Edenic Paradise And Paradisal Eden Moshe Idel s Reading Of The Talmudic Legend Of The Four Sages Who Entered The Pardes

Felicia Waldman


Of the stories describing the adventures full of deep significances of the various rabbis from the glorious Talmudic era, the most famous but also the most exploited is undoubtedly that of the four sages who entered the Pardes. If in the Talmudic-Midrashic literature it was used to point out the dangers and achievements that were related to speculations, rather than experiences, and in the mystical literature it was used to point out the dangers that could befall the mystic on his way to God, to the kabbalists, Pardes was an unexplained parable for an unrevealed secret, a generalized metaphor for the danger zones of religious experience, seen as something which was good for the few, but pernicious for others. This article traces the manner in which Moshe Idel analyzes, in his books and lectures, the meanings of this legend, taking the reader on a fascinating journey in time and space, throughout various types of kabbalistic thinking and even maimonidean philosophy.


jewish philosophy; jewish mysticism; biblical exegesis; ecstatic, theosophical and theurgical kabbalah; initiatory death; divine light; pardes; sefirotic tree

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