The Kabbalistic Tree / האילן הקבלי (Dimyonot) (Hardcover)

The Kabbalistic Tree / האילן הקבלי (Dimyonot) By J. H. Chajes Cover Image

The Kabbalistic Tree / האילן הקבלי (Dimyonot) (Hardcover)


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Ilanot--parchment sheets presenting the kabbalistic "tree of life"--have been at the center of Jewish mystical practice for the past seven hundred years. Written by leading ilanot expert J. H. Chajes, The Kabbalistic Tree is a comprehensive and gorgeously illustrated history of these arboreal "maps of God."

This book documents when, where, and why Jews began to visualize and to draw the mystical shape of the Divine as a Porphyrian tree. At once maps, mandalas, and memory palaces, ilanot provided kabbalists with diagrammatic representations of their structured image of God. Scrolling an ilan parchment in contemplative study, the kabbalist participated mimetically in tikkun, the development and perfection of Divinity. Chajes reveals the complex lore behind these objects. His survey begins with the classical ilanot of pre-expulsion Spain, Byzantine Crete, Kurdistan, Yemen, and Renaissance Italy. A close examination of the ilanot inspired by the Kabbalah taught by R. Isaac Luria in sixteenth-century Safed follows, and Chajes concludes with explorations of modern ilan amulets and printed ilanot. With attention to the contexts of their creation and how they were used, The Kabbalistic Tree investigates ilanot from collections around the world, including forty from the incomparable Gross Family Collection.

With 250 never-before-seen images reproduced in stunning quality, this chronological and typological survey is a singular combination of exquisite art and foundational scholarship. Specialists in early modern history, religion, art history, and esotericism, as well as those fascinated by Kabbalah and its iconography, will enthusiastically embrace Chajes's iconic work.

J. H. Chajes is Sir Isaac Wolfson Professor of Jewish Thought at the University of Haifa. He is the author of Between Worlds: Dybbuks, Exorcists, and Early Modern Judaism, coeditor of The Visualization of Knowledge in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, and the director of the Ilanot Project.
Product Details ISBN: 9780271093451
ISBN-10: 0271093455
Publisher: Penn State University Press
Publication Date: November 29th, 2022
Pages: 456
Language: English
Series: Dimyonot