Religion Past and Present

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(380 words)

[German Version]

The tradition relating to the golem reaches back as far as the Hebrew Bible, where it designates the curled-up and as yet unformed human embryo (Ps 139:16). From this conception, rabbinic Judaism first began to develop the notion of a human being created by humans themselves (b. Sanh. 65b and 67b). While the rabbis dismissed such creative activity as improper competition to God's almighty creative power and made ironical comments (the artificial human being cannot speak), it gained increasing importance in Jewish mysticism (III). The latter tradition extends from the S…

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Schäfer, Peter, “Golem”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 16 July 2024 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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