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Shaping The Body Of The Godhead: The Adaptation Of The And Rogynous Motif In Early Christian Kabbalah

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Chapter Summary

This chapter draws the readers attention to an interesting feature concerning the not wholly predictable transmission of esoteric lore such as Kabbalah in a Christian environment at the beginning of the sixteenth century. Of the entire phenomenon of Christianizing a specific Jewish doctrine, which lasted several centuries and was fiercely opposed as theologically dangerous, it shows the main turning points of the evolution of this trans-cultural and inter-religious adaptation process. The chapter analyzes a particular image connected to the fundamental kabbalistical doctrine of the mystical shape of the Godhead in the works of two Christian Kabbalists (Paulus Ricius and Francesco Giorgio) of the Renaissance, in order to underline the peculiar shift it underwent. However, the shift from a representation of the divinity where both gender traits are present but not mixed, to a decidedly androgynous model will prove to be deeply influential in western esotericism, in particular in alchemical literature.

Keywords: androgynous model; Christian; Francesco Giorgio; Godhead; inter-religious adaptation; Jewish doctrine; Kabbalah; Paulus Ricius; Renaissance; trans-cultural



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