Meditation and the Bible

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Meditation and the Bible

One of the greatest mysteries of the Bible involves the methods used by the prophets to attain their unique states of consciousness. Almost all of the Bible was authored by these prophets while in such higher states, but virtually nothing is known about how they were attained. In the actual text of the Bible, very little is said about the methods, and the few relevant passages that do exist are difficult to under stand and require adequate interpretation. But unless their methods are known, it is difficult to out the teachings of the prophets of the Bible in their proper context, and consequently, many other concepts found in this sacred book are apt to be understood inadequately. An important task of this book, therefore, will be to relearn the vocabulary used in classical Hebraic literature to describe the various meditative methods. This is very important, since the most frequently used Hebrew word for meditation is generally not recognized as such, and most translators render it incorrectly, completely losing the meaning of relevant texts. Even individuals with otherwise excellent scholarly credentials often misinterpret important writings, not realizing that they are referring to meditation solely because the correct translation of the relevant words is not known. In the first section of this book, we will explore the relevant terminology, quoting numerous sources which, in context, unambiguously demonstrate the meaning of these words. In this section, we remain on firm ground, not resorting to any conjecture whatsoever. It appears that the main reason why the meanings of these words is not generally recognized is simply because no one ever went to the trouble to systematically explore all the sources where they are quoted. In the second section of this book, we will explore the various prophetic methods and experiences, both from the Biblical text itself and from the viewpoint of its classical commentaries. As this is explored in a systematic manner, some insight is also gained into the meditative methods used by the great prophets of Israel. Most speculative is the third section, where an attempt is made to reconstruct the Biblical vocabulary used to describe the various meditative and mystical states. A study is made, both from the context and from comparative philology and etymology, attempting to identify and interpret the various words that the Bible uses to describe meditative methods and higher states of consciousness. Due to the fact that much of the material in this book may seem somewhat controversial, we will clearly stress the extent that it is discussed in classical Judaic literature. Wherever practical, we will quote from the primary sources, often presenting them for the first time in the English language. by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan
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AuthorAryeh Kaplan
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