Burmistrov Konstantin

The Names of God in Jewish Mysticism

Burmistrov Konstantin, Endel' Mariia, (2014) "The Names of God in Jewish Mysticism ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia, 2014, vol. 56, pp. 55-71 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturI201456.55-71


The concept of the names of God and their role in the creation and existence of the world, as well as the practice of their veneration constitute an essential part of Judaism in general, and are elaborated in detail in Jewish mysticism. In Kabbalah, an idea of the creative power of the Tetragrammaton (the ineff able four-letter Name) and other names occupies an especially prominent place. It is based on the idea of linguistic mysticism conveyed in the Jewish mystical treatise Sefer Yetzirah (“Book of Creation”, 3–6 centuries AD.). According to this ancient text, the creation of the world is seen as a linguistic process in which the Hebrew letters are thought of as both the creative forces and the material of which the world is created. The article analyses the main features of the symbolism of the divine names in medieval Kabbalah. We have identifi ed two main areas in the understanding of the divine names, peculiar to the two main schools of classical medieval Kabbalah — theosophical (theurgic) and ecstatic (prophetic). The ideas of these schools are considered according to the works of two prominent kabbalists of the 13th c. — Joseph Gikatilla and Abraham Abulafi a. In the fi rst of these schools, knowing the names of God leads to the actualization of the latent mystical forces and results in a transformation and reintegration of our world and the world of the divine. This process, in turn, is understood as having an eschatological and messianic signifi cance. Abraham Abulafi a elaborated sophisticated practices of combining the divine names aimed at transforming the adept’s consciousness, its purifi cation and development of special mental abilities. At the end of the mystical path the practitioner achieves the state of prophecy and eventually merges with the Divine.


Kabbalah, Jewish Mysticism, Jews, Names of God, divine Names, Judaism, Torah, Tetragrammaton, Abulafia


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Burmistrov Konstantin