View Full Version : Preface

June 22nd, 2008, 01:52 AM

THE following pages are designed to give the reader a bird's-eye view of the salient features in Jewish mysticism rather than a solid presentation of the subject as a whole. The reason for this will be apparent when one thinks of the many centuries of variegated thought that have had to be packed within the small number of pages allotted to the book. It is this very fact, too, that will possibly give the present treatment of the subject a fragmentary and tentative appearance. Thus Chapter V. follows immediately upon the contents of Chapter IV., without the least attempt to show any of the numerous intervening stages of development. Similarly, Chapter VI., dealing with the Zohar, should have been preceded by an exposition of the evolution of Jewish theological thought in the many centuries which divide that chapter from the matter contained in the previous chapter. But lack of space made these omissions inevitable. Should the reader be stimulated to a deeper study of the subject, he will be easily led to the missing parts by the aid of the bibliography at the end of the book.

I should add that the translated extracts from the Zohar are only in some cases made by me from the original Hebrew-Aramaic. I owe many of them to the French and German translations to be found in the works of the scholars from whom I have drawn much of my material.