By Jonathan Dauber

In wisdom of God and the improvement of Early Kabbalah, Jonathan Dauber bargains a clean attention of the emergence and early improvement of Kabbalah opposed to the backdrop of a second look of the connection among early Kabbalistic and philosophic discourse. He argues that the 1st Kabbalists followed a philosophic ethos that was once international to conventional Rabbinic Judaism yet had taken root in Languedoc and Catalonia less than the effect of newly on hand philosophical fabrics. during this ethos, the act of investigating God was once accorded nice spiritual importance, and it was once its adoption by way of the 1st Kabbalists that helped spur them to interact of their investigations of God and, in so doing, improve Kabbalah.

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Example text

Jacob’s insistence that he will not receive any assistance from anyone from among the nations (“From among the nations, however, there is no man with me. My words will receive no assistance from a man who errs or from a fool”) is clearly directed against the radical Maimonideans, who are the subject of an extended polemic in this work (Sha‘ar ha-shamayim, 163–165), whom he regards as having accepted the teachings of non-Jewish philosophy in a wholesale manner. The polemic here, however, should not obscure the fact that R.

I refer to an important extended passage in the introduction to R. Ezra of Gerona’s Commentary on the Song of Songs, which makes clear that he chose to write his work in response to what he viewed as troubling radical Maimonidean tendencies.  Ezra’s hope that the messianic period was nigh, that made combating Maimonideans, who might impede the Messiah, so pressing. Thus it may be the case that R. Ezra’s desire to combat Maimonideans is intertwined with his messianic expectations. In the following section, I will examine this extended passage in some detail.

He begins by tracing the transmission of Kabbalistic wisdom, which he describes as “knowledge of the divine name,” from Adam to the destruction of the second temple. After the destruction of the temple, as the situation of the Jewish people deteriorated, this knowledge was increasingly lost, until, in his own time, it was all but forgotten: The exile continues to worsen and our sufferings proceed, indeed undergoing constant renewal, there being neither anyone to impart knowledge nor comprehend tradition.

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