The Kabbalah Unvieled * Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers (isbn 0140193103)

Strange how a ball can role, we say in the Netherlands. A while ago I printed large parts from this book from the online version when I was writing my article about the Sifra Dtzeniutha and the Stanzas Of Dzyan (see articles section). I knew that the book was still available, but I didn’t really think to buy it, until I saw a copy on a book-fair with cheap books and I could obtain it for only E 7,-! The Kabbalah Unveiled is of course a translation of the (in)famous Kabbala Denudata of Christian Knorr of Rosenroth (see my article about the Christian Cabala) which on its turn is a translation of several parts of the Jewish Zohar and other Jewish Kabbalist texts to Latin. Mathers used only a the Zohar texts, being the Siphra Dtzenioutha of Book of concealed Mystery, the Idra Rabba Qadisha or Greater Holy Assembly, an explanation of the Siphra and the Idra Zuta Qadisha or Lesser Holy Assembly, a shorter version of the Idra Rabba. These three are probably the most difficult parts of the Zohar and it is great that these are available for the ‘common man’. Mathers’ translation is not the ultimate English version of the texts though. Nowhere it is mentioned that this book is a translation of a translation, so especially people who don’t know this, will be get very confused reading it. Knorr translated the text and put his remarks within the text themselves between brackets and then after every verse you will get Mathers’ comments between square brackets. There is too much comment to be able to just read the text. It would have been better when the Knorr-comments and the Mathers comments had been put in notes and mentioned whose comments are whose. And with all commentary present, the three books remain difficult, but that doesn’t matter.

Oh, just in short, the Siphra speaks about creation in the form of the building of the divine (human) body. You can read about the magistic beard, etc. very strange in our view. With this book you will have comments about the Siphra from ‘Rabbi Shimeon’ (of the two Qadishas), Knorr and Mathers. That should shed some light??

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