Kabbalah in the 13th Century (1200-1299)
These pages are excerpts from the book, Kabbalah's Secret Circles, by Robert Zucker. Read more sample chapters and download a free PDF sample compliments of the author.
In 13th century Germany, the Ashkenazi Chasidism movement expanded through Europe. Several major commentaries on the SEPHER YETZIRAH were written by prominent Ashkenazi leaders, including the “Pseudo-Saadia” version of SEPHER YETZIRAH printed in Jerusalem.
A Kabbalistic treatise composed in 1200 was titled SEPHER HA-HAYYIM (THE BOOK OF LIFE) and attributed to Rabbi ibn Ezra, although it was probably written by an anonymous writer strongly influenced by R. Ezra. It discussed the creation of an artificial man and the two rabbis who created a man and a three-year-old calf.
But, it seemed to roll together many of the loose legends into a single fantastical story.
The early Provencal and Catalan Kabbalists were not especially interested in the nature of the golem or the method of its creation.
Among these early Spanish Kabbalists, only Rabbi Abraham Abulafia discussed the topic. He was the first to put the secret teachings to writing and was condemned by many for that act. Abulafia is the only Spaniard to produce a detail recipe to create a “creature,” while Rabbi Eleazar of Worms revealed his methods to German Jews.
The Spanish Kabbalists mainly invested their mystical efforts in the Theurgical, or ritual, meanings of human activities. After Chasidic Ashkenazi Rabbi Judah ben Samuel of Regensburg, called He-Chasid (the Pious), died in 1217, his students wrote down a version of the legend regarding Ben Sira in SEPHER GEMATRIOTH, a book on astrology. It was later reprinted in 1887. One of Rabbi Samuel’s most prominent student was Eleazar of Worms.
Read more sample chapters and download a free PDF sample compliments of the author from the book, Kabbalah's Secret Circles.