I'm not trying to be offensive with this question. This isn't my claim.

I've recently read some criticism around the Zohar from academic sources which claim that the Zohar has no historical relationship to the Jewish people. The claim being made is that rather than being a secret teaching which had always existed alongside the original Torah, the Zohar was written during the medieval era and popularized around the same time period as other forms of mysticism which sprung up in that same period.

Instead of it being written by Shimon Bar Yochai, they instead claim it a work by a much later Sephardic Rabbi named Moses de León.

I love Zohar thought and I've always been a fan of it as being another layer on top of everything else that already exists in Judaism.

That being said, is there a response to this idea that the Zohar isn't original?

Does it ultimately matter in the long run if these ideas are simply complimentary to Judaism rather than changing foundational ideas within it?

  • 1
    On significance: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/36988/… . On authorship judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/34302/… (and linked question)
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented May 14 at 23:18
  • Everything was thought of at some point. What is the significance of it being thought of in 1300 CE rather than 100 CE? There's often an unstated implication that the gates were closed at some point. Why should that be?
    – Mike
    Commented May 14 at 23:24
  • @IsaacMoses Thank you for these links!
    – Michael
    Commented May 16 at 0:01
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    @Mike Shimon Bar Yochai's teachings, especially his notes from an ancient mesora, are far more valuable to most than those of Moses de Léon. It makes a huge difference. Also, who says the gates closed and why does that have to be the only issue?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented May 16 at 0:07
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    @Mike your otherwise great point doesn't apply here because we are not talking about ideas, but Kabbalah. That which is received. If the Zohar is Moshe De Léon's chiddush, then it is far less valuable than a Tannaic document. Just because it is less valuable does not mean it is worthless
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented May 17 at 0:12


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