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The Holy Kabbalah (Dover Occult) [Paperback]

4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

1 Dec 2003 Dover Occult
This comprehensive and well-documented guide to the arcane Jewish tradition of mysticism was written by one of Britain's foremost writers on occult subjects. Waite's extensive and lucid history embraces the literature of the Kabbalah (including the Sepher Yezirah and Zohar and their central ideas), its foremost interpreters, its impact on Christian scholars, and its reputation as "the secret tradition."

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Product details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications Inc. (1 Dec 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 048643222X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486432229
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 14.1 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,534,892 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4.0 out of 5 stars Waite at his Best 20 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Waite sets out in reasonably simple terms his view of the kabbalistic system and its development. He writes in his own style that can seem strange and long winded, but once it is understood (and appreciated) it becomes an easy read. Nit the book for the faint-hearted beginner and lacking some of the more formal academic works, it is a sound piece of writing.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books written on the Kabbalah 3 Aug 2006
By ZANZIBAR - Published on Amazon.com
World renowned Masonic writer A.E. Waite and his book "The Holy Kabbalah" brings the science and art of the Kabbalah to the reader in a style suited to the esoteric enthusiast. The average researcher of Kabbalah will attest to the difficulty in deciphering and teaching it's concepts. The book is 672 pages so bring a lunch it is not a quick easy read. It would probably have to be read 3 times for it's full effect. If one was to read the old testament with this treatise, your understanding of the Pentateuch would only be enhanced.

There is a multitude of books on the subject of the Kabbalah but for the true traveler there isn't a treatise that comes remotely close to the quality of this work.

Book III The Mystery of Shekinah (The Principle of Divine Motherhood, the Feminine side of Divinity). Which tells of the mystical relationship between the sacred Feminine & Masculine principles is a must read, as well as book XI The Kabbalah and Alchemy, Astrology and Freemasonry but I must forewarn, you must be "duly prepared".
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting View on the Kabbalah. 3 Oct 2005
By Queen of Cups - Published on Amazon.com
Waite writes from the standpoint of an Esoteric Christian and does a good job of reporting the known historical facts of the Kabbalah when it came into written tradition after centuries of oral tradition. From the standpoint of combining Kabbalah with mystical Christianity, a lot of connections are revealed that enable the student to value this mystical text in perhaps a way he was unable to do so in the past. Well worth reading!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Start Here! 21 July 2012
By Tobin B. Crenshaw - Published on Amazon.com
Does anyone really understand the Kabbalah? Understand is not the correct word because it is not about understanding, it is about 'getting it' at a spiritual level. It is about experiencing God, not 'understanding' that which words cannot define. Waite has undertaken a massive pursuit here and provides tremendous help, as much as one can in grasping the ineffable. He himself shares, "The truth is that every word of Scripture enshrines Supreme Mystery and is capable of SIXTY methods of interpretation." Again, it is not about the "right" interpretation, it is about experiencing the Divine. Pursue more understanding, but more seek to just BE and let God work in you.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice scholar work 22 Mar 2006
By I. Papadakis - Published on Amazon.com
"The Holy Kabalah" is a nice informative work on the history and literature of Kabalah from the ancient years until 19th century. It is together with Papus' Kabalah the two most informative works on the Jewish tradition from non-Jewish writers. The book has also a very helpfull appentix.

Much has been writen about the overloaded, artificial way of writing that A E Waite uses and also about his contempt for non-christian (and especially Catholic) way of thinking and beliefs. This maybe is true and I have nothing to add here.

But if one is willing to overcome this, "The Holy Kabalah" is a nice scholar work for the student of the occult, the mystic, the magician, the scholar.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece--simultaneously mystical & scientific 14 Jan 2007
By Neal J. Pollock - Published on Amazon.com
p. xxvi: "This work has been written by a Christian mystic & chiefly for the use of mystics & p. 565: Intended, primarily at least, for the theosophical student." However, as Rexworth states in his Introduction-- p. xv: [Waite] "never loses...the true scientific scholar's skepticism...he strips away the nonsense, explores the facts, & leaves you to draw your own conclusions." This work is a scientific analysis by a highly respectful, skeptical, mystic. His annoying, though common, transliterations (i.e. p. 221 Barach for Baruch, continued use of "vau" though he mentions "vav," etc.), many untranslated (mostly unnecessary) French & Latin phrases, & occasional Christian theological interjections are hardly worth mentioning regarding the quality of this magisterial work. It is rare to experience such discriminating knowledge (per Tantric Buddhism) in a mystical or occult work. He also demonstrates incredible equanimity in treading on so many clay feet. His critical threshold is quite high, but his scholarly, well-documented, & well-argued presentation is virtually irresistible. He denies many others' assertions regarding authorship & antiquity of the Zohar, connections between Kabbalah & alchemists & other occultists, the validity of Practical Kabbalah, & Christian apologetics on Kabbalah. For example, he states that p. 351: "We must beware, however, of being misled by apparent correspondences with Christian Trinitarian doctrine, p. 9 note 2: "About the Magical Kabbalah, the antiquity must be left unsettled; regarding its folly & iniquity there is no question, & pp. 60-1: It is useless to reason with those whose confidence is not shaken in the face of impossibilities, whose imagination can bridge all gulfs in evidence by fantastic suppositions. On the other hand, there is the crass criticism which rules off a literature by a single stroke of a pen into the region of forgery & imposture, as it rules off all psychical phenomena...It proved Troy town to be a solar mythos till Troy town was excavated...An indiscriminate rejection is not much less superficial than an over-credulous acquiescence in a non-proven claim."

This book covers a broad spectrum but not much on pre-Zoharic Theosophy. Indeed, it tends to concentrate on the Zohar and considerable reference to the Sepher Yetzirah. He delineates both similarities & differences between Kabbalah & other mystical teachings, stating that, p. 601: "In Kabbalistic Theosophia Magna is a modality of soul attainment which is second to none in the whole of mystical testimony & p. 66: Ain Sof is that final concept of the Deity which is reached by all true metaphysics." He also makes it clear that he is a mystic and not an occultist-- p. 559: "There is usually, however, no person less really mystic than the occultist conventionally understood, while the mystic on the path of attainment in the life of sanctity is exploring the world of grace, not that of psychic power. The end of Mysticism is the recovery or attainment of consciousness of God." This is NOT an occult work; p. 557 note 1: "It {Kabbalah] is more especially a rationalized system of mystical thought." He convincingly argues that p. 250: "There is a clear system of reincarnation scattered throughout the Zohar, p. 565: The heterogeneous nature of the Zohar, which justified me in terming it a medley, & pp. 575-6: the Zohar...a work of various periods & multifarious authorships." Unfortunately, he did not have the opportunity to read the (later) works of Gershom Scholem or Moshe Idel. I think Waite would agree (see the final chapter) that his analysis of the Mystical Mystery of Sex is his most interesting & important contribution. The Zoharic presentation is comprehensive & central to Kabbalah (see also Kabbalah attributed to Isaac Luria by Hayim Vital). However, Waite notes that p. 596: "There are intimations of this state in eastern teaching by which I mean India...& Thomas Vaughn [alchemist] speaks of `the conjugal mystery of heaven and earth'" - comparable to Tantric Buddhist practices. Surprisingly, antithetical to much Western religious thought, he states that p. 193: "Optimism is a fundamental characteristic of Kabbalism." This is a wonderful work, well worth the time to read its 600+ pages with actual footnotes (not endnotes). While its style is dated, its material & techniques are not. However, it will not appeal to a p. 570: "posse of zanies" such as its author describes. The credulous are incredulous to me.
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