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Gershom Scholem, wrote in his entry on "Zohar" in the Encyclopedia Hebraica: In its literary structure the Zohar is a collection of essays and pieces of essays which include short pieces of medrash, long homilies and lectures on various topics, the majority of which appear as the words of the Tanna Rabbi Simeon Bar Yochai (Rashbi) and his companions (the hevraya), but long anonymous sections also appear.To a certain extent it is known that this is not a single book, but an entire branch of literature unified under a single name.I pursued it and asked the scholars who possessed some of its great words of wisdom whence had come these wonderful mysteries that had been transmitted orally and not written down, and that were now plain to all who could read.And I did not find their answers to my question very convincing. Some said in answer to my question that the faithful rabbi Nachmanides had sent it from the land of Israel to Catalonia, to his son, and the wind had brought it to Aragon, and others say to Alicante, and it had fallen into the hands of the sage Rabbi Moses de Leon, who is also described as Moses de Guadalajara.Some say that Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai did not write the book at all, but that this Rabbi Moses knew the Holy Name and through its power wrote these wonderful words, and in order to sell them for a good price, much silver and gold, he ascribed them to our great ancestors, saying: I have transcribed for you these words from the book composed by Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai and his son, Rabbi Eleazar.When I came to Spain I went to Valladolid, where the king was, and I found Rabbi Moses there, and he liked me and spoke with me, and swore: "may G-d do so to me, and more also, if there is not at this moment in my house, where I live in Avila, the ancient books written by Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai, and when you come to see me there I shall show it to you.' Rabbi Moses left me after this and went to Arévalo on his way home to Avila, but he fell ill in Arévalo and died there.
Even so, since the date of the book's authorship is closely linked to the lives and work of various people throughout Jewish history, the discussion of the date of authorship also demands a discussion of who wrote the book, and therefore we will have to discuss the questions together.
Divisions 21-24 are most of most doubtful provenance and are perhaps post-publication additions.
There is some relationship between the strata which establishes the relative order of the texts, but for the most part each stratum is uniform to itself and this uniformity is confirmed by examination of the details.
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.
In printed editions the Zohar is comprised of five volumes: three--based on the division in most editions--are printed under the names Sefer Ha Zohar Al Ha Torah, a volume called Tikunei Ha Zohar and one called Zohar Hadash, a collection of compositions and essays found in the manuscripts of the Sefad Kabbalists after the printing of the main Zohar text and gathered by Abraham Ha Levi Bruchim.