Shalom Shar'abi and the Kabbalists of Beit El

Shalom Shar'abi and the Kabbalists of Beit El

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Pinchas Giller offers a wide-ranging overview of the most influential school of kabbalah in modernity, the Jerusalem kabbalists of the Beit El Yeshivah. The school is associated with the writings and personality of a charismatic Yemenite Rabbi, Shalom Shar'abi. Shar'abi's activity overwhelmed the Jerusalem Kabbalah of the eighteenth-century, and his acolytes are the most active mystics in contemporary Middle Eastern Jewry to this day. Today, this meditative tradition is rising in popularity in Jerusalem, New York, and Los Angeles, both among traditional Beit El kabbalists and memebers of the notorious Kabbalah Learning Centers. After providing the historical setting, Giller examines the characteristic mystical practices of the Beit El School. The dominant practice is that of ritual prayer with mystical "intentions", or kavvanot. The kavvanot themselves are the product of thousands of years of development, and incorporate many traditions and bodies of lore. Giller examines the archaeology of the kavvanot literature, the principle of the sacred names that make up the majority of kavvanot, the development of particular rituals, and the innovative mystical and devotional practices of the Beit El kabbalists to this day. The first book in the English language to address the character and spread of jewish mysticism through the Middle East in early modernity, it will be a guide post for further study of this vast topic.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 216 pages
  • 160.02 x 238.76 x 27.94mm | 430.91g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 0195328809
  • 9780195328806

Review quote

Pinchas Giller has filled in a major gap in Kabbalah studies with this meticulously researched and beautifully written account of the most influential school of practicing Jewish mystics in the contemporary world. Giller chronicles the development of the Beit El School from its founding in Jerusalem during the eighteenth century by the Yemenite kabbalist Shalom Shar'abi up to the present. He sheds light on its thought, its praxis, its key figures, and their literary creativity, and he masterfully places it all within the wider context of Kabbalah history and scholarship. The clarity with which Giller is able to present abstruse mystical doctrines without in any way vulgarizing or compromising the material is truly impressive. This is and - no doubt - will remain for a long time to come the authoritative work on the subject. * Norman A. Stillman, Schusterman-Josey Professor of Judaic History, University of Oklahoma *show more

About Pinchas Giller

Pinchas Giller is Professor of Jewish Thought at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. He is the author of Reading the Zohar: The Sacred Text of the Kabbalah.show more

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