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It Takes Three to Tango: Ramon Llull, Solomon ibn Adret and Alfonso of Valladolid Debate the Trinity

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Ramon Llull used what he called "necessary reason" to prove the truth of Christianity in general and the doctrine of the Trinity in particular. He appropriated contemporary Kabbalistic ideas about the Godhead in order to demonstrate that their reasoning implied the existence of a Trinity and that Christianity was the true faith. Solomon ibn Adret was forced to use Kabbalistic teachings to contradict Llull's arguments and show that sefirotic imagery did not imply a Trinitarian structure in the Godhead. Alfonso of Valladolid, a Jewish convert to Christianity, utilizes Llull's arguments and translates them into a Jewish context and language in a way that supersedes and dismisses Solomon ibn Adret's response. Unlike Llull who was not familiar with the intricacies of the Hebrew language, Alfonso was able to translate Llull's arguments about the Trinity into a language that would be immediately recognizable and more difficult to refute for his Jewish contemporaries.

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Affiliations: 1: Department of General History, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheba 84105, Israel


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