On the main page Basic concepts of astrology

  Astrology and Judaism

   In Judaism to astrology the special relation was established. On the one hand, astrological symbolism plays an essential role in concepts of Judaism, especially in a cabbala, and among the famous astrologers of the Middle Ages there were many Jews. Drawings of inlaid floors in synagogues often need to be considered as connection of astrology and cult. Zodiac signs decorate some religious texts containing requests to the Lord about a rain, a harvest, etc. Idea that zodiac signs Cancer and Lion symbolize Israel and people of the world, position of the Jews disseminated worldwide was widespread. On the other hand, the relation to astrological forecasts in Judaism was alerted.
   Though the importance of astrology admitted Judaic thinkers in ancient times, at the same time the point of view dominated that astrological laws can not affect Jews. Besides, the conjectural practice widespread among the neighbour people was sharply condemned:
   "A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them". (Leviticus 20:27);
   "There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee". (Deuteronomy 18:10-12).
   The latest Judaic legends emphasize impossibility under laws of the nature of conception of Isaak (so, and appearance of "peculiar people" which had to come from him). So, the version according to which even Abraham's horoscope showed absence at him the lawful son from Sara is provided in the talmudical treatise Shabbat 156a. Referred to this version, proving situation by which astrological forecasts are not valid for the believer in Yahweh.
   On the other hand, we find numerous examples of use of astrology by Jews and even ideas that astrology is the highest wisdom given Yahweh to patriarchs. Artapanus of Alexandria (2nd century BC), the ellinizirovanny Jew who wrote the composition of "Concerning The Jews" claimed that the foundation of the Egyptian culture was laid by the patriarch and prophet Abraham who, having come to Egypt, trained the Pharaoh of astrology. Moses, according to Artapanus, was also Musaeus, Orpheus's teacher represented with Hermes Trismegistus.
   According to the Talmud, Abraham and his descendants were put above influence of stars, but, on the other hand, the blessing given to Abraham in the Genesis (24:1) is interpreted as an astrology gift: "Abraham was now very old, and the Lord had blessed him in every way".
   Moses resorts to astrological consultation of Jethro to learn how to him to govern children of Israel. Knowledge of astrology is attributed as well to Solomon. The prophetess Deborah, according to cabalistic tradition, was also an astrologer. As the basis for similar situation is considered a fragment from the Book by Judges, 5:20 ("From the heavens the stars fought, from their courses they fought against Sisera").
   In the 7th and 8th chapters of "Book of Enoch" there is a detailed description of falling of angels. Listing 18 leaders of fallen angels, Enoch, in particular, mentions that "Barkayal taught [people] the observers of the stars, Akibeel taught signs; Tamiel taught astronomy; And Asaradel taught the motion of the moon".
   A number of sources specifies that at a turn of our era Jews had the original astrological tradition. After destruction of the Jerusalem temple (60 - 70 AD) and dispersion of Jews worldwide (132 - 135) there was a division into two astrological schools. The first school in the Middle East (Baghdad) was almost indistinguishable from the Arab astrology at its first stage of development. About this school even speak as about the Jewish astrology which was borrowed by Arabs. The second Jewish astrological school developed in the early Middle Ages in Spain where then Arabs dominated. At this school cabalistic lines were brightly shown. Educated Jews entered close connection with intellectual traditions of Islam and Christianity. Therefore Judaic astrology "was practically dissolved" in astrological concepts of medieval Europe. It is interesting that the Jewish religious art took in the West the settled form. Inlaid floors in synagogues need to be considered as connection of astrology and cult. Zodiac signs decorate some religious texts containing requests to the Lord about a rain, a harvest, etc. The concept that 12 zodiac signs correspond to 12 sons of Jacob was widely adopted.
   References to astrological science are frequent at Judaic mystics. E.g., Moses de León (13th century) wrote: "There are seven planets which correspond to seven heaven, and the world is operated by them. "Let there be light" corresponds to the Moon, "let there be lights in the firmament of heaven" corresponds to the Sun. Planets define seasons, sacred holidays, new moons, Saturdays. Over them the supernatural worlds stay. There are two worlds - the highest and the lowest of which the lowest is constructed on a sample of the world of the highest".


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