David provides a remarkable historical overview of the origins of Kabbalah through the emergence of its early fundamental texts. The series explores numerous questions regarding the development of Kabbalah:
What are the key kabbalistic books to have shaped our understanding of Jewish mysticism?
When did they appear?
And what were the profound ideas they contributed which would shape our understanding of the mystical dimensions of heaven and earth?
This first lecture in the series examines three early kabbalistic texts:
Sefer Bahir, and
and discusses numerous ideas, including:
The creation of the universe,
Attributes of the sefirot,
Divine interaction with the world,
The divine flow of energy and wisdom,
The reincarnation of soul,
Divine male and female imagistic symbols, and
The patriarchs and other figures from the Bible as representations of Divine attributes.
David maps out the timeframe and locations of the development of Kabbalah through Jewish History. He explains the context of the evolution of Jewish mystical thinking, its influences, impacts, and legacy.
Some of the central ideas that David examines in this talk include:
The Active Intellect as the agent of human knowledge
The evolving intersection between philosophy and Judaism
The rational and the revealed
The attributes of the Divine
The concept of Tselem
The relationship between science, philosophy, and revelation
The eternity of the world
The proof for the existence of Gd.
With the use of his own original illustrative graphics, David provides an overview of the ideas and contributions of these extraordinary figures. He also places all three in their respective historical and intellectual contexts.
For a historical overview of the period listen to David’s series, From the Rambam to the Zohar: Jewish History of 12th & 13th centuries, starting here.
The second half of the 12th century is the focus of this podcast episode. David Solomon explores Jewish History through the eyes and contributions of individuals and the broader perspectives of nations. He examines the life and work of towering figures like the Rambam (Maimonides), the significant contributions made by Torah commentators and translators of the period, the observations of a famed Jewish traveller, the rise of a new mystical movement, and the impact of a false messiah. The podcast also discusses the ongoing consequences of the crusader campaigns, the regeneration of Jewish communities in Germany, Jewish life in Bagdad, the establishment of a Jewish presence in China, the forced conversion of the Jews of Yemen, and the consequence of the Third Lateran Council on the status of Jews in the Middle Ages.
The first half of the 12th century was rich with Jewish intellectual and spiritual contribution but it was also marred by hardship and violence. Framed by a background of large empires and changing power structures, this podcast examines the impact that historical events like the first two crusades, the Blood Libel, the first reconquista of Spain and the Almohad invasion had on Jewish communities from Europe to the Land of Israel. David explores the lives and works of leading Jewish figures, including those known as the Rishonim, whose contributions were profoundly impactful on world Jewry as well as other important developments in culture, language, religion and society.
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