Page 71 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 47

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GRIES / A DECADE OF BOOKS ON KABBALAH
6 3
ature as a basis for the future study of this ancient phase of
Jewish Mysticism.
Without any connection to Schafer’s books, R. Elior pub­
lished, almost at the same time, a critical edition of the
Heikhalot
Zutrati.
Her book, which is based on Ms. New York 8128(828),
appeared as supplement no. 1 to
Jerusalem Studies in Jewish
Thought
(1982). The fragmentary nature of the Heikhalot lit­
erature militates against any attempt to establish a critical text,
as Schafer has rightfully observed.9 Moreover, although it is
helpful to have a printed edition of a text which has hitherto
been available only in manuscript form, it is regrettable that
this edition does not follow the essential requirements of critical
editing. The author did not clarify the nature, meaning and
function of the text itself, or deal with it in the general context
of the Heikhalot literature. Her edition fails to locate and an­
alyze the role which the text played in rabbinic literature and
in actual life.
We close our brief description of the works on ancient Jewish
Mysticism with the books of M.S. Cohen, J. Liebes and M. Bar-
Ilan. Cohen has published two books concerning Shi’ur Qomah
(literally, The Measurement of the Body). The texts which offer
a description of “the limbs of God in the future of man” are,
to use Scholem’s words, “a deliberate and excessive indulgence
in anthropomorphism.”10 The subject of Shi’ur Qomah has
been treated at length by various scholars, including Scholem,
Saul Lieberman, Idel and others. Cohen began with a wide and
comprehensive study of the literature in his
Shi’ur Qomah: The
Shi’ur Qoman Liturgy and Theurgy in Pre-KabbalisticJewish Mysticism
(Lanham, MD, University Press of America, 1983). Later, he
published his
The Shi’ur Qomah: Texts and Recensions
(Tubingen,
J.C.B. Mohr [Paul Siebeck], 1985). The second book comple­
ments the first with texts which are presented in scholarly fash­
ion, together with annotations and a scientific introduction.
Thus, Cohen’s work, like Schafer’s, is indispensable for future
research into this ancient phase of Jewish Mysticism.
9. See P. Schafer’s review o f Elior’s book, “A Critical Edition o f Heikhalot
Zutrati,”
Tarbiz
54 (1984—85), pp. 153—157.
10. See G. Scholem,
Jewish Gnosticism, Merkabah Mysticism and Talmudic Tradition
(New York, Jewish Theological Seminary, 19652).