List of Jewish Kabbalists

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This page lists figures in Kabbalah according to historical chronology and schools of thought. In popular reference, Kabbalah has been used to refer to the whole history of Jewish mysticism, but more accurately, and as used in academic Jewish studies, Kabbalah refers to the doctrines, practices and esoteric exegetical method in Torah, that emerged in 12th-13th century Southern France and Spain, and was developed further in 16th century Ottoman Palestine. These formed the basis of subsequent Jewish mystical development.

This is a partial list of Jewish Kabbalists; secondary literature incorporating Kabbalah is enormous, particularly in the voluminous library of Hasidic Judaism that turned esoteric Kabbalah into a popular revivalist movement. Hasidism both adapted Kabbalah to its own internalised psychological concern, and also continued the development of the Jewish mystical tradition. Therefore, only formative articulators of Hasidic thought, or particularly Kabbalistic schools/authors in Hasidism are included here. In the Sabbatean mystical heresy that broke away from Judaism, only the founders are listed. Solely academic-university Jewish studies researchers of Jewish mysticism, not being "Kabbalists", nor necessarily Jewish, are not listed here; nor are separate non-Jewish derivative/syncretic traditions of Kabbalah.

Rabbinic figures in Judaism are often known after the name of their magnum opus, or as Hebrew acronyms based on their name, preceded by R for Rabbi/Rav.

Early Jewish mysticism

Talmudic tannaic sages: Maaseh Merkabah (mystical Chariot)-Maaseh Bereishit (mystical Creation) (1st-2nd centuries). Yordei Merkabah (Chariot Riders)-Heikhalot (Palaces) mysticism (1st-11th centuries). Early-Formative texts are variously Traditional/Attributed/Anonymous/Pseudepigraphical:

Hasidei Ashkenaz (1150-1250 German Pietists). Mystical conceptions influenced Medieval Kabbalah:

Medieval emergence and development of Kabbalah (12th-15th centuries)

Jewish Quarter "El Call" in Girona, Catalonia North-East Spain, an early centre of Kabbalah
Genesis in the Schocken Bible, 1300. Kabbalists in Castile described Evil gnostically, personified in Lilith-Samael
Moses de León, disseminator of the Zohar, main text of Jewish mysticism
1618 edition Torah. Kabbalistic commentaries include 13th century Nachmanides, 16th century Alshich and 18th century ibn Attar

Provence circle (Southern France - Provence and Languedoc 12th-13th centuries):

Catalonia/Girona circle (North-East Spain 13th century):

Castile circle (Northern Spain 13th century). Developed Demonic/Gnostic theory:

Ecstatic/Prophetic-Meditative Kabbalah (13th century):

Publication of the Zohar (1280s–90s Northern Spain):

13th century Kabbalistic commentary:

14th-15th centuries saw a slowing continuation in Kabbalistic commentary:

Fusional influences (15th-17th centuries)

Influence of Medieval Jewish rationalism in Spain declined, culminating with the expulsion. Jewish fusions of Philosophy and Kabbalah were shared by wider non-Jewish Renaissance trends (not listed here):

16th century Kabbalistic renaissance

Safed, Galilee, became the centre for the early-modern renaissance and comprehensive systemisations of Kabbalah

Emigrees, some from Spain, some founding new centre of Safed in Ottoman Palestine:

Cordoverian school. Rationally-influenced systemisation of preceding Kabbalah:

Lurianic school. New mythological systemisation of Kabbalah. Basis of modern Kabbalah. Kitvei HaAri-Writings of the Ari written by disciples:

Safed dissemination:

16th-19th century Kabbalistic commentary

1600s synagogue in Zabłudów, Poland. Baal Shem-Nistarim activists worked among the common folk, from which Hasidism developed
Great Synagogue of Vilna model. Rabbinic Mitnagdic Judaism reserved esoteric Kabbalah for traditional Talmudic elite
Elijah Benamozegh (1822-1900), in Italy, continued a Universalist tradition of reading Kabbalah

Central European Kabbalist Rabbis:

Italian Kabbalists:

Sephardi-Mizrachi (Oriental) Kabbalah:

Sabbatean mystical heresy (founders only):

Eastern European Baal Shem/Nistarim and other mystical circles:

Mitnagdic/Lithuanian Kabbalah:

Hasidic popularisation of Kabbalah (18th century-present)

Hasidim in 1845 Iași Romania. Hasidism changed Kabbalah's theosophical aim to the psychology of Divine Omnipresence amidst materiality

Kabbalistic notions pervade Hasidic thought, but it developed a new approach to Kabbalah, replacing esoteric theosophical focus with successive psychological internalisation. Therefore, only a minimal listing of Hasidic figures is given here; founding formative figures or commentators on esoteric Kabbalah texts/tradition.
Founding East-European Hasidic Masters:

Other Hasidic commentators on Kabbalah:

20th century Kabbalah

Sephardi synagogue in the birthplace of Luria. In Jerusalem Oriental and European traditions of esoteric Kabbalah meet

From diverse traditions in Kabbalah (excluding Hasidic thought's internalisation approach):

Modern teachers of Jewish mysticism

Individual teachers of Jewish mysticism spirituality in modern-style articulations. Solely academic teachers in Jewish studies research are not listed here.
Orthodox Kabbalistic/Hasidic:

Non-Orthodox/Neo-Hasidic/Jewish Renewal:

Universalist-style Jewish teachers:

See also

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