Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#51
In my second post up, the one at posting.php?mode=reply&f=11&t=1049#pr15960, I I added another paragraph, which I think justifies the three-diamond pattern as the diagram of the Sefer Yetzirah. I also added, for clarification, that Left is North and Right is South on the chart. The whole passage should read:
We get, going down the three diamonds, with South on the right (O = Ayin):

Left (North)______________________Right (South)
UE = Z = Gemini___________________SE = V = Taurus
NE = H = Aries____________________LE = Ch = Cancer

UN = T = Leo_____________________US = Tz = Aquarius
LN = Y = Virgo____________________LS = Q = Pisces

NW = N = Scorpio_________________UW = S = Sagittarius
LW = O = Capricorn________________SW = L = Lamed

The top and bottom groups might just correspond to the months in two of the three seasons represented by the three horizontals. But that middle group won't do. So in the Sefer Yetzirah, we are [added next day: put "would seem to be" instead of "are"] stuck with going from east to north to west to south, leaving the half-diamonds as they are (two sets of parallel lines), or with the cube itself.

The following paragraph added next day: Actually, if we think in terms of a figure 8 instead of a circle for the succession of the zodical constellations over the year, the configuration above does make perfect sense. It is not three seasons, but two main parts of the year, 4 months each, plus two transitional parts, 2 months each. In the diagram with half-diamonds, it goes around in a circle, the two months in South connecting with the 4 months in East. In the diagram with three full diamonds, it is a figure 8. After the four months from Aries through Cancer, then come the 2 parallel lines in North, Leo and Virgo. Then come the 4 months from Libra to Capricorn, and finally the two months Aquarius and Pisces. The lines don't connect in sequence, but that is not important. The diagram is about what is clearly visible, up from the horizon, in these months. It is the sequence of groups that is critical.

It is in the transformation of that unwieldy thing--the two diamonds plus two half-diamonds--that we can use the above assignments [added next day: delete the rest of this sentence], even though they make only minor sense in terms of the Sefer Yetzirah.

Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#52
mikeh wrote:Since my last post was just going over the Sefer Yetzirah again, and I need to catch up with Huck as far as comparing allegories, sefirotic diagram to I Ching, I will proceed immediately to that subject.

TEASING OUT THE ALLEGORY

Alemanno in another part of his book (p. 216) divides the universe into 7 regions, each with its attendant spirits. Of the 6th he says:
6. The sefira Malkhut. This sefira is the beginning, in ascending order, of the world of the sefirot. This world is higher than the world of motion to which the previous five levels belong. Those preceding levels are all attached to matter in some form, and consequently it is those to which most souls are able to attach. It is impossible, however, for souls to become attached to this and the next level except through knowledge of the secrets of the Torah and the performance of its commandments.
You lose me here. What are the "7 regions", and why is Malkuth the 6th? How much "worlds" exist in this model?
By "secrets" he means the "oral Torah", not divulged to other nations. The one level higher is that of Tiferet, associated with the four-letter name of God (p. 217). The next two lower levels are first, those of spirits associated with the fixed stars and then, below them, the spirits associated with the seven planets. The lowest is the "mutable world" in which we live, associated with the "universal spirit".
So the levels are ...

7th "Tiferet, associated with the four-letter name of God" (world of Sephiroth)
.... Mantegna Tarocchi No 50 ?

6th "Malkuth", oral Torah (world of Sephiroth)
.... Mantegna Tarocchi No. 50 ?

5th spirits associated with the fixed stars (world of motion)
.... Mantegna Tarocchi No. 49 (motion)? ... Mantegna Tarocchi No. 48 Octava Sphera ?

4th spirits associated with the seven planets (world of motion)
.... Mantegna Tarocchi No. 41-47?

3rd ???? (world of motion) ... not mentioned, something like virtues ? Mantegna Tarocchi 34-40 ?
2nd ???? (world of motion)... not mentioned, something like liberal artes ? Mantegna Tarocchi 21-27 ?

1st "mutable world" in which we live, associated with the "universal spirit" (world of motion)
... Mantegna Tarocchi No. 1-10?

Image


First movement ... at picture 49. So somehow the Sephiroth tree (6th and 7th level above) has somehow the role of the 50th door in the sortiment of the "50 gates of understanding". We earlier talked about them, and the impression is there, that its state as a 49+1-structure with 5x10 scheme possibly was made late and possibly in Italy and possibly with influence of the Mantegna Tarocchi. Perhaps you remember.


Alemanno's idea is that below the sefirot, are the "worlds of motion", which the sefirot, although at rest, put in motion, through a kind of universal yearning. This is his Kabbalist adaptation of an Aristotelian idea.

It strikes me that motion is characterized by a change in nearness to one or another of two opposites, or more than two. When changing location we go further in one of east vs. west, in one of north vs. south, and perhaps even in elevation. Time passes, and we arrive at a place sooner or later (between "first and last"). Those are the famous four dimensions of Einstein's theory of relativity. The Sefer Yetzirah's fifth is "good and evil", the dimension that Einstein didn't take into account when he said that the atomic bomb was possible. He later regretted his error. It is in that aspect that the atomic bomb is impossible, he later thought.

In the context of the "5" (in Sepher Yetzirah and also in the Chinese Ho-Tu plan with its abacus ideas)we've another "5" in the 5 Dhyani Buddhas. I remember from my older studies, that the top Buddha hadn't this Good-Evil problem and was free of it, but that the second opened this field. I tried to find something about it in the web, but wasn't lucky.

Generally all ideas about the mythological "5" have mostly something to do with the 5 fingers at one hand and 10 at both. As there's a thumb and 4 fingers, then you have one picture in the middle and 4 around it and the idea is often 4 seasons as the cycle of time, 4 elements, 4 colors etc.

Image

http://www2.fodian.net/world/buddhas/5b/5ba.html

But the code of I-Ching, running on the base 2 of the binary system and not on the enthusiasm about the decadic system, has more a 2+3 for the "5" and not the 1+4. There's a structural difference.

Although the pairs can be called "North-South", "East-West","Up-Down", "Good-Evil", and "First-Last" (or, in place of the last two, "Breath/second breath" and "water from breath/fire from water"), they do not have to stay that way. The Kabbalists had quite different names for the sefirot, although there may be some allegorical correspondence. With suitable titles, the sefirotic diagram might be able to show us how to achieve balance in achieving the mean between several exremes.

Alemanno in this same discussion mentions two more pairs of opposites: "Justice and Mercy" and "spiritual and material." And the midpoint is called "Tiferet" (p. 220, http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ewXQ8jM2P0k/V ... ley220.JPG):
Jacob took as his measure the sefira Tiferet, the middle line that unites the higher and lower existents, Justice and Mercy, spiritual and material.

So we have "Justice" and "Mercy", i.e. Gevurah and Hesed, in the place of points H and D in the diagram; and we can put B, the highest sefirot, as "spiritual-most" (analogously to northernmost), i.e. Keter, and J, the lowest, as "material-most", i.e. Malkhut. Since the sefirot are spiritual entities, most of them will be above Malkhut. The diagram is necesarily top heavy.
Well, in I-Ching the terminus "Justice" or the better the Chinese expression, which caused Richard Wilhelm to translate it as this belongs to Yin and the terminus "Love" (well, somehow "grace") belongs to Yang. Strange enough, in the Chinese element theory the trigram heaven=Yang is associated to metal and metal has the "4", and the trigram earth=Yin has the 5. How this congruence to Chesed (4) and Geburah (5) happened, is a riddle, and I've no explanation for it.
Although we have "Justice" and "Mercy" as two sefirot, we don't yet know which is on the left and which is on the right. Our Kabbalists have decided that between the two, Mercy is closer to God and so higher. In the law, kings often had the power to pardon but not convict. Conviction had to be done by a special agency called the Court of Justice. Likewise we would all be condemned were it not for the clemency of God. Since Hebrew goes from right to left, Mercy would thus seem to be on the right, with a lower number (and so closer to God) than Justice.
.... :-) ... and so on. Your text is too long. Likely I've something more to say ... later.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#53
Huck wrote
So the levels are ...

7th "Tiferet, associated with the four-letter name of God" (world of Sephiroth)
.... Mantegna Tarocchi No 50 ?

6th "Malkuth", oral Torah (world of Sephiroth)
.... Mantegna Tarocchi No. 50 ?

5th spirits associated with the fixed stars (world of motion)
.... Mantegna Tarocchi No. 49 (motion)? ... Mantegna Tarocchi No. 48 Octava Sphera ?

4th spirits associated with the seven planets (world of motion)
.... Mantegna Tarocchi No. 41-47?

3rd ???? (world of motion) ... not mentioned, something like virtues ? Mantegna Tarocchi 34-40 ?
2nd ???? (world of motion)... not mentioned, something like liberal artes ? Mantegna Tarocchi 21-27 ?

1st "mutable world" in which we live, associated with the "universal spirit" (world of motion)
... Mantegna Tarocchi No. 1-10?
I never know how much detail to put in. I cut out as much as I think I can. I am happy to provide more upon request. So, here is what Alemanno says about levels 2 and 3. Not much, I fear (p. 215).
2. The Agent Intellect. All the scientists agree that human souls can become attached to it during their lifetimes and after their separation from the body. The greatest of the visionaries, Abu Bakr Ibn Tufayl, wrote that, after his complete immersion in his vision and destruction of his ego, he saw an essence with seventy thousand aspects, his term for the agent intellect. On this level he saw other essences, including the souls of the righteous after their death, all infinite in beauty and splendor and delight.
3. The Separate Intelligences. This level is so much higher than that of the Agent Intellect, that none of the scientists mentions it except R. Moses of Narbonne, in his commentary to Hayy Ibn Yagzan. He says that Averroes thinks that, at a level still higher than that of the Agent Intellect, the human intellect can perceive the separate intelligences.
Then come the spirits of the planets, etc. All of levels 1-5 are in the world of motion. Only level 1 is in the world of mutation. Levels 6-7 are in the world of rest.

I see only one other mention of "worlds", in the part that I talk about later in my post, p. 130 (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-pgEV6RlsDXo/V ... ley130.JPG. He analyzes psalm 89 as dividing "all existents" into four "parts": spheres, movers of spheres, the "world of the sefirot", and
"mighty one", the agent intellect, which mightily brings all the latent forms from potentiality to actuality", and is affected by the name "Yah", which includes the three highest sefirot.
This seems to be the same "agent intellect" that he later puts at the second level of seven! But of course he is only analyzing a psalm, which you might otherwise not have known said all this. Otherwise it is consistent with what he said earlier, about the sefirot being in the "world of rest". The "four worlds" doctrine is in other Kabbalists in Italy (first seen in Sicily, Idel says, end of 13th century), as I say in my long post, but Alemanno either doesn't know it or doesn't feel a need for it.

I don't so far see any parallels to the "Mantegna" except in the way that the Ptolemaic universe in general corresponds to the "Mantegna". I suppose the 5 pairs of sefirot are related to the 5 fingers, etc. They are also related to the 10 fingers, in that there were 10 commandments. The Sefer Yetzirah doesn't otherwise use the number 5 that I can see.

Huck wrote, in his earlier post,
In the later Kabbala at least one likely has to interpret:

"five opposed pairs, first (= 1 Kether) and last (10 Malkuth), good (= 2 Chochmah) and bad (= 3 Binah), high and low, north and south, and east and west (= the six directions, Sephiroth 4-9).
Interesting perspective, I had 1-4 differently, but your way makes sense in relation to the later Kabbalah. The question is, does it fit the Sefer Yetzirah? "Last" is not the 10th sefira there, because the 10th is one of the 6 directions. What was one of the first four later becomes the 10th. On my theory, the bottom one of the first four was moved later to the 10th position. I am not sure what number the bottom one would have gotten, however. It is either 2 or 4, depending on whether the sequence goes from the top of the diamond to the sides and then to the bottom, or to the bottom first and then to the sides

I am referring to the diagram:
Image

with B as sefira 1, the top point of the top diamond, J as the bottom point of the diamond, and A and C as the points on the sides. B becomes Keter, J becomes Malkhut, A becomes Binah, and C becomes Hokma.

This diagram rather neatly divides the sefiroth into 4 + 6, with the 4 as all of the top diamond, and 6 everything else. The dividing line is just below J. This diagram I think is one of the two (along with the cube plus two lines) that captures visually the text of the Sefer Yetzirah. It is first a projection of the cube that turns the 8 vertices into sefirot; it then rearranges the projection so as to create 2 more points, giving the sefirot an integrated symmetry.

In the Sefer Yetzirah, what we know is that sefira 1 is "breath"; sefira 2 is "breath from breath"; sefira 3 is "water from breath"; and sefira 4 is "fire from water".

In this way of describing them, which is "first" and which is "last", which is "good" and which is "bad"? I had thought that water was first and fire was last, referring to the creation and destruction of the world. But it seems reasonable to make "breath" first, since it is the breath of God that starts everything. If so, it would still seem that "fire" would be last, given that it is at the end of the world, and also at the end of this series of 4. Then is "breath from breath" good, and "water from breath" bad? That would make 2 = good and 3 = bad, as you want. God creates the world, good; then everybody sins, and the Flood comes, bad. I guess. But I have a hard time seeing water as bad. I don't know if I get the metaphor.

On the other hand, maybe "breath from breath" = "last", putting number 2 at the bottom of the diamond, later to be moved to the 10th position. Then "water from breath" would be good and "fire from breath" bad. Or the other way around. Well, it all comes to the same thing: first and last being the top and bottom of the diamond and good and bad being the two sides, even if we don't know which is good and which bad except in much later works.

Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#54
First to this:
mikeh wrote:
Huck wrote, in his earlier post,
In the later Kabbala at least one likely has to interpret:

"five opposed pairs, first (= 1 Kether) and last (10 Malkuth), good (= 2 Chochmah) and bad (= 3 Binah), high and low, north and south, and east and west (= the six directions, Sephiroth 4-9).
Interesting perspective, I had 1-4 differently, but your way makes sense in relation to the later Kabbalah. The question is, does it fit the Sefer Yetzirah? "Last" is not the 10th sefira there, because the 10th is one of the 6 directions. What was one of the first four later becomes the 10th. On my theory, the bottom one of the first four was moved later to the 10th position. I am not sure what number the bottom one would have gotten, however. It is either 2 or 4, depending on whether the sequence goes from the top of the diamond to the sides and then to the bottom, or to the bottom first and then to the sides
Well, the SY has differences to the later Kabbala ...

Image


.. or expanded ...

Image


Actually the first Sephira wandered and became the last. When the Sephiroth tree found to some forms, with often one contradicting all others ("every kabalists had his own system" or similar Gerschom Scholem had described the situation), a period of 600-1200 years had passed since the SY was written.

Further: The SY might contradict itself. Further: we have 4 different versions. Further: the SY, that we assume to be the original, might be not the original, but just a degenerated version of a better version. Further: the text is old and some words might have been translated in wrong and disturbing manner.

In summary of all this chaos we naturally deal with a lot of insecurities in the matters of SY.

The really sure thing about SY is the condition, that the construction of the "32 ways of wisdom" [22 (= 3+(1+6) +12 +) + 10 (1+3+6) = 32] meets a mathematical program, that also appears in the I-Ching-math with its 64 hexagrams [the same "22 (= 3+(1+6) +12) + 10 (1+3+6) = 32"].

The SY might have counted ...

1 the first
2 the last
3 the good
4 the bad
5-10 all the others as 3 dimensions

... but generally the SY isn't so much interested to see an ordered tree in it. Possibly it also meant ...

1 the highest, perhaps a sort of "higher air"
2 something like air ("lower air")
3 water
4 fire
5-10 the six directions

As you said with ...
In the Sefer Yetzirah, what we know is that sefira 1 is "breath"; sefira 2 is "breath from breath"; sefira 3 is "water from breath"; and sefira 4 is "fire from water".
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#55
mikeh wrote: I never know how much detail to put in. I cut out as much as I think I can. I am happy to provide more upon request. So, here is what Alemanno says about levels 2 and 3. Not much, I fear (p. 215).
2. The Agent Intellect. All the scientists agree that human souls can become attached to it during their lifetimes and after their separation from the body. The greatest of the visionaries, Abu Bakr Ibn Tufayl, wrote that, after his complete immersion in his vision and destruction of his ego, he saw an essence with seventy thousand aspects, his term for the agent intellect. On this level he saw other essences, including the souls of the righteous after their death, all infinite in beauty and splendor and delight.
3. The Separate Intelligences. This level is so much higher than that of the Agent Intellect, that none of the scientists mentions it except R. Moses of Narbonne, in his commentary to Hayy Ibn Yagzan. He says that Averroes thinks that, at a level still higher than that of the Agent Intellect, the human intellect can perceive the separate intelligences.
Alright, I include it in my earlier considerations, and comment the import:
So the levels are ...

7th "Tiferet, associated with the four-letter name of God" (world of Sephiroth)
.... Mantegna Tarocchi No 50 ?

6th "Malkuth", oral Torah (world of Sephiroth)
.... Mantegna Tarocchi No. 50 ?

5th spirits associated with the fixed stars (world of motion)
.... Mantegna Tarocchi No. 49 (motion)? ... Mantegna Tarocchi No. 48 Octava Sphera ?

4th spirits associated with the seven planets (world of motion)
.... Mantegna Tarocchi No. 41-47?

3rd
Huck:
???? (world of motion) ... not mentioned, something like virtues ? Mantegna Tarocchi 34-40 ?

MikeH (Alemanno):
The Separate Intelligences. This level is so much higher than that of the Agent Intellect, that none of the scientists mentions it except R. Moses of Narbonne, in his commentary to Hayy Ibn Yagzan. He says that Averroes thinks that, at a level still higher than that of the Agent Intellect, the human intellect can perceive the separate intelligences.

Huck (answering): From the note none of the scientists one might conclude, that the Agent Intellect (level 2) is something for the scientists. So they usually don't reach the 3rd level. Otherwise we learn, that the human intellect can reach this level. Level two is according my suspicion something like the 7 artes liberalis, so actually the stuff for scientists of the related time (15th century).
Also we learn, that it is spoken of "Intelligences". This word is very often used in the descriptions of the "50 Gates".
We have, that Alemanno refers in his text (chapters 9-12) to 4 cardinal virtues (or perhaps only 2) ... so it might be, that this refers to this otherwise unknown level of the "Seperate Intelligences".


2nd ????
Huck:
(world of motion)... not mentioned, something like liberal artes ? Mantegna Tarocchi 21-27 ?

Mikeh (Alemanno):
The Agent Intellect. All the scientists agree that human souls can become attached to it during their lifetimes and after their separation from the body. The greatest of the visionaries, Abu Bakr Ibn Tufayl, wrote that, after his complete immersion in his vision and destruction of his ego, he saw an essence with seventy thousand aspects, his term for the agent intellect. On this level he saw other essences, including the souls of the righteous after their death, all infinite in beauty and splendor and delight.

Huck (answering)
The scientists are confirmed for the 2nd level. The number "70.000" might have a relation to the idea of 7 artes liberalis, from which each is formed of 10.000 objects.

1st "mutable world" in which we live, associated with the "universal spirit" (world of motion)
... Mantegna Tarocchi No. 1-10?
MikeH wrote:
I see only one other mention of "worlds", in the part that I talk about later in my post, p. 130 (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-pgEV6RlsDXo/V ... ley130.JPG. He analyzes psalm 89 as dividing "all existents" into four "parts": spheres, movers of spheres, the "world of the sefirot", and
"mighty one", the agent intellect, which mightily brings all the latent forms from potentiality to actuality", and is affected by the name "Yah", which includes the three highest sefirot.
This seems to be the same "agent intellect" that he later puts at the second level of seven! But of course he is only analyzing a psalm, which you might otherwise not have known said all this. Otherwise it is consistent with what he said earlier, about the sefirot being in the "world of rest". The "four worlds" doctrine is in other Kabbalists in Italy (first seen in Sicily, Idel says, end of 13th century), as I say in my long post, but Alemanno either doesn't know it or doesn't feel a need for it.
Well, the second level exists, and somebody must have done it. This Agent intellect might be a sort of a positive demiurg function.

MikeH wrote:
I don't so far see any parallels to the "Mantegna" except in the way that the Ptolemaic universe in general corresponds to the "Mantegna". I suppose the 5 pairs of sefirot are related to the 5 fingers, etc. They are also related to the 10 fingers, in that there were 10 commandments. The Sefer Yetzirah doesn't otherwise use the number 5 that I can see.
Hm ... somebody must have made these 50 gates theory in 5x10-structure.

This "5" in the SY wouldn't be so disturbing, if one would assume, that the author of SY had some input from Chinese sources (Chinese "5-elements-theory", which is said to have develloped in a later time than the I-Ching-math). Jews were in China and they were strong in organizing trading routes from China to Europe,
Radhanite
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radhanite
But Jews were much earlier already in China, some connections existed already 700 BC and perhaps earlier
(I remember from earlier studies, though ...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of ... s_in_China
... speaks only of 7th and 8th century CE)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silk_Road
"Some remnants of what was probably Chinese silk have been found in Ancient Egypt from 1070 BC."
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#56
hi Mike,

You speak often of the Bahir. You pointed to this ...

Image


This looks much too modern ... I'ld assume. Who made it? I have the Bahir (Kaplan edition). I find, that it's in part 2, and that are commentaries by Kaplan. If you read the referred text of Bahir (No. 94), then that tree looks like an over-interpretation.
I wouldn't use it. It seems better to read Gerschom Scholem first to get some critical distance

Origins of the Kabbalah
http://books.google.de/books/about/Orig ... edir_esc=y
There's a 150-pages chapter about the Bahir.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Lines of I-Ching

#57
Between all this chaos, that the kabbalists caused by their attempts to create channels between the Sephiroth, it'much easier to handle the definitions of I-Ching.

The I-Ching has 3 Lines for the trigrams.
In Kabbala (later Kabbala, not the SY) these are expressed by the Sephiroth 1, 2 and 3.

The I-Ching has 6 Lines for the hexagrams.
In Kabbala (later Kabbala, not the SY) these are expressed by the Sephiroth 4-9.

The I-Ching has the idea of a total. This is the hexagram, the 10th element.
In Kabbala (later Kabbala, not the SY) these are expressed by the Sephira Malkuth.

**********************

Kabbala used the Chaldean row of the planets.
The I-Ching didn't use the Chaldean row, but another dialectical scheme, which places the most important lines (Line 2 for the trigram, Lines 2 + 5 for the hexagram) in the middle position. The tree of Kabbala places the most important Sephiroth (1, 6 and 9 and also 10) also in the middle, but has a curious run of the numbers.

Getting a sort of translation between I-Ching and the Sephiroth system, one has to calculate this:

Image

... one way to do it ...

Image

... and another way.

In the I-Ching the hexagrams build relations to other hexagrams ... that's the common use as a divination tool. The trigrams build relations to other trigrams ... that's a common way (of interpretation), how the 64 hexagrams are formed. All relations are possible, so totally 8x8 = 64 hexagrams, agreeing with the condition, that each trigram meets each other twice and itself once.

The Kabbala tree and the distribution of channels between the sephiroth gives the idea, that these are the same relations as the above relations between the trigrams, but they're are not complete. In the usual manner they are reduced to 22 channels, but there are also other trees with other numbers, likely due to the condition, that there were many different opinions. If one would think about the 10 Sephiroth, one would get 45 possible connections between 10 numbers and following the Chinese way with two different positions and a relation to itself one would get 10x10 = 100.

In the Chinese situation there likely also was experimentation (and different opinion), but only few diverging opinions reached the Western market. I remember, that somewhere I've read of 2000 texts about the I-Ching in a collection in a Chinese library of 17th century. So we are in the trivial situation, that we don't know, what we don't know. There might have been also a lot of diverging discussions and ideas, comparable to the discussions in Kabbala or in the world of medieval astrology.

Dualism
Dualism (from the Latin word duo meaning "two")[1] denotes the state of two parts. The term 'dualism' was originally coined to denote co-eternal binary opposition, a meaning that is preserved in metaphysical and philosophical duality discourse but has been more generalized in other usages to indicate a system which contains two essential parts.

Moral dualism is the belief of the great complement or conflict between the benevolent and the malevolent. It simply implies that there are two moral opposites at work, independent of any interpretation of what might be "moral" and independent of how these may be represented. The moral opposites might, for example, exist in a world view which has one god, more than one god, or none. By contrast, ditheism or bitheism implies (at least) two gods. Bitheism implies harmony, ditheism implies rivalry and opposition, such as between good and evil, or bright and dark, or summer and winter. For example, a ditheistic system would be one in which one god is creative, the other is destructive.

Alternatively, in ontological dualism, the world is divided into two overarching categories. The opposition and combination of the universe's two basic principles of yin and yang is a large part of Chinese philosophy, and is an important feature of Taoism, both as a philosophy and as a religion (it is also discussed in Confucianism).
Well, there are two interesting words, "Bitheism" and "Ditheism". Maybe one could call the I-Ching part of "Bitheism" and Zoroastrism more part of Ditheism with its fight between good and bad, and light and dark.

Zoroastrism was close enough to have influenced the genesis of the Sepher Yetzirah model.

Same source:
Zurvanism (Zurvanite Zoroastrianism), Manichaeism and Mandaeism, are representative of dualistic and monist philosophies since each has a supreme and transcendental First Principle from which the two equal-but-opposite entities then emanate. This is also true for the lesser-known Christian gnostic religions, such as Bogomils, Catharism, and so on. More complex forms of monist dualism also exist, for instance in Hermeticism, where Nous "thought" - that is described to have created man - brings forth both good and evil, dependent on interpretation, whether it receives prompting from the God or from the Demon.


Well, there were fights ...
The tolerance of dualism ranges widely among the different Christian traditions. As a monotheistic religion, the conflict between dualism and monism has existed in Christianity since its inception.[13] The 1912 Catholic Encyclopedia describes that, in the Catholic Church, "the dualistic hypothesis of an eternal world existing side by side with God was of course rejected" by the thirteenth century, but mind-body dualism was not.[14] The problem of evil is difficult to reconcile with absolute monism, and has prompted some Christian sects to veer towards dualism. Gnostic forms of Christianity were more dualistic, and some Gnostic traditions posited that the Devil was separate from God as an independent deity.[13] The Christian dualists of the Byzantine Empire, the Paulicians, were seen as Manichean heretics by Byzantine theologians. This tradition of Christian dualism, founded by Constantine-Silvanus, argued that the universe was created through evil and separate from a moral God.[15]

The Cathars, a Christian sect in southern France, believed that there was a dualism between two gods, one representing good and the other representing evil. The Roman Catholic Church denounced the Cathars as heretics, and sought to crush the movement in the 13th century. The Albigensian Crusade was initiated by Pope Innocent III in 1208 to remove the Cathars from Languedoc in France, where they were known as Albigesians. The Inquisition, which began in 1233 under Pope Gregory IX, also targeted the Cathars.
The time of the early Kabbalists (1170) and the Cathars runs parallel at the same locations, Southern France.

We observed, that the math of I-Ching and of SY is close to each other.
The suspected place, where and when the Sepher Yetzirah was written, was likely close to far spread tendencies of dualism.

The place, where modern Kabbala arrived, in second half of 12th century, wasn't far from the Cathars.

Narbonne
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narbonne
In the 11th and 12th centuries, Narbonne was home to an important Jewish exegetical school, which played a pivotal role in the growth and development of the Zarphatic (Judæo-French) and Shuadit (Judæo-Provençal) languages. Jews had settled in Narbonne from about the 5th century, with a community that had risen to approximately 2000 in the 12th century. At this time, Narbonne was frequently mentioned in Talmudic works in connection with its scholars. One source, Abraham ibn Daud of Toledo, gives them an importance similar to the exilarchs of Babylon.[4] In the 12th and 13th centuries, the community went through a series of ups and downs before settling into extended decline.
Posquieres (modern name Vauvert)
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/artic ... posquieres
Town in the department of the Gard, France, where Jews are known to have lived since the twelfth century. When Benjamin of Tudela visited the city, about 1165, the community was composed of forty members, among whom he mentions Joseph ben Menahem, Benveniste, Benjamin, and Abraham and Isaac ben Moses ("Itinerary," i. 5). At its head was Abraham ben David (RABDaD III.); his school was attended by many students from distant countries, whom he welcomed with much hospitality. In 1172 Abraham suffered a short imprisonment, at the close of which his persecutor, Elzéar, the seignior of Posquières, was summoned to Carcassonné by his suzerain, Count Roger II., to explain his conduct toward the famous opponent of Maimonides. It was doubtless after this event that Abraham quit Posquières, to reside sometimes at Lunel and sometimes at Montpellier, but chiefly at Nimes, where he lived for many years, thus gaining the surname of "Nemsi" (scholar of Nimes), or "Master of the City of the Woods" ("Rabbi mi-Ḳiryat Ye'arim"). Some Jewish natives of Posquières are mentioned as living at Carpentras in 1400 and at Perpignan in 1413 and 1414. Among the scholars of the city were: Isaac the Blind or Isaac of Posquières, "Father of the Cabala"; his nephew Asher ben David ben Abraham ben David; and the Biblical commentator Menahem ben Simeon.
https://books.google.de/books?id=P5CdAw ... ir&f=false

Abraham ben Isaac of Narbonne
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_be ... f_Narbonne

Abraham ben David of Posquières (son-in-law of Abraham ben Isaac, father of Isaac the Blind)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_ben_David

Jacob ha-Nazir (colleague of Abraham ben David)
http://www.encyclopedia.com/article-1G2 ... nazir.html

Isaak the Blind
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_the_Blind

*************

This were at the beginning just one family and possibly some friends and close pupils.

Early Kabbalists feared the orthodox interpretations, so kept some silence about their ideas. Perhaps things, which looked too much like dualism, were (possibly) sorted to the background ... and possibly finally forgotten.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#58
Huck wrote:hi Mike,

You speak often of the Bahir. You pointed to this ...

Image


This looks much too modern ... I'ld assume. Who made it? I have the Bahir (Kaplan edition). I find, that it's in part 2, and that are commentaries by Kaplan. If you read the referred text of Bahir (No. 94), then that tree looks like an over-interpretation.
I wouldn't use it. It seems better to read Gerschom Scholem first to get some critical distance
Yes, you're right. I got it from the Wiki Media Commons desciption (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File: ... Hebrew.svg), which got it from Kaplan's book on the Bahir. But looking at the Bahir itself, there is absolutely nothing about letters being assigned to lines between sefirot. Letters are only assigned to sefirot. That "Bahir tree" has nothing to do with the Bahir. Looking at another site, I saw it called the "the tree according to the Arizal", i.e. Isaac Luria. That seems more likely, for the letters on the lines between sefiroth. Other than those, however, the design goes back at least to the 13th century and Gikatilla. It is clearly the tree-design used by Pico and Alemanno, as I have already explained--just not the Lurianic letter-assignments.

There might somewhere be an explanation of why the Lurianic school assigned the letters the way they did. If so, I don't know where. I will look. They may simply have taken over someone else's letter assignments, which were a distortion of the original.

It's a relief for me to know that these assignments aren't very ancient. The horizontals do correspond to the Sefer Yetzirah precisely. The verticals are one reasonable way of assigning Sefer Yetzirah letters to paths, but not the only one. The diagonals at least have the letters that the Sefer Yetzirah assigns to the diagonals, but as I have said, the configuration on the diagram doesn't fit any order of zodiacal constellations that I know of. There may be some distortion, or some special reason I don't know.

The Kircher assignments, as far as I can tell, are even less ancient. They sometimes take the Bahir's assignments to a sefira and apply it to a line that connects to it, but often not. Alpha, for example, in Kircher leaves from Keter, which is where the Bahir puts it (with Keter). Beth, however, in Kircher goes between Keter and Binah; in the Bahir, Beth is associated with Hokhma.

The Kircher letter assignments have absolutely no relationship to the Sefir Yetzirah's.

On the question we've been discussing, of assigning pairs of opposites to the Sefir Yetzirah's first four sefiroth, I see in Kaplan's commentary on the Bahir a passage that pertains more to the Sefer Yetzirah than to the Bahir. The Bahir section 30 says:
30. They said to him: but what is Vav?
He said: the world was sealed with six directions.
They said: is not Vav a single letter?
He replied: It is written (Psalm 194L2): He wrapped himself in light as a garment, [he spreads out the heavens like a curtain]."
Vav is a letter that the Bahir associates with the six lower sefiroth. Kaplan comments (p. 107, my emphasis):
The six conceptual directions represented by the Vav correspond to the six physical directions in the space continuum. Furthermore, as the Sefer Yetzirah explains, Wisdom-Understanding delineates the time dimension, while Crown-Kingship represents the spiritual, moral dimension between good and evil. Creation thus consists of five dimensions, or ten directions.
Since Keter-Crown is closest to God, it is said to represent good. Conversely, Malkhut-Kingship is furthest from God, since it is a receiving effect, and it is therefore said to represent evil.
In this context, Chakhmah-Wisdom is said to represent the past, while Binah-Understanding is the future. Wisdom is similarity and unity, and there is only one past. Understanding is dissimilarity and plurality, and there are many possible futures. It is the fact that there are many possible futures that makes free will possible. Hence,Binah-Understanding is said to be the ultimate root of free will, and therefore, of evil.
I have already discussed the "hypercube" idea, which seems to me anachronistic: there are indeed five dimensions, but just one three-dimensional cube, existing in time and subject to value; the term "hypercube" implies representation in five spatial dimensions, something that is very modern.

Otherwise, Kaplan seems to say that good-evil is on the vertical dimension, first-last on the horizontal, between Hochma and Binah. My original assignments agree with that. However Kaplan also says that Binah is the "root of evil", so in that way it is close to your assignments, Huck. However it seems to me a stretch to say that free will is evil.

It seems to me worth questioning, at least in relation to Alemanno's conceptions, whether Binah has to do with the future and possibilities whereas Hochma doesn't. There are two ways of rendering judgment, which is directly below Binah. Ine is by strict adherence to statute. This is the way of similarity between the statute and the act being judged and requires "intelligence". Wisdom involves intuitive understanding which involves a variety of possibilities, including future ones, and even the method of future experiment to rule out one or more of them, as in the case of Solomon's judgment about the baby. So I would put Hochma with the future and Binah with the past. Hochma is superior to Binah and therefore better, but both are in themselves extremes. This is just what I get from Alemanno's conceptions of the two opposites, in which Binah is "intelligence" rather than "understanding".

On the other hand, since as one reads in Hebrew, right is in the past and left in the future, and in the diagram Hochma is on the right, perhaps Kaplan is right, and Binah should be identified with the future. To say anything else is perhaps to get allegorically too subtle for the Sefer Yetzirah, which is only concerned with creation.

I will have to read what Kaplan says on this subject in his commentary on the Sefir Yetzirah. That is a book that is always checked out at my local library (and is now), so it may be a week or two before I see it.

Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#59
On dualism, I absolutely agree that there is a connection between the Kabbalists' conception of good and evil and that of the Cathars of that time, the 11th century. The Cathars then in Languedoc held to "moderate dualism", meaning that there is one high god but also two lesser gods that contend, identified with Christ and Lucifer, and that this contention is for the greater good, foreknown by the high god. Christ rules the spiritual world and Lucifer the material world. There is no hell or purgatory, other than the material world. To what extent these gods were separate, as opposed to a mythological way of talking about aspects of one God, is unclear.

"Absolute dualism" became dominant later, in the 12 and 13th centuries, apparently corresponding to a change in doctrine by the Bogomils. It held that the good and evil gods were not themselves part of a divine plan by a higher god; there apparently was no higher god and no overreaching plan.

The Kabbalists did not hold that there were three gods, of course, but rather that there are three such aspects of the one God: (1) the "en sof" aspect, which is not part of the diagram but somehow is their unity or source; (2) the "good" aspect, which seems to be reflected in Keter; and (3) the "evil" aspect--or better, just "bad"--that is identified with matter, i.e. the Chaos in the Bahir, and hence to a degree with Malkhut. Mythologically or imagistically, this is close to the moderate dualists among the Cathars, for whom both the good and the evil gods were products of the same higher God. The Bahir seems to speak of the Chaos not just as "chaos" or "desolation" but also "something that confounds", and in that way similar to the moderate dualists' Lucifer. Yet it is still somehow a product of God, His "hiding place". where "cloud and gloom surround him" (section 1, quoting psalms 18:12 and 97:2), so that "even darkness is not dark to You. Night shines like day - light and darkness are the same" (psalm 139:12).

There was a similar division in the ancient Gnostics, the Valentinians holding to the "moderate" view, in which the Demiurge, a product of one of the High God's emanations, is a well-meaning but superficial reflection of higher truths, a being whose flawed creation Satan, whose ultimate source was the same high God, could use to his benefit but is not evil in itself. The Valentinians, like the Kabbalists, had a series of emanations from the high God. Some of the Nag Hammadi writings seem to hold to something resembling the "absolute" view, that the demiurge is not part of the divine plan and is in fact identical to Satan. Others take the "moderate" approach.

Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#60
mikeh wrote:On dualism, I absolutely agree that there is a connection between the Kabbalists' conception of good and evil and that of the Cathars of that time, the 11th century.
I don't know. Scholem takes the position, that the Cathar and Jewish interpretation had strong differences, and that the relations were more hostile.
The bishop of Narbonne (with many Jews, "2000" are mentioned) was hostile against the heresy of the Cathars ....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pons_d%27Arsac
Pons d'Arsac was the Archbishop of Narbonne from 1162 until 1181. He was archbishop at an important time in the history of Narbonne and Languedoc in general; a time when heresy, in the form of Catharism, was spreading and gaining power and acceptance while the Roman Catholic Church was forming a response.

In 1165, Pons called a council (or colloquy) at Lombers, near Albi, to deal with the spreading Catharism in his archdiocese, largely in response to the council held at Tours in 1163 under Pope Alexander III.[1] The council was a public debate between Cathars (who called themselves bos-homes or bos Crestias) and orthodox Catholic delegates.[1] Constance, daughter of Louis VI of France, and most of the citizens of Albi and Lombers were present and the decision of the council in favour of orthodoxy is still preserved. The judges of the council had been decided upon by representatives of both the Cathars and the Catholics and the latter had been forced to agree to argue solely on New Testament grounds.[2]

In 1166, Pons solemnly confirmed the decision of Lombers at a council in Capestang.[2] However, the power and influence of the heretics was so demoralising to the faithful that some Cistercian monks from Villemagne near Agde abandoned their vows and their monastery to marry and the archbishop was unable to compel them to return without papal interference, which was probably ineffectual as well.[2] In 1173, both Pons and Ermengard of Narbonne sent separate pleas to Louis VII of France for aid against, in Pons' words, "the oppression of heretics" which put "the ship of Saint Peter ... in danger of sinking."[3]

In 1176, Pons was granted all the vicecomital rights in the town of Ferrals by Ermengard of Narbonne "for his fidelity and service."[4] Pons was a close ally of Ermengard and they shared, on very amicable terms, the lordship in the city of Narbonne.

In 1178, Pons was part of a papal legation made up of the Cistercian abbot of Clairvaux Henry of Marcy, Jean des Bellesmains, Peter of Pavia, and Garin, Archbishop of Bourges which was destined to fight Catharism and those lords of Languedoc who supported it or refused to actively campaign against it, among other perceived persecutors of the Church.[5][6] Pons was the only member of the legation who came from the region to which it was sent and he was therefore most intimately aware of its politics.
... perhaps one may conclude, that Jews in Narbonne would take more the side of the bishop than of the Cathars, just from this condition, beside possible contradicting details in the religious concepts. But religious competition might have been creative for both sides and might develop new ideas on both sides.

Scholem on his side agrees, that the new Kabbala was a reappearance of gnostic tendencies in the Jewish life of the region. Scholem is rather difficult to read (especially this text "Origin of the Kabbalah")
http://books.google.de/books/about/Orig ... edir_esc=y
... , even in German (I've a German edition in copies). Much expressions, which aren't easily to identify.

**************

What interests me especially:

Scholem writes about the "Ijjun" kabbalists, which had some distance to that, what Scholem calls the "Königsweg der Kabbala" (the group of Narbonne-Posquieres, which leads to Isaak the Blind). It starts at page 309 and has more than one chapter ... it's a longer text (chapters 8, 9, 10)
http://books.google.de/books?id=9dRi8v- ... &q&f=false

These Ijjun or Iyyun kabbalists seems to have been those, who have transported the idea of the "620 columns of light" in Kether (which otherwise is rare in Kabbala texts), about which I wrote to you once, which in my opinion is an indication of influence by the I-Ching structure and mathematical nature of the 32 ways of wisdom. Scholem identifies this group as inspired by Neoplatonism, I don't know, if this is correct.
The 620 lights ... (p. 341, p 344, but appears indirectly more often, unluckily the edition is not complete).
http://books.google.de/books?id=9dRi8v- ... 20&f=false

An Ur-Chochmah or primordial Hokhmar, which somehow is the first Sephira, has as its roots these 620 columns of light, a sort of description, which fits well with the mathematical conditions of the I-Ching analysis. Scholem says, that these 620 columns of light appear often in the Iyyun texts, it seems, that there not only a few notes about them.

A sepher-ha-Ijjun, which gave the name of this group, is said to have existed in many copies. So possibly this was a broad stream of the development, but it was overcome by the teachings of another school and finally more or less forgotten.

A R. Chammai is given as a great author of this direction, but the person is not identified and it seems even not clear, if he was from 11th or 12th century.

***************

For the channels ...
It's a relief for me to know that these assignments aren't very ancient. The horizontals do correspond to the Sefer Yetzirah precisely. The verticals are one reasonable way of assigning Sefer Yetzirah letters to paths, but not the only one. The diagonals at least have the letters that the Sefer Yetzirah assigns to the diagonals, but as I have said, the configuration on the diagram doesn't fit any order of zodiacal constellations that I know of. There may be some distortion, or some special reason I don't know.


... :-) ... yes, it's indeed a relief. So one can discuss the SY as that, what it is.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

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