Book of Raziel

The book of Raziel is a mystical collection which is believed to be given to Adam by the angel Raziel. The book was originally printed in 1701 and its ownership was believed to protect the owner’s house from danger. It contains the works on merkabah mysticism and other literature dating from the Palmudic and genodic period.

There also is other literature from the thirteenth century originating from the Hasidei Ashkenaz movement. Some manuscripts of parts of the Book of Raziel date back to the sixteenth century. Sefer ha-Razin is a related book conveyed to Noah containing comparable material on mysticism and magic.

 

Definition and Meanings

The Book of Raziel, also known as «Sefer Raziel HaMalakh,» is an important text in Jewish mysticism and esoteric lore. Here’s a detailed look at its origins, contents, and significance:

  • Origins and Mythology: The book is said to have been given to Adam by the angel Raziel, who is considered a figure deeply versed in secret knowledge. According to legend, Raziel gave Adam this knowledge to help him after his fall from Eden.
  • First Printed Edition: The Book of Raziel was first printed in 1701, but its contents are believed to be much older, drawing from ancient Jewish mystical traditions.
  • Protective Qualities: Owning a copy of the Book was traditionally thought to protect one’s home from danger. This belief underscores the perceived power and sacredness of the text.
  • Contents: The book contains various writings on Jewish mysticism, particularly merkabah mysticism, which is focused on visions of God’s divine chariot (merkabah). It includes material from the Talmudic and Gaonic periods, offering insight into early Jewish mystical practices and beliefs.
  • Influence of Hasidei Ashkenaz: The Book of Raziel also includes literature from the 13th-century Hasidei Ashkenaz movement, a group of German Jewish mystics. This movement was known for its particular mystical practices and kabbalistic interpretations.
  • Manuscript History: While the printed version dates back to 1701, manuscripts containing parts of the Book of Raziel can be traced back to the 16th century, indicating the text’s historical significance and enduring interest among scholars and mystics.
  • Sefer ha-Razin: A related text, «Sefer ha-Razin» (The Book of Secrets), is believed to have been conveyed to Noah. This book contains similar mystical and magical material, highlighting the breadth and depth of Jewish mystical literature.
  • Mysticism and Magic: Both the Book of Raziel and Sefer ha-Razin delve into the mystical and magical aspects of Jewish tradition. They explore themes such as the nature of the universe, the secrets of creation, and the pathways to spiritual insight.

 

A.G.H.


Source:

Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 803