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Mirror of His Beauty: Feminine Images of God from the Bible to the Early Kabbalah

Mirror of His Beauty: Feminine Images of God from the Bible to the Early Kabbalah (Hardback)

£33.95
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Synopsis

In this study, Peter Schafer investigates the origins of a female manifestation of Gold in Jewish mysticism. The search itself is a fascinating exploration of the idea of a feminine divinity. Schafer's conclusions yield deeper understanding of the complex but frequently intimate relationship between Christianity and Judaism - and of the development of religious concepts more generally. Toward the end of the 12th century, a small book titled the Bahir (Light) appeared in Provence. The first document of Judaism's emerging kabbalistic movement, it introduced a completely new view of God, one that included a divine potency that was essentially female. This female divinity was portrayed both as a mediator between Jews and God and as part of the godhead itself. Examining Judaic history from the biblical wisdom tradition to the Middle Ages, Schafer finds some precedents for the Kabbalah's feminine divinity. But he cannot account for her forceful appearance in 12th-century southern France without reference to the immediate Christian environment, particularly the flourishing veneration of the Virgin Mary.

Indeed, 12th-century Jews and Christians were simultaneously rediscovering the feminine as an aspect of the Godhead after having abandoned it in favour of either an abstract, disembodied God or an exclusively male one. In proposing that the medieval cult of Mary - rather than eastern Gnosticism - is the appropriate framework for understanding the feminine elements in Jewish mysticism, "Mirror of His Beauty" represents a sea change in Kabbalah and Jewish-Christian cultural studies. It shifts our attention from the Byzantine East to the Latin Christian West.

Philosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesReligion & BeliefsChristianityReligion & BeliefsJudaismReligion & BeliefsOther Religions, Cults and alternatives to religionSpirituality & religious experienceReligion & BeliefsReligion: generalPhilosophy of religion Publisher: Princeton University Press Publication Date: 06/10/2002 ISBN-13: 9780691090689  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
Availability: Unavailable. No reason given.  

Peter Schafer is Professor of Religion and Ronald O. Perelman Professor of Jewish Studies at Princeton University as well as University Professor of Jewish Studies and Director of the Institut fur Judaistik at Freie Universitat Berlin. His last book was Judeophobia: Attitudes toward the Jews in the Ancient World.

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