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Christian Kabbalah And Anti-Jewish Polemics: Pico In Context

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Chapter Summary

In this article, the writer discusses how the polemics relate to the fact that Pico gratefully acknowledged the enormous erudition of the Jewish kabbalists, used their help extensively, was encouraged by Jews to publish his theses, and concluded his theses with the famous proposition: 'As true astrology teaches us to read in the Book of God, kabbalah teaches us to read in the Book of Law'. Pico della Mirandola is one of the most influential figures in fifteenth-century esotericism. Jewish scholars were well aware of the emerging Christian reading of their tradition and reacted strongly against it. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, religiously and philosophically, alternative readings of cosmos and history were openly discussed and made their way into interreligious tensions. The chapter also refers to recent research into the pluralistic character of European history of religions and the exchange between Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scholars in the Renaissance.

Keywords: anti-Jewish polemics; Christian kabbalah; fifteenth-century esotericism; Pico della Mirandola; sixteenth century



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