Amos Goldreich“The Theology of the ʿIyyun Circle and a Possible Source of the Term ‘Aḥdut Shava’,”Jerusalem Studies in Jewish Thought6.3-4 (1987) pp. 141-156 [Hebrew]; Sara O. Heller-Wilensky ‘The First Created Being in Early Kabbalah and Ismaʾílian Source” Binah 3 (1994) pp. 65-77 (published first in Hebrew in 1989); Yehuda Liebes “Shlomo Pines and Kabbalah Research” Jerusalem Studies in Jewish Thought 9 (1990) pp. 21-22 [Hebrew]. See also Sara O. Heller-Wilensky “Messianism Eschatology and Utopia in the Philosophical-Mystical Stream of Thirteen Century Kabbalah” in Messianism and Eschatology—a Collection of Essays ed. Z. Baras Jerusalem Merkaz Zalman Shazar 1984 p. 230 n. 38a [Hebrew]; Joseph Dan History of Jewish Mysticism and Esotericismvol. 9: Kabbalists in Spain in the Thirteen Century Jerusalem Merkaz Zalman Shazar 2013 pp. 286-288 [Hebrew]. See now the new contribution of Michael Ebstein and Tzahi Weiss “A Drama in Heaven: ‘Emanation on the Left’ in Kabbalah and a Parallel Cosmogonic Myth in Ismaʿili Literature”. History of Religions 55. 2 (2015) pp. 148-171.
Moshe Idel“The Sefirot above the Sefirot”Tarbiz—a Quarterly for Jewish Studies51.2 (1982) [Hebrew] pp. 270-274; idem “Jewish Mysticism and Islamic Mysticism” Maḥanaim—A Quarterly for Studies in Jewish Thought and Culture 1 (1992) p. 29 [Hebrew]; Martelle Gavarin “The Conception of Time in the Works of Rabbi ʿAzriel” Jerusalem Studies in Jewish Thought 6.3-4 (1987) p. 318 [Hebrew]; Pedaya Nahmanides pp. 21-23 39-40. See also Harvey J. Hames “A Seal Within a Seal: The Imprint of Sufism in Abraham Abulafia’s Teachings” Medieval Encounters 12.2 (2006) pp. 171-172; Hava Tirosh-Samuelson “Kabbalah and Science in the Middle Ages: Preliminary Remarks” in Science in Medieval Jewish Cultures ed. Gad Freudenthal Science in Medieval Jewish Cultures New-York Cambridge University Press 2011 p. 497; Shlomo Pines “Shīʿite Terms and Conceptions in Judah Halevi’s Kuzari” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 2 (1980) pp. 243-247. Shlomo Pines made a pioneering contribution to research in the connections between Shīʿī thought (especially Ismāʿīlī thought) and Jewish thought of the Middle Ages. He also sought to encourage his students to continue to develop this direction of research.
ScholemThe Kabbalah of Sefer ha-Temunah pp. 1-84; idem Beginnings pp. 176-193; idem Origins pp. 460-474; idem Kabbalah Jerusalem Keter 1974 pp. 52 112 120-122 336. On Sefer ha-Temuna see also Nicolas Séd “Le Sefer ha-Temunah et la doctrine des cycles cosmiques” Revue des Etudes Juives 126 (1967) pp. 399-415. Late in his life Scholem admitted his error regarding the early dating of Sefer ha-Temuna. A correction that he made by hand was entered in the English translation from the German edition of his book on the origins of the Kabbalah which was published a few years after his death. See Scholem Origins pp. 460-461 n. 233 (as well as the comments by R. J. Z. Werblowsky the editor of the English edition pp. xiii-xiv in the introduction).
Moshe Idel“The Kabbalah in Byzantium: Preliminary Remarks,” in Jews in Byzantium: Dialectics of Minority and Majority Cultureseds. R. Bonfil; O. Irshai; G. G. Stroumsa and R. Talgam Leiden Brill 2012 pp. 677-686 691-693.
Efraim GottliebThe Kabbalah in the Writings of R. Baḥya Ben Asher Ibn ḤalawaJerusalemQiryat Sefer1970 pp. 233-237[Hebrew]; idem Studies in the Kabbalah Literature Tel-Aviv Bet ha-Sefer le-madaʿe ha-Yahadut 1976 pp. 24-25 332-339 [Hebrew]. Working outside the academia Israel Weinstock published in the same period his studies on the subject of the doctrine of Sabbatical cycles. See Israel Weinstock In the Circles of Revelation and Concealment: Studies in the History of Philosophy and Esoterism Jerusalem Mossad ha-Rav Kook 1969 pp. 151-241 [Hebrew].
Georges Vajda“Les lettres et les sons de la langue arabe d’après Abū Ḥātim al-Rāzī”Arabica8.2 (1961) pp. 113-130; Heinz Halm Kosmolgie und Heilslehre der Frühen Ismāʿīliyya Wiesbaden Steiner 1978 pp. 39 48-50 52 57 64-65; idem “The Cosmology of the pre-Fatimid Ismāʿīliyya” in Mediaeval Ismaʿili History and Thought ed. F. Daftary Cambridge Cambridge University Press 1996 pp. 79-80; Steven M. Wasserstrom “Further Thoughts on the Origins of ‘Sefer Yeṣirah’” Aleph 2 (2002) pp. 206-211 215-220; De Smet La quiétude de l’intellect pp. 302-304. See also Steven M. Wasserstrom “Sefer Yeṣira and Early Islam: A Reappraisal” Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy 3.1 (1993) pp. 1-30 for the claim that Sefer Yeṣirah itself was written in the ninth century in a milieu close to that of early Shīʿī Islam the same milieu from which Ismāʿīlism sprung.
In this context see Daniel De Smet“Éléments chrétiens dans l’ismaélisme yéménite sous les derniers Fatimides: le problème de la gnose ṭayyibite” in L’Egypte fatimide son art et son histoireed. M. Barrucand Paris Presses de l’Université de Paris-Sorbonne 1999 p. 47. For a separate discussion of cyclical conception of time in the literature of the Ṭayyibī and Nizārī streams see Farhad Daftary The Ismāʿilīs: Their History and Doctrines2 Cambridge Cambridge University Press 2007 pp. 269-275 (on Ṭayyibī) pp. 380-382 (on Nizārī). See also Daniel De Smet La Philosophie ismaélienne: un ésotérisme chiite entre néoplatonisme et gnose Paris Les Éditions du Cerf 2012 pp. 157-168 (on Ṭayyibī); Christian Jambet. “Appendix: A Philosophical Commentary” in Paradise of Submission: A Medieval Treatise on Ismaili Thought. A New Persian Edition and English Translation of Naṣīr al-Dīn Ṭūsīʾs Rawḍa-yi taslīm ed. and tr. S. J. Badakhchani London 2005 pp. 234-242 (on Nizārī).
Paul E. Walker“Eternal Cosmos and the Womb of History: Time in Early Ismaili Thought,”International Journal of Middle East Studies9.3 (1978) pp. 355-366; Shin Nomoto Early Ismāʿīlī Thought on Prophecy According to the Kitāb al-Iṣlāḥ by Abū Ḥātim al-Rāzī (d. ca.322/934-5) PhD dissertation McGill University 1999; Farhad Dartary “Cyclical Time and Sacred History in Medieval Ismaili Thought” in Continuity and Change in the Realms of Islam: Studies in Honour of Professor Urbain Vermeulen eds. K. D’hulster and J. Van Steenbergen Leuven Peeters 2008 pp. 151-158; Daniel De Smet “Adam premier prophète et législateur? La doctrine chiite des ulū al-ʿazm et la controverse sur la pérennité de la šarīʿa” in Le shiʿisme imāmite quarante ans après: hommage à Etan Kohlberg eds. M. A. Amir-Moezzi M. M. Bar-Asher and S. Hopkins Turnhout Brepols 2009 pp. 187-202.
Yves Marquet“Les Cycles de la souveraineté selon les épîtres des Iḫwān al-Ṣafāʾ”Studia Islamica36 (1972) pp. 47-69; idem La philosophie xi-xv pp. 419-428; Godefroid De Callataÿ Annus Platonicus: A Study of World Cycles in Greek Latin and Arabic Sources Louvain 1996 pp. 137-149; idem “World Cycles and Geological Changes according to the Brethren of Purity” in In the Age of al-Fārābī: Arabic Philosophy in the Fourth/Tenth Century ed. P. Adamson London Warburg Institute 2008 pp. 179-193.
See Daniel De Smet“Les Bibliothèques Ismaéliennes Et La Question Du Néoplatonisme Ismaélien”The Libraries of the Neoplatonistsed. Cristina D’Ancona Leiden Brill 2007 p. 481; Moshe Idel Kabbalah: New Perspectives New Haven Yale University Press 1988 pp. 17-20; Abrams Kabbalistic Manuscripts pp. 6 10 15.
In this context see Yom Tov Assis“On the Language and Script of the Jews of Spain as an Expression of Their Religious and Cultural Identity”Peʿamim—Studies in Oriental Jewry132 (2012) pp. 66-79 96 [Hebrew]. Two earlier Hebrew translations of the same epistle seem to be lost: one by certain Rabbi Yoel and the other by Yaʿacov ben Elʿazar (flourished in the first decades of the thirteen century). See Lenn. E. Goodman. and Richard McGregor (eds. And trans.) The Case of the Animals versus Man before the King of the Jin: An Arabic Critical Edition and English Translation of Epistle 22 Oxford Oxford University Press 2009 p. 3.
See Raphael Jospe“Ramban (Naḥmanides) and Arabic”Tarbiz—a Quarterly for Jewish Studies57.1 (1987) pp. 67-93 [Hebrew]; Mark Verman The Books of Contemplation: Medieval Jewish Mystical Sources Albany State University of New York Press 1992 pp. 130-131; Moshe Idel “Ashkenazi Esotericism and Kabbalah in Barcelona” Hispania Judaica Bulletin 5 (2007) p. 74; Goldreich “ʿIyyun Circle” pp. 148-149.
See Paul B. Fenton“The Judeo-Arabic Commentary on ‘Pirqey de-Rabbi Eliʿezer’ by Judah b. Nissim Ibn Malka with a Hebrew Translation and Supercommentary by Isaac b. Samuel of Acre,”Sefunot: Studies and Sources on the History of the Jewish Communities in the East21 (1993) pp. 115-165 [Hebrew]; Eitan P. Fishbane As Light Before Dawn: The Inner World of a Medieval Kabbalist Stanford Stanford University Press 2009 pp. 13-12 30-28 44-42 252-259.
See Sara O. Heller-Wilensky“Isaac Ibn Laṭif, Philosopher or Kabbalist?” in Jewish Medieval and Renaissance Studiesed. A. Altmann Cambridge-Mass. Harvard University Press 1967 pp. 185-223; idem “Messianism” idem “The First Created Being” Gershom Scholem Kabbalah Jerusalem Keter 1974 pp. 53-54.
SternStudies in Early Ismaʿilism pp. 155-176; Kraemer Humanism pp. 165-178; De Callataÿ Brotherhood 3-10. The two scholars who have made the greatest effort to date the Ikhwān works are Yves Marquet and Abas Hamdani. Marquet’s research on this subject has led him to the conclusion that Ikhwān works were composed approximately between 900 and 965 whereas Hamdani places the time of their composition to 873-909. See Marquet “Ikhwān al-ṣafāʾ” pp. 1072-1073; Hamdani “Arrangement” pp. 91-92.
See Maribel Fierro“Bāṭinism in Al-Andalus: Maslama b. Qāsim al-Qurṭubī (d. 353/964), Author of the ‘Rutbat al- Ḥakīm’ and the ‘Ghāyat al-Ḥakīm’ (Picatrix)”Studia Islamica84 (1996) pp. 98-109; idem “Plants Mary the Copt Abraham Donkeys and Knowledge: Again on Bāṭinism During the Umayyad Caliphate in al-Andalus” in Difference and Dynamism in Islam: Festschrift for Heinz Halm on his 70th Birthday eds. H. Biesterfeldt and V. Klemm Würzburg Ergon 2012 pp. 125-126 131 135 138-139 143-144.
See Pines“Shīʿite Terms” p. 229. On the attribution of all the epistles of Ikhwān al-ṣafāʾ to the Imām Aḥmad ibn ʿAbd Allāh by the important fifteenth century Yemenite Ismāʿīlī author Idrīs ʿImād al-Dīn see Husain F. Hamdani “Rasä’’il Ikhwän aṣ-Ṣafä’ in the literature of the Ismäʿili Taiyibi Daʾwat” Der Islam 20 (1932) pp. 292-294.
Carmela Baffioni“Uso e rielaborazione degli autori classici nella Risāla al-ğāmiʿa” in La diffusione dell’eredita classica nell’età tardoantica e medievaled. Alfredo Valvo Alessandria Edizioni dell’Orso 1997 p. 1. For another recent article dedicated to the al-Jāmiʿa see Paola Carusi “Alchimia islamica e felicità nel Risala gamiʿa inalterabilità delle sostanze e pace dell’anima” in Le felicità nel Medioevo: atti del convegno della Società Italiana per lo Studio del Pensiero Medievale eds. M. Betteini and F. D. Paparella Louvain-la-Neuve Fédération internationale des instituts d’études médiévales 2005 pp. 277-296.
PedayaNahmanides pp. 19 32 209-210 327 401 405 413. In the thought of Nahmanides the cyclical principle of the return of things to their initial state a formative principle of the Kabbalistic doctrine of Sabbatical cycles received wonderful expression in his interpretation of the halacha that begins Sefer Yeṣirah. The first letter in the Torah is a beit and the last letter is a lamed spelling the word “bal” (here cessation). According to Nahmanides this combination alludes to the overturning of the divine will of the Creator in turning back from the direction of expansion and creation to the direction of retraction and the return of things to their original state. See Gershom Scholem Studies in Kabbalah [i] Tel-Aviv ʿAm ʿOved 1998 pp. 87-88 [Hebrew]; Moshe Idel Rabbi Menahem Recanati The Kabbalist vol. 1 Tel-Aviv Schocken 1998 pp. 89-90 [Hebrew] and also on this matter Scholem Origins p. 449; Pedaya Nahmanides pp. 235-236 282-283 400-401; Halbertal By the Way of Truth pp. 213-214.
Moshe Idel“Some Concepts of Time and History in Kabbalah” in Jewish History and Jewish Memory: Essays in Honor of Yosef Yerushalmieds. E. Carlebach J. M. Efron and D. N. Myers Hanover-Mass. University Press of New England 1998 p. 168; idem “Jubilee” p. 215; idem “Kabbalah in Byzantium” pp. 682-686 693-691; Scholem Kabbalah p. 62; Pedaya Nahmanides p. 111. The Kabbalah scholar Yehuda Liebes consider these two Kabbalists as well as Baḥya Ben Asher among the Sefer ha-Zohar (The Book of Splendor) circle of authors. See Yehuda Liebes Studies in the Zohar Albany State University of New York Press pp. 1993 90-95 126-134.
Ian R. NettonAllāh Transcendent: Studies in the Structure and Semiotics of Islamic Philosophy Theology and CosmologyLondonRoutledge1989 pp. 17-44; Halbertal By the Way of Truth pp. 14-16 179 218 351-350.
ScholemKabbalah pp. 96-116; see ibid. p. 108 on the division between the three upper sefirot and the seven “sefirot of the building” below them a division which is of great importance in the context of the Sabbatical cycles doctrine. See De Smet La quiétude de l’intellect p. 306 for the parallel between this Kabbalistic division and the inner division of the ten intellects in the doctrine of Ḥamīd al-Dīn al-Kirmānī.
See for exampleMaʿarekhet ha-Elohut p. 321; Meʾirat ʿEynayim p. 168 ll. 3-5; in addition the Feast of Tabernacles has special importance as it deviates from the weekly pattern and finishes on Shemini ʿAṣeret (The Assembly of the Eighth Day). This assembly is a symbol of the great Jubilee where everything is stopped (neʿeṣar). See Moshe Ben Naḥman (Nachamnides) Perush ha-Ramban ʿal ha-Torah (Nahmanides’ Commentary on the Torah) ed. Chaim Dov Chavel 2 vols Jerusalem Mosad ha-Rav Kook 1959 Lev 23 36 (p. 157). See also Henoch. Ramban pp. 384-386.
Gerald J. Blidstein“Yovel: Ideology and History in Rabbinic Law,” in Millenarismi nella cultura contemporanea—con un’appendice su yovel ebraico e giubileo Cristianoed. E.I. Rambaldi Milano Franco Angel 2000 pp. 187-198.
PedayaNahmanides pp. 18-20 31 380-382 451; idem “The Great Mother” pp. 312 327. An interesting expression of the emancipatory aspect of the doctrine of Sabbatical cycles can be found in the negative meaning given to the term temura/temurot [change/changes] in the thinking of Yosef Ben Shalom Ashkenazi. For him this term not only connects with the specific meaning of the transmigration of souls in bodies but also with the more general meaning of processes of composition and decomposition in the matter. For him redemption it grasped as “departure from the darkness of change.” Full redemption such as this can only be attained at the great Jubilee in the general process of the elevation to the sefira of Binah that is beyond any change. See Perush le-Farashat Bereshit pp. 46 ll. 11-47 l. 1; 49 ll. 4-5; 72 ll. 8-22.
PedayaNahmanides pp. 33-36 412-413. See the epithet “teshuvah” [return repentance] as a common term for the sefira of Binah in the framework of the Kabbalistic doctrine of Sabbatical cycles as an epithet which points to the identification of this sefirah as the source and goal of the movement of return to the source.
David PingreeThe Thousands of Abū MaʿsharLondonWarburg Institute1968 pp. 27-28. Behind the reference typical of the astrological view under discussion to the cyclical conjunction of heavenly bodies as the original point of departure the return to which is a return to the point of the original position in the heavenly realm lies the aforementioned heuristic tool. This should be taken into account in this respect in order to avoid erroneous identification of the concept of the original position in the astrological approach with the concept of creation or origination in the theological sense as the point of beginning of creation and time.
Gad Freudenthal“Cosmology: The Heavenly Bodies” in The Cambridge History of Jewish Philosophy: From Antiquity through the Seventeenth Centuryeds. S. Nadler and T. Rudavsky Cambridge Cambridge University Press 2009 p. 302.
Daniel De Smet“Al-Fārābī᾿s Influence on Hamīd al-Dīn al-Kirmānī’s Theory of Intellect and Soul” in In the Age of al-Fārābī: Arabic Philosophy in the Fourth/Tenth Centuryed. P. Adamson London Warburg Institute 2008 pp. 144-145. For a different interpretation of al-Ḥāmidī’s relation to al-Kirmānī Tatsuya Kikuchi “The Resurrection of Ismāʿīlī Myth in Twelfth-Century Yemen” Israq 4 (2013) pp. 353-359.
Ibid. pp. 256 258-263. For a broad and detailed discussion of the adaption of the Neoplatonism conception of elevation in the thought of medieval Jewish writers including the earliest Kabbalists see Adam Afterman Dvequt: Mystical Intimacy in Medieval Jewish Thought Los Angeles Cherub Press 2011 [Hebrew].
Moshe Idel“Nahmanides: Kabbalah, Halakhah, and Spiritual Leadership” in Jewish Mystical Leaders and Leadership in the 13th Centuryeds. M. Idel and M. Ostow Northvale-nj Jason Aronson 1998 pp. 15-96; also Yair Lorberbaum “Naḥmanides Kabbalah on the Creation of Man in the Image of God” Kabbalah—Journal of Study of Jewish Mystical Texts 5 (2000) pp. 287-326 [Hebrew]; Safran “Fall of Man”; Afterman Dvequt pp. 227-333.
Pedaya Nahmanides pp. 413-414 450-451; idem “The Great Mother”. In the long term the increasing influence of Sefer ha-Zohar on the world of Kabbalah led later Kabbalists (such as Moshe Cordovero) who continued to adhere to the doctrine of Sabbatical cycles to make far-reaching changes in it to make it accord with the tendencies of Sefer ha-Zohar. See Sack Cordevero pp. 279-290.
De CallataÿBrotherhood pp. 41-42. In this context it is instructive to note that Marquet made no similar effort to ground the cycles of 36000 and 360000 years for example with a basic time unit of 960 years. He could have claimed that the former cycle is an approximation of a cycle of 34560 years and that the second is an approximation of a cycle of 345600 years. The cycles like those of 36000 and 360000 years are “respected” in that they are backed by scientific astrological calculations in the tradition of the era. Hence they do not require the reductive process that Marquet applied to the “detached” cycles less backed by the astrological tradition of the era—the cycles of 1000 7000 and 50000 years.
Ibid. pp. 40 45-63. In this context the innovative geological-chemical theory of Ibn Sīnā should be mentioned as well. This theory had the characteristics of the circular-cosmological pattern of cyclical time. On this theory and its echoes in Jewish thought of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries see Gad Freudenthal “(al-)Chemical Foundations for Cosmological Ideas: Ibn Sînâ on the Geology of an Eternal World” in Physics Cosmology and Astronomy 1300-1700: Tension and Accommodation ed. S. Unguru Dordrecht Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991 pp. 55-66.
See De SmetLa Philosophie ismaélienne pp. 166-167regarding such an effort in the Ṭayyibī stream.
Brian E. DaleyThe Hope of the Early Church: A Handbook of Patristic EschatologyPeabodyBaker Academic2003 p. 26; Turcan ‘Apocatastasis’ p. 345. For other gnostic aspects of the Ikhwān see Geo Widengren “The Gnostic Technical Language in the Rasa’il Ihwan al-Safaʾ” in Actas iv Congresso de Estudos Arabes e Islamicos Lieden Brill 1971 pp. 181-203. For similarities between the cosmology of early Ismāʿīlī thought and that of the Valentian Gnosticism see Nomoto Early Ismāʿīlī Thought p. 203 n. 69; Halm “The Cosmology” pp. 80-83.
Said A. Arjomand“Messianism, Millennialism & Revolution in early Islamic History” in Imagining the End: Visions of Apocalypse from the Ancient Middle East to Modern Americaeds. A. Amanat and M. T. Bernhardson London I. B. Tauris 2002 pp. 106-125 355-359; idem “Islamic Apocalypticism’” pp. 258-267; idem ‘Messianism’; Cook Studies in the Muslim Apocalyptic pp. 189-229 303-306 330-331.