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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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Menahem Recanati's Hermeneutics

Menahem Recanati's Hermeneutics

(p.128) 10 Menahem Recanati's Hermeneutics
Kabbalah in Italy, 1280-1510

Moshe Idel

Yale University Press

This chapter explores the fact that, even though the generation of Jewish scholars before Recanati contributed greatly to kabbalistic hermeneutics, Recanati does not quote them at all. Though composing a book that invited, in principle, some elaborations on exegesis, in his main work, the Commentary on the Torah, the Italian Kabbalist does not indulge in theoretical speculations, describing precisely how secrets were extracted from the scriptures. In this respect his approach is reminiscent of Nahmanides's or R. Shlomo ibn Adret's reticence in formulating exegetical systems. These three authors belong to what the chapter refers to as the first elite, a layer of authors who refrained from organizing exegetical methods into a more systematic structure. This reticence notwithstanding, Recanati did not refrain from offering his own kabbalistic interpretations of the Pentateuch and of the various commandments.

Keywords:   Jewish scholars, kabbalistic hermeneutics, exegesis, Nahmanides, R. Shlomo ibn Adret, Pentateuch

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