The Zohar (which translates as “the book of splendor” or “the book of brightness”) is accredited to Tanna Rabbi Simon Bar Yohai, but this is believed to simply be a pen-name to the actual author, Rabbi Moses Ben Shem Tov de Leon. Around 1270, Leon went into hiding from the Romans (supposedly with his son) and it is during this time, in a hidden cave, that Leon composed the Zohar. The Zohar is actually a collection of many smaller books, the sum of which span all such subjects as theological terminology, mystical teachings, the problems of good, evil, infinity, and God, among others. Most consider the text to be a Midrash of the Torah as well as a supplement to common (and often local) legends.
Today, the Zohar is considered to be the holiest book in Jewish mysticism: Kabbalah (there are many spellings, take your pick – Cabala, Kabala, Qabbalah, Qabala, etc.). This is largely due to certain “Jewish security measures” that used to be (and still are in parts of the world) enforced, namely that Kabbalah was only to be taught with spoken words and not writings. With the introduction of the Zohar, Kabbalists could be ensured that their teachings would not disappear or be forgotten and, since the Zohar is such an awkward piece of literature, you still must be under the guidance of a trained Kabbalist in order to understand it fully. Though the Zohar was first publicized in 1290, when it was actually written is not certain.
Though an inferred “bibliography” is obviously avoided by the author, there are indications that the Zohar was compounded using information from a variety of other Jewish and otherwise sources such as the Midrash Rabbah (as well as other Midrashim), the Babylonian Talmud, and the Alphabet of Ben Sira. Like most such texts, the Zohar is said to lose much of its meaning when it is translated out of Hebrew, since Hebrew is the only language through which some forms of symbolism and imagery are available. While this book is actually nothing more then an interpretive commentary on other Jewish works (mostly the Tanakh – the Jewish Old Testament), it has become a central core of both Kabbalah and Judaism as a whole and will serve as an inspiration to mystics of all paths for generations to come.
Changing Literary Representations of Lilith and the Evolution of a Mythical Heroine, http://www.geocities.com/Wellesley/Garden/4240/index.html
Whoa, holy shit! I think just about every E2 Noder sent me a message telling me that I forgot links - this is because I was at work and had to leave and didn't really think anyone would care if I didn't add the links until I got home (not because I don't know how to write a freaking node, Qeyser, dem_bones); I was mistaken and amazed at the noder's attack time. Impressive, I guess next time I'll just take it home on a floppy disk and finish it later!