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Sefer ha-Qabbalah (Hebrew: ספר הקבלה, "Book of Tradition") was a book written by Abraham ibn Daud around 1160–1161.[1] The book is a response to Karaitic attacks against the historical legitimacy of rabbinic Judaism, and contains, among other items, the controversial tale of the kidnapping by pirates of four great rabbinic scholars from Babylonian academies, whose subsequent ransoming by Jewish communities around the Mediterranean accounts for the transmission of scholarly legitimacy to the rabbis of Jewish centers in North Africa and Spain.[citation needed]

At the time, the term "Kabbalah" simply meant "tradition". It had not yet assumed the mythical and esoteric connotations for which it is now known.


Although Sefer ha-Qabbalah had enormous influence as an authority on the history of Spanish Jewry, modern scholarship no longer considers it to be objective history. Nonetheless, it is valuable as a source of information on the life and thought of 12th century Spain.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Ibn Daud, Abraham ben David Halevi".

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