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Certain Jewish communities, however, such as the Dor Daim, Andalusian (Western Sefardic or Spanish and Portuguese Jews), and some Italian communities, never accepted it as authentic.By the 15th century, its authority in the Spanish Jewish community was such that Joseph ibn Shem-Tov drew from it arguments in his attacks against Maimonides, and even representatives of non-mystical Jewish thought began to assert its sacredness and invoke its authority in the decision of some ritual questions.
The Zohar is mostly written in what has been described as a cryptic, obscure style of Aramaic.
Joseph Jacobs and Isaac Broyde, in their article on the Zohar for the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, cite a story involving the Kabbalist Isaac of Acco, who is supposed to have heard directly from the widow of de Leon that her husband proclaimed authorship by Shimon bar Yochai for profit: A story tells that after the death of Moses de Leon, a rich man of Avila named Joseph offered Moses' widow (who had been left without any means of supporting herself) a large sum of money for the original from which her husband had made the copy.
She confessed that her husband himself was the author of the work.
Aramaic, the day-to-day language of Israel in the Second Temple period (539 BCE – 70 CE), was the original language of large sections of the biblical books of Daniel and Ezra, and is the main language of the Talmud.
The Zohar first appeared in Spain in the 13th century, and was published by a Jewish writer named Moses de León.
She had asked him several times, she said, why he had chosen to credit his own teachings to another, and he had always answered that doctrines put into the mouth of the miracle-working Shimon bar Yochai would be a rich source of profit.