Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

The Ẓaddiq as Axis Mundi in Later Judaism

Arthur Green
Journal of the American Academy of Religion
Vol. 45, No. 3 (Sep., 1977), pp. 327-347
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1463144
Page Count: 21
  • Download ($42.00)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
The Ẓaddiq as Axis Mundi in Later Judaism
Preview not available

Abstract

The symbol of axis mundi, as delineated in the writings of Mircea Eliade, is said to be religious man's central principle for the organization of sacred space. The present paper, originally offered as a contribution to an AAR session devoted to "Mircea Eliade and the Study of Judaism," seeks to expand the use of that symbol by pointing to a link between the imagery of axis mundi and the tradition of the ẓaddiq or holy man in the mystical sources of Judaism. In the writings of the Kabbalistic and Hasidic masters, the holy man is often described in various terms highly reminiscent of the notion of sacred space. The ẓaddiq may be Zion, Temple, Jacob's ladder, or Holy of Holies. While the transference of sacred space imagery to another realm might seem especially apt for the Jews, given their long history of exile, it is pointed out that such transference never meant the replacement of the geographical Jerusalem or Holy Land by the ẓaddiq, but rather an additional locus of divine presence: the cosmos of homo religiosus may know more than one center (e.g., Jerusalem and Rome for the Catholic). It is also briefly noted that the transference of sacred space imagery to that of sacred person takes place in Christianity and Islam as well, a point which is meant to invite further discussion. Notions of singular leadership and the place of the ẓaddiq in Jewish cosmology are traced from first century rabbinic sources down to rival Hasidic claims in the mid-nineteenth century. Finally, one particular Hasidic reading of the ẓaddiq as sacred center is offered as an example of the power of religious language to transcend its own formal categories in order to emerge as a profound and painful description of one man's own situation in life.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
[327]
    [327]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
328
    328
  • Thumbnail: Page 
329
    329
  • Thumbnail: Page 
330
    330
  • Thumbnail: Page 
331
    331
  • Thumbnail: Page 
332
    332
  • Thumbnail: Page 
333
    333
  • Thumbnail: Page 
334
    334
  • Thumbnail: Page 
335
    335
  • Thumbnail: Page 
336
    336
  • Thumbnail: Page 
337
    337
  • Thumbnail: Page 
338
    338
  • Thumbnail: Page 
339
    339
  • Thumbnail: Page 
340
    340
  • Thumbnail: Page 
341
    341
  • Thumbnail: Page 
342
    342
  • Thumbnail: Page 
343
    343
  • Thumbnail: Page 
344
    344
  • Thumbnail: Page 
345
    345
  • Thumbnail: Page 
346
    346
  • Thumbnail: Page 
347
    347