Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Sepher Yetzirah

The Sepher Yetzirah is also known as the Book of Creation, or The Book of Formation. Its authorship is most widely attributed to Abraham, but there is some disagreement and speculation as to who the true author is.

This much we do know, it is very old. Comparing it to the bible, whose first book was authored by Moses, The Book of Creation is generations older. This short book speaks of the creation of heaven and earth, by God, using His powers and emanations. It is the basis of Jewish Mysticism; its teachings to one degree or another have influenced most of the world, even to our modern day. It may not be too much to say that it is one of the taproots of our religious and cultural heritage.

The Zohar commonly thought to be the basis of Jewish mysticism is a much later (medieval), expanded, and allegorical commentary on The Sefer Yetzirah, the books of Moses, and the oral traditions of the Jews.

Becoming accustomed to the imagery used in the Sefer Yetzirah, the very way of thinking, can help Latter-Day Saints grasp concepts that may otherwise evade them. But trying to read this great book without some training can be overwhelming. On the other hand only a well-trained saint can read the book for all it’s worth.

This book goes right to the “great and terrible questions.” It describes the pre-existence, spiritual creation, physical creation, the powers God uses to bring about His purposes, the degrees of glory, and the final state of things. What more could you want?

It tells how the letters of the Hebrew language correspond to the powers or emanations of God, and that by combining these powers in different combinations all things are brought into existence.

The concept taught in the Book of Mormon of “opposition in all things” is at the heart of the book.

There are a number of variations of the book, and translations floating around. Of course, to get a good variation and commentary, you need to download Mormon Mysticism, by yours truly.

Here are a few others:

4 compared - IEE
W.W. Wescott
Original Hebrew
Short Version (Kaplin)
The Work of the Chariot
Saadia ben Joseph
Leo Baeck
Scott J. Thompson
Manley P.Hall

Still seeking the best books? I highly recommend The Sepher Yetzirah.

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