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originally published in
"The Word"
Edited by H.W. Percival

New York, Theosophical Publishing Company


Scanned at, October 2005. Proofed and formatted by John Bruno Hare. This text is in the public domain in the United States because it was originally published prior to January 1st, 1923. This file may be used for any non-commercial purpose provided this notice of attribution is left intact in all copies, electronic or printed.


Production Notes:

This etext was scanned from and proofed against the Wizard's Bookshelf Edition, San Diego, 1980, which contains a photographic reproduction of Nurho de Manhar's (NdM) original articles plus extensive commentary by John Drais (JD), particularly cross-references with 'The Secret Doctrine'. This was the only reasonably available edition of this translation, which is the longest extant continuous excerpt from the Sepher ha-Zohar published prior to 1923 (and hence currently in the public domain in the United States). The Zohar is a culturally and historically significant religious text, so preparing an etext of it is crucial for my goal of assembling a comprehensive public domain collection of electronic texts of English translations of sacred texts. The next English translation of the Zohar was the 1930 London Soncino edition, a substantially complete multi-volume translation, which will not enter the public domain in the United States until 2025 (by US Copyright law in 2005).

NdM translated the first 200 or so pages from the Zohar, up to the end of Section Lekh Lekha. This constitutes a commentary on the Bible from the beginning of Genesis up to Gen. 12:24.

The methodology of etext redaction at sacred-texts is to prepare an electronic transcript of a specific printed edition selected for a lack of copyright restrictions. This transcript could be used to reconstruct the book if necessary, including page breaks, footnotes and typography. Any portions changed by the redactor are clearly indicated; such changes are kept to the absolute minimum, but are allowed to enhance the usability and readability of the text. No attempt is made to correct factual inaccuracies or update language, modify or internally comment on the views of the author, or expunge text which offends contemporary sensibilities. The original spelling is retained except where obvious errors such as transposed, obliterated, or omitted letters, or duplicated words occur in the copy text. Minor punctuation errors are either left uncorrected or silently fixed.

This methodology was problematic to implement in this case for several reasons, but I believe that a good compromise has been reached. Not a small part of the difficulty is that the Zohar itself is an extraordinarily 'difficult,' multi-layered text.

The running page numbers in the text refer to the page numbers in the 1980 edition. I have omitted all Theosophical references and marginalia added by JD, his introductory material ('Exordium'), and his two appendices. I have included the 1980 marginal Bible citations and Zohar page numbers, and paraphrases of incidental notes of differences between NdM and the Soncino edition. The marginal Bible citations (but not the ones in the body text) were verified against the electronic King James Version (KJV) of the Bible at sacred-texts (, and corrected silently if they varied; in one case the 1917 Jewish Publication Society (JPS) translation of the Bible is also referenced. In some cases the marginal Bible citations correct the ones in the text, but these are not noted explicitly. All Bible citations added at sacred-texts are in Arabic numerals in chapter:verse format, separated by a colon. In three cases, I paraphrased JD's explanatory marginal material and included it in a footnote (with my initials i.e.,--JBH).

The marginal Zohar page citations have not been verified against a printed edition other than JD's. These are in the conventional format of an Arabic number followed by 'a' or 'b', e.g. 32b.

NdM's original text had numerous errata and punctuation problems, and the Bible citations are a wide variety of formats (and often simply incorrect). Errata were corrected in the conventional fashion for texts which I prepare for sacred-texts, i.e., any text in green or linked to the errata file (errata.htm in this directory) was added at sacred-texts by the preparer. Occasionally, minor punctuation errors or defects were corrected silently. The Bible citations in NdM's text were not reformatted or corrected in any way, unless there was a correction in JD's marginalia, or an actual errata (such as a malformed Roman numeral or misspelled abbreviation).

I added running chapter numbers in Roman numerals solely as placeholders (since many of the section breaks had no explicit titles); these were inserted at logical breaks in the NdM text (which are also file breaks in this etext). These numbers were not in the original Zohar, NdM or JD's editions, and should not be used for citation purposes.

Most problematic are instances where NdM used Theosophical terminology in his translation, e.g., 'Karma,' 'Secret Doctrine,' 'Planes of Existence,' etc. These have not been altered or flagged in any way, but experienced students of the Kabbalah can identify these easily. In my opinion, however, these terms do not always map neatly into the philosophy and metaphysics of the Kabbalah and might be misleading to the novice reader. For this and other reasons, I cannot recommended this as an introductory text about the Kabbalah!

It is my belief that this level of redaction does not embody enough 'creativity' (in the US legal definition of the word) to void the public domain status of the text or justify a new copyright claim. I take sole responsibility for these alterations and emendations. Moreover, I explicitly donate my redactions to the public domain.--JBH.

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