In Chapter Three, "The Soul and Afterlife in the Nag Hammadi Literature," Eylon illuminates assertions that she made in the first chapter concerning the role of reincarnation in Gnostic literature. By drawing attention to the imagery and symbolism found in these Gnostic sources in relation to reincarnation she has opened up an important new avenue for further research and investigation. Chapter Four, "The Doctrine of Reincarnation in Sefer ha-Bahir," constitutes the heart of her presentation. Herein she methodically presents lengthy extracts from the Bahir and analyzes them in order to demonstrate her thesis that these discussions of reincarnation were ultimately influenced by both classical Rabbinic literature and Gnostic texts. The influence of the former is quite evident and undeniable, whereas the Bahir's familiarity with specific Gnostic texts remains to be demonstrated. Nevertheless, underlying Eylon's textual analysis is the premise that the Bahir has Gnostic tendencies and this seems to be an appropriate characterization. One of the challenges in studying reincarnation in the Bahir is the total absence of any technical term for reincarnation in the text, be it gilgul or its synonyms. Accordingly, the reader must tease out the meaning of any particular passage. Eylon does a good
Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies – Purdue University Press
Published: Oct 13, 2005
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