Sunday, September 12, 2010

Blavatsky and Kabbalah, Again

Marco Pasi has a chapter on “Oriental Kabbalah and the parting of East and West in the Early Theosophical Society” in Kabbalah and Modernity: Interpretations, Transformations, Adaptations, a 452 page book edited by Pasi, Boaz Huss and Kocku Von Stuckrad. It was published by Brill in the Netherlands in June 2010 and sells for $185. U.S. Pasi looks at the role of the Kabbalah in the theosophical writings of H.P. Blavatsky.

Another relevant piece of research in the book is the Boas Huss contribution on Abraham David Salman Hai Ezekiel (usually referred to as A.D. Ezekiel in theosophical literature) in “‘The Sufi Society from America’: Theosophy and Kabbalah in Poona in the Late Nineteenth Century.” Ezekiel, from a well-connected Jewish family, met Olcott and Blavatsky on their visit to Poona, India, in 1882 and remained a member until his death in 1897. Ezekiel published as series of kabbalistic texts in Jewish Aramaic in Poona after meeting the theosophists, for as he says: “I was very much astonished that foreign people were experts in our wisdom of the Kabbalah, while we, the Jews, were barred from it.”

Huss quotes the following insightful letter from Gershom Scholem:

You are certainly too harsh on Madame Blavatsky, it is surely too much to say that the meaning of the cabala has been forgotten in the ‘Secret Doctrine’. After all, the Lady has made a very thorough study of Knorr von Rosenroth in his English adaption, and of Franck’s ‘Cabala Juive’. She certainly knew more about cabalism than most of the other people you mention….I think it would be rather interesting to investigate the cabalistic ideas in their theosophical development. There is, of course, a lot of humbug and swindle, but, at least in Blavatsky’s writings, yet something more.

There is also an entry by Wouter Hanegraaff on “The Beginnings of Occultist Kabbalah: Adolphe Franck and Eliphas Lévi.”

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments to this blog are subject to moderation, and may appear at our sole discretion, if found to add relevance to the site's topics.