QABALAH AKA Cabala AKA Kabbalah
is the Wisdom received from Mouth to ear, as a secret. It is the inner Wisdom of the Jewish people, derived from both esoteric interpretations of the sacred Hebrew writings and the Oral traditions which have sprung up through the years. Discovered by Europe in the Middle Ages, it was a factor in various Occult revivals and Rosicrucian thinkers.
The Original Jewish Qabalists:
Hai Gaon, Iraq (Babylon) 939 – 1038, though most of the QBLH attributed to him is uncertain, his Talmud and Torah writings are definitely his.
Rabbi Abraham Aben Ezra, the Wise Doctor Spain 1089 - 1164
Ramban AKA Rabbi Nachmanides Spain /Israel 1194 - 1270
RashBa AKA Shlomo ben Aderet Spain 1235-1310
Ra'ah AKA Aaron ben Joseph ha-Levi of Barcelona AKA Aharon HaLevi , Spain 1235 – 1290, student of RashBa
Rashi AKA Shlomo Yitzhak, France 1040 – 1105, more Talmud
Ritva AKA Rabbi Yom Tov ben Avraham Asevilli Spain 1250 - 1330
RiBaM or RIVAN AKA Isaac ben Meir France 1090 – 1130
Eleazar Ben Judah Ben Kalonymus OF WORMS Germany 1176 - 1238
RIBaN AKA Judah ben Nathan France 11th–12th centuries
There existed a brief period of 50 years under Muslim rule in Southern Spain when Catholic Monks, Jewish Qabalists and Muslim Imans exchanged information and collaborated. This ended in 1492 when the Catholic Ferdinand and Isabella conquered the South from Islam. They quickly forcibly converted or expelled the Jewish community, and ten years later treated the Muslims the same way. An exodus of learned Qabalists and mystics spread from Spain to Portugal, Italy and the Promised Land of Israel.
In America and most of the modern world, there seems nothing unusual about the inner traditions and mysteries of one religion being transmitted to another religion. But the intolerance and bigotry fanned by organized religions in the pursuit of Believers against potential competing religions has traditionally kept them and their adherents from exchanging views, except when one party was subjugated and oppressed. No real conversations occurred between the Jewish and Christian faiths between the consolidation of the Catholic Church until the rule of Islam in Southern Spain. That brief exchange was ended in 1492, with the expulsion of the Jews, followed 10 years later by the Muslim expulsion ordered by Ferdinand and Isabella.
Jewish society was almost completely separate from their Christian rulers and neighbors. Local dress, diet and language were reinforced by religious persecution, and outside the walls of their little village, even if it existed inside a large city, no Jew was safe to travel without special permission.
Internally, it is not until Moses Mendelssohn in the 1700s that the Jewish community in Europe seriously considered reform, and the cultural and religious traditions of thousands of years began to modernize. "Reform" Jews dressed in European style, wore hair and beards like their Gentile neighbors, and some relaxed their dietary observance at least enough to eat some meals prepared beyond the Kosher walls of their own community.
The Hebrew language and scholarship of the Bible insured learned men could read Latin and Hebrew, and commentaries which make up some of the Qabalistic literature were studied by Abbes, Monks and Friars of the Catholic Orders, like Abbe Alphonse Louis Constant who wrote his Qabalistic Magickal books under the name Eliphas Levi.
So the appearance of Qabalah in Western Occult tradition is a mystery.
With the coming of the Italian Renaissance in the late 1400s, Marsilio Ficino, his student Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, whose work was carried on by his nephew Gianfrancesco Pico della Mirandola, reintroduced ancient Neoplatonic thought to Western Europe, translating Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic texts into Latin and Italian. Johann Reuchlin , author of De verbo mirifico, 1494, and Francesco Giorgi seems to be their sources for the original Hebrew documents.
Once the Reformation (early 1500s) broke the monopoly of the Catholic Church and was adopted in England and the Netherlands, Qabalistic Wisdom once again was exchanged between Jewish and European scholars and Occultists. Dr. John Dee in England during the 1500s studies it, and in his European travels finds other scholars doing the same. These same conditions improved the growth of the Natural Sciences and Natural Philosophy. Similar information is received by Julius Sperber in Germany early 1500s, and he composes a Qabalstic prayer. In England, Robert Fludd creates a Sephirothic Tree based on the Zohar. The relationship between Qabalah and the Neoplatonism of the Greek Ancients makes it more appealing to scholars who spent their earliest education studying those Classics.
In Germany, where Jewish life was even more excluded from mainstream society, it was not until the late 1700s that Hans Heinrich von Ecker und von Eckihoffem obtains the services of Baron Thomas von Schoenfeld and both Ephraim Joseph Hirschfeld and his brother Pascal Hirschfeld that Europe has a reliable source of the Jewish mystical thought.
France, held fast under the Monarchy and Catholic Church, waits until the 1800s for Eliphas Levi and the revival of Qabalistic Magick.
European, Jewish and Christian Qabalists:
Pythagoras Greece 570 – 495 BCE Numbers and Geometry is Spiritual
Naphtali Herz ben Jacob Elhanan German /Israel , student of Luria,The Lion.
Abraham Cohen de Herrera Portugal /Israel 1570 – 1635, student of Luria, The Lion.
Johann Reuchlin Germany 1455 – 1522
Jakob ben Jehiel Loans Germany - 1506
Jacob Anatoli 1194 - 1256
Averroes Spain 1126 - 1198
Levi ben Gershon France 1288 – 1344 AKA Gershon France 1288 - 1344
Rabbeinu Behaye AKA Bahye ben Asher ibn Halawa Spain/ Italy ? – 1340 introduces Qabalah speculation about Torah
Elia del Medigo Crete /Greece 1458 – 1493
Yohanan Alemanno Turkey 1435 – died after 1504
Marsilio Ficino Italy 1433 – 1499 , began translating Hebrew and Latin ancient texts, very interested in Qabalah
Flavius Mithridates Italy 1450s – 1500s?, translated Bibliotheca Cabalistica
Giovanni Pico della Mirandola Italy 1463 – 1494, Oration on the Dignity of Man, 1486 (Conclusiones philosophicae, cabalasticae et theologicae, Rome, 1486)
Cornelius Agrippa included Qabalah and Ceremonial Magic Germany 1486 – 1535
Julius Sperber German 1552 – 1615
Robert Fludd England 1574 – 1637 Robert Fludd's Sephirothic Tree
Jan Baptist van Helmont Belgium / France 1579 - 1644 sex magick alchemy in Ortus medicinae , 1662
Franciscus Mercurius van Helmont France 1614 – 1699, Cabbalah Denudata (1677) translated by SL MacGregor Mathers for the Golden Dawn as Kabalah Unvieled
Henry More England 1614 – 1687
Thomas Vaughan AKA Eugenius Philalethes Welsh / England 1621 − 1666
Hans Heinrich von Ecker und von Eckihoffem Germany 1 7 5 0 – 1 7 9 0
Baron Thomas von Schoenfeld AKA Moses Dobruška or Dobruschka AKA Brother Junius Frey – created Qabalistic /Masonic rituals for The Order of the Asiatic Brethren, late 1700s - Czech Republic / France 1753 - 1794
Ephraim Joseph Hirschfeld & Brother Pascal Hirschfeld, Germany 1758 – 1820 – translated and interpreted Hebreww for Qabalistic /Masonic rituals for The Order of the Asiatic Brethren, late 1700s
Franz Joseph Molitor Germany 1779 - 1860 , wrote " Christian Kabbalah " Member of "Jewish Lodge" named "to the rising dawn", like Golden Dawn
Johann Friedrich Falk AKA Dr Falcon German 1811, brought Qabalah from Germany to England in the Qabbalistical College in London
Sir Isaac Newton , England 1642 – 1727 spent more time writing about the Bible than Science, published after his death
Franz Hartmann German 1838 – 1912
Joseph ben Abraham Gikatilla, Spain 1248 – after 1305
Solomon ibn Gabirol, Iberian Peninsula, Spain 1021 – 1058, Wrote Keter Malkut ("Royal Crown")
Chaim Vital , Italy /Israel / Syria 1543 – 1620
Joseph Karo, Spain /Israel 1488 – 1575
Christan Knorr von Rosenroth Germany 1636 – 1689
Frederick Hockley England 1809 – 1885
Kenneth R. H. Mackenzie England 1833 – 1886
Dr. Sigismond Bacstrom Sweden / England 1750 -1805
William Wynn Westcott England 1848 – 1925
Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers England 1854 – 1918 translated in 1887 Christan Knorr von Rosenroth's translation of Franciscus Mercurius van Helmont's Cabbalah Denudata (1677) as The Kabbalah Unveiled (1884),
A.E. Waite England 1857 – 1942, Tarot - Qabalah
Dion Fortune England 1890 – 1946, Mystical and Magickal Qabalah
Aleister Crowley England 1875 – 1947 777 and other Qabalistic Writings
J.F.C. Fuller England 1878 -1966, anti-Semite Qabalist!
Paul Foster Case America 1884 – 1954 Tarot – Qabalist
W. E. Butler magickal qabalah
Gareth Knight, Christian Qabalah
Frater Achad AKA Charles Stansfeld Jones Canada 1886 – 1950, Thelemic Qabalist, discovered “key” to The Book of the Law
Kenneth Grant, England 1924 – 2011 Typhonian Qabalah
Chuck Furnace America 1952 – present, Hebrew & Magickal Qabalah
Jerry Cornelius , America 1951 – present Thelemic Qabalist,
Resources: download perhaps the best translation of Sepher Yetzirah by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan here - http://darkbooks.org/collection/Aryeh-Kaplan.html ; http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i7382.html ; http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i9437.pdf ; http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i9572.pdf ; Translations of many of the essential texts can be found at - http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/index.htm;