Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Kabbalah: A Brief Introduction for Christians

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Kabbalah: A Brief Introduction for Christians

Article excerpt

Kabbalah: A Brief Introduction for Christians. By Tamar Frankiel. Woodstock, Vt.: Jewish Lights, 2006. xvi + 1 84 pp. $ 1 6.99 (paper).

Another installment in a Jewish Lights series for the "Christian reader. Kabbalah: A Brief Introduction for Christians is Tamar Frankiel's recasting of her The Gift of Kabbalah: Discovering the Secrets of Heaven. Renewing Your Life on Farth (Jewish Lights. 2001). Titles of parts, chapters, and sections of the two books are almost identical. While much of the text has not changed, Frankiel does delete material in some places (and all of the original part 41: she expands it in others: and in still others, she siniplv smoothes it out. The result is more readable than before.

"Kabbalah is a theology that gives rise to a cosmology and an anthropology," Frankiel asserts (p. 12). It is a discipline by which humanity can makefile whole world a dwelling-place for God. Part 1 introduces this task. As well, it introduces the notion of sefirot (vessels)-the divine energies-and a wellknown sefirot diagram: ten orbs organized in three triangles. Each sefirah is associated with a body-part. Indeed the shape ofthe diagram hints generally at the human body, "lor the body is one of the veils that these divine qualities wear' (pp. 26-27). The diagram also resembles a Tree of Life, with its roots in heaven, and acts as a map of humanity's effort to approach God and then to bring God into the world. The remainder of the book guides this along this map twice. In part 2. we proceed from the top ofthe diagram to the bottom, learning step-by-step how the divine energies proceed from God S emanation of divine light to their manifestation in the world. Then, in part 3, we spiral from the bottom circle to the top, learning a process of self-examination and self-transformation as we learn how the sefirot interrelate. …

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