"Sefer Yetsirah and Jewish Mysiticsm Time Line

Compiled by Robert Zucker (c) All rights reserved.

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20th Century (1900AD-1999AD)

1900 Luther, Rudolf "Der Golem" (Novelle)

1902 M. Grossberg publishes a version of the Dunash Tamim with a commentary apparently based on the lectures of Isaac Israeli, Abu Sahl's instructor.

1902 A.E. Waite published "Doctrine and Literature of the Kabalah." His chapter on "Sefer Yetsirah" gives a good overview, but he labels the book as an "arbitary doctrine of a virtue inherent in words and letters" whch "can only be scandalised at the childish nature of Yetziratic tabulations."

1902 Rathenan,Walter, "Rabbi Eliesers Weib" (Legende)

1903 Salus, Hugo, "Vom Hohen Rabbi Low" (Ballade)

1903 "Otot u-Mo'adim" by Joshua Eisenback of Prystik (Pol. Przystyk) commentary on "Sefer Yezirah" printed.

1904 Torresani, Karl Baron von, "Der Diener" (Novelle)

1906 Artur Holitscher offers his golem drama to the Deutsches Theatre. It was rejected after several changes.

1908 Munzer, Georg, "Der Marchenkantor" (Roman)
1908 Holitscher, Arthur, "Der Golem" (Roman) Ghettelegende in drei Aufzugen (Berlin 1908). The drama was a psychological interpretation of the golem legend.

1909 Yudl Rosenberg publishes a legend of the golem and R. Loew. According to him, he was publishing an original letter of the Maharal's and a MS written by R. Loew's son-in-law recounting th deeds of the Rabbi. For the first time, the Jews are rescued froma blood libel. During Rosenbuerg's time, false accusations and blood libel became a real threat agin during the Hislner case in Czechoslovakia in 1899. He published the tales in Hebrew and Yiddish. They form the basis of Chiajaim Bloch's version, published in 1919.

1911 letter to Carl Jung from Sigmond Freud discussing the prevalence of the doppelganger . Pairs consisting of a nable and base part (usually brothers) are a motif running through all legend and literature...In Gilgamesh, this age-old motif of the unequal pair of brothers served to reprsent the relationship between a man and his libido." ("The Feud/Jung Letters", Princeton, 1974)

1912 April, Phineas Mordell published thesis "The Origin of Letters and Numerals According to the Sefer Yetzirah" in the "Jewish Quarterly Review "April 1912 vol. II, and April 1913 vol. III. The book version was published by the Dropsie College in Philadelphia Pa, republished by Samuel Weiser, Inc. "Sefer Yetzirah"" combines oriental and Greek theories. As it was handed down, it was probably re-written to fit with the culture of the time. He says:

2 versions of "Sefer Yetzirah" commentators of 9th c. mixed the original ""Sefer Yetzirah"" with an early commentary, referred to as ""Sefer Yetzirah" II" All commentaries written since the beginning of the 10th C. based on this commentary and not the original. Shorter & longer version (longer printed as an appendix) Existed in 10th c. earliest written form, 11c (?)found in Cairo Genizah, published by AM Haberman (1947). Divided into 6 chapters of mishnayot or halakot. "Sefer Yetzirah" represents permutations in which letters never repeat themselves but only change their place. Factors up to 7 are provided, then told to "go and count further..." All words arising from the combination of the letters are combined and permuted with the Tetragrammaton, called by "Sefer Yetzirah" as the One Name YHVH, from which emanated the whole of creation and all of language. According to "Sefer Yetzirah", the alphabet also had vowels, which were the letters of the Tet. themselves. The "great secret" of the 3 mothers accord to Dunash Ibn Tamim, are the 3 vowels AIY. The consonants are dependant on the vowels. The vowels and consonants were made in the form of a "state and arranged like an army in battle array." Issac Taylor says, "Like soldiers on parade the characters in the alphabetic line have been dressed."

1912-13, published in Philadelphia by the author. It is dated 1914 because no copies became available of the thesis in america until 1921 because of the Great War, according to a note on a slip, reported by AE Waite in 1970. It was later published under title "The Origin of Letters and Numerals According to the Sefer Yetzirah " (Philadelphia), p6.

1913 Translation of "Sefer Yezirah" in French by Duchess C. de Cimara and in a translation by E. Bischoff.

1914 Phineas Mordell interprets "Sefer Yetzirah" in "Jewish Quarterly Review"

1914 Heb, Johannes, "Der Rabbiner von Prag" (Drama)

1915 The writing of Gustav Meyerink (Meyer) "Der Golem" in 1915 (Leipez) were inspired by this period. It was later translated into English as "The Golem" in 1964 and in Yiddish as "Der Golem" by H. Leiveck.(Gershom, 188):

"Then, take a bowl full of pure water and a small spoon. Fill it with pure earth from a mountain, with exact weight of earth before stirring (shake it) and exact measurement of spoon which to measure. When filled, scatter it and slowly blow the earth across, over the water.

While beginning to blow the first spoonful of earth,utter a consonant of N. in a loud voice and pronounce it in simple breah until can no longer blow. While doing this face downward. and so, begin to sound the combination of consonants and vowels that will form the head, limbs and parts of the body form all members in a definite order, til figure emerges."

1916 Hauschner, Auguste, "Der Tod des Lowen" (Novellle)

1915 the first film, "Der Golem," dealing with the theme of the golem by Paul Wegener. Second one two years later. The film takes place in the 20th century.

1916 Antonin Fencl's "Golem. Fantasticka Hra (Golem. A Fantastic Play). Milos Klicman draws the book cover

1917 the second film, "Der Golem und die Tanzerin " ("The Golem and the Dancer"), a satirical description of making movies, dealing with the theme of the golem by Paul Wegener. First one was in 1915. Third one was three years later.

1918 Wasserman, Jakob, "Christian Wahnschaffe " (Roman)

1918 Singer, Irma, "Wohin der Golem die kranken Manner bringen lieb" (Marchen)

1919 Chaijam Bloch's version of R. Loew and the golem published in Vienna. By this time, the golem has become well known in arts, writings and film.

1920, October 29, the premiere of "Der Golem: Wie er in die Welt kam (The Golem: How He Came Into The World) at the Ufa Palast am Zoo in Berlin. Paul Wegener's 3rd film dealing with the theme of the golem, takes place in the 16th century. There are twenty prints of this film left. First released in 1915 (takes place in the 20th century), and 1917. Wegener wanted to produce the film in 1914, but did not get the investment money he needed from the producer. Wegener also had a disagreement in 1928 with Holitscher who accused im of plagarizing his 1908 drama, "Der Golem".

1921 (Scholem) an edition published in Czech by O. Griese

1921 Wagener published a novel on the golem with some film stills.

1921 summer, "The Golem, wie er in die Welt kam, erdacht und ins Werk gesetzt (Fimmanuskript)" was shown for almost a year at the Criterion Film Theatre in New York. Wegener, Paul,

1921-22 Albert Kovessy's musical play "Golem" at Gabel's Yiddish theatre on 116th St. in New York. Gabels' concetion was indebted to Wegeners.

1922 Nottebohm, Horst, "Sun"k (Novelle)

1923 "The Book of Formation (Sepher Yetzirah)" By Rabbi Akiba Ben Joseph, translated from the Hebrew with annotations by Stenring, Knut, Helsingborg, Sweden through London, Rider & Sons. Has several mistakes. Used Goldschmidt's versions with errors. See Blumenthal. Reprinted in 1970. Knut Stenring used Gold. Hebrew and German versions and did not use any Hebrew words independent of Goldsmidt. It is similar to Mordell's study from "Origin of Letters" Stenring makes some mistakes in Hebrew, accord to Phineas Mordell in "Jew. Quar. Rev, 191928,p 79). On p 45 he misuses a word.In Jew. Quart. Rev., 1913, p523, Mordell wrote another "Sefer Yetzirah" article. The Great Secret is hidden in the three letters A, M, Sh termed as mothers.

1923 (Scholem) an Italian edition of "Sefer Yezriah" published by S., Savini

1926, November 14, Eugen d'Albert composes an opera with libretto by Ferdinand d'Albert Lion, entitled "Der Golem." a musicdrama which premiered in Frankfort an performed in other cities.

1927 The opera "Der Golem" was performed in Leipzig.

1928 Manly R. Hall published a compilation of the "Sefer Yetsirah" in his "Secrect Teachings of All Ages," a Rosicurcian and Masonic study of occultism.

1928 Arthur Holitsche accuses Wegener of plagiarizing his drama "Der Golem."Ghettelegende in drei Aufzugen (Berlin 1908). The drama was a psychological interpretation of the golem legend.

1931 a Hungarian edition published by B. Tennen

1932 "Jezirah" by G. Scholem in Encyclopedia Judaica (Berlin)), vol. 9, col. 104ff.

1933 Gershom Scholem begins his study on the golem.

1934 Rosenfeld, Beate "Die Golemsage und ihre Verwertung in der deutschen Literatur" Verg Dr. Han Priebtach, Breslau)

1965 Commentary to "Sefer Yetzirah" published, written by a 13th century unknown author, possibly in France, and attributed to R. Sa'adiyah Gaon ("Pseduo-Sa'adiyah") published.

1966-68 "Jewish Quarterly Review" p57-58 "The Sefer Yetsirah and the Original Tetragrammaton" by Eliyahu Rosh-Pinnah, Berlin (Ernst E. Sttish)

1966 G. Vajda edites a version of Elhanan b. Yakar (c.1240) commentary on "Sefer Yetzirah" (in "Kovez al Yad, 145-97).

1968 Carlos Suarez publishes his edition of "Sefer Yetzirah".

1970 "The Book of Formation" by Rabbi ben Joseph, translated from 1923 edition from the Hebrew, with annotations by Knut Stenring, with an introduction by Arthur Edward Waite, published by KTAV Publishing House, Inc., New York. (BM 525,A412, ??). Waite sites the 1552 Latin translation by the Christian mystic G. Postel and printed before the Hebrew edition.

1977 Irving Friedman, translation and commentary, "Book of Creation," published by Samuel Weiser. ISBN 0-87728-289-7, Library of Congress Catalog Number 76-15537

1977 second printing of Kalisch 1877 book on "Sefer Yetsirah."

1982 d'Alberts 1927 opera "Der Golem," is revived in Saarbrucken.

1987-present Robert Zucker begins to re-translate the Sefer Yetsirah on a HyperCard stack called "Sefer Yetzirah: The Magic of Formation" and composes the manuscript "Sefer Yetzirah."

1990 "The Golem" published by Moshe Idel, State Press of New York, Albany. Covers the development of the golem legend tied with the Sefer Yetzirah.

1990 "Sefer Yetzirah: The book of Creation in Theory and Practice" by Aryeh Kaplan published (Kaplan died 1983) published. The most indepth English study of each verse with Hebrew and English translations. Lists of editions, versions and commentaries. Reproduction of Gates and other.

21st Century (2000AD-present)

2007 QBL Kabbalah software development on Sefer Yetzirah.

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Sefer Yetzirah: The Book of Creation
in Theory and Practice

By Aryeh Kaplan

This is the most authoritative text on the study of the "Sefer Yetzirah" or Book of Formation (Book of Creation). Kaplan's explanations are easy to understand and make common sense. A must have manual for anyone ready to decipher this ancient manuscript. Paperback: 398 pages. Publisher: Weiser Books; Rev Sub edition (May 1997). Language: English.

Book of Formation or Sepher Yetzirah:
Attributed to Rabbi Akiba Ben Joseph

by R. A. Gilbert (Foreword),
Arthur Edward Waite (Editor, Introduction), Knut Stenring (Translator)

Stenring has made a word-for-word translation from several texts, choosing only those parts which he believed to be authentic. He reveals the text’s secrets in his diagrams, tables, and extensive notes. His "Master Key to the Theoretical and Practical Kabala" is a diagram of the correspondences between the English and Hebrew alphabets and is not found in other translations of the Sepher Yetzirah. The introduction by Waite surveys the historical background of the Sepher Yetzirah translations and the import of this foundational Kabbalistic text. Knut Stenring was a Swedish Hebrew scholar. He published this work in 1923.

A selection from INTRODUCTION: The "Sepher Yetzirah," or "Book of Formation," is perhaps the oldest Rabbinical treatise of Kabalistic philosophy which is still extant. The great interest which has been evinced of 1ate years in the Hebrew Kabalah, and the modes of thought and doctrine allied to it, has induced me to translate this tractate from the original Hebrew texts, and to collate with them the Latin versions of mediaeval authorities; and I have also published An Introduction to the Kabalah which may be found useful to students. Three important books of the "Zohar," or "Book of Splendour," which is a great storehouse of Kabalistic teaching, have been translated into English by S. L. MacGregor Mathers, and the "Sepher Yetzirah" in an English translation is almost a necessary companion to these abstruse disquisitions: the two books indeed mutually explain each other.

Sepher Yetzirah (Paperback: 48 pages). Publisher: Kessinger Publishing (December 30, 2005). Language: English

Sepher Yetzirah (Kindle) (Format: Kindle Edition). File Size: 226 KB. Print Length: 112 pages. Publisher: Oak Grove (March 20, 2008). Sold by: Amazon Digital Services

The Sepher Yetzirah or Book of Creation

by Charles F. Horne (Editor)

Paperback: 48 pages
Publisher: Kessinger Publishing (December 30, 2005). Language: English