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The Mystical Life of Franz KafkaTheosophy, Cabala, and the Modern Spiritual Revival$
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June O. Leavitt

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199827831

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199827831.001.0001

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Cabala, the Freemasons, and the Trials of Brother F. K.

Cabala, the Freemasons, and the Trials of Brother F. K.

6 Cabala, the Freemasons, and the Trials of Brother F. K.
The Mystical Life of Franz Kafka

June O. Leavitt

Oxford University Press

Ever since Martin Buber and Gershom Scholem argued that the worldview of The Trial was cabalistic, many Jewish scholars have tried to expand upon their theories. In contrast to the prevailing trend, this chapter attempts to demonstrate that the so-called Jewish cabalistic strains in Kafka’s The Trial may have been mediated to him by way of the Freemasons, a Christian fraternal society which traditionally redacted Judaic esotericism. A cryptic diary entry written in 1922 in which Kafka alludes to the doctrines and discourses of the Freemasons, confirms this hypothesis. This chapter explains how the Christianized Cabala of the Freemasons which was deeply saturated within European culture manifests in Kafka’s parable “Before the Law,” and in the novel of which it forms the heart, The Trial.

Keywords:   Kafka, “Before the Law,”, preemasons, masonic symbols, masonry, famous Masons, kabbalah, zohar, hasidic stories, Kafka’s symbolism

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