Sefer ha-Qabbalah

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Sefer ha-Qabbalah (Hebrew for "Book of Tradition") was a book written by Abraham ibn Daud around 1161. A chronicle of the Jewish people, it contains valuable historical and philosophical information. 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.

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.