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Reading List: Classic Works of Kabbalah

Part of the Kabbalah For Dummies Cheat Sheet

If you're interested in learning about Kaballah, the collection of works listed here alphabetically, is considered a body of the most important written books for traditional Kabbalists throughout history:

  • The Bahir: Composed of 60 paragraphs; a mystical commentary on verses from the book of Genesis; considered to be one of the major early works of Kabbalah

  • The Midrash: Compilations of writings created during the centuries following the compiling of the Talmud that serve to explicate the biblical text. The two main divisions are Midrash Halacha (legal explorations) and Midrash Aggadah (folklore).

  • The Mishnah: Compilation of the oral traditions of Judaism codified by Rabbi Judah the Prince around 200 CE

  • Sefer Yetzirah: One of the earliest Kabbalistic books; deals with the fundamentals of Kabbalah, particularly the ten sefirot

  • The Shulkhan Aruch: Literally "the prepared table;" the authoritative code of Jewish Law compiled by the great Kabbalist, Rabbi Joseph Karo, in the 16th century

  • The Talmud: Composed of the Mishnah, the Gemara (Rabbinic commentaries on the Mishnah, containing legal discussions, legends, history, technical information, and more) and major commentaries on both; a multivolume work first edited around 550 CE and added to over the centuries

  • Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures of Judaism, comprised of 24 books, beginning with the Five Books of Moses, continuing with the books of the Prophets (such as Isaiah and Jeremiah), and concluding with the books of Writings (such as Psalms, Proverbs, and Song of Songs)

  • The Torah: The Five Books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy)

  • The Zohar: Literally "splendor;" a group of books on many mystical subjects; often considered the most important Kabbalistic work, it is traditionally attributed to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, a 2nd-century Jewish sage

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