Preface by Moshe Idel
Previously unavailable texts, including The Book of Bahir and the writings of the Iyyum circle, that were written during the first one hundred years of this movement that was to become the most important current in Jewish mysticism.
In the late twelfth century, at the height of the Middle Ages the Judaism of southern Europe was transformed by the eruption of new attitudes and symbolism. This new movement, known as Kabbalah (literally the 'Tradition'), was characterized by the symbol of the ten sefirot. By means of the sefirotic imagery, virtually the whole of everyday life was linked to the cosmic dimension in a novel and highly original fashion that stressed the dynamic, evolutionary element of the G-dhead and the synergistic relationship between the human will and the action of G-d on earth. During a century of creativity, a detailed system of symbols and concepts was created by the author of the Sefer ha-Bahir, the Kabbalists of Provence, the Iyyun circle, and the mystics of Provence and Castile that set the stage for the great Kabbalists of the Zohar generation.