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Return To Origins: The Outlook Of The Precious Ornament (Part 2)

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Chapter Summary

This chapter shows that Ephraim, complemented his moderate rationalism by espousing doctrines and intellectual methods which are ?mystical but not kabbalistic?. In the introduction to the Precious Ornament, he sneaks in an allusion which sounds a note (familiar from Isserles and elsewhere) of complaint at the ignoramuses who parade their scant knowledge of kabbalah with much fanfare. Ephraim?s Omphalos-myth shows a way in which the Jewish path is not merely equal to others. Some of Arieti?s concepts apply quite aptly to the thought-world of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The mix of primary and secondary process in Biblical thought is heavily weighted to the primary-process. This is seen especially in the magnificent poetry of the Biblical literature, which Maimonides referred to as the ?imaginative? faculty of the prophet. Ephraim seems at his most joyful when describing the divine-human relationship as a reciprocal one.

Keywords: Biblical literature; divine-human relationship; Ephraim Luntshitz; Isserles; Jewish mysticism; kabbalah; Maimonides; Omphalos-myth; Precious Ornament; Silvano Arieti



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