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The primary tool needed for making a golem (according to one source I read)
was gematria - you make a circle of letters as part of the process, and
reverse the letters in order to undo it.
As a crypto-guy, this, of course, sounds simply like an allegory for
encoding a message (using one of the classic 22 "chilufei otiyot" alef-beit
schemes) and giving it life, before decoding it (for it to die).
Also: many of the same books where Golems are discussed are the same books
where gematria and kabbalah are discussed - commentaries on the Sefer
Yetzirah, etc - so this is naturally interesting to me. 231 gates etc! :-)
I read a number of books on the Golem whilst at the British Library the
other day, but none really came close to discussing the crypto links. Any
Much of the modern idea of the Golem had been inserted by Reuchlin in his
translation from the Hebrew - so it could be argued that rather than by
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein was originally created by Reuchlin!
Cheers, ....Nick Pelling....