Saturday, January 8, 2011

reply to question -- do I endorse Wolfson on theurgy in ecstatic Kabbalah?

I'm only referring to Wolfson along with Scholem and Idel as perspectives
on the Sefirot and Abulafia and distinctions of ecstatic vs. theoso-theurgic.
Not venturing so far as to get into Kabbalah problems, or even Pico's much.
Personally I think Wolfson's work is erudite as heck but I don't fully grok it,
so I can't really endorse it a hundred percent. I think he's onto something
by pointing to the original uses Abulafia seems to be making with Sefirot
and that theorizing this may give us some insight into Pico's own violent
appropriation of Kabbalistic materials--especially the sefirot which may be
connected with the Neoplatonic henadology and monadology, since Pico
describes Kabbalah as Dionysian "ineffable theology... and metaphysics
of angels." I follow Idel who doesn't think Pico was doing Kabbalistic theurgy.
But I'm open to interpretations that are looking for a theurgic Pico. Just don't
know if there are any to be found. So I'm looking at the problem of theurgy
as a potential term for applying to Pico but ultimately bracketing it.
Back to Abulafia--if theurgy is best understood as a mystical union tech...

Thanks to Paul Martin who answered my question via

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