Skip to main content

Francis Warrain: From ‘La Théodicée de la Kabbale’ – About Metaphysical Anthropomorphism

Francis Warain,

picture frontispiece in ‘La Théodicée de la Kabale’,

Editions Véga, 1949.


Today’s sharing from the Blue House of Via-HYGEIA, is an excerpt from Francis Warrain’s ‘La Théodicée de la Kabbale’, posthumously published by Editions Véga in 1949 by his friend, Pierre Bordeau Montrieux. We will devote a cycle of posts to his writings, so more to come soon🥳English translation from the original French by Via-HYGEIA. The excerpt runs from page 73 to 75.


Introduction to Francis Warrain,

by Charles AUTRAN in ‘L’İllustration’ in 1940

‘Francis WARRAIN passed away at Val la Reine, in Honfleur, on February 29th 1940 after a brief illness. He was an artist. He was a philosopher. He was one of those distinguished minds whose fruitful activity extended beyond any official role. Born in Marseille in 1867, he completed his early studies there.

One of his classmates at the time was Edmond ROSTAND. He finished his classes in Paris. Married in 1888, he prepared for the entrance exam to the Court of Auditors, which he soon gave up to dedicate himself to sculpture under the friendly guidance of Louis NOEL. Accepted at the salon around 1900, he continued to exhibit there as late as 1923 on Sainte Cécile Street, as reported in the May 26th issue of ‘L’İllustration’ of the same year.

However, sculpture was only to be a stage in the evolution of this primarily philosophical mind. Quickly, it drew his attention to the immense problems of all kinds posed by aesthetics. These, in turn, led him to higher mathematics and metaphysics, toward which his clear mind inclined, passionate about general ideas and synthetic abstractions.

Deeply struck by the metaphysical anarchy so characteristic of contemporary science, he had, since then, devoted the clearest part of his activities to trying to resolve the most shocking contradictions in his eyes.

He had also dedicated significant explanations and comments to the psycho-bio-physical work of Charles HENRY (1932) as well as to the work of Hoëné  WRONSKI, a Polish philosopher and mathematician. The latter publication, quite challenging, had earned him an honorary title at the University of Warsaw.

A passionate Wagnerian, in 1921, he published a solid study on the Psychological Concept of the Scale. The philosopher met the musician here.

A voluntary soldier in October 1914, he left as a lieutenant and returned as a captain, awarded the Croix de guerre and the Legion of Honor in 1918.

His intelligent and profound faith never ceased to support and strengthen his noble spirit until his last day. The simple, good, affable man, full of sense and heart, was charming in his interactions. He left behind only friends.’


Intellectual Posterity 

Francis Warrain’s extensive work has only partially fallen into oblivion. It attests to a period in the history of science when enlightened amateurs—heirs to the scholars of ancient times—still produced respected scientific work without official functions or affiliation with institutions, but with unwavering selflessness and tireless capacity for work. It is known that his works on Wronski were found in Jacques Lacan’s library, and Gilles Deleuze refers to them in “Difference and Repetition” (Paris, Puf, 1968).

Modern occult currents continue to claim him, as evidenced by various reeditions of his works. His books on Kabbalah and Geomancy, written around 1910 (before he devoted himself entirely to the study of mathematical symbolism), the most popularized facet of his intellectual approach, were reissued in the second half of the century and translated into several languages. (Wikipedia).


The sephirot and the human body are being linked in this plate from Jean-Joseph Brierre-Narbonne monumental work, here ‘Exégèse Zoharique des Prophécies Messianiques’, Librairie Orientaliste Paul Geutner, Paris, 1938.


Preliminary note, by Paul Vulliaux added by Via-HYGEIA

for a better understanding of Francis Warrain’s following text

From the ‘Sepher Di-Tzenuitha’, (‘Book of Concealment’, or ‘Secret Book’, essential part of the Zohar-II-Folio 176b-179a), in the French translation of Paul Vulliaux, published by Emile Nourrry in 1930 :

We have learned that the ‘Secret Book’ is the book

that is about ‘the balance of the Scale’. (Opening of chapter I)

Note: Kabbalah designates by the name ‘Scale’ what is constituted by the masculine principle and the equiponderate feminine principle. The esoteric tradition of the Jews represents the Unknowable, manifested in human form, which contains ten categories of properties called Sephirot. The Crown (Kether) is the head, Wisdom (Hochmah) and Understanding (Binah) are the shoulders; Mercy (Hesed) and Severity (Geburah) correspond to the arms, and Beauty (Tiphereth) to the chest; Victory (Netzach) and Glory (Hod) are the legs, and Foundation (Yesod) is the genital member. Kingdom (Malkuth) is a Sephirah that also constitutes a person, but depicted seen from behind. The Kingdom, in union with the other nine Sephirot, realizes the complete Man: It is the mystery of the Scale.

Note: La Kabbale désigne par le nom de ‘Balance’ ce qui est constitué par le principe masculin et le principe féminin équipondéré. La tradition ésotérique des Juifs représente l’Inconnaissable, manifesté sous la forme humaine, qui renferme dix catégories de propriétés, appelées Sephirot. La Couronne (Kether) est la tête, la Sagesse (Hochmah) et l’Intelligence (Binah) sont les épaules ; la Miséricorde (Hesed) et la Rigueur (Gheburah) correspondent aux bras, et la Beauté (Tiphereth) à la poitrine; la Victoire (Netsah) et la Gloire (Hod) sont les jambes, et la Base (Yesod) le membre génital. Le Règne (Malcuth) est une sephirah qui constitue, elle aussi, une personne, mais figurée de dos. Le Règne, en état d’union avec les neuf autres Sephirot, réalise l’Homme complet : C’est le mystère de la Balance.


Sketches of the system of the ‘Scale’ from page 51, illustrating the chapter devoted to explain this concept. In ‘La Théodicée de la Kabale’, Editions Véga, 1949.


About Metaphysical


The system of the Sephirot-constructed upon the model of Man and according to the principle of the ‘Scale’ (Balance, see Paul Vulliaux’s above explanation), that establishes the cycle of the numbers and letters and is based upon the concepts of sexuality and Personality-is, in our opinion, the most concrete metaphysical conception that the human brain has produced. It condenses in a same body the essential orders through which our thought is moving: mathematical abstraction and logic, esthetical figuration, dynamic representation, psychic appetite.

The nature of Man constitute the mediating essence between the Absolute and the Relative: such is the idea upon which the objective value of the whole Kabbalah is based and justifies its pretense to express through symbols Absolute Reality. It is due to this sole idea, in fact, that metaphysics can escape to Kant’s criticism, which stipulates that all of our speculations upon the transcendental domain are but only markers for our own usage, meant to order the domain of immanence.

Hence, we can know something of the transcendental reality only if our nature is in a bonding with the Absolute. And the faculty that fulfill this role is Reason.

But, Kant has narrowed the length of the transcendental reason to the idea of duty. If the law of duty cannot be justified by any speculative notion having the character of the Absolute, the categoric imperative is but a fascination, without any legitimate authority, a rule more or less useful to guide us.

If we admit, on the contrary, that the principles of speculative reason have an absolute foundation, we are then led to the transcendental anthropomorphism of the Zohar: the human thought can draw from its own principles an image resembling to the metaphysical reality.

Whereas we can establish that the principles of our thought have an absolute value. The notion of reality vanishes if reality does not relate to any thought; and every thought implies a bond between two terms. This fondamental condition of thought introduces the bond at the very heart of Reality which arises first with the character of the Absolute. And the thought, in turn, overcomes the bond of which it is the principle, and which is the absolute foundation of any relationship, affirming itself as something real and absolute.

We cannot deny these principles an absoute value without blurring the distinction between the Relative and the Absolute. Man does recognize that the essence of his own thought (and consequently of what constitutes the very kernel of his own nature) consists in a mediation between the Relative and the Absolute. It follows that anthropomorphism is not a simple representation of a distorted-for-our-own-particular-usage metaphysical reality, but that it expresses the very nature of this reality, even though perceived only through veils ought to distord it. Such is the implicit principle contained in the whole Kabbalah.

But when we say that metaphysical reality is built like Man, it is of course meaning ‘Man considered in his essence‘, and not in his special form of a reasonable vertebrate, form that results from the adaptation of the human essence to our epoch and to our planet.

The essence of Man is to be the reasonable animated being. Within him is operating the covenant of the Absolute-which is the object of Reason-with the fulness of the autonomous relationship Life is. Reason is the Absolute inasmuch as the source of the relationship, Life is the medium through which the pure relativity (which is in itself restricted to void) acquires a proper being.

Hence conceived, the essence of Man appears as a principle immediately derived from the Absolute to establish reason and life, these two functions of the Absolute rendered immanent to the relative to allow it  to subsist and manifest in it. In its mediating quality, human nature participates of the Absolute and the Relative. We ought then to locate in its kernel the Absolute adapting to the Relative and the Relative adapting to the Absolute.

The Absolute unites through human nature to the Relative becoming itself creature without its essence of creator and of Absolute ceasing to be unfathomable. And this constitute the God-man. The Relative assimilates itself to the Absolute through the seeds of Absolute that God sows in Him. And these children of God are the purely human creatures. Finally, the result of the mediation must lead to unite in one very body God-made-man and the humans called to participate to divine life.

This is the master idea that serves as a center-piece to the whole Kabbalah and does confers to its metaphysical anthropomorphism an objective value.

This metaphysical anthropomorphism has been definitely formulated by the commentators of the Zohar with the notion of the Adam Kadmon. It is very likely that the notion of the Adam Kadmon is nothing else but the metaphysical explanation of the dogma of Incarnation of the Word in the person of Christ or of the Messiah.

Christianity presents the Incarnation of the second person of the Holy Trinity, as an historical fact accomplished under the form of an individual of our actual terrestrial and human specie, in the person of Jesus-Christ. The conception of the Adam Kadmon, without precising when or under which special form the Incarnation of the Word occurred, considers God-made-man as participating to the on-going Creation.

We wouldn’t dare to say that these two conceptions are necessarily bound to each other; but it seems, that far from being contradicting parties, they are complementing each other.

The advent of our Lord Jesus-Christ would be the special application, proper to our humane specie, of an hominal principle emanated by the Word, of a metaphysical humanity shrouded by the Word, from the very Beginning of Creation. And if, as the past is concerned, the Christian dogma of the Incarnation and the doctrine of the Adam Kadmon can be isolated from one another, it seems that in the future, they are tightly bound, because likewise the King of the Kabbalah has for spouse the Community of Israel, likewise Christ has for spouse the Universal Church; and all of the believers, says Saint Paul, are the limbs of a mystical Body, of which Christ is the head.

Francis Warrain, posthumous portrait by Arlette Ryan, 1956. Source: Antoine Mercier, his great-grandson.


Original French












More about Francis Warrain:🌿The biographical introduction comes from a family source:
Francis Warrain: From ‘La Théodicée de la Kabbale’ – About Metaphysical Anthropomorphism

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

all rights reserved Via Hygeia 2022