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The Essential Kabbalah * Daniel C. Matt (isbn 0785808701)

Kabbalah seems to become popular following other esotericism that has reached the masses. Even cheap books can be bought about the kabbalah nowadays and there are a lot of introductions of which this is one. But not just one! Matt has studied the kabbalah (traditional Jewish) for 25 years and however he doesn’t see himself as a kabbalist, he does see himself as an expert. I suppose this means he hasn’t been initiated by ‘real kabbalists’. Anyway, instead of writing a book about the kabbalah, Matt came up with an original and wonderfull idea!

He starts with a short but nice history. Further the book is divided into chapters and then paragraphs. Instead of writing parts of text for the paragraphs, Matt translated/quoted texts from traditional kabbalist books! You wil get texts from the early days of kabbala (13th century) to the present day, from writers such as Abraham Abulafia (13th century), Moses de Léon (13th cent.), Joseph Gikatilla (13th cent.), Moses Cordovero (16th cent.) to Abraham Isaac haCohen (20th cent.), but also traditional texts like the Sepher Yetsirah (3-6th cent.) or the Zohar (13th. century). The translations are well-readable and picked very well.

Not a real practical book with Trees Of Life, Gematric and Notaric tricks, but a very nice look into the mystical side of the kabbalah. I want to advise it to both beginners and advanced students of either the kabbalah, the cabala or the qabala.

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