This study offers a fresh view on one of the fundamental problems concerning the history of Jewish thought and religious discourse, namely, the cause for the sudden appearance of the Kabbalistic theosophy of the sefirot in the turn of the 13th century. Based on testimonies of 13th-century Kabbalistic and non-Kabbalistic authors, I show that the wide reception and rapid development of the sefirotic system in this period were due to the fact that it provided theological solutions to two acute difficulties with which contemporary believers and theologians struggled: first, rejection of the notion of divine providence over individuals, and second, enhancement of the Jewish worship of divine mediators.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was funded by The Research Authority of the Open University of Israel, grant number: 511829.
Copyright © 2021 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.
- Jewish mysticism
- Jewish theology