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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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R. Yohanan ben Yitzhaq Alemanno

R. Yohanan ben Yitzhaq Alemanno

(p.177) 14 R. Yohanan ben Yitzhaq Alemanno
Kabbalah in Italy, 1280-1510

Moshe Idel

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on one of the most important Jewish intellectuals of the Ashkenazi population during the thirteenth century—Yohanan Alemanno. The family name that he adopted, Alemanno, was the Italian version of “Ashkenazi,” and he was very proud of his extraction. The young Yohanan studied with a famous figure in Mantua, R. Yehudah Messer Leon, and received the title of doctor. For many years, he lived in Florence, where he had an association with Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, whom he mentions explicitly in one of his books, and played a role in the life of the Jewish community there. Alemanno left a substantial literary heritage, most of which still survives in autograph manuscripts. It consists of a lengthy commentary on the Song of Songs, titled Hesheq Shlomo (The Desire of Solomon), of which only the introduction has been printed as Sha'ar ha-Hesheq.

Keywords:   literary heritage, Jewish intellectuals, Ashkenazi population, Yohanan Alemanno, R. Yehudah Messer Leon, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola

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