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A River Flows from Eden

The Language of Mystical Experience in the Zohar
Stanford University Press
Publication Year


In the Zohar, the jewel in the crown of Jewish mystical literature, the verse “A river flows from Eden to water the garden” (Genesis 2:10) symbolizes the river of divine plenty that unceasingly flows from the depths of divinity into the garden of reality. Hellner-Eshed’s book investigates the flow of this river in the world of the Zoharic heroes, Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai and his disciples, as they embark upon their wondrous spiritual adventures. By focusing on the Zohar‘s language of mystical experience and its unique features, the author is able to provide remarkable scholarly insight into the mystical dimensions of the Zohar, namely the human quest for an enhanced experience of the living presence of the divine and the Zohar‘s great call to awaken human consciousness.


“A fascinating and richly textured work that combines linguistic and literary acumen with a historian of religion’s interest in the phenomenology of mysticism and a poet’s sensitivity to language. Simply put, this is one of the most exciting works of scholarship I have encountered in recent years. . . . This is the rare book that should matter equally to specialists in the field and to serious lay readers and students.”
-Elliot K. Ginsburg University of Michigan

A River Flows From Eden is replete with insights and delights. It is without a doubt one of the most engaging books on Jewish mysticism in general, and the Zohar in particular.”
Mark Verman Shofar

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