Question: I would like to ask about the scientists who discovered Kabbalah through external science.
Answer: Over thousands of years many scientists including Plato and Aristotle came to Kabbalah. We can’t even imagine to what extent all ancient scientists were connected to one another and knew Kabbalah.
Newton learned Hebrew in order to study Kabbalah; he has entire works and articles based on it. Kabbalah isn’t an ancient, outdated science. In reality, it is a well-known science with the exception of the last couple of hundred years when instead of dealing with real science, the scientists got involved with technology.
Some scientists attained Kabbalah due to the fact that they studied from the ancient Kabbalists. This is especially true for the scientists who lived from around 800 years BCE until the Common Era. During these 700-800 years many external scientists came to Kabbalists to study. This is when philosophy and all other sciences came about.
The scientists of the Middle Ages arrived at this on their own. They didn’t have the practical attainment of Kabbalah, but felt what this wisdom really was. They had no one to learn from because at that time everything was concealed. From the 16th century CE and on, Kabbalah started to become revealed once again.
We know that the Ramchal, a great Kabbalist of the sixteenth century, opened Kabbalah centers throughout all of Europe. Parallel to him, a great Kabbalist Abraham Abulafia literally “furrowed” the entirety of Europe in spreading Kabbalah and even taught it to a Roman Pope. They went to all extents in order to speed up the correction process.
However, these “external” scientists achieved everything mostly through their own effort. They felt that Kabbalah is a source of general knowledge, but no more than that. Although in their works we can see genuine admiration of Kabbalah, I don’t feel that they attained it internally. However, what they did is a great feat.
From Lesson 3 Berlin Convention 1/28/2011