1 minute read

Kabbalah Mysticism

Differences And Overlaps

The three models differ insofar as their objectives: the ecstatic one is concerned with the changes a certain mystical technique may induce in humans; the talismanic model emphasizes the effects someone's ritualistic linguistic acts may have on the external world, while the theosophical-theurgical model is concerned with inducing harmony within the divine realm. These models have been only rarely exposed as completely separate approaches. The ecstatic model was sometimes combined with the talismanic. The theurgical operation, which ensures the continuing pulsation of energy within the divine realm, has sometimes been combined with the magical or talismanic approaches, and drawing the emanation from the higher sefirot to the lower ones was followed by causing the descent of this emanation into the extra-divine world. A strongly anthropocentric attitude, the talismanic model envisages the enhancing of the spiritual and material well-being of an individual, and often of the whole religious group, as an important core of religion.

The theosophical-theurgical and the talismanic models assume that, in addition to the semantic aspect of the sacred text, and of Hebrew language in general, there is an energetic aspect that is also effective, either by affecting the supernal world or, respectively, by attracting it downward. In ecstatic Kabbalah these two aspects are sometimes present but play a relatively marginal role. It recognizes the magical powers of language, though it conceives them as exercising an influence on a lower, inferior level of existence, when compared to the cathartic role language plays in purifying the soul, or the intellect, in order to prepare them for the reception of the supernal effluvia. The talismanic model as exemplified by linguistic magic is a synthesis between the particularistic tendency, characteristic of the theurgical model and the more universalistic tendency of the hermetic sources. Focused on Hebrew words as major tools, the linguistic talismanics and sometimes the ecstatic kabbalists assume that not only Hebrew words, but also Hebrew letters, and especially, what can be called according to them "Hebrew" sounds or phonemes, may serve as talismans. The three models had an impact on the particular understanding of many central issues like the nature of the Messiah, metempsychosis, and cosmic cycles, which have been reinterpreted in accordance to each of these models' logic.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Kabbalah Mysticism - Types Of Kabbalah to LarynxKabbalah Mysticism - Types Of Kabbalah, Differences And Overlaps, Impact Of Kabbalah, Bibliography