Title

Mystical techniques, mental processes, and states of consciousness in Abraham Abulafia’s Kabbalah: A reassessment

Abstract

This article reevaluates the mystical techniques and experiences peculiar to Abraham Abulafia’s Kabbalah and attempts to offer an alternative approach to their dominant understanding, which largely depends on Moshe Idel’s work. Current scholars of Jewish mysticism have a habit of highlighting the “unique character” of Abulafia’s mystical practices while asserting that they cannot be compared with the induction techniques and the psychophysical phenomena typical of hypnosis. While generally agreeing with the scholars discussed that the hyperactivation of the mind found in Abulafian Kabbalah contrasts sharply with the mental relaxation attained through the mystical practices of other religious traditions, the present study takes issue with the current view of Abulafian Kabbalah’s relation to hypnotic procedures, processes, and states. This work addresses the issues present with the current view and offers a more inclusive model for interpreting Abulafia’s Kabbalah, drawing from psychiatrist Roland Fischer.

Department(s)

Religious Studies

Document Type

Article

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1177/0084672419839490

Rights Information

© 2019 The Author(s).

Keywords

Abraham Abulafia, altered states of consciousness, hypnosis, Kabbalah, mystical techniques, psychology of mysticism

Publication Date

7-1-2019

Journal Title

Archive for the Psychology of Religion

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