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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. Menahem ben Benjamin Recanati

R. Menahem ben Benjamin Recanati

(p.106) 8 R. Menahem ben Benjamin Recanati
Kabbalah in Italy, 1280-1510

Moshe Idel

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on R. Menahem ben Benjamin Recanati, the first Italian Kabbalist to adopt an important version of another type of Kabbalah—theosophical-theurgical Kabbalah. In doing so, he accepted a theological view that differed dramatically from Abulafia's, one that assumed the existence of a transcendental divine layer, designated as 'Illat ha-'Illot, Causa Causarum, and a system of ten divine powers named sefirot. This chapter explores the fact that the first Kabbalist who flourished in Italy after Abulafia did not follow his mystical path and ignored his writings; he did not even engage in polemics with the ecstatic Kabbalist or his followers. The differences between the two Kabbalists active in Italy are important not only for the phenomenology of Kabbalah but especially for the understanding of the specific nature of this lore in Italy.

Keywords:   theosophical-theurgical Kabbalah, R. Menahem ben Benjamin Recanati, Italian Kabbalist, transcendental divine layer, ten divine powers

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