Secrecy and Esoteric Writing in Kabbalistic LiteratureUniversity of Pennsylvania Press Jewish Culture and Contexts
Secrecy and Esoteric Writing in Kabbalistic Literature examines the strategies of esoteric writing that Kabbalists have used to conceal secrets in their writings, such that casual readers will only understand the surface meaning of their texts while those with greater insight will grasp the internal meaning. In addition to a broad description of esoteric writing throughout the long literary history of Kabbalah, this work analyzes kabbalistic secrecy in light of contemporary theories of secrecy. It also presents case studies of esoteric writing in the work of four of the first kabbalistic authors—Abraham ben David, Isaac the Blind, Ezra ben Solomon, and Asher ben David—and thereby helps recast our understanding of the earliest stages of kabbalistic literary history.
The book will interest scholars in Jewish mysticism and Jewish philosophy, as well as those working in medieval Jewish history. Throughout, Jonathan V. Dauber has endeavored to write an accessible work that does not require extensive prior knowledge of kabbalistic thought. Accordingly, it finds points of contact between scholars of various religious traditions.