Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hermeticism in Judiasm

In Judiasm, the Hermetic influences emerged in the Kabbalah. the short and fundamental Kabbalistic text Sepher Yezirah (the "Book of Creation," ca. third century A.D.) expounds a cosmology, notable the sevenfold one of the planets, days of the week, openings in the head and body, etc, and the twelve-fold one of the zodiac, directions of space, monts, organs of the body, etc. It describes a cosmos not torn between good and evil, but held in polarity by positive and negative energies. The method of salvation is through becoming aware of oneself as a microcosm, seating the "King on his Throne" (the divine presence) in the center of life. Again we have a doctrine that is affirmative of nature and the body, and dedicated to the realization of the macrocosm in the microcosm. the esoteric idea of Israel is also a Hermetic one: it is that the Jews are called upon to bear witness to the divine order on earth. Just as in Hermetism the earth, including the humb body, is replete with celestial influences, so the Jewish way of life is designed to ensure that every action carries a spiritual significance.

From the Golden Thread, translated by Joscelyn Godwin, (C) 2007, reproduced by permission of Quest Books, the imprint of the Theosophical Publishing Housel

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