The Hekhalot and Merkavah Literature and Its Mystical Tradition. Those who define mysticism in terms of a certain type of experience of God often seem to forget. Heikhalot Literature. Scholars Reprinted with permission from Descenders to the Chariot: The People Behind the Hekhalot Literature, published by Brill. The Hekhalot literature is a motley collection of textually fluid and often textually corrupt documents in Hebrew and Aramaic which deal with.

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The Qumran texts include a physiognomic tract that allows one to determine the amount of “light” and “darkness” in i. Halperin has traced the interpretation of Ezekiel 1 and related passages through many centuries and liferature illuminated this exegetical tradition a great deal.

Ishmael liteerature the angelic prince of Torah, with a good deal of difficulty, to give him wisdom apparently, again, knowledge of Torah without study. A number of the descriptions of the righteous tend to indicate that they are numbered among the descenders to the chariot. A very common way is by ingesting mind-altering drugs of various types.

Nor is there any mention of their using drums. He was led through six tents, while the spirit demanded that he explain nekhalot beings and phenomena encountered along the way.

geography – What’s the history of Hekhalot/Heichalot/Heikhalot literature? – Mi Yodeya

However, a closely related and overlapping genre of literature, the physiognomic texts, seems to indicate that certain physical characteristics are required of initiates in order for them to be accepted into the group.

The writers claim to do the same things that shamans do, and they claim, as a result of their practices, to have the same experiences that shamans describe.

Finally, the illness of his childhood is reminiscent of childhood illnesses that sometimes presage the onset of a shamanic call. Many other passages deal with the control of angels, but these are representative.


There is not a firm consensus among scholars as to when it was written but there is general agreement to a range of C. A description of the world tree forms literatuee inclusio for R.

Most people in the world perform acts by which they intend to bring about certain events or conditions, whether in nature or among people, that they hold to be the consequences of these acts. The Hekhalot literature developed, at least indirectly, from traditions that are also found in Second Temple apocalyptic literature, Greco-Roman religion and magic, and gnostic literature, so it is reasonable to hope that it may illuminate the hekhwlot texts.

But there is a wide consensus as to what this content is. There blew around me wind, storm, and tempest, and the noise of earthquake upon earthquake was in front of me and behind me. The voice of the fourth: He said to me: Where can the texts be found, when were they written, and where Israel?

Others argue they were written around the year as a response to Islamic influence. The time frame ofranges from Tanaim, Amaorim, Sevarim and Geonim.

If the call is imposed, it may come from compelling dreams or revelations from the spirits, who may bring an illness upon an initiate until the initiate agrees to accept the call.

The answer may not be the same for every macroform in the corpus. Often the upper and lower realms are subdivided into frequently seven or nine layers.

The following passage from the Hekhalot Rabbati is a case in point. Nehuniah ben HaQanah suggested to his disciple R.

Hekhalot literature

And your answer gives us both Israel and Bavel, which perspective were they written in Israel or Bavel. As indicated by Hultkrantz’s definition, the shaman functions in the context of a community.


Ishmael,” is a Heihalot text originally published from several manuscripts by Gershom Scholem, who dates it to the Talmudic period.

Other similar texts are: God is nearly as remote in the heavenly throne room as he is on earth. By using our literatuge, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie PolicyPrivacy Policyand our Terms of Service. His first-person account describes how, when he was preparing to fell a tree to make a sledge, the tree was transformed into the world tree, from which a guiding spirit emerged and accosted him.

Note also that the Merkavah Rabba and the Metatron incantation include both the recitation of divine names as per para. Summaries of a representative sampling are given here.

Thus, the “call” of the descenders to the chariot seems to be connected with physiognomic, and perhaps astrological, criteria, just as is sometimes true for shamans. Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan discusses this material extensively in Meditation and Kabbalah.

Hekhalot | Old Testament Pseudepigrapha – School of Divinity, University of St Andrews

It is not impossible that what we could reasonably call a “shamanic” tradition has influenced the material about Jesus. Ishmael then returned and related the news to his companions, who promptly threw a party to celebrate paras. The quotation is on p. First, the medieval manuscripts mingle Hekhalot and hekhlaot texts indiscriminately. But they also developed a strain of magical praxis that from an anthropological perspective is closer to shamanism than anything else.