AN ANTHOLOGY OF THOUGHT & EMOTION... Un'antologia di pensieri & emozioni

Monday, 4 December 2017


The Kabbalah

or, The Religious Philosophy of the Hebrews

by Adolphe Franck

translated by I. Sossnitz

[1926, not renewed]

This is a scholarly study of the origin and evolution of the Kabbalah. Originally published in French in 1843, with a second French edition in 1889, this book traces the origins of the philosophical concepts of the Kabbalah to the ancient Zoroastrians. Franck goes into fascinating detail about the doctrine of the Kabbalah, as expressed in the Sepher Yetzirah and the Zohar. He uses internal evidence to trace the origins of these texts many centuries prior to their first known publication in the thirteenth century C.E.

Franck carefully compares the philosophy of the Kabbalah with Greek philosophy, the Alexandrians, Philo, and the Gnostics, and concludes that, although there are similarities, none of them can claim to be the source of the Kabbalah. However, he does find many more similarities with the ancient Zoroastrian beliefs. By this process of elimination, he comes to the conclusion that the doctrines of the Kabbalah had their origin during the Babylonian exile circa 500 B.C.E., which was also the time when Zoroaster was active in the same geographical region. This thesis is worth considering, and potentially adds more weight to the already numerous contributions of Zoroastrianism to world culture.

PRODUCTION NOTES: This text has extensive quotes in Hebrew and Greek. Viewing the Hebrew and Greek text requires that your browser be set up correctly to view Unicode: for more information, please refer to the Unicode instruction page. In particular, please follow the instructions on that page before firing off an email to me that the file is defective: it isn't, if you can't see the Hebrew or Greek text, the problem is your browser.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three