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Descenders to the Chariot: The People Behind the Hekhalot Literature (Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism) [Hardcover]

By James R. Davila (Author)
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Item description for Descenders to the Chariot: The People Behind the Hekhalot Literature (Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism) by James R. Davila...

The Hekhalot literature is a bizarre conglomeration of Jewish esoteric and revelatory texts in Hebrew and Aramaic, produced sometime between late antiquity and the early Middle Ages and surviving in medieval manuscripts. These texts claim to describe the self-induced spiritual experiences of the "descenders to the chariot" and to reveal the techniques that permitted these magico-religious practitioners to view for themselves Ezekiel's Merkavah as well as to gain control of angels and a supernatural mastery of Torah. Drawing on epigraphic and archaeological evidence from the Middle East, anthropological models, and a wide range of cross-cultural evidence, this book aims to show that the Hekhalot literature preserves the teachings and rituals of real religious functionaries who flourished in late antiquity and who were quite like the functionaries anthropologists call shamans.



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Item Specifications...


Studio: Brill Academic Publishers
Pages   342
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.7" Width: 6.5" Height: 1.2"
Weight:   1.65 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Dec 1, 2001
Publisher   Brill Academic Publishers
ISBN  9004115412  
ISBN13  9789004115415  


Availability  0 units.


More About James R. Davila


Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Davila is Lecturer in Early Jewish Studies at the University of St. Andrews.

James R. Davila was born in 1960.

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Reviews - What do customers think about Descenders to the Chariot: The People Behind the Hekhalot Literature (Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism)?

Descenders to the Chariot  Nov 19, 2009
In this book Davila has located the practitioners who produced the Hekhalot literature in a specific time and place and to some degree in a specific social context. We know when and where at least some of them lived and worked. We do not know any of their names for certain yet, but we have learned the names of some of their clients and neighbors, of those personal lives we have caught glimpses. Davila has also set these practitioners in an illuminating cross-cultural context by comparing them to a particular type of magico-religious functionary: the shaman and, more specifically, the shaman/healer. Although much about them remains obscure - and much always will - our lens for viewing them has gained a sharper focus and we have, so to speak, a few snapshots of them at work. We can now speak of the descenders of the chariot not only as literary constructs but as real people, the people behind the Hekhalot literature.

Contents

The Hekhalot Literature 1
Mysticism, Magic, and Shamanism 25
Becoming a Shaman 55
Shamanic Ascetic Techniques 75
Initiatory Disintegration and Reintegration 126
The Otherworldly Journey 156
Control of the Spirits 196
The Hekhalot Literature and Other Jewish
Texts of Ritual Power 214
Locating the Descenders to the Chariot 257
Conclusions 306

Bibliography 313
Indices 325
 

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