presence and the relationship between human beings and divinity."

"This beautifully illustrated volume helps readers understand and use the Kabbalah's beneficial images, rites, and lore for their personal earthly and spiritual fulfillment. Explained and supplemented with full-color illustrations are the Sefirot, or Tree of Life symbol, the 22 Paths of the Sefirot and how they relate to our states of consciousness, and much more. This inspiring volume also suggests practical ways in which we can use the Kabbalah to help restructure our perceptions, achieve a positive outlook on life, direct our creativity, and focus our intentions in the course of everyday living."

More than 300 beautiful illustrations.

Buy from Amazon.com


Ehyeh: A Kabbalah for Tomorrow

Ehyeh: A Kabbalah for Tomorrow
by Arthur Green

"[Arthur Green's book is a] superb introduction to the Kabbalah...." Arthur Goldwag, author of The Beliefnet Guide to Kabbalah.

"In Hebrew, the word 'Ehyeh' ('I shall be') is the most sacred and secret name for God. It is this word that drives Arthur Green's Ehyeh: A Kabbalah for Tomorrow, a well-informed introduction to Kabbalah for the spiritual seeker. It is tremendously refreshing to read a Kabbalah book that draws from the well of Jewish scholarly tradition but also successfully speaks to a larger audience. Green, who has studied Jewish mysticism for more than 40 years, has evolved from one who dabbled in psychedelics and Kabbalah in the 1960s to a teacher whose erudition bridges the gap between Kabbalah scholarship and popular interest. After a sensitive autobiographical introduction, Green settles into chapters that explore Kabbalah in the past, present and future."

"Through wisdom gained from his own forty-year spiritual search for the Divine Presence within, Arthur Green challenges us to question the assumptions of modern consciousness, and by doing so open ourselves to learning from Kabbalah, a profound tool of human understanding.   Drawing on the wisdom of the Zohar, the masterwork of the Jewish mystical tradition, and other kabbalistic texts, join Green in examining the following questions."

"How is the kabbalistic tradition relevant to today’s seeker? Are the ancient and mysterious symbols of any value to us in out very different world?  How should Kabbalah be refitted so that it might serve as an appropriate vehicle for a contemporary spiritual quest? Can this be done without destroying the soul of the tradition and while acknowledging today’s reality?"

"Kabbalah teaches that there is a secret unity of all Being, hidden within the multiplicity and diversity of life as we experience it. In order to discover God--or the real meaning or the essential Oneness of Being--we need to turn inward, to look more deeply at the world around us. Scratch the surface of reality and you will discover God. We, in fact, discover the Oneness of Being by staying right here, paying as close attention as we can to the present in which we live."  Excerpt from Chapter 2 of book.

Buy from Amazon.com


Mysteries of the Kabbalah

Mysteries of the Kabbalah
by Marc-Alain Ouaknin

"The Kabbalah has been transmitted orally from masters to disciples since the days of the prophets and recorded in such seminal works as the Book of Splendor (Sepher Ha Zohar) and the Book of Creation (Sepher Ha-Yetzira). Best-selling author and professor Marc-Alain Ouaknin has written a lively text that clearly introduces Kabbalah--the mystical and secret and often baffling tradition of Judaism. In Mysteries of the Kabbalah he explains the ancient myths and symbols that have so profoundly influenced both the Jewish and non-Jewish world."

"Among the fascinating topics the author presents are the hearing of angels' voices; Chokmah (a form of transcendental wisdom); the four divine names and the five modalities of being; the light of infinity; as well as the significance of each of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. He also explores the vital influence of Kabbalah on art, literature, music, architecture, psychoanalysis, and health. The final chapter covers meditation and prayer. Supplementing the text are more than a hundred illustrations of letters, art, and sculpture. Mysteries of the Kabbalah will appeal to anyone interested in Judaism, spiritualism, and history."

"Given the explosion of popular interest in the study of Kabbalah, and the unfortunate popularity of a slew of simplistic and distorted introductions from a new age perspective, it is particularly timely for a book of this quality to emerge. The book is pleasantly designed and well-illustrated. It consists of dozens of short (but detailed) chapters which provide effective introductions to kabbalistic ideas including many which are completely overlooked in some texts. The author is a legitimate academic, but writes in an extremely accessible style."

Buy from Amazon.com


Kabbalah : New Perspectives

Kabbalah : New Perspectives
by Moshe Idel

"This major reinterpretation of Jewish Kabbalah and mysticism offers new perspectives on its origin, development, and relationship to general mystical writing from antiquity to the modern era. Idel, author of more than 25 works on this subject, analyzes in detail two major streams -- ecstatic or anthropocentric Kabbalah and theosophical-theurgical or theocentric Kabbalah -- also showing how they have intertwined. Using manuscripts and esoteric medieval and early modern works, he examines mystical experience through such factors as total union with God and such techniques of mysticism as the visualization of colors and prayer. The technical nature of this important work and the absence of a glossary of Hebrew terms restricts its usefulness for beginners."

"Idel's work explores many hitherto unrecognised issues and motifs within the broad variety of historical Kabbalistic thought. This book maintains an excellent balance of scholarly information and edification, being a lucid phenomenological exploration of the two main types of Kabbalah: the Ecstatic and the Theosophical. Fascinating chapters and well supported arguments relating to the issue of the antiquity of Jewish mysticism and kabbalistic teaching; as well as a thorough exploration of mystical union with God, often ignored in past scholarship due to primary focus on the speculative aspects of Kabbalah. This book demands a revision of the accepted views on the entire history of Jewish mysticism, and it heralds a new era in kabbalistic scholarship."

"The 'New Perspectives' to which Idel refers in his title depend upon a firm grasp of the foundational work of Gershom Scholem. In order to understand Idel's work here, you really need to know your Scholem pretty well....Once you understand a fair bit about the history of Kabbalah in the Scholem model, you are ready to make sense of Idel's highly constructive critique."

Buy from Amazon.com


Blavatsky Bookstore
Sponsored by Blavatsky Study Center