What is the earliest mention of the Zohar being explicitly cited in Jewish texts?

I've asked some friends but we were unable to determine where it was.

  • What constitutes cited? The work is mentioned in the 1340s forum.otzar.org/viewtopic.php?t=32364 though I doubt that's the earliest. Do you mean a quotation is brought? That it is cited as authritative evidence in some discussion? If you count R Yitzchak's letter then that brings you to ~1305
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 29, 2018 at 2:30
  • 1
    One thing's for certain, you won't find it referenced before Rabbi Moshe de Leon "released it to the public" in the 13th Century. Hence many people's apprehensiveness of the Zohar's authenticity as a work of the Tanna Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai.
    – ezra
    Commented Jul 29, 2018 at 3:13
  • 1
    Does the Zohar quoting himself qualify? ;-) Commented Jul 29, 2018 at 8:28

1 Answer 1


If you look at this article from this website: http://zomet.org.il/eng/?CategoryID=160&ArticleID=6835 It would seem according to Rav Ovadia Yosef that some parts of the Zohar labeled "midrash Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai" were available and quoted as early as the time of the Aruch (Rav Nosson from Roma) who lived in the 11th century in Italy.
For a full anylisis of who quotes the Zohar, the earliest commentators etc. see https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zohar

  • 1
    With any citation before ~1300 there's always the question of how to prove who is quoting whom. If someone were to forge a lost work (eg. Yerushalmi Kodshim 100 years ago) they'd be sure to include all the stuff we know was in that work (and indeed Friedlander included all that in his "Yerushalmi")
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 29, 2018 at 21:10
  • @ShmuelBrin onthemainline.blogspot.com/2007/01/…
    – WAF
    Commented Jul 30, 2018 at 12:31

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