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Scriptural ExegesisThe Shapes of Culture and the Religious Imagination: Essays in Honour of Michael Fishbane$
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Deborah A. Green and Laura S. Lieber

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199206575

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199206575.001.0001

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The Work of the Chariot and the Work of Creation as mystical teachings in Philo of Alexandria

The Work of the Chariot and the Work of Creation as mystical teachings in Philo of Alexandria

Translated from the Hebrew by James Jacobson‐Maisels

Chapter:
(p.105) 7 The Work of the Chariot and the Work of Creation as mystical teachings in Philo of Alexandria
Source:
Scriptural Exegesis
Author(s):

Yehuda Liebes

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199206575.003.0008

This chapter demonstrates that Philo of Alexandria considered the Work of the Chariot and the Work of Creation (i.e. Ezek 1 and 10, and Gen 1) to be domains of esoteric knowledge that must be concealed. This claim, if proven, has significance for two central areas of research in Jewish studies. First, in respect of research in Jewish mysticism, it is argued that the rabbinic statements concerning the esoteric nature of the Work of Creation and the Work of the Chariot rest upon an ancient tradition that preceded Philo of Alexandria. Second, this claim will help to substantiate research in which connections have been discovered between Philo, the most prominent representative of Hellenistic Judaism in Egypt, and rabbinic literature, and will even establish the teachings of Philo as continuous with Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah.

Keywords:   rabbinic mystical traditions, Kabbalah, esotericism, Greek philosophy, Jewish mysticism

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