Alchemy and Kabbalah by Gershom Scholem, Klaus Ottmann

By Gershom Scholem, Klaus Ottmann

Newly revised moment printing. Translated by way of KLAUS OTTMANN. A groundbreaking textual content on alchemy by means of the prime pupil of Jewish mysticism is gifted right here for the 1st time in English translation. Scholem appears to be like seriously on the connections among alchemy, the Jewish Kabbalah; its christianized forms, equivalent to the gold- and rosicrucian mysticisms, and the myth-based psychology of C.G. Jung, and uncovers forgotten alchemical roots embedded within the Kabbalah.

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The former is apprehended by thought, the latter by belief together with sensation. Everything that comes to be must do so as a result of some cause. Sensible things are always coming to be. Therefore sensible things have to have a Creator. For different reasons Aristotle and Philoponus believe that this argument commits Plato to creation in time: Aristotle because he attacked it, Philoponus because he defended it. 18 On the other hand, Neoplatonists from the Academy down through Plotinus and Proclus argue that by becoming ( genesis) Plato is not talking about the temporal origin of the world but a state of eternal flux.

The Greek Background 29 The crux of this theory is that it is a universal feature of reality that things produce copies or offspring of themselves according to their degree of perfection. As Plotinus describes it: All things which exist, as long as they remain in being, necessarily produce from their own substances [ousias], in dependence on their present power, a surrounding reality directed to what is outside them, a kind of image of the archetypes from which it was produced: fire produces the heat which comes from it, snow does not only keep its cold inside itself.

It is agreed by all hands that God is perfect, in Anselm’s words, a being than which no greater can be or be thought. The question is: How should one conceive of perfection? For the Neoplatonic tradition, perfection is defined in terms of richness of essence. Because God’s essence is infinitely rich, it is impossible for God to lack or desire something outside himself. ”74 Its perfection is established not by the purity of its motives but by its radical simplicity and the fact that it is the source of everything else.

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