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Philosophical And Mystical Possibilities Of Metempsychosis: Isaac Abarbanel

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Chapter Summary

Don Isaac Abarbanel was a rather fluxional figure who lived in constant motion between disparate worlds. This is the case not only with his spatial biography of constant exile and relocation and his temporal existence between the medieval and the early-modern periods, but with his thought as well. This last characterization most certainly ensues in regard to Abarbanel's thought concerning the transmigration of souls. In regard to this topic, Abarbanel expresses an inclination toward a Neoplatonically "rationalized" kabbalah, characteristic of the Italian Renaissance milieu in which he wrote the bulk of his works on this topic. Abarbanel's attempt to logically validate an ultimately mystical doctrine, coupled with his connection of this doctrine and its validity to the nascent Renaissance notion of prisca theologia, shows Abarbanel to be a complex, cross-cultural, eclectic thinker. Indeed, Abarbanel moves beyond the discourses of Balbo through the concept of prisca theologia.

Keywords: Isaac Abarbanel; kabbalah; prisca theologia; Renaissance



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