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Introduction Abraham Abulafia: A Brief Biographical Sketch

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Chapter Summary

Based primarily on scattered data furnished by Abraham Abulafia himself, modern scholars have assembled a relatively full accounting of his life. He was born in Aragon in 1240 and lived in Spain until the age of twenty, at which point he embarked upon a journey to the Holy Land. Abulafia's later claim was that he sought the fabled River Sambatyon. Following his departure from Spain, Abulafia spent the remainder of his life in Greece, Italy and, primarily, Sicily. There he propagated the teachings that would ultimately come to comprise an enormously influential kabbalistic school. Abulafia would await the year 1290 as the time of redemption, to occur under his own aegis, but his fervent expectations were to end in disappointment. All traces of Abulafia disappear soon thereafter, his last known text being composed sometime in the year 1291.

Keywords: Abraham Abulafia; Holy Land; Sambatyon; Spain



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