In “And They Shall Be One Flesh”: On the Language of Mystical Union in Judaism, Adam Afterman offers an extensive study of mystical union and embodiment in Judaism. Afterman argues that Philo was the first to articulate the notion of unio mystica in Judaism and is the source of the henōsis mysticism in the later Neoplatonic tradition. The study provides a detailed analysis of the Jewish medieval trends that developed different forms of mystical union and mystical embodiment through the divine name and spirit. The book argues that the development of unitive mysticism in Judaism is the fruit of the creative synthesis of rabbinic Judaism and Hellenistic and Arab philosophy, and a natural outcome of the theological articulation of the idea of monotheism itself.
This book endeavors to fill a lacuna in the literature on early twentieth-century kabbalah, namely the lack of a comprehensive account of the traditional kabbalah seminaries (Yeshivot) in Jerusalem from 1896 to 1948 as well as the various manifestations of kabbalah within traditional Jewish society. The foundations that were laid in the early twentieth century also paved the way for the contemporary blossoming of kabbalah in many and manifold circles. In this sense, retracing the pertinent developments in Palestine at the outset of the twentieth century is imperative not only for repairing the distorted picture of the past, but for understanding the ongoing surge in kabbalah study.