By Jonah Steinberg
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Extra resources for Angelic Israel: Self-Identification with Angels in Rabbinic Agadah and its Jewish Antecedents
24 At the same time, in a very important observation, Chernus qoes on to say, the rabbis were not bound by the limited choices which the modern person may see... Rather they souqht a true harmonization of these two basic attitudes within their own lives. By inteqratinq the attractive elements of a "world denyinq" stance into their basically "world affirminq" tradition, the rabbis were able to effect what I would call the ultimate coincidence of opposites: to affirm and yet simultaneously deny the validity of "coincidentia oppositorum" as the basic truth about life.
In the remainder of his study, Morray-Jones traces the intensification of this theme in the Hekhalot literature, through close examination of which, he concludes: It seems that the mystic is identifying himself with the Merkabah and asking God to be enthroned upon or within him. In other words, he is seeking to become, like the patriarchs and righteous men of mythical history, a vehicle for the manifestation of the divine Image or Glory. 26) With regard to the experience of the pre-Hekhalot rabbis themselves, clear.
51 on the one hand, Schiffman arqued that these Qumran texts did not bespeak incubation or preparation for a mystical journey, nor did they involve maqical names. He concluded that they "are not intended, like the later materials, to brinq about ecstasy or mystical experience. " 53 On the other hand, Schiffman's work allows that from their vantaqe point the sect of Qumran looked intently toward the heavens, and he calls the Qumran material "the containinq earliest mystical known post-biblical speculation reqardinq Hebrew text the divine the Songs of the throne.