The Hidden and Manifest God: Some Major Themes in Early Jewish Mysticism by Peter SchaeferThe Hidden and Manifest God: Some Major Themes in Early Jewish Mysticism by Peter Schaefer

The Hidden and Manifest God: Some Major Themes in Early Jewish Mysticism

byPeter Schaefer

Paperback | October 14, 1992

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 210 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


This book represents the first wide-scale presentation and interpretation of pre-kabbalistic, Jewish mysticism. This is the Hekhalot or Merkavah mysticism. The emphasis is on the conceptions of God, the angels, and man that the texts provide and that are the framework of the Judaic world view in late antiquity and the early Middle Ages.

This interpretation is based on the major works of this early Jewish mysticism: Hekhalot Rabbati ("The Greater Palaces"), Hekhalot Zutarti ("The Lesser Palaces"), Ma'aseh Merkavah ("The Working of the Chariot"), Merkavah Rabbah ("The Great Chariot)" and the Third (Hebrew) Book of Enoch. Many quotations from this largely unknown body of esoteric literature are included.

The experience of the mystical heroes of this literature moves between the two poles of the heavenly journey-between the ascent of the mystic through the seven palaces to the Throne of Glory and the adjuration, the attempt to invoke God and his angels in order to force them to fulfill man's will. Both are permeated by magic, and the world view of this first stage of Jewish mysticism is thus deeply magical. The circles which formed it were concerned with nothing less than a radical transformation of the world of normative Judaism that for centuries was determined by the Rabbis.
Peter Schäfer is Professor of Judaic Studies at Freie Universität Berlin, Institut für Judaistik.
Title:The Hidden and Manifest God: Some Major Themes in Early Jewish MysticismFormat:PaperbackDimensions:198 pages, 9.08 × 5.96 × 0.52 inPublished:October 14, 1992Publisher:State University of New York Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0791410447

ISBN - 13:9780791410448

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents


1. Introduction

2. Hekhalot Rabbati
God as King upon His Throne
The Appearance of God
The Bearers of the Throne
The hayyot ha-qodesh
The Heavenly Praise
Individual Angels
The yored merkavah
The Adjuration

3. Hekhalot Zutarti
The Power of the Divine Name
Can one see God?
Shiur Qomah
God as King
The hayyot ha-qodesh
The hayyot and the Throne
Guardians and Examiners; Individual Angels
The Ascent of Moses and 'Aqiva
The Danger of the Divine Name
The Book of Merkavah Mysticism
Ascent and Adjuration

4. Ma'aseh Merkavah
God and His Name
The Heavenly Praise
Angels of Revelation
The Prayer as Means to the Ascent
The Protagonists of the Heavenly Journey
The Prayer as Means of the Adjuration

5. Merkavah Rabbah
God and His Name
Shi'ur Qomah
The Heavenly Praise
Sandalphon and Metatron
The Mystery of the Divine Name
Who Uses the Mystery?
The Magical Use of the Name
Mastering the Torah
The Adjuration
The Ascent of 'Aqiva

6. 3 Enoch
The Shekhinah on the Throne
Transcendence of God?
The Appearance of God
The Names of God
The Angelic Hierarchy
The Heavenly Praise
The Heavenly Journey of the yored merkavah
Eschatology and Anthropology

7. Results
Man between God and the Angels
The Hidden and Manifest God
Transcendence and Immanence
Ecstatic Heavenly Journey and Magical-Theurgic Adjuration
Esoteric and Exoteric



Index of Literature

Index of Authors

Index of Subjects

Editorial Reviews

"What I like best about this book is that it describes the theology and anthropology of the Hekhalot literature in a way that flows naturally from the literature itself. The author avoids imposing external agendas on the material. Further, he distinguishes among different layers of material and allows each layer, as well as the ensemble, to speak for itself. His knowledge of the material is vast, his scholarship impeccable." - David J. Halperin"The author has dealt in a clear and systematic way with the major themes pertaining to the corpus of early Jewish mysticism. His textual method opens up many new avenues of research and enables us to rid ourselves of some past biases in the study of Jewish mysticism." - Elliot R. Wolfson