Thursday, November 29, 2007
MORE ON THE INFLUENCE OF SABBATAI ZEVI
This time I turned to another source to see what was being said from that perspective. The source is the Ordo Templi Orientis where I found papers by T. Allen Greenfield. As you can see from his website, Greenfield is an esoteric prelate in the Doinel lineage, a native of Augusta, Georgia.
In Greenfield's paper titled "The Frankist Ecstatics of the Eighteenth Century" are the following passages:
-- In recent years there has been some effort made among Jewish revisionist historians to more-or-less rehabilitate Shabbetai Tzvi as a kind of protoZionist leader. It is certainly true that the messianic movement's collapse led in the 1700s to the development of the mystical-ecstatic Chassidic Judaism. Under the leadership of Israel Baal Shem Tov, this has been far more widely accepted as a legitimate Jewish religious trend. Scholars of the stature of the late existentialist Martin Buber have done much to establish the legitimacy of Chassidic thought and practice. It has nonetheless continued as a movement to have both a Qabalistic and messianic undertone, as witnessed by the messianic expectations centered on the Lubovicher Rebbe that reached a peak shortly before his recent death.
-- Like the Chassidim, the Zoharists were deeply steeped in Qabala and magick and ecstatic religious expression. Like the followers of Tzvi, they were also messianic. Unique to the Frankists was a doctrine of salvation through sexual ecstasy that had not characterized these other tendencies. Indeed, the Zoharists anticipated the sexual magick that emerged a century and more later under the influence of such luminaries as P.B. Randolph, Max Theon and, ultimately, Aleister Crowley. There is a bare chance, in fact, that the Zoharists may have influenced these later exponents of sexual spirituality.
-- Be it noted that later in the 19th century another enigmatic Polish Jew, the son of Rabbi Judes Lion Bimstein of Warsaw, came to teach an almost identical sacred sexuality as the Grand Master of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light. This man was one Louis Maximilian Bimstein, better known as Aia Aziz, and better still as Max Theon.
Turning to another of Greenfield's papers, "The Authentic Magical Tradition in the 18th & 19th Centuries", he tells us:
-- Although the greater magical community does a great deal with qabalistic studies, and the Freemasonic influence upon at least the structure of contemporary magick are so pervasive as to be taken as given, almost no sympathetic writers in modern times have given much thought to the influence of 17th and 18th century Jewish Mysticism has had on modern magick. ...The sane magical community's commentators and historians rarely mention this influence, though it is a matter of standard interest now in Judaic studies, and is currently having a profound effect even in Reform Judaism, as well as being something of the latest "new age" fad.
-- ...the Haskala [enlightenment] arrived in the middle of a mystical revolution that had been going on in Judaism behind the ghetto walls for a hundred years. This was a war between the messianic visions of Shabbati Tzvi and Nathan of Gaza, and later Jacob Franck and his daughter Eva; the ecstatic Qabalistic mysticism of Israel Baal Shem Tov and the first generation of Hassidism in the middle; with traditional Orthodox Judaism at one end of the spectrum, and early Reform Judaism at the other.
-- From its earliest origins, the Ethical Deism and egalitarian ideals of Freemasonry in America attracted and was influenced by Jewish Brethren. As Paul Bessel put it, "Jews were actively involved in the beginnings of Freemasonry in America.
-- Wyants informs us: "The rituals and information of The Asiatic Brethern/Fratres Lucis later became an inspiration for the Rose of Perfect Silence in Paris of which P.B. Randolph became a member and obtained a charter to run his own Rosicrucian organization. Randolph sold scryer’s mirrors from the Paris motherlodge to the members of his USA branch. In London Francis Irwin, S.R.I.A. members A.F.A. Woodford and S.C. Bingham had the material, and later the Golden Dawn in England and Francesco Brunelli’s Arcana Arcanorum in Italy, yes even Theodor Ruess’s original O.T.O. idea, all were inspired by the overrated Fratres Lucis."
In fact this entire paper is an interesting read.