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Unity And Diversity In Gilgul: Yohanan Alemanno

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Chapter Summary

Yohanan Alemanno occupies a central position in the history of Renaissance developments of notions of harmony and accord as conflated in the subjects of man and his soul. This sense of overall unity and connection is reflected in his life's activities and in his writings. Alemanno employed diverse sources in his picture of man and his soul, such as Pseudo-Empedocles' Book of Five Substances and ibn al- Sid al-Batalyawsi's Book of Imaginary Circles. Incidentally, for this latter source, man is "the intermediary" and "the borderline between the world of the intellect and the world of the senses," uniting within his being the two basic opposing natures of existence, an idea that would have a profound influence upon Alemanno's own anthropology of unity. As is apparent in his treatment of gilgul, Alemanno strikingly attempts to connect some of the polyvalent trends from variegated centers within the specific 'field' of kabbalah itself.

Keywords: Empedocles; gilgul; kabbalah; Renaissance; theory of unity; Yohanan Alemanno



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