"to Know Everything": Encyclopedias and the Organization of Kabbalistic Knowledge

Andrea Gondos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The (re-)organization of knowledge concerning kabbalistic concepts constituted an important literary activity for authors, beginning with the late medieval through the early modern periods. The examination of the anonymous Ma'arekhet ha-Elohut, Meir ibn Gabbai's 'Avodat ha-Qodesh, and Moses Cordovero's Pardes Rimmonim, help to re-focus scholarly attention on the literary genre of kabbalistic encyclopedias that served four interrelated objectives. One, to create order in divergent, sometimes contradictory theories of kabbalistic doctrine. Two, to delineate the contours of legitimate kabbalistic knowledge. Three, to provide theological guidance as prerequisites and as ultimate goals for the study of Kabbalah. Four, to generate a pedagogic outline for acquisition of kabbalistic wisdom. The organizational adjustments adopted in these works offered a treatment of teachings, texts, and theories that had accumulated in geographically disparate Jewish communities. At the same time, systematization conferred authority in the world of Jewish mystical ideas laying the framework for a kabbalistic curriculum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-168
Number of pages27
JournalEuropean Journal of Jewish Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Kabbalah
  • Ma'arekhet ha-Elohut
  • Meir ibn Gabbai
  • Moses Cordovero
  • encyclopedias
  • organization of knowledge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Religious studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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