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Kabbalah in Italy, 1280-1510A Survey$
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Moshe Idel

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780300126266

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300126266.001.0001

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Abraham Abulafia and R. Menahem ben Benjamin

Abraham Abulafia and R. Menahem ben Benjamin

Thirteenth-Century Kabbalistic and Ashkenazi Manuscripts in Italy

(p.89) 7 Abraham Abulafia and R. Menahem ben Benjamin
Kabbalah in Italy, 1280-1510

Moshe Idel

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses an aspect of Abulafia's activity that had repercussions for the history of Kabbalah in the peninsula. He not only composed the first kabbalistic writings in Italy, he also introduced kabbalistic material derived from other schools flourishing in Spain. Autobiographical testimony about this material can be found in his Sefer 'Otzar 'Eden Ganuz. The study of Sefer Yetzirah in itself is not necessarily indicative of an interest in Kabbalah; however, the mention of the commentaries, some of which were kabbalistic as can be seen in the later sections, shows that it was in Barcelona that he was introduced to this esoteric lore. After his studies in Barcelona, Abulafia visited some towns in Castile, where he attempted to teach his combination of linguistic Kabbalah and Maimonidean philosophy.

Keywords:   linguistic Kabbalah, Maimonidean philosophy, first kabbalistic writings, esoteric lore, Barcelona, Castile

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