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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 Authority of the Zohar

The Authority of the Zohar

(p.112) Chapter Four The Authority of the Zohar
Zohar: Reception and Impact

Boaz Huss

Liverpool University Press

This chapter assesses the various manifestations of the Zohar's increasing authority and the historical and social contexts that finally led to its recognition by most Jewish communities in the early modern period. Declarations concerning the exalted status of the Zohar's protagonists, mainly of R. Shimon bar Yohai, are found in the zoharic literature itself. The choice of R. Shimon for the leading role, his comparison to Moses, and the proclamation of his superiority granted the secrets he conveyed paramount importance. The chapter explains that the purpose of the proclamations made by the kabbalists outside the Nahmanidean circle regarding the importance of the Zohar was to subvert the Catalan school. It then examines how the perception of the Zohar as a sacred and authoritative work increased the cultural power of the elite circles of the Spanish exile and advanced Sephardi cultural dominance in their new settlements and beyond.

Keywords:   Zohar, Jewish communities, R. Shimon bar Yohai, zoharic literature, kabbalists, cultural power, Spanish exiles, Sephardi cultural dominance

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