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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's Hermeneutics

Abraham Abulafia's Hermeneutics

(p.64) 5 Abraham Abulafia's Hermeneutics
Kabbalah in Italy, 1280-1510

Moshe Idel

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on Abulafia's innovative and complex hermeneutical system, one of his most original contributions to Jewish mysticism. This hermeneutical system became widespread in Kabbalah. Different though the Spanish Kabbalists' symbolic techniques were from Abulafia's, their originators have something in common: being much less concerned with halakhic matters than Nahmanides and most of his followers were, they belonged to what the author refers to as innovative Kabbalah, with an approach that was open to developments rather than concerned with preserving ancient traditions. In exploring exegetical techniques, all these kabbalistic authors active between 1270 and 1295 concerned themselves with questions related to both the infinity of the sacred text and the status of the interpreter.

Keywords:   hermeneutical system, Jewish mysticism, Spanish Kabbalists, symbolic techniques, halakhic matters, Nahmanides, innovative Kabbalah

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