Socrates and Plato
Renaissance / Reformation
Age of the Sutra
Buddhists and Jains
Slavery / Diaspora
Africana 20th Century
Book of Splendor?
Another quibble: I think you referred to Sefer HaBahir in English as *The Book of Splendor*, a title which, as far as I know, is always used to refer to the Zohar.Thus, Gershom Scholem's book of selected passages from the Zohar is titled *Zohar: The Book of Splendor*.
Sefer ha Bahir
Hi there - Thanks for that note. I think I may have devised this translation myself on the basis that "Book of Brilliance" (a common translation) sounds awkward to my ear because of the unpleasant alliteration. I had forgotten that it creates a potential confusion with the Zohar. I guess the titles mean practically the same thing?
The root for bahir, BHR, implies a brightness like a flame is bright. It's specifically the light being indicated. Zohar's root, ZHR, implies an illumination. Metaphorically, to shed light on a subject as the word also can mean to instruct. In this word, it's more the effect of the light being emphasized. I believe they were meant to be similar, but they do carry different connotations.
Right, the b-h-r root has the same meaning in Arabic. Anyway given the potential confusion I will translate it differently in the book version. Thanks again.
Kabbalah and Gnosticism
Why would the Kabbalists be interested in Gnosticism? As far as I know, they were a mainly a Christian movement (or rather a collection of movements). Further, how would they have known anything about them? The texts of the gnostics were lost until the end the of the 19th-century. It would be surprising indeed to suppose they were reading Irenaeus.
Gnosticism in Kabbalah
Yes, that is a bit of a puzzle as was pointed out by Idel, but Scholem makes a good case for strong parallels. The idea would not be that medieval Kabbalists were reading Irenaeus' critique of the Gnostics - you're right that that is totally implausible - but rather that the late ancient Jewish sources of Kabbalah were already infused with ideas from Gnosticism so that it filtered into the tradition already at the start. Have a look at Scholem, Origins of the Kabbalah if you want to see the case for this.
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