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Chapter Summary

This book studies the intellectual development of Rabbi Ephraim Luntshitz (c. 1550?1619) in the context of the philosophical revival in east-European Jewry of the late sixteenth century. In speaking of ?the intellectual formation of Ephraim Luntshitz,? the book refers to both stories - his own personal development, and the marshalling of the intellectual forces in Polish Jewry that shapes his thought through his immediate teachers and mentors. The three thinkers, Moses Isserles, Mordecai Jaffe and Abraham Horowitz played important roles in Ephraim?s intellectual growth. Isserles and his students comprised the first ?wave? of philosophical learning in late-Renaissance Polish Jewry. The writings of R. Judah Loew (Maharal) of Prague show a marked increase in philosophical-mystical content from 1580 on, in counterpoint to the philosophical-rationalist ideas of his arch-rival Eliezer Ashkenazi. In portraying the non-rational side of Ephraim?s thought, the author calls it ?mystical but not kabbalistic.?.

Keywords: Abraham Horowitz; Eliezer Ashkenazi; Ephraim Luntshitz; kabbalah; late-Renaissance Polish Jewry; Maharal; Mordecai Jaffe; Moses Isserles; philosophical-mystical content



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