Like Angels on Jacob's Ladder: Abraham Abulafia, the Franciscans, and Joachimism

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SUNY Press, 1. veebr 2012 - 189 pages
Explores the career of Abraham Abulafia, thirteenth-century founder of the school of ecstatic Kabbalah.

This book explores the career of Abraham Abulafia (ca. 1240–1291), self-proclaimed Messiah and founder of the school of ecstatic Kabbalah. Active in southern Italy and Sicily where Franciscans had adopted the apocalyptic teachings of Joachim of Fiore, Abulafia believed the end of days was approaching and saw himself as chosen by God to reveal the Divine truth. He appropriated Joachite ideas, fusing them with his own revelations, to create an apocalyptic and messianic scenario that he was certain would attract his Jewish contemporaries and hoped would also convince Christians. From his focus on the centrality of the Tetragrammaton (the four letter ineffable Divine name) to the date of the expected redemption in 1290 and the coming together of Jews and Gentiles in the inclusiveness of the new age, Abulafia’s engagement with the apocalyptic teachings of some of his Franciscan contemporaries enriched his own worldview. Though his messianic claims were a result of his revelatory experiences and hermeneutical reading of the Torah, they were, to no small extent, dependent on his historical circumstances and acculturation.

Harvey J. Hames is Senior Lecturer of Medieval History at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He is the author of The Art of Conversion: Christianity and Kabbalah in the Thirteenth Century.

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Page 73 - And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
Page 23 - And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
Page 23 - But the court, which is without the temple, cast out, and measure it not : because it is given unto the Gentiles, and the holy city they shall tread under foot two and forty months...
Page 135 - Et judicabit gentes, et arguet populos multos; et conflabunt gladios suos in vomeres, et lanceas suas in falces : non levabit gens contra gentem gladium, nec exercebuntur ultra ad praelium.
Page 148 - Jeremy Cohen, The Friars and the Jews: The Evolution of Medieval Anti-Judaism (Ithaca...
Page 23 - And they shall fall by the edge of the sword; and shall be led away captives into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles; till the times of the nations be fulfilled.
Page 135 - Et dominabitur a mari usque ad mare : et a flumine usque ad terminos orbis terrarum.
Page 74 - I have trodden the wine-press alone, and of the Gentiles there is not a man with Me: I have trampled on them in My indignation, and have trodden them down in My wrath; and their blood is sprinkled upon My garments, and I have stained all My apparel. For the day of vengeance is in My heart, the year of My redemption is come.
Page 71 - Joshua: when will the Master come? Thus he had not yet come. Yet, according to the literal sense of these haggadic narratives, the Messiah has been born; but such is not my own belief." At this point our lord the king interposed with the question that if the Messiah had been born on the day of the destruction of the Temple, which was more than a thousand years ago, and had not yet come, how could he come now, seeing that it was not in the nature of man to live a thousand years? My answer to him was:...

About the author (2012)

Harvey J. Hames is Senior Lecturer of Medieval History at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He is the author of The Art of Conversion: Christianity and Kabbalah in the Thirteenth Century.

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