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We will attempt also to answer the question of whether the approach which views Rabbi Simeon Bar Yohai as the author of the Zohar is indeed the sole approach in traditional Judaism through the ages, as many today view it.Before we begin on the question of who wrote the Zohar when, it is worthwhile to present the structure of the book.The Zohar is not a unified work, as we might expect from a book written and planned by one man, but is built section by section.This is what one of the greatest researchers into the kabbalah, Dr.When I heard the news I was furious, and resumed my journey and came to Avila.There I found a great and venerable scholar named Rabbi David de Pancorbo, and we got on well together and I adjured him, saying: "Do you know the mysteries of the Zohar about which people are divided, some saying one thing, and some another?
You shall say this to both the mother and daughter separately, and listen carefully to what each one says to see if their replies tally. And Rabbi Moses's wife replied to Rabbi Joseph's wife on oath, saying: May G-d do so to me and more also if my husband ever possessed such a book.It is clear that dismantling certain sections while shattering their original order (Raya Mehemna), eliminating certain sections from printings until some were lost entirely, and integrating others can recognizably change the meaning of the words of the Zohar in many places.Even so, according to Gershom Scholem there is a recognizable unity "in the language of the [main text of the Zohar], in its literary style, and, last but not least, in the doctrine which it sets forth." This refers not only to the main text of the Zohar in its most limited form, but all that Scholem calls "the real Zohar." From this one may conclude that all the sections which comprise "the real Zohar" were written by a single author. The only historical evidence which deals with the issue is a section in an essay by Rabbi Isaac of Acre, a famous Kabbalist who lived in Acre and fled from there to Spain after the city was conquered by the Muslims in 1291.When he reached Spain, Rabbi Isaac investigated the circumstances of the writing and distribution of the Zohar, and his testimony is brought in Sefer ha Yuhsin by Rabbi Abraham Zacutto: In the month of Adar Rabbi Isaac of Acre wrote that Acre had been destroyed in the year fifty [-one] and that the pious of Israel had been slaughtered there with the four statutory kinds of death.In 1305 this Rabbi Isaac of Acre was in Novara, Italy, having escaped from Acre, and in the same 1305 he came to Toledo.