Idel: Kabbalistic Manuscripts in the Vatican Library

Professor Moshe Idel a leading professor of studying and teaching Kabbalah in an academic setting posted an entry on the Seforim blog about Kabbalah manuscripts kept in the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican Library). It is an expansion of remarks delivered at the February 2009 symposium hosted at the National Library of Israel, in Jerusalem.

In the summer of 1280, Abraham Abulafia (1240- c. 1291), a Kabbalist who founded the special prophetic or ecstatic version of the Kabbalah, attempted to meet Pope Nicholaus III in Rome. This special effort came as the result of a revelation he had ten years earlier in Barcelona, which presumably consisted in a command to go to Rome at the eve of the Jewish New Year, in a mission reminiscent of Moses’ encounter with Pharaoh: namely to discuss issues related to redemption….

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