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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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The Kabbalistic-Philosophical-Magical Exchanges in Italy

The Kabbalistic-Philosophical-Magical Exchanges in Italy

(p.154) 12 The Kabbalistic-Philosophical-Magical Exchanges in Italy
Kabbalah in Italy, 1280-1510

Moshe Idel

Yale University Press

This chapter depicts Italy as one of the sites where the tensions between Kabbalah and Jewish philosophy became visible quite early. It is also one of the places where the syntheses between the two are numerous and conspicuous. The chief reason for these phenomena is the geographical location of Italy, between Western Jewish communities in North Africa, Spain, France, and Germany, and the Eastern communities, mainly in Babylonia, Egypt, and Palestine. The Italian peninsula was a place where many trajectories intersected, as was Sicily. For example, Italian and Ashkenazi traditions mention the arrival in Italy of Abu Aharon ben Shmuel from Baghdad, bringing with him esoteric traditions that were subsequently adopted by the Ashkenazi Pietists. According to a tradition preserved in a writing of R. Eleazar of Worms, the secrets that he preserved derived from hoary antiquity and were transmitted from the land of Israel to Babylonia, then to Italy, and thereafter to the Ashkenazi territories.

Keywords:   geographical location, Italy, Kabbalah, Jewish philosophy, Ashkenazi traditions

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