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Zohar: Reception and Impact$
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Boaz Huss

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113966

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113966.001.0001

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The Depiction of R. Shimon bar Yohai and Moses in Zoharic Literature

The Depiction of R. Shimon bar Yohai and Moses in Zoharic Literature

(p.11) Chapter One The Depiction of R. Shimon bar Yohai and Moses in Zoharic Literature
Zohar: Reception and Impact

Boaz Huss

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the strategy of the Zohar to present itself to readers through a juxtaposition of the figures of R. Shimon bar Yohai and Moses. By means of this contrast, the compilers of the work sought to create a canonical literature which was not only comparable to the Torah of Moses but was, they claimed, superior to it. The context for the comparison between R. Shimon and Moses, and for the portrayal of the rabbinic sage as greater than the biblical prophet, is the struggle between competing schools of kabbalah on the Iberian peninsula in the thirteenth century. The dominant school of kabbalah at the time was that of the followers of Nahmanides and R. Solomon ben Adret (Rashba). This competition was the framework in which the zoharic texts were created and in which their distribution and reception began.

Keywords:   Zohar, R. Shimon bar Yohai, Torah of Moses, rabbinic sage, biblical prophet, kabbalah, Nahmanides, R. Solomon ben Adret, zoharic texts

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