I have read my lot of works about the Kabbalah (Kabala, Kabalah, Kabballah, Qabbalah, however you want to spell it), but none is like Charles Poncé’s work that is the subject of this review.
The best part of this book is that Poncé opens with a full history of Jewish literature and mystic and Rabbin traditional writings. This -as he says himself- had never been done before. For full account, I’m talking about the following works: Talmud, MisjnÍ h, GemarÍ h, MidrÍ sj, HalachÍ h and AgadÍ h (forgive me if the English equivalents are written differently). Given are explanations to what books and tradition these term refer and a brief history and description of the Jewish streamings that are associated with them.
Lengthy chapters about the Sephen JetsirÍ h, Zohar and shorter parts about ‘less important’ books.
Clear information about the two forms of Kabbalism (practical, speculative), the links that can be made with astrology, the tarot, eastern philosophies.
Of course explanation of the Hebrew alphabet and gematria, variations of the Sephirothic tree, explanations of the Sephira, different views and variations of combinations.
Then there is a large part about Kabbalistic teachings and doctrines and to close off Kabbalism in modern times.
All the information you need to have for a proper start with Kabbalism and a descent supplement for those who already work with the Kabbalah for some time. And that is a relative small book.
Last point to mention (but not the least): there are a lot of pictures in this book!