A number of scholars have discussed the possible affinities between Levinas and the kabbalah. In this essay, I explore the nexus between eros, secrecy, modesty, and the feminine in the thought of Levinas compared to a similar complex of ideas elicited from kabbalistic speculation. In addition to the likelihood that Levinas may have been influenced by the interrelatedness of these motifs in kabbalistic lore, I argue that he proffers an anti-theosophic interpretation of kabbalah, which accords with his rejection of the dogma of incarnation and the related polemical depiction of Christianity as idolatry. The appropriation of the kabbalistic hermeneutic on the part of Levinas, therefore, entailed a major revision. In translating the ontological into the ethical, Levinas divests the secret of its secretive potency, but thereby fostered an esoteric reading of Jewish esotericism.
In this study, I shall argue that the Gospel of Truth preserves an archaic Jewish/Christian theologoumenon that provides an alternative account of the incarnation to the version in the prologue to the Gospel of John. It is reasonable to presume a common matrix—most likely related to Jewish Wisdom speculation—for the two accounts. Careful analysis of the text, moreover, sheds light on the spot where the tributaries of Jewish and Christian esotericism converged and diverged. By heeding this site we may contribute in a modest way to the question regarding the intricate relationship between Judaism, Christianity, and Gnosticism in Late Antiquity.
In this essay, I place Buber’s thought in dialogue with Eckhart. Each understood that the theopoetic propensity to imagine the transcendent in images is no more than a projection of our will to impute form to the formless. The presence of God is made present through imaging the real, but imaging the real implies that the nonrepresentable presence can only be made present through the absence of representation. The goal of the journey is to venture beyond the Godhead in light of which all personalistic depictions of the divine person are rendered idolatrous. Perhaps this is the most important implication of Eckhart’s impact on Buber, an insight that may still have theopolitical implications in a world where too often personifications of the God beyond personification are worshipped at the expense of losing contact with an absolute person that cannot be personified absolutely.