The Kabbalah Fallacy
December 9, 2009 3 Comments
I’d like to comment on something very particular that I’ve heard come out of the mouths (or fingertips) of several Pagans lately: Namely, that Kabbalah was the original form of Judaism, and that Judaism has, since its Kabbalistic foundation, well-neigh degraded into something restrictive, totalitarian, evil, etc.
WTF, mate. Here’s a good example of what I’ve been calling the ‘Kabbalah Fallacy’: “I’m no expert on the Kabbalah, but I know enough to realize that Jewish mysticism is very different from modern Judaism and Christianity. (How something so full of wisdom managed to give birth to dogmatic, patriarchal religions is beyond me; I’ll just point out that humans have a way of royally screwing things up and that this is a classic example!)”
I’m talking specifically about the “something so full of wisdom managed to give birth to dogmatic, patriarchal religions” part. The historical fact of the matter is that the exact opposite is true, that is, that that which this author is calling dogmatic and patriarchal is, in fact, that which itself gave birth to “something so full of wisdom.” Judaism as such developed alongside ancient Levantine polytheism and, by 586 BCE when Solomon’s temple was destroyed, the tradition was highly developed and supported. Only six centuries years later, in the 13th century, can we begin to speak of Kabbalah as such, setting aside various traditional ascriptions to biblical figures. Kabbalah grew up in Spain out of various Jewish influences as well as Neo-Platonism and influence from Islam. Kabbalah is the outgrowth; it’s not the other way around.
Though Kabbalistic literature obviously grew out of previous sources, among them Jewish Apocalyptic literature and oral traditions, it is impossible to speak of Kabbalah as it is known today–and ESPECIALLY of the Hermetic Kabbalah and the even later New Age Kabbalah (which incorporates various “Eastern” concepts like the Chakras)–as if it pre-dated Judaism itself. It strikes me as inane that the same groups of folks who constantly berate Abrahamic faiths cling so powerfully to what is essentially a flow-chart of YHVH’s attributes.
So, to all the Wiccans or Thelemites or Ceremonialists or Chaotes out there (among others) who “Just hate Abrahamism, no reason” (as I heard an acquaintance blather a few weeks ago), put down your wands and stop casting your circles and let go of the Kabbalah. The Kabbalah, that is to say, essentially JUDAIC esotericism, is where ALL of the Wiccanate Pagan religious structures come from. So, and this is just reason number 1, I think we need to shut up about Abrahamism because the hypocracy is making me sick.