Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • Jeffrey B. PettisEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_370

An esoteric rabbinic tradition, Kabbalah (Hebrew, kblh, “receiving,” “tradition”) became manifest especially in late twelfth and early thirteenth century CE Provence in southern France. Based on the mystical interpretation of the Torah, the disclosing of Kabbalic secrets occurred as a response to the influence of Maimonides (1135 CE–1204 CE) and his philosophical reading of the Torah. Early Kabbalah literature includes Sefer ha-Bahir (The Book of Clarity), patterned after ancient rabbinic Midrash, and also the series of writings from the family and close circle of Rabbi Abraham ben David of Posquieres (ca. 1125 CE–1198 CE). The most important writing is the Zohar (Hebrew, “brightness”), a writing coming out of the Kabbalists in Castile, Spain. The Zohar consists as a collection of texts written in Aramaic and Hebrew dating from a period between about 1280 CE and 1310 CE. Its central symbol, the Kabbalah tree, consists of the ten sefirotor aspects of the divine personality. Nine of...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Green, A. (2004). A guide to the Zohar. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Matt, D. C. (Trans.) (2003). The Zohar (Pritzger ed., Vols. 1–3). Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of TheologyFordham UniversityNew YorkUSA