Maimonides' "Guide of the Perplexed" and the Kabbalah Author(s): Moshe Idel Reviewed work(s): Source: Jewish History

, Vol. 18, No. 2/3, Commemorating the Eight Hundredth Anniversary of Maimonides' Death (2004), pp. 197-226 Published by: Springer Stable URL: . Accessed: 05/03/2012 10:02
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History Kluwer



2004. Printed in the Netherlands.





of the Perplexed


the Kabbalah

The Hebrew

University, Jerusalem, Izrael

Abstract. Maimonides times. both than

Medieval played Maimonides' Jewish

Jewish different impact

for roles, on Kabbalah



is usually as Maimonidean

The adopted. commentator

a multiform in which project at different and streams, mystical was such that understanding the histories of a more and mysticism requires integrative approach into the activities of Abraham Abulafia investigation and publicist undertaken here illustrates this point. mysticism different


Al-Andalus Maimonides life

redivivus in Jewish and religious figure thought was Jewish cultural rebirth, which and especially philosoph theological as these ideas were mimetic of Arabic

as a major emerged in a period of unprecedented marked toward by an openness in particular, ideas, and, to Arabic Yet exposure learning. ical perplexity, However, which the most also meant creative had brought been with


also made this into a time of thought the "perplexed" required "guidance." center for Jewish-Ar ab cultural interac The Almohade invasions of the but last them forced conversion, destruction, that of Maimonides' family. This culture. Jewish have paid to discussed the Maimonides' controversies

tion, Al-Andalus, twelfth century also


Jewish included emigration, event was fateful for subsequent Innumerable essays and books attention has been them


and much

and their historical Yet little has been setting. the history of these works in dif of the diffusion and their reception ferent periods, and intellectual circles. By this, I do not mean regions, the history of when Maimonides' the Guide great philosophical work, of the Perplexed, constituted people it provoked or arrived

surrounding said to clarify

in a new location, the cataloguing of which its readership, and the kind of commentaries that the differences between them. These issues, however

are the building blocks of a greater edifice. And this was important, as a canonical the gradual of the Guide the Perplexed emergence of text. Any process of canonization relates not only to contextual issues,

but also to the processes to the first wave

MOSHE IDEL of diffusion. With these concerns in mind, let

us turn of

of the Guide's


of Maimonidean supporters European were members the thirteenth century intellectuals North Spanish Maimonides of Andalusian after and

in European climes. at the beginning philosophy a of what might be called

elite," "secondary to the Christian Andalusian then South. East moved

origin who had emigrated the Almohade invasion of the

to Africa his family crossed and to Egypt. Families like the ibn Tibbons and the in Kimhis found refuge in Southern France. The reception of the Guide in Southwestern these (still) Arabic Jewish intellectual circles speaking France closed, figuratively culture Andalusian Jewish reestablished the distinctive is not of gap: the two wings the Almohades decades earlier destroyed by in cultural affinities created reanimating speaking, of Muslim out stands Spain.1 What shared propensity for Arabic even in France, intellectuals, and defended Maimonides' Guide, a cultural

communication, cultural milieu

their mastery For this philosophy.

of Arabic, but the Andalusian reason,

disseminated, translated, publicized, in Arabic.2 in carried on their activities, itself composed however, They and indigenous rabbinical whom the presence of imposing figures, was exceedingly It I would call a "first elite," and which influential. to mention Abraham ben David of Posquierres, Meshullam suffices ben who Jacob, Moses ben Nahman (Nahmanides), and Jonah The approached intellectuals touting Maimonidean Maimonides which elites" they philosophy cautiously. thus faced considerable, could not prevail, were supported The first and Gerondi, Andalusian and

resistance, against because the "first authorities Guide achieved to most well


in Germany were in Europe

them opposing France. and Northern accompanied status only by by

active, more so, by Rabbinic steps of the suspicion. It

quasi-canonical Maimonides' Guide interpret Judaism

and controversy the mid-thirteenth is the first and

of the Perplexed in philosophical the "Great


century. sustained attempt it was certainly the

followers and opponents Eagle's" come whose writings would too, Kabbalists, gradually to dominate the thirteenth culture during felt Jewish century, Spanish as well.3 Yet the Guide and the turmoil the enthusiasm generated a more even among Kabbalists in southern attitude France, positive influential, understood. toward teenth the Guide the middle of the thir by about gradually emerged, and which would flourish toward the century's end and parallels the circles of beyond between 1270 and 1290, r??valuation

as both

century, of the fourteenth. This the beginning through a widening in the Guide that extended interest the Andalusian refugees. In the brief period

7 however. term to describe is an appropriate Discord concert. in Kabbalistic literature surge elsewhere thirteenth rekindle.MAIMONIDES' commentaries GUIDE OF THE PERPLEXED AND THE KABBALAH 199 and Kab on the Guide multiplied in both philosophical on no other period. commentaries have so many balistic camps. specifically. Again maneuvers priating issues related achieved circles. over the initial controversy from the enmity The first was the respite the Guide of the had generated and which would the second must at lore's century on commentaries explanation. Maimonides' interpretation state following in Catalonia during the point well.5 possible and that of Maimonidean between the encounters thought theosophical-theurgical between divergence Kabbalists. illustrates of a Midrashic statement: . contrast. a period "window of opportunity. and spread in both Kabbalistic and non-Kabbalistic the places intensely had already known from in cre a were a more to begin with cultural observation. Some works of Jewish from Arabic. reached were centers of Guide France that Maimonides' ative been variety handed Jewish translated down culture. Here. the Guide written at the end controversy some and requiring Second. the R. Neoplatonic of sources.8 and some Kabbalistic in the family of Abraham philosophy thought was traditions ben David the Guide's reception influential. processes. especially rather than discord has stressed outlook and the basic Kabbalistic ers. how the Guide to the sociology of knowledge. ecstatic and linguistic influenced had decisively Maimonidean thought intellectual I have surveyed the different elsewhere Kabbalah. not The century. second Jacob third was of the thirteenth dealing with had already been of Posquierres. However. that Maimonidean its status in appro of Kabbalah of these brands typical on concentrate I will views. be seen as part of the I have this time. Jacob ben Sheshet."4 designated as Kabbalistic Some By and thirteenth large. the century Kabbalists and the Guide between Maimonidean of relations picture scholarly as sustained follow orientated his philosophically by views. While was very complex. dramatically the least given this rich and variegated background. During was the result of two distinct This the Guide been produced. the two kinds of many the early discussions early Kabbalistic Maimonides' understanding out elsewhere the I have pointed that many and argued of thinking came together where they tacitly criticized of focal issues in Jewish esotericism. a Kabbalist active ment of R.6 By it is clear that by the second half of the thirteenth century.

and He reality. since the [attribute of] Wisdom. presents tradition. that Maimonides the first while accepts inconsistently In its place. knows all Himself.13 in part 2.11 he discerned to reveal themselves. a Pla [that produces] a rabbinic out the affinity has pointed between of creation and a Platonic by God's standing self-contemplation an observation of historical scholars attribute note. by the authority Aristotelian thus created problems: revolution17 as well as from that is explicit. the both backed position. Yet passages: parts ways in fact Sheshet ming of all existent intellection. Abra also the opinion of of blessed who memory. the founder of ben Sheshet's Kabbalistic him school. but also possibly implying raises questions about the Jewish of a origins he rejects. Isaac the Blind. two different where God then where his Maimonidean rabbinic of its of Kabbalistic was but Plato. "simplistic" the world Ben interpretation by Sheshet (stem as comprising the forms cognize by an act of self Maimonides vigorously dictum that argument of the Midrashic reality. since various tonic is Maimonides headed? view.16 Yet where origin to the rabbinic he was "astonished" for more than one reason. that they are prone [and] version I heard in the name And of R. the existent the Rabbi was aston Nevertheless. the Neoplatonic of the statement However. from Themistius) ultimately which God may beings. blessed emanates Maimonides be He.12 this was This ham the Rabbi. Isaac son of the R. pushed to neglect Maimonides' to emphasize reservation Platonic and.14 and he quoted there Plato's dictum that God. in the Guide. [creatures]. knowing monides]. rejecting as the blueprint the Torah contemplating two views considers these and identical. hinting at the anthropomorphic of the verb "to look" in both the implication rabbinic between view and Platonic the two views that the identity dicta. the author of [The Book of] Knowledge [Mai said that God. the second. from the contemplates there the emanation intellectual world. keeping also with lines of thought. background by R.200 God was MOSHE IDEL the Torah. possibly Surely. Ben Sheshet accepts the position of . is surprised the second. chapter ished at the dictum 6 of the Guide of our before He contemplates sages that God does not do anything His retinue. Maimonides' from it also Ben difference Plato. a tradition faith with he had learned from his teachers.18 the opposes created God of the he in the Mishneh the first.9 and he saw the essences10 contemplating essences were in the in Himself. instead. the rabbinic position with Kabbalistic had conflated Torah. he no doubt believed he by doing which.15 under view.

by the concept link to the next.22 higher Unlike Maimonides' more static vision of Mav the Hebrew Exploiting as a complex of different Gikatilla components. introduces to point to the concept this of uninterrupted emanation. of Merkavah start of Gikatilla's move toward a "linguistic" interpretation of Mav aseh Merkavah.. exponent in turn generated which Aristotle's oppose master. things to the navel the first emanation21 is "for there and there are yet [emanative] each of the one is high from the other. which is less concerned the with AND THE KABBALAH divine self-intellection19 views. example. opposition Plato. it from the Guide he had quoted and Plato in this early Kab in medieval only in order to refute it. below.. on In his Hassagot writes: Joseph Gikatilla a variety of appropriated the contents of Jewish speculative the relationship between competing to to the Mas an it requires there is noth explanation. Maimonides. This confrontation between balistic Jewish Greek text well exemplifies Medieval came Aristotle one of the main Jewish thinkers to inform developments thought. however. distanced Gikatilla way Neoplatonic is only the stance. thought of Aristotle. views. view that return of Maimonides. This monides' Aristotelian reservation. 5:7]. meaning a chain. a term that served Kabbalists the topic of shalshelet. Gikatilla's of the great chain of be . had the greatest Jewish trends. aseh Merkavah is the divine science and if it is the divine science is that Max concatenation20 from aseh Merkavah of all the is the secret of the and their sustenance. 201 is presented before introducing view truth of Maimonides' second as correct.23 aseh Merkavah. over is privileged to which we will Guide. at times. dictum Plato's accepts two Maimonidean The is implicitly whereas he rejected. But our view of our master blessed Moses.2^ is informed interpretation connects which every ing. of the Merkavah and the matter earth. which to point and. R. on God in it and it depends and the angels ing material to know why Ezekiel's Account of the it is worthwhile But to the view also according three worlds Chariot comprises be his memory. who watches ones over them" [Eccl. a Neoplatonic in which I offer another Maimonides himself.24 By adopting himself from Mai of thinking.MAIMONIDES' GUIDE OF THE PERPLEXED R. over him who is high. [then] . and Isaac the Blind.

third He categorized in 1291. they knew in order to put second path which their minds with pursued They is why they at rest. and they philosophers. Abulafia literary The career. at the end of his to Judaism in his time: four approaches who fully peace . Shem Tov the members of the new wave peninsulas a Kabbalist in studying beyond what were and was "secondary commenta were to be had elites. And when they were delighted. in the Kabbalah. Then they found the path give them intellectual which is that of the sages of the sages of the first Kabbalah. of Maimonideans composed their French a commentary predecessors."26 According tor on the Guide. sources. too.202 Shifting It was spiritual only in the first interests last third MOSHE IDEL of the thirteenth philosopher Like Falaquera." And shall we come and not go beyond on the was settled Kabbalah. R. which to find had to trouble themselves perhaps peace.. been similarly valid in Christian Spain and Italy.28 they and other: then "Until their here opinion would them. and was com this fourfold categorization though and R. close is overly rigid. thirst for more advanced This forms of knowledge was not new. the Guide for modes of thought searching in rabbinic literature. Maimonides his book for in earlier may have intended in the Islamic but these intentions individuals environment. those called were still not at rest. disappointment philosophy philosophy.27 heard their opinions and were of the sefirot. in the Iberian and Italian to Abraham those who were Abulafia. on the path of the sages of inquiry. consists of the sages of the Talmud group of philosophy and comprehended studied the wisdom the view of the philosophers. Shelomo ibn between Abulaifa after a sharp controversy a Kabbalist still merits Abulafia's and talmudist. But they could not make what the alighted from the Talmud. secrets concerning told wondrous them. of people or another. description analysis a key better leitmotif Abulafia's as experimented with Uneasiness to understand is the post-Maimonidean intellectual unquenched of religious led some de thirst velopments. nowhere is found this sharp delineation of four groups Nevertheless.. engaged that went wrote this that a Spanish century on the Guide.29 ["sefirotic"] Even posed Adret. who with rabbinic one mode materials knowledge to embrace aroused interest with in turn. and they said to each accepted it. Rabbi Bahya makes Hovot ha-Levavot ibn Paquda's Sefer this clear. where perplexed have would . yet their minds a third way.

members of the elite." "secondary and sometimes creative. on the Guide circulation of ideas found in contributed to the of whether them. Kabbalah. the Guide This name. especially experience. comprehensive path leading to ecstatic Abulafia's Guide believed not to the own Odyssey a transition included creation of a linguistically oriented were leads to prophecy.35 embraced to that Shasar of the Eventu a more of the the enchantment are and identical Isaac ben Abraham under clearly here Neoplatonic influences distanced himself from the Guide close. where mystical in Maimonides' leanings were and Christian38 There were even Muslim37 who hidden. Preceding views was R.34 His actions transition from study of the which he Kabbalah.33 its obliteration. the Guide. with Maimonidean ha-Shamayyim. the thirteenth century. Though call philosophy and especially the Guide they negative by strongly essential ele terms.MAIMONIDES' it would not GUIDE OF THE PERPLEXED AND THE KABBALAH 203 to label a group of scholars. but not of expression. to be wrong corresponding as Hakhmei the "second elite" above. Thus. three by Rabbi Kabbalists Abraham composed Abulafia. with but he did not propose fascination negativity. of Some formed those who consti more become thinkers who instructed Abulafia himself in the secrets of the flexible."32 they saw both as supplying at sublime for arriving ments. the Abulafia's unique. Guide. such as an "illness. though to a stance less consonant ibn Latif's crucial. sometimes theosophical. Kabbalistic Kabbalists. idiosyncratic." "negative religious including it necessary to transcend the Guide's Abulafia thought experience. the Guide true not even commentaries therefore. is also applicable of the Perplexed?? to the Guide. Kabbalah.39 studied five commentaries .36 mystics the Guide. they portray satisfy in a spiritual element that might culminate itinerary who its the in could as one or even the ecstatic. theology. intellectually of the "first. but those who. These tuted itinerant Kabbalists tive core Kabbalah. should be integrated into the more Philosophy. opposed through their spiritual quest. Moreh the sages of ha-Nevokhim." members the highly produc being Maimonideans31 of the circle that may be named that of the "innovative" are not by reveals that Kabbalists Abulafia's description thinkers not the Guide. Guide the spiritual a group more than after seekers. Yet already ally. ibn Latif mode symbolic theosophical written in 1238. During on the Guide. definition study. This was they agreed with regardless own family. I suggest.

Joseph presents pseudepigrapha In the same period. them. If the numerical it came of the participants many as true of Zerahiah and Abulafia. Hillel who of Verona. Italy strictly own achievements in scholastic philosophy on Spanish masters when and for Kabbalistic Guide. one composed the Guide studied of his with three R. Spain. too.45 the Sefer Moreh ha-Moreh respectively.204 MOSHE IDEL one by Rabbi and a fifth.41 (anonymous) astral magic. though anonymous. which Joseph Gikatilla. The figures Kabbalistic and whether in unique at my disposal the catalogue the Jewish true of philosophical tentative. in had most been a student likely its the host or. Moshe three commentaries gaged in Kabbalah and ben Shealtiel Hen. was Christian Spain. commentaries Hillel in Italy. and taught that a controversy broke out of the Guide in the last in Italy. to reformulate: aside.43 philosophers composed only on the Guide: two in Italy. nor where Maimonides' admirers ther Provence. century students viewed Maimonides thought. to Abulafia's discusses issues pertinent yet has affinities en A spurious letter claims that Maimonides Kabbalah. . It is noteworthy that nei of R. manuscripts.0 to the Guide. interpretations as does the special of studying open. yet I believe Institute of Microfilms and University National Based upon representative. where it of Verona. Alexander it mentaries is that as closer Altmann47 mystical on in the the Guide century to mysticism than we have previously dedicated and Gershom Scholem48 thirteenth But of Maimonides. An and even philological question important to philosophical commentaries this is also are of the innovation in weighing commentaries are extant will the to studies important the issues remain wide balistic be measurably increased. over philosophical com of Kabbalistic advantage in the thirteenth some says anything. in Capua. at of Hebrew Manuscripts manu I would say that Library. greatest was the locus of the composition of the first full com Christian Spain ben Shlomo of Salerno44 and a third and R. Jewish Gikatilla. Zerahiah Gracian in Christian mentaries Abulafia he also as well. were active. not the least desirability to passages in the Guide having because scholars have recently pointed a mystical of thirteenth his bent.49 relative of Kab importance on the Guide is whether the or multiple commentaries. those of R. Italy was dependent to studying and disseminating the too. torical. Shem Tov ben Joseph Falaquera. This was Spanish as of R. Our knowledge century intellectual. between decades had well on the Guide. learning. It was radical and moderate interpretations of the thirteenth although century.46 connections.42 and an otherwise unidentifiable views close to those of the young R.

to draw these manuscripts copied different from those in which that must estimating remain in the the link tentative. One these figures properly the represent overall cultural map. as well as in a Latin translation by Mithridates. What . meaning numbers and original motivation age between it is difficult there was greater ones. but also those who continuators. commentaries commentaries. Gikatilla's preserves in fewer manuscripts: Hassagot. Zer of twenty-seven. at a remove. in eight. and cannot say with ibn Falaquera's. thirteenth were Nonetheless. The We Guide's may view diffusion the Guide as a catalyst.MAIMONIDES' scripts containing those containing two manuscripts Sefer GUIDE OF THE PERPLEXED Kabbalistic thirteenth preserve in the commentaries century Abulafia's AND THE KABBALAH are more numerous 205 than ha-Ge'ulah. and. or otherwise. too. let go of the idea in Kabbalistic interest same applies the that to citations research than interpretations from those man is too from preliminary the reading are indeed in the early manuscripts during as interpreters of gauging the Kabbalists' contribution of the stages own writings and we know little more about how the Kabbalists' Guide.51 We was born century a Kabbalist. their role in disseminating the Guide itself. Maimonides' his approvingly fame. philosophers like Crescas criticized taking opposing the work. pro the Guide with neatly. original A Latin translation condition.50 in about eleven manuscripts. they do suggest current the need to reconsider here. drawn This made study of Kabbalah. survives and tary. survives Sefer scripts. manu in twenty-nine his third commentary. philosophical Only on the Guide. Sefer Hayyei ha-Nefesh. Sitrei Torah. Philosophical that of Moses of Salerno or a total no By contrast. first commentary and then in mutilated and Hebrew. Kabbalists had studied philosophy some before influential thirteenth on the embarking them not only Maimonides' students. as noted above. prepared fragmentary by Flavius Mithri dates preserves this work almost Abulafia's second commen entirely. however and his discussed increase ideas. Italy of the Guide's notions reception. twelve. manuscript are extant ahiah's in seven. to which served only although conclusions in particular. They may be meaningful for only limited regions but even so. that certainty A further caution is that the scribes who in intellectual environments working the original works were composed. No one spread or about impressions going beyond the last two decades. This here. and Kabbalists It did not channel dissension sides. philosophers and con. to century in philosophical uscripts.

. chanced upon a noble man. Hillel. to The students did not the passages and attributed But to the here rec implicit follow Maimonides' sections of the Guide to study I was there Torah. day and night. and when he did of the Perplexed but.56 and while which is found at a distance of five days Capua.206 achieved was an intellectual to sort of MOSHE IDEL awakening their ideas. R. language. blessed be his memory. he did not do it in our it was translated and many students together with similar in turn.53 the Guide comment just this way. several four since times. exaggerated it was a Kabbalist. to bind ommendation same students say that these a close reading will not corroborate. and an expert physician. Study of the first aggressive of the Guide distribution the Kabbalah to tell us that is new about thus has much the controver schools posing the ancient tactic sies surrounding the Guide's in Europe. accidentally. it. to teach dealing Abulafia. too important the Guide's wide-scale diffusion: . My mind did not cool down until I studied the Guide of the Perplexed. And young men. and I studied with him a little bit the science of sweet to me immediately. the 'Otzar "Eden no doubt was not received leaves that in many Ganuz the Guide places as eagerly as was the Mishneh Torah: leave the him treatise . especially on the Guide. wise and sagacious. to taught places: but they went on erroneous ways. due language two translators by studied Abulafia went it. him again and he composed aroused . also indicates from 1286.58 and it become I made philosophy.. over a wide area.. Abulafia. commentaries Abulafia's for instance.. What is more.. prompting topics.. and wife54 order the and spirit of the Lord had aroused me I intended to come to the Waters I took my in of Ravena55 and in the city of from Rome. One of appearance." as this claim may both sides of the fence. but God Guide his intelligence did not Afterwards.52 on to a certain into the Holy The circumstance. An autobiographical by Abulafia's not to cite in full. Abraham who was responsible for appear. I a philosopher ideas that Guide is a certain negativity. and I left them. [students]. efforts to know it with all my powers. prompted Rabbinic elites that scholars of op out did not adopt on and there were Kabbalists "killing by silence.57 I joined him. they were and it in many In Capua. thoughtless I also at Thebes [I had] ten [students] and none of them [profited .

R. Samuel from me a who received the Prophet . who exception with cause he I taught. as its opening sense. But Joseph Gikatilla69 name is Sinim. for they were very old. died. In Medinat neither he nor his master. man.75 But should we the Guide to Abulafia's does not refer teaching in the entire literature which is unique the passage. and they have studied [again. Moses The name of the master Chinfa. are of men since the thoughts there was no one who profited of the depth61 from each other a fortiori different regarding and I did not see one of and the Sitrei the wisdom Torah. was R.71 from me.63 blessed in a limited way. namely Messina. R. name named way. a venerable learned and intelligent and one young man. of them an old one. memory.62 In Rome [I taught be and R. Shalom68 one of them. Shem Tov. received the or less. Everyone Guide] and the few traditions. R. prevented for a few external not study it [the Guide]. Scholem his wanderings tion of Abulafia's during activity at all. except two [students]. In Barcelona blessed be his memory. lines urge us to do. a great man the student aristocracy of the he Salmon. them who was one two [students]. whose with me and I brought I found six persons. As I see it. of not only teaching in the context the spread of the Guide. traditions. too.. and it was during this time that concerning the Guide. So he did but his youth man. me a seventh it with one. R. to him even the notes of the to deliver worthy to two elders of the Guide] truth as it is. from the very respected. His name each of them to study what impelling son of Yitzhaq be his blessed the is R. At Burgos very excellent and [his] student.74 final descrip Scholem's that Abulafia gested is ambiguous. I am in this city where second. more is the first who was the first of one. but they and they succeeded their memory.66 a kind and good young also is R. Jehudah. the he received whatever for a very short time.'0 What was Abulafia Ben Zion Dinur long ago sug teaching? precisely was spreading Kabbalah. Sav adiah72 Sigilmasi.70 today [1286]. the city. Kalonymos.. R. Zedaqiah my allies.MAIMONIDES' from the GUIDE OF THE PERPLEXED AND THE KABBALAH 207 the first the two ways. Yeshayah.67 city.59 but they spoiled teaching] and there also four [students] In Eurypo60 and the second. and they all left me. the claims Guide for his he composed . but on a second level.65 [was] of the name And and an honorable scholar. Abulafia the of the students make taught read at least seven years.64 a master and two [students]. whose in a succeeded him from learning.

to introduce to mystical advanced students and esoteric interpretations of topics as he found them in the Guide. in Byzantine the weakest. Abulafia's an orderly to talk it was travelogue. At Cat encompassing and Sicily.76 Abulafia also lists more than he does students. as compared the East. peregrinations as he propagated alonia. of course. to Italy and. Some of the Spanish are described as very successful. second He half reports of the list. intellectual possibilities the number of students Abulafia in the attracted Though or simply . students and his only of those names. Abulafia alone its simple first. less. As one moved grew West westward apace. in 1264 and later on in early where he stayed 1280. This likely explains why he or absorbed his teaching. knowledge The MOSHE IDEL breadth of his didactic was astounding. was about names some the not.77 The higher in number of students zones. Spain. His stays down does he mention the Greek cities he visited came long before his second in Catalonia and Castile stay in Italy and seem intention But. students others less. The the name to the levels and intensity of progressive weakening corresponds cen Jewish to East. of R. or so it seems. Greece. the Guide could match the Guide following it chapter peninsula. but none a failure. Joseph Gikatilla. intellectual from West the western activity moving ters being the strongest and most the eastern ones. possibly to repeated No points failing attempts. successes were It is also clear that the principal in Christian Spain. who is introduced the list does is gradated accomplished disciple. the failures in Greece and to a lesser extent Italy. which at times disregarding to be presented in reverse order. he taught line by line. reading by chapter. which he city-names the chronological order of his travels. failures part without failures it (we shall return The successes The list as an in the first. regions. Greece. if not is that the greater numbers who approached in Abulafia more. teaching taught of the Guide the Italian Castile. was talented lower. opportunities renown were few. to write teaching students who does two methods. No philosopher In addition. this record. then. to six in both Italian and Spanish fourteen. Consequently. He begins the list with Capua.208 three commentaries. according to a scale of increasing success. yet only further a year earlier. especially receptive. probable a function the East may have been of his attractiveness to the smaller Eastern where to study with scholars of communities. whatever these scholars' intellectual interests. methods. successfully to its content in the appear also ends with below). they seem to have been specially to his brand of learning inclined and teaching style. But then he began meaning.

among ulafia traversed has Ab at and he did so during unusually large distances. As the first exponent of Kab . From pioneering the classical forms also transcend the implications role. Abulafia himself relatively of his Spanish with the theosophical Kabbalah unconcerned contempo some of its literary in spreading he was instrumental raries. encompassed His teaching. were soon to presage a mystical In Spain. for that (both before. both the traditional interpretation. admittedly. the later influ ensured Abulafia Catalan ence of ecstatic Kabbalah in both Italy and Byzantine territories. in Spain the kind of mysticism then current was was as yet. in Kabbalah Abulafia In Christian Spain. extended. probing were Sitrei Torah. intelligentsia were out spiritual alternatives. the cited passage from 'Otzar "Eden Ganuz no parallel extant itineraries of itinerant Jewish teachers. ing through In Italy and Byzantium. Sicily. mysticism in Italy. to these lands and his His journeys taught of ecstatic of his own brand Kabbalah there via an esoteric teaching of the Guide mark interpretation its Iberian birthplace. Moreover. the second turn. sense of the text. although in Italy about 1280. the stronghold Spain.78 Yet Abulafia's products which combines Maimonidean metaphysics of combinations Ashkenazi mystical practice out of stride for areas where less successfully than had penetrated writings it had own brand and of of mysticism.MAIMONIDES' There interest was also GUIDE OF THE PERPLEXED AND THE KABBALAH the matter was of intellectual climate. or Castilian. concentration not to matter. was wander Maimonidean had penetrated theology in Spain.79 during some of the younger half of the thirteenth Jewish century. when 209 growing precisely of the thirteenth the region. they had done so in their philosophical the writings of R. Menahem ben Benjamin Recanati guise. least sixteen years. No less unprecedented and. seeking to a mystical of wisdom" and the of "the depths too. we may to disseminate the first attempt Kabbalah reading of the Guide esoteric "Eden Ganuz Its that we whether of Spanish Kabbalah. in fact. searching To my knowledge. Since some of the students the second way taught beyond of this lore in the second half of the 13th century. were unknown. afterward) a specifically mention the first to propagate that he was Kabbalistic as said. importance in areas where balah of Abulafia's the initial spread of the Kabbalah have been ex see in the propagation of reading of the the Guide. beyond The passage from the 'Otzar amining bears witness to all this. unknown. and Greece. one imagines. the late seventies century. where Maimonidean Italy. But out the plain it line by line approach. was Abulafia's on the Guide. the first form of specifically Abulafia's medieval was. with the psychology strikes one as letters.

of the intellectual ha-Niqqud. Gikatilla is the only In one of his earlier Kabbalistic "Rabbi Abraham. with tension later on. specifically. that many of Abulafia's students were personally to the wandering attracted they mystic. this is not certain. the eye light."81 in Hebrew is Moreh which may point ha-sikhliyyut. The resistance be attributable Abulafia and master At not to the well-known R. Moses mentions alone his students understanding. traditions this selection mystical us that in the Kabbalah's "Eden Ganuz reminds from the from initial stages. at first sight. by name. the Guide. The the teacher although who mentions Sod exception. should teaching 'Otzar MOSHE IDEL were it is clear. Nonetheless. syncratic called the "supernal be this level should more traditional there which reserved Kabbalah." students teachings. no outside their However. when all is said and done. ben Abraham Gikatilla In turn. which also suited his perception of the "human in propagating condition. the alienating eventually though fruits of his efforts were meager."80 to do by teaching he attempted what even he thought Yet teaching for those who had already completed he on a or failure aside. anyone else. but. Abulafia contributed than substantially. too.210 his descriptions. a accorded his mystical doctrines with reception generally measure of stoicism. A literary genre was was critical a rare. Success is no denying that judging by the reach of even his ex however. Rather. community and his students. Joseph it turns out. Abulafia R. the Jewish have come between Abulafia may Capua." of the intellectual "Rabbi Abraham. whose Hebrew title is Moreh ha writings. them." He may have also sensed failure his idio did esotericism. Abulafia. in the to his "first elite. We seemingly arising only also note that as (probably) text to describe the first known to the young. Abulafia not resort to verbal the cold determined to he seems to have reacted acidity. perhaps more to the Guide's broad distribution. course of the Guide's study. of Burgos. on occasion Abulafia encountered may as with student's the already age. first phrase to Abulafia's teaching or according to things. he mentions . fully to appreciate profounder thy of the Guide's in Peloponese. young and that indeed. oteric teaching. student of most of his not students. the teaching of advanced age was not yet the impediment preventing esoteric traditions that it would become toward the thirteenth century's were end Abulafia too did think that some of his students although unwor what he taught. the sole. to membership opposition content. he deemed young Others. another version.

but he learned it from the work of R. to speak sharply of Jehudah Al-Harizi's translation great. Rather. used the gematria: both. was in matters less critical the noted. the that elicited Abulafia's importance. Eleazar Abulafia are literary similarities. R. did not as he or of the Torah's secrets. he claims Al-Harizi did not understand Maimonides. in the Hebrew translation of the Guide as just he generally relied on ibn Tibbon's translation although. of the points Gikatilla knew the Guide him Guide's Abu Spanish Kabbalists. saw it. (although acumen was and his critical intimately. enabling to at least four errors. too.84 what he has studied under my guidance.89 and. . concerning than was Gikatilla. out. in distinction both worked point by point philosophical interpretations. Neither significant on the Guide ment Maimonides' following to normally thematically the closing for affinities of Worms. is less concerned albeit Gikatilla than Abulafia with dis secrets purportedly scattered the Guide.83 Returning . to the circulation Such a criticism. keep Joseph may Gikatilla.90 it should be noted.82 Gikatilla Sefer ha-Ge'ulah to Abulafia..85 pointed of the degrees. before 1274. as a rule. Abulafia.. and he concerning and knowledge added much from his strength and God was him. Nahmanides. his former student became to a linguistically he shifted oriented Kabbalah although eventually a commen In the interim. composed on the Guide. Here.87 notes this intermittent accounting possibly for example. in a into Hebrew. of the Guide He points fifth reference. the keeper God. temunah?partzuf details like this one count for little. and he doubtless Gikatilla. that in his Hassagot. interpretative it was contain Abulafia also seems to have himself that adopting techniques not cardinal the ultimate Maimonides for Abulafia revelation had no qualms recommended.86 Was or at it the composition of this treatise. tria.MAIMONIDES' Nevokhim. Gikatilla unlike that of Abulafia. as his commentary is known. the Guide.88 nor Gikatilla order. Abulafia GUIDE OF THE PERPLEXED AND THE KABBALAH finished his first commentary apparently he described to wrote the Sod Guide. in Arabic among original lafia never mentioned mistakes Guide at least. tary least his acceptance of the Guide's It is also attitude? sympathetic of Gikatilla's scholars commentary. never that Abulafia knew possible contacts between between their the two Still gema More com commentaries: 'Adam. Gikatilla is far more critical toward the he is not wholly Guide dismissive of it) than Abulafia. which throughout Abulafia It should be added did systematically. By contrast. in a wondrous succeeded way with As Abulafia a prolific Kabbalist. 211 the in 1273. ha-Niqqud as follows: him.

too. own in his estimation. that it is not my intention I had already told you inMalmad93 to copy what is self-evident from the book without any inno I shall include many and this is the reason chapters vation. Even to the intention his understand This "Instruction. In oral traveled of Caspi's on the Guide. the Guide Nevertheless.94 But to it was Abulafia he was staking his claim led the way. Like a topical. so profound that The Yet Guide the as the basis of an esoteric tradition never in fact. to arrangement by chapter. as he namely. . information However. but to no avail.95 The source in two of his commentaries is unknown. Subtly. Maimonides Guide. to put his hands on it.91 would suggestion of the Guide?2 failed paraphrases But Abulafia Maimonides' recommendations at the start to understand to explain really meant was the Guide. presumably a code enabling the secrets to which readers to elucidate revealed as late as the end of the alludes. to each other its chapters found in its discussion. constantly he had heard there was an claimed thirteenth century. is an esoteric book. be avoided. inquire commanded ha-Nefesh. interpretative Guide correctly. MOSHE IDEL its esoteric In the Sefer of the Guide doctrine Hayyei might was of lesser value Abulafia should than his claims students: the misunderstandings .212 that. but seminator. this writer.. [Maimonides] they [its students] intention. and sometimes I shall include [from the Guide] in many of one chapter the matter gates. each and in this book us to do in a worthy in his fashion. Joseph Caspi tradition to the East and that he had personally these secrets.." and interpret when [Maimonides] to connect every word unrelated wholly those words were of a chapter. (Kabbalistic one). that contained Abulafia claims that he was privy to these traditions. his intention of a second form of inquiry. adopted the Guide: parse rather than chapter readers why many also to justify his Kabbalist (anonymous) Abulafia. in one gate. The words special seem to be moving in this same direction. the he and his followers understood only monopoly: was posing not only as the Guide's dis He (principal) a grasp of Maimonides with also as the sole interpreter who he was equipped to write incisive commentaries.

the Divine Names than from contemplating he is called mevin. ancient sages. is the that their intention him. from his the modest student. [voices] I shall hand down to you the known to mouth been received from mouth them having and others that I have sages of [our] generation. souls. from the books named qabbalah. but which received the secrets of the Guide. book blessed The used meant study term those who to both for me. he had it the Kabbalah. knowledge principally a mode or from to denote of acquiring Abulafia received. who received to my accomplished according masters. fuse those who misunderstood to him nor to: ". to prophecy. this form of cognition is lower than the If we .98 translated as he.97 "those who Kabbalists."104 he of mequbbalim. the ertheless deals with Since one receives secrets from another person. in which the path the lowest form of Kabbalah: from passage meaning of the major handbooks dealing with he classifies traditions oral Kabbalistic In order of] qolot some of from the the received to understand learning acquired in another he clarifies through as the intention my regarding [the meaning qabbalot. divine same.MAIMONIDES' GUIDE OF THE PERPLEXED the Sefer Hayyei ha-Nefesh.. be from and other the wondrous concerning topics. con might this applied neither from and the truth had of saved the words their of the and books. then Abulafia this reading claims that accept a tradition. they.100 [traditions] came to me be He. received For Abulafia wrote AND THE KABBALAH that the Guide 213 its author."101 This his is one of the these few being the higher where qabbalot." ha-mequbbalim.102'103 Th Y [theHebrew letters tof yod] in the form of the "Daughter instances Abulafia mentioning "receipt" a relatively to orally transmitted low status lore in attributed already an earlier work. that is to say from one who has himself obtained or from another Kabbalist. blessed be their memory. composed Sifrei by the Kabbalists.99 exercising one from the Sefer ha-Hesheq. however. nev which may not be Kabbalistic. and them. blessed of the Voice. Yet sometimes he by "reception" distinguished independent This intellect. where as denoting a higher he defines the term mevin "If he receives status it than that of the hakham who studies books: from of oral traditions without mentions explicitly the Guide.. which stowed on me by God.96 And it suffices [the Guide] be their memory.

whose se like of three meals sign is the names [shalosh "udot]. and the entire number is 75." whose sign is three is G an "Eden. these traditions. and their secret of the three parts of the book [numerical secret is value of] "three degrees" [shalosh mava lot]. special to this esotericism is his first of Maimonides. "grace. path at least is inferior to Abulafia's their receipt. and their is a tradition in our hands part third knowledge and their [mad"a] of Hen. the paths This classifi a higher the Kabbalistic form of esotericism. as we have received them from the mouth our masters." more explicitly.m combination and of the part 48.112 value numerical Abulafia's chapters manipulation in the three of the Hebrew notations of the numbers of the parts of the Guide: VH. mentions Abulafia of moserim."107 [another one] . by means of a personal And receipt of secrets experience. Already Nahmanides had previously which used would lafia thus the phrase Yod"ei Hen a name introduced to specify experts for the Guide that to the Kabbalah in esotericism. Abulafia also on Sefer as well to refer employ regularly on a form of discussion capitalizes composed by his own Yetzirah found in the Commentary teacher Rabbi Barukh Togarmi. "transmitters." And secret is 'three degrees' which "three meals." to Abulafia.MH. may God no doubt is There as different from that keep that Abulafia them of the sages alive. There con [qabbalah be-yadeinu] in each and every part the number of all the chapters cerning . 86. Kabbalah. Abulafia established the secrets of In the introduction the Guide and his type of Kabbalistic discussions. according are the of Kabbalah which on the Guide: Testifying "the path of the Guide.109 part and that and of the the second 54. on the Guide..108 Nevertheless.105 Even he asserted that he committed to writing: "all the secrets found in this book just [namely the Guide]. become Mada" as the "science" or "knowledge" be translated of may ha-Hen. his most important commentary confesses that. on imposes and by definition. 65. a deep affinity between in one case. 65. an acronym for Hokhmat the latter term assumedly Ha-Nistar.113 Abu a number of Kabbalists itself. and that is the path of Kabbalah secrets of Sefer Yetzirah. the science of secrets. ND. whose of the chapters of the first 26. . Maimonides' and path. are like the secret of names 26. 86.. Maimonides' of secrets. commentary to my own path.214 MOSHE IDEL from of their letters is "the the sum of the three is 177.."106 envisaged his of the generation. in a later commentary.. cation one. Abulafia to Sitrei Torah.

according way of calculating the shalosh meals. amounts as to 1176. "three over. 86 and 65. Togarmi of language. of Hosts."114 [during] day a gematria. Abulafia. This (26). Abulafia's claim that he received a tradition is confirmed. and are called stages of the intellectual degrees. meaning has nothing however. three are by the secret of the the the general one enters name are 26. 65. phrases constituting as well as the three divine the the gematria of G an names. the meals. whose vowels so and for so. "Eden. Abulafia Paradise often de they are a clue for entering of his Kabbalistic the ultimate the prophetic scribed experience." = 176 + 1 177. secrets whose names. "The and presumably too. This compact namely. between the numerical values of the different the affinities is 177. with the intellectual that are concerned accomplishments Though on various occasions. upon passage. Yomam More the case of the phrase "Day and night" va-laylah. In Togarmi's is the secret of G an from the "Eden. on formulation: "The incan 'Egoz. is also 'Adonai 'Elohim Tetragrammaton (65). 'Adonai 'Elohim. which was understood was is 1178. and night." But what is the as pointing to Gan ha-Henl According while alive. a tradition. to do with the gematriot of 177 have something Guide and its chapters se "udot insofar as Gan "Eden = 177 = shalosh appears nowhere. la. is based like Abulafia's. Thus. goal an eschatological as reaching state:116 system. is concerned. while se "udot. This. Mada" to Gikatilla's of the three names. ignored the former less interested of the gematria Togarmi's in magic than "incantation and Gikatilla.MAIMONIDES' GUIDE OF THE PERPLEXED AND THE KABBALAH as in Gikatilla's of the Ginnat 215 tation three meals on Sabbath. and Gan but the notion that the three divine names. of understanding of Garden of Eden. known language to eat and 86 incumbent the individual upon 26. that if Ab to do with the Guide. "Eden. the angel of the God [he wrote] it is the secret of Gan "Eden that accounts YHWH. and (86). three significance "Eden and of the Guide of describing the chapters as the knowledge of the secrets. the Kabbalistic calculation of the All the authors mention chapters. I am and names. By means Garden of Eden while alive. to one particular the phrase. ulafia circle. Gikatilla thought. it reached him from outside did "receive" or at least part of it did. to which refers Gikatil the three degrees Abulafia or the number the Guide does not mention of its like Togarmi. interpretation are the prince . which The basic figure is this citation."115 them. which the phrase hashba"at ha-lashon as: 1178 = 178 ? 1 = 117. In the spirit of Togarmi's to be understood wrote: that of Abulafia.

Yet does the gematria for Abulafia. therefore. following Nahmanides. which . the 177 amounting a way to enter Paradise. is able to attain mystic Intellect. And in Eden MOSHE IDEL he will from tell him: "I am And the tree of life. of the Gan "Eden" an expression relate to the Guide. constitute the visual above. role in Maimonides' I believe."117 Like the three divine a way chapters which means of Maimonides' to the number 177. noted that a philosopher become but not vice versa. differences in modes of intellectual conceptualization. to read the entire possible applied it to the Guide. stands. found already for the Active ulafia's created "tree of life" by intellectual In other Abulafia often employs this However. might Besides. of the passage words. The mystical plays a key literature. if the above is correct. and Ab theories in the passage the imaginative content derived like other images such as the angels. representation on the basis of the capacity (of the mind) from the Active Intellect.119 seen I have never commentary on the Guide. constitute too. in his technique it in his is essentially Abulafia may have Bible as a continuum to of the chapters of the Guide divine names that imply a treatise If dealing with God? three taken the idea that it is and of divine names118 fact. in commentaries But the above passage does. from the Active stemming Secondary One elites suggested by the above discussion (it may is that interaction between the "two elites" was eas of the conclusions not ily be widened) nor by the an of philosophy hindered the polarity and kabbalah. and he is the "prince of Gan "Eden. to acquire mystical revelation. Guide. by one might create. the equation of the numbers of Gan "Eden and to the the Guide so.216 of Gan the Garden that "Eden. When interpreted the Guide becomes a medium of mystical names Kabbalistically. cognizing a revelation the summum bonum of the Guide. understand the East. although on the Pentateuch." he will in order to help him by God has sent to him His angel in the strong him and to accustom love of the instruction. technique. The "angel in ancient Jewish which Intellect. to him the truth of the essence of the Creator by announcing tree of life that is within the Garden. interpretation we may assume the three divine that through the names. of prophecy. It must this polarity would be imagine tagonism a Kabbalist.

.. because of my love for them. social status of some of his he did not teach the Guide. he wrote that legitimacy. Moses of Burgos Salmon (a success) at Palermo. in the case (who. he called and R. Those who of R. greatly in order to know their comprehend . they implored me very much to turn and I. Abulafia for instance. of the from the splendor from being nourished consume at the time when other men grass124 came and implored to interpret and asked me of the Perplexed. some of the Guide the Torah profound voice. resisted)... He was clearly recall. ter Zekhariah. did not desire to their wish. Their men bent on pursuing in is not the issue. and they the secrets of secrets very merit. are in my which together with some with and this is the reason science. them. seeking immediate Of more stones in the city of Phonon. it is possible which his students who accepted becomes clear that he labeled as excellent views.121 and four precious . in early 1280 as young he had in Capua the four students error. to note the high apparently to whom are the cases where Abulafia. I could and I invented for them I brought the names them as I am Shekhinah. to of the Shekhinah.. failed. the lat Mishael and and I called and Hananyah.123 .MAIMONIDES' GUIDE OF THE PERPLEXED AND THE KABBALAH 217 not be ignored. from 'Otzar "Eden Ganuz. to this effect And Creator.. In the passage admission.125 them in order to extract and one to recommend for which their souls were its essence to striving. In addition. vAzaryah. false witnesses the wings attempted seduce to keep them them from the God of Israel. matters.120 even students. Already youth on the Guide dedicated to those four students.. written his commentary by his own he dismisses six years earlier. are children with no deficiency. I fulfilled their desire according know it and .122 good They knowl and understanding every science and knowing looking to stand in the palace of the king the capacity edge and with . dealing so that they should have validation. them down... wisdom hands. however. the table of the Lord. were and must be extreme by surely amplified might in the Middle of knowledge the sociology Ages. we hastened those rejected Jehudah this stands out inadequate. when . God bestowed these four chil upon joined my academy in order to understand and intelligence dren knowledge every today book close and as Daniel.. interest.. From the few cases from it to learn how Abulafia conceived of his audience. and those four children they came to shelter under ..

I would dures to the "secondary argue. that he had suggests from even the drawn Disclosure Yet. about 1273. by the No on the Mediterranean's northern of the Guide shore. in particular. Jehudah of Barcelona. then. he mentions students part of Abulafia's conforming to transform which his young aspired teaching into mystics nourished from the divine students elicited splendor new forms of to is typical of reactions which reactions. and. taught. Jehudah at about Salmon. I believe and that repercussions the estrangement with him has of his little students so shortly after the Guide per The real sticking he expressed studying they began se or with Abulafia's point was his conviction to do with of instruction. good perhaps early out religiosity adults standard defi searching going beyond (rabbinic) nitions. the same were. provoked. them by following the text of the Guide as through the more is line by line. to the Spanish R. young. who did write much. beside Salmon who. whom started Thus. However Abulafia consciously. when Question was couched in Abulafia's extreme mystical terms. belonged belonged. of his onto students from Messina of students holding elite. appearance must the after question have arisen. Guide's exposition very he claimed that his students remained faithful Though him to compose his commentary. Abulafia He taught he calls yeladim. time. was it was no doubt and repeated." "secondary the allegiance what The to his message he writes desertion. might students. nev as Kabbalistic. special mode that the end was near albeit . Some of them. that their fathers had been his students. the resistance religious knowledge as in Capua. as well advanced method that in the book." Gikatilla." was transmitting to his version advanced proce of the Kabbalah. he had taught Gikatilla youths' himself advanced method Gikatilla then a youth of 25 which we saw best exemplified Abulafia Tov have A been also and R. strong negative and experience. Shem Some of his Sicilian too. if only problems temporary. which he wrote this request. Years earlier.126 this MOSHE IDEL commentary for them and for those like rather early in his career to teach youths. nothing to the "first elite. wrote that may be classed may have ertheless. of studying wonder that the Guide his elite. In Abulafia's case. at these the Sitrei Torah. and that this prompted in the later 'Otzar "Eden Ganuz indicates the opposite. young.218 and I composed them.

That this was we likely the case with were Joseph assume. of two of Abulafia's Kabbalah the early Christian the confer upon Maimonides monides revealed circles Kabbalistic secrets in Christian to whom (literary) The point should be clear. as." AJS Review des Etudes 6 (1981). dans Leur in Jewish Law and Philosophy "Samuel ibn Tibbon and the (New York.130 to conclude it will be possible this observation.131 the enduring seductiveness of Abulafia's represents charms. 1982). As we know. strengthen Harvey's writings. of both medieval requires adopting integrative was that medieval Jewish mysticism findings will erase lingering doubts a not variegated and that in this undertaking the Great undertaking. disclosure. of Esoteric the Guide of the Perplexed. translation than even ease also They the way influenced in Kabbalistic for the book's reception as a of Jewish the development thought has demonstrated how the Latin Wirszubski commentaries to the extent of Abulafia's title on the Guide affected Mai that Christian teacher Kabbalists Caspi with beyond. the has suggested Harvey were careful dealt with who the Guide severe not to reveal his secrets. Gad Freudenthal. Kabbalistic earlier not their circles. Isadore Twersky." Sciences Appropiation.127 hints to Abulafia's role. however to writing. "Les Aviezer Ravitzky. for different schools. times. 180 Interpretation de (1993). 87-123. Maimonides and Samuel ibn Tibbon communicated in writing. Narboni.129 Once began disregarding commentaries did not cavil to divulge tion. As Steven that authors philosophical to violate Maimonides' true of This was certainly warning commentaries with Abulafia that were the philosophical contemporary this cau the Kabbalists mentioned above. subsequent philosophical the Guide's and Moshe Abulafia's secrets. that research reinforces of the Guide of their extent) Kabbalistic interpretations (regardless did more circles. and whole. including secrets. and at different played different Eagle Notes 1. in other studies of Maimonides' stand the histories a more The image of Maimonides mysticus directly. 2. Role. to me orally. Studies 202.MAIMONIDES' GUIDE OF THE PERPLEXED this idea in non-conventional terms and AND THE KABBALAH this 219 disclosing justified but mostly eschatological strategies. Provence: 29-50. may whom. Jewish and mysticism philosophy I am confident that its approach. in fact. I have already it broached To better under impact on Kabbalah. Medievales Juives 152 Leur les Communaut?s Revue Juives .128 personal messianic to to commit the secrets he believed Abulafia Whatever brought individual be the esoteric dimension raised of the hackles Guide outside complete. roles. acquainted If future which would point.

Salomon Commentary losophy. Sod hishtalshelut kol ha-devarim. Hokhmah. 91-97 the Sefirot. Shes "The Gerald arim. Aristoteles Gewidmet 19. 248 and On this term see Scholem. "Concerning the First Controversy on theWritings of Maimonides. 109-127.. See 51 (1982). 21..g. similar like ha-neJetzal ha-rishon fols." (Hebrew). "The 18 Yesodei ha-Torah in H. 9. 131 (Hebrew). Influenced See (Cambridge. rishonah. (Berlin." (New and Mysticism 35-54. Perfections: 2001). Genesis Altmann. in Themistius' History Paul of Phi Moraux "Some Book Distinctive Lambda ed." Zion 36 (1971). Me'ah Fleisher. Turn. Idel. (Jerusalem. Historical "Kabbalah Review and 9 Elites (1994). O'Meara. the or Kabbalist?." Septimus. 1982). Chavel. by Sara Heller in Alexander Altmann. "Abulafia's on Jewish in A. the Maimonidean Septimus." above 1:2. 39 and 147 n.. 27-68. as especially the "extradivine" 196-200. Kabbalists hence. of Platonic see as not Harry Ideas. Tarbiz Origins. 393-414. 2: 409. Hispano-Jewish (Cambridge. 1982). "The (Tel Aviv. Scholem. Spain. should ones. 12. Metaphysical and Their Werk Conceptions in the Place and Wirkung. Perspectives 6. ed.. 13." J. 188-189 and especially note 26. see ibn Latifand Jewish Medieval Philosopher Renaissance Studies 17. Origins of the Kabbalah (Princeton. by Themistius. "Abulafia's Guide. "Sefirot" 240-249. I assume identical A. Havvayot 11. 20b." 1997). following. below. "Isaac ed. 30a). 20. 1 and the literature cited. Wiesner.220 3. On D. "The Problem of Reality and Multiplicity of Divine Ideas in Christian Neo platonism. in Medieval Studies Jewish Spiritual 208. ed. in the short fols. controversy MOSHE IDEL and Culture its background in Transition see. Mishneh 14. Life inMemory Secrets of the of Is adore Twersky Guide: A Linguistic (London. Sefer See Torah (henceforth=MT) ve-ha-Bitahon. See Sara Heller explained and . See Alexander Scholem." in Dominic J. 269-270. See Idel.'''1 8." Wilensky. 265-267. Rabbah "Neoplatonism. 281. note 18. index... 18. sefirotic realm ideas. Origins. e. Azriel Shohat. balah 7. Sefirot 1983). and "Maimonides and and On Kab Interpretation Secrets of the 2002). in Ezra eds. Gershom G. 1270-1290. and W. 26a. 10. Neoplatonism and Christian Thought (Norfolk. 177-204. 15. and "Extradeical Intradeical Interpretations Religious Philosophy (Cambridge. 11:10. Idel. on the in 1967). 1965). cited Hilkhot ch. Pamalia. On this important master of early Kabbalah see Scholem. 5. MA. Aspects sub voce also of Judaism Idel. New York. (see as the result of the influence of an Ismaiyliah view. Moshe ranean dow Idel. Thought Kabbalah." conceived essence. 1987). Norris Clarke.. 27-60 (Hebrew). 171 ed. Ivry. Wolfson.. in Thirteenth-Century 5-19 and Idel. treatise. Haven.g. 265 n. Me-'Atzilut 24ab be recurs this term see e. literature (Jerusalem. Carmi Blidstein. among others. that with the the Geronese divine 1987). Cf. 4." Sefirot. Pines. Absorbing 272-313.' and Bernard Horowitz. 16. Bernard esp. Origins." Kabbalah's Mediter 'Win of Opportunities. Idel. Kitvei ha-Ramban ha-'Emunah 1964).

27. See my forthcoming. 34. Philosophie involved Jellinek und in Philosophie 35. in Utopia in Zvi Baras. combines Gikatilla 21d. 59c. Namely while the Kabbalah. Jellinek.. 149-156. (London. in the of Maimonides shortly Philosophie und Kabbala. 1: 289-306 1988). See ibn E. The Goldziher. . The sefirot." Spanish Shlomo Pines Jubilee eds. Moshe 199. 47-72." ed." "The in Sara GUIDE OF THE PERPLEXED 'First Created Being' in Early Moshe AND THE KABBALAH Kabbalah Idel. Sobre Descendants. 21. (Jerusalem. 'Orah. 31. Venice. of Kabbalah Eschatology of the 13th 1984). 28. (Albany. the Philosophical others. "AMystical Jewish Sufi Circle.." "Obadyah "Some Judaeo-Arabic idem. Sha"arei idem. 5. ch. Sources. The Mystical Heller and Wilensky. Messian Century. David in M. II.. on Isaac "The of Maimonides Early Kabbalah. and the Jews of in Medieval Hud. 2. and Harvey.. Prophecy Islam Mahommedan the 1995).. ibidem. Paris 8. in J. 19d.MAIMONIDES' Wilensky. ed. ed. 221 Heller Wilensky and its Philosophical in Jewish Studies Thought 22. printed by Adolph 37. 1970). Ms. sAl Yad Tradition. Vajda.W. the of Life fol. Paris BN 777." Journal Literary legacy of Maimonides' of Semitic Studies 26 (1981). 30. 261-275 Great "Lovejoy's Ladder Jacob's (Hebrew). chain. 1986). 1989). Kabbala. und Kabbala. idem." and from (Leiden. monim XXVII. "Messianism. Ms. 777. 25. 24. 26. See on Perfection. from 46b. to Maimonides attributed chapters mi-Yihud. The Paris second BN 777. Idel. among and Trend Eschatology (Jerusalem. J. Idel. del Rosal. Moses by Obadyah et David Deux Maimonide. (Jerusalem. 179-190. Abraham b. (Jerusalem. 37. and eds." York. Paul (Jerusalem. b. Chain and of Being Tree and the Jewish (New ladder fol. 1574. 36. ed. fol. Jellinek." 301-334. Fenton. and (Hebrew). Kuntz. Mystical ism and 16. (Paris. Experience Dialectical in Abraham Abulafia Influence in Moshe Volume Idel. See See Idel. where see also Ginnat 'Egoz (Hanau. ed. ed. 1: 195. 9... theosophical is constituted fourth by advocated by Abulafia. Z. of the Guide. See. 15: there. "The the Jewish Sufi." Georges 126-127. BN as is described group in Abulafia's passage. trans. 29. "Abulafia's "Kabbalah the Secrets and Elites." 5-19. Sara Latif Schweid. 221-238 notes (Hebrew). Gikatilla's Peraqim 109. Fragments by Rabbi de mystique Abraham juive ha Hasid.. 1987). Ms. which the Kabbalah is identical of the with divine the names third group. 112-113. See Moshe 35. See anative pigraphical "TisrTah 1950). Providence Jews "Ibn (Cordova. 1991). The Ignaz Damascus. idem. Frank." see above. 5. Jacob's 1615). 8. ben Shlomo. stem Qovetz with the pseude circle. and The Treatise Maimonides traites the Pool. study beforehand 32. 23. ed. 33. of al al-Hwadiyya idem. Maqala 1981). Cordovero's Pardes Rim Enchanted Chains. 218-220. 1987). la Vida y Obra de Maimonides Treatise in D. and especially fol. Mystic. the em Blumenthal." Jewish Quarterly Review (OS) 6 (1894).

The below Christian the Lines. Ben Idel. Qovetz 'Neuf sAl Yad chapitres Age 5 (15) sur 28 "TisfTah (1950). On Gikatilla and the Guide. (Tel Aviv. Jerusalem. 105-106. JTS. York. 212-240. and balah and Sabbateanism. 334-342 Cahiers juifs 3 (1935).g. Between Abulafia's Kabbalistic Translation le-Mada'im reprinted Gershom Commentary Mithridates. 1976).D. 1 (1981)." 48. Between "Secrets Reason of and (Jerusalem. Zerahiah in Shlomo 3-14 Pines. Oxford Studies in Jewish Thought 1649. Attitude toward Mysticism. See in Maimonides "Un Vajda. 32-57. New (Hebrew).222 38." 313-319. "Maimonides' 1250-1650 (The Hague. the Guide." Faith: 1991). Joseph B. Gilson 51-59." (1956). and the Twentieth Centuries. 42. "Maimonides' Attitude toward Jewish Mysticism. Yav aqov Friedman. on the Guide Commentary to Ya'aqov Friedman vAI Da"at ha-Maqom. Ms. "Iyyun 20 (1979). Studies "Liber in Jewish Thought the Early (Detroit. "Abulafia's Peraqim 105-137." idem. 1974)." "A New Fragment Bodleiana Hebrew Union College Annual notes references R. the Thirteenth Between "The Ravitzky. of Sefer and Doctrine 1990). 400-406. Hacker. Version 1981). ed. Y. conflit litt?raire des Egares' 1959). "Iyyun 45 (1996)." 39. Moshe Univer of the Secrets Abulafia's sity. ed. "Maimonides . There see most are numerous recently Yosef studies MOSHE IDEL on the impact "Between of Maimonides Negation and on Meister Silence: Eckhart. (Jerusalem. Wirszubsky. of Jewish Philosophy idem. entre la Kabbale Age par Ephraim et 22 un du Moyen Repenses and Georges la philosophie. 135-149 of R. 158-176 200a-221b. See Idel. ed. 1969). Secrets mi-Yihud. His Relation and (Hebrew) in Asi Farber. to the Perplexed: Guide Aviezer (Hebrew). 118-120 Thesis. "R. Jewish 1967). (Hebrew). Memorial Aviezer Studies 219. Kabbaliste. (Hebrew). Abraham Wirszubski. Georges Vajda. Joseph to from Gikatilla's Kabbalistic Terminology and Weiler. ed. 83-98. See 2324. E. See Isaac in the History (Hebrew). Maimonides Schwartz. 46." 1970). (Ph. Archives idem. (Hebrew)." 127-130." des Kabbalistes. "Deux Offerts Melanges du Chapitres a E.. in the Latin West." Studies 40. Moshe Scholem. ed. "Me-Hoqer dans l'ouevre li-Mequbbal. Hayyim Studies in the Kabbalah Literature. 110-117 (Hebrew). (Jerusalem. (Cambridge. 13-44 of the Perplexed to Ginnat Preface 'Egoz. l'histoire doctrinale du et 'Guide (Paris. Joseph to the Guide Gikatilla's 37 (1966). 103-112. de Dieu. l'unit? ed. Qabbalah Works 8-12 Idel. 1976). ha-Temunah Kabbalah. ben of the Perplexed" (Jerusalem. 200-219. trait? pseudo-Maimonidien: doctrinale et d'histoire litt?raire du Moyen (1953).. 172-177. to Maimonides. form in Ch." Tarbiz 6 (1935). "Moses of Salerno's and Nicholas of Giuvinazzo's Re marks on the Guide of the Perplexed. chapitre d'histoire de 1990). Shaltiel Hen's Volume Ravitzky. see also See Moshe "Inquiries the numerous in R. 153-155. 212 234-243 162-163. Abraham Abulafia. Archives "Le of the Guide. Gottlieb. Sermoneta. on the Guide of the Perplexed ha-Akademia which will be ha-Le'umit cited in the Latin ha-Israelit from Kab its (Jerusalem." in Alfred Chaim Jospe. 44." e. Barzilai... fols. J." 45. Abraham Shlomo. in Italian Anti-Rationalism Jewish Thought 47. Hebrew (Hebrew). See Alexander Altmann. 43. Ms." Jerusalem 41. of R. of Flavius Redemptionis Divrei 3: 139-149.

in the Concealment 62. The of Medieval Community. Perspectives 1991). and esotericism Thirteenth-Century Jewish Transmitting in Yaacov Elman Kabbalah. followers. Identity (Leiden. 115-140. 5 (1934). see Moshe as pointing see Moshe to secrets Idel.E. 54. Neoplatonism Thought (Al "Ismavili and Maimonides' 137-155. Heschel. ed." 1992). 60." Studies inMedieval in Maimonides' Culture 10 (1981). On Idel. depth "Secrecy. Gershoni. 258-286. On his Torah. 180-198. 51-77. (Hoboken. Isaac Scholem. Intellectualist and the Superiority Mysticism of the Prophecy L. the transmission of "headnotes" as part of Jewish "Transmission I. Nathan ed. 91. other This persons addressed one of the (New Haven. after 56. 53. to the points or Italy. in Daniel Islam: Jews and Frank. note 1995). and Jewish ed. Sa'adya (Jerusalem. in H. see Adolph Jellinek. in Abulafia's lifetime. in note 49-103. Secrecy note 84 and below 136. his of most the Abulafia became to this epistles interesting Barcelona Jewish community who author.MAIMONIDES' GUIDE OF THE PERPLEXED 49. Binah and Derishah. 1-28. 51. BaK and 64. referred from 8-12 405. Goodman. "Maimonides' Blumenthal. the 46b. Society. Morris AND THE KABBALAH 223 Other the Prophets: Maimonides After ed. same the of Abulafia's Sha"arei Tzedeq. "Let Him live forever. 59. wandering Ms. 138-164. 305-323 (Hebrew). See also note Philosophical and "Maimonides physical Knowledge. 22-23. at 39. 1989). 57. existence of tensions between Abulafia Cultural Diffusion 63. 66. note Abulafia's Ms. Alfred in Joel Kraemer. Neoplatonism: Challenge E. Thought. Inspiration M. Retzoni. Talmido shel R.. idem. "R. 52. of Moses. is an the sake fol. ed. eds. in Lenn Maimonidean Studies 3 (1992/93). on footnotes. bany. the Guide in Abulafia's and fol. ." and Historical Studies (Ox "Neoplatonic Currents on Maimonides: Response. 4 (1933). J.. Yehayehu See Gershom le"Ad. above." Tarbiz 3 (1932). R.. Orality. Of A On understanding place in the Peloponese. Hayyei See From remarks and my on the studies quotes Works. Abraham and David J. he M?nchen below. Faierstein. Davidson. ford." (Leiden.. 207-225. this passage. See Wirszubski's See my Idel. 61. Paris died several last of 120a." Traditions: and Textuality. where there Meimei had recently repeated married by all her. the studying Torah see also Abulafia's Sitrei years the phrase addition imagery author of composition of a later in one Sefer of scribe. commentaries pertinent Abraham ha-Nefesh. Porush. Theology Philosophy." 40. Auswahl kabbalistischer Mystik (Leipzig. 50-60. Greece. Prophetic Medieval Authorities." me-Burgos. eds. for BN the 774. Ivry. Hillel that 58. 327. 50. 1853). other scholars who copied Abu In Jellinek lafia's text: is a mistake. ed. 55. alei Beriti." and idem. phrase in Rome one judges of 2000). 54-77. above. 1996). NJ.. and I assume Compare precisely ben Harar. Moshe (Erstes Heft) ha-Kohen. 1995). Kippenberg and Guy and Stroumsa. the Guide. on Meta Herbert "Maimonides 271-299.. 65.

22b. See also 15. Abulafia's 1967). sentence. (twice). 85. below. 104. of identity this R. in Sicily and Its 1995). possible connection Gottlieb. Bodleiana Bet an and was still alive Sa'adia years Hillel. Moshe established. 164b. 5: 330 Transmission Renaissance. Idel. (New York. 164a-164b. 79. Abulafia's Latin Kabbalistic of Flavius Commentary Mithridates. in Bernard and Cooperman (College see Garvin. II. below. 1970). fol." Italy: and Menahem Benjamin and in Rome: Barbara MD. Wahrmann Books. footnote of Dinur. Idel." note of R. fols. 87 88 89 90 91 92 See See Idel. 72.. ba-Golah. after is an this docu composed scribe. 20d. "Mai note Studies. passage note errors by 1967). 77. 60-63 Ba-Golah (Tel Aviv. Gottleib. Ha-Qabbalah shel Sefer ha-Temunah. Idel.224 67. the Perplexed. Hassagot. the (Jerusalem. Gottleib. between who 104-105. Abra in 'umit philosophy and Maimonides Idel. identity Scholem. mi-Burgos. Adolph For 3: XL-XLI. "Maimonides 74. Translation le-Mada"im Studies. Studies. Hassagot. with "his memory" the phrase dealing addition 73. ben D. of see case skipped here. M?nchen The 46b-47a. 405. 4. commentaries gravitate." on the possible 261-262. "The Ecstatic during the Kabbalah of Abraham Italia Abulafia (Rome. 69. Chaim of critique 47-48. above. which Abraham Abulafia. Jellinek. and 109. Memory Identity Park. 84. vol. See See See ham the below. 78. of 105-106. Oxford. (twice in his footnotes). ha-Midrasch fol. Ms. see 77. "Liber Redemptionis on the the Divrei 3: 139-149. the Trends in Jewish Mysticism 36 secret topics around 8-12. 81. (reprint with printed. Gottlieb. "Maimonides 63. 4. Kabbalah. 86. Studies. The of 68." Israel in the of issues found analysis and the remarks of Dinur. Pines." 1970). On this Kabbalist's and monides 80. see below in the next paragraph. is an these "Messina. Wirszubski. there. some Jerusalem. note 53." 62-63. ment of the the in Castile. Shem Celim following anagram students as was in the this Tov student see MOSHE IDEL has not been "R. See See Ms. Idel. See Ben-Zion and 1580. 2000). . fol. 127. 75. Ms. 71. less series Dinur. For Idel. Early Guide Version of R. of the Perplexed ha-Le ha-Akademia ha-Israelit 83." Judaica See Moshe The Beginnings eds. 366 additional Kabbalah. Israel 1580. 366. Guide fols. 110-111. Medinat On This On Again. Kabbalah. Moshe 340. 240-248. The "Abraham of Kabbalah Jews of Abulafia in Italy. 70. note 19a 20b. text that of this and Oxford-Bodleiana pointed out the already Gikatilla's. 82. 104. ambiguous is his remark in Major 76. see 74." 108. See II.

According inal was Sitrei Sitrei Topics. on the Pentateuch. M?nchen Kabbalah. Ms. 774. 5b. Torah. 28. 106.. which to Sefer 1903). note 75. Major Trends. Leipzig see Wirszubsky. ah Kelei printed in I. of Scholem. "Defining Kabbalah: ed.A. 137. by Gershom 235. on the Latin version of this text. and the sages And claim who see adduced introduced the text 58. 95. 111-112. fol. 217b. "from the mouth of my the idea of reception accomplished Compare Guide. For Ms. Herrera." 57-58. in a similar Kabbala." is rather The awkward: me-'amitat ma'amrei phrase sifrei v a phrase more whose literal al pi rabbottai ha-shelemim. 47a. 2: 60." his epistle. 107. Torah. 117a. on commentary of the Guide 405. Sefer Between the Lines. 251. mystical in Philosophie published above. Jubilee Introduction 1959). described "Maimonides however. from above See "Eliyonot. a\M. This the 94. See here Moshe The Kabbalah of the Divine Names.MAIMONIDES' GUIDE OF THE PERPLEXED AND THE KABBALAH 93. in the fol.. context itself below him from into a the later secrets includes 98." in R.Z. Ms. (Jerusalem. W. preface Kesef (Pressburg. Guide Raphael the Perplexed. A for example. Between the Lines. beginning qolot. appears und Auswahl. Paris BN 774. 114. Idel. the citation from Menorat commentaries in the edition I could ha-Musar. Represented Represented Represented by by by the Hebrew the Hebrew the Hebrew letters letters letters 'ayin mem nun and and and het. 101. & Typology to printed Ms. Ms. het. long passage Compare adduced Abulafia's from use 'Otzar of the term Ganuz. Bat qol. British goliouth Chapters eds. books 99. Mardea". of Caspi's not locate published cited ha-Kesef on the Guide edition ed. Ms. Chavel. ha-'Elohiim. 100. 163b. 112. Idel.D. 4596. list of ancient ha-Torah. " Asar of in the preface (Frankfurt this work. in Ms. JTS 1801. glossed version of this a full discussion "Maimonides and Kabbalah. New York. Schweid. (Hebrew). 21. found 225 in manuscript. See the 757. and Commentary 89. in Jellinek. the where as alive. 143. Scholem as an appendix to his The Qabbalah of Sefer . Ch. at the in Sheva" Netivot of this the mention of the text. dalet. statement. external qabbalot above. on the Latin. 104. It is also possible that the similarity between the sounds and written is also in the idea that traditions forms of qolot and implied qabbalot coming are voices. the are Idel. in M. 39. 115b. the translation there Paris Paris on BN BN 376. Bodleiana 1649. translation masters. fol. See. 111. Ms. fol. the Hebrew orig 105. 774. 96. 46. 110. fol. of Elias Werbluner's III. fol. Last. Published ha-Temunah. 2b. Harvey. "Eden 103. ha-Geulah. 108. and his 1848). (New York. 1993). voices. See also Library Or. Mystics of the Book: Themes. ed. of to his 7. Mar of Jospe. Pines 113. see Idel. 109.. 97. Sefer See is the same title of another short treatise of the anonymous author." 1: 387-397 Volume. Catalogue "The Number and Division E. in the 102. 4b. Oxford. fol. in a similar passage. see Wirszubsky. fol.

117. and Menachem (Ramat-Gan. See Jospe." of Time Abulafia's alization in Abraham Eschatology. 124. 126. the End:' introduction Secrets Idel. (Leiden. "Samuel on Song 155-186. Works." 101-109. as it amounts in to Abraham. of 272-274. Mishneh 751-753 (He in Italy. his commentary ha-Maftehot. 48. 120. to an pointing Hermeneutics 32-33. trans. "Inyanim Sitrei This Torah Torah. of "'The the is concerned. 2000). "amuqim Ms. Namely. of Maimonides' divinity. Kellner. Time Ravitzky. Apocalyptic 129. See. the Guide. (Hebrew). Moscow-Guensburg 20. here. his issue see Idel. See Moshe Guide. Studies in Ecstatic Kabbalah 131. 79-90. "depth" fol. Pico 84-109. Torah the in 123. fol. Firenze-Laurenziana." and Moshe Idel. Menachem Kallus (Albany. insofar me'od. This gematria Capua. "Abulafia's 128. 307-398. introduction Torah. On See See Ms. 1989). Idel. fol. 'Egoz. 63-66. 118. 15c. the 133. 1989). this Idel. the disclosure on the of Torah the secrets of the see see above. designations that he took for himself. 127.226 115. 24-39 130." Apocalypticism in Albert and Its Spiritu ed. Secrets MOSHE IDEL "Abulafia's of II. 109-110 105-106. 1989). is one of in gematria. . published on the Pentateuch. Ziv as ha-shekhinah. Mir?ndola's Encounter with Jewish Mysticism (Cambridge. "Nimuqqei Humash brew) and le-Rabbi Isaiah mi-Trani. Baumgarten. This ecstatic Rabbinic experience. della (Albany. in Idel. 116. par." Ta-Shma. Torah. Abulafia's Abraham 121.. Abulafia. fol. to Sefer and Hermeneutics. 120a. This fluential remark in Abraham may in some point circles to anthropomorphic in contemporary understandings See Israel Italy. Language. of Ta-Shma." of Songs Commentary 2001). "The Number and Division. 122." 22a. "Abulafia's Secrets the Guide. Paris as his BN On 774. la. Ginnat See Ms. "The Acceptance Qiriat Sefer 64 (1992/1993). Language. term was in ecstatic Kabbalah interpreted See Moshe and Idel. is so in his (2001). 119. note 61." Italia 13-15 125. ben Gershom by Levi ibn Tibbon. claims in the regarding Commentary II.

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