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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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Jewish Kabbalah in Christian Garb

Jewish Kabbalah in Christian Garb

(p.227) 19 Jewish Kabbalah in Christian Garb
Kabbalah in Italy, 1280-1510

Moshe Idel

Yale University Press

This chapter begins with a dominant scholarly definition of Kabbalah that regards its crucial component as a concern with the ten divine powers, the ten sefirot. In line with this view, Jewish Kabbalah emerged in Languedoc in the last decades of the twelfth century, and Christian Kabbalah in the final decades of the thirteenth. However, if we turn to another way of defining Kabbalah, found already in the eleventh century, as an esoteric tradition concerning the divine names, the situation becomes much more complex. Some passages dealing with divine names recur in Christian texts early in the thirteenth century, in the discussions of Joachim de Fiore. At the end of the same century and early in the next, Arnauld of Villanova wrote a whole treatise dealing with the divine name. Whether this treatise reflects the impact of Abraham Abulafia's Kabbalah remains to be investigated.

Keywords:   scholarly definition, crucial component, ten sefirot, Jewish Kabbalah, Christian Kabbalah, esoteric tradition, divine names

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