An introduction to the Kabbalah is a lucid, scintillating guide to the esoteric teachings of Judaism. The book is very readable without sacrifying sholary sophistication. - Daniel Matt, Graduate Theological Union, Berkley: Author of The Essential Kabbalah and God and the Big Bang.
This book acquaints the reader with the world of the Kabbalah. The first part discusses the Kabbalist as a person: the personal transmission of Kabbalistic traditions, the Kabbalist's qualities and qualifications, prerequisites and early preporations, risks and achievements, as well as tecqniques for uncovering mysteries and the sources of revelations. The second part deals with the major themes in the teachings of the Kabbalah, such as the doctrine of the Sefirot, the Sitra-Ahra - good and evil, the creation of the world, the status of the Torah and its commandments, the doctrine of the soul and the transmigration of souls. In treating these issues, the book also notes the assimilation of Kabbalistic notions in Jewish religious customs.
This is an important work. It provides an overview of the world of Jewish mysticism with particular attention to the issues that are philosophically generated within that tradition. It examines these issues in a phenomenological way, free of the historiographical approach practiced by many students of Gershom Scholem. The book adresses a number of significant aspects of Jewish myticism in light of their relationship to general Jewish thoughts, not in the ligt of other traditions. It also provides the newcomer to the field with important sources from across the historical continuum of the Kabbalah. - Pinchas Giller, Washington University.