FACTOID # 20: Statistically, Delaware bears more cost of the US Military than any other state.
 
 Home   Encyclopedia   Statistics   States A-Z   Flags   Maps   FAQ   About 
   
 
WHAT'S NEW
 

SEARCH ALL

FACTS & STATISTICS    Advanced view

Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 

 

(* = Graphable)

 

 


Encyclopedia > Abraham Abulafia
Abraham Abulafia's "Light of the Intellect" 1285, Vat. ebr. 597 leaf 113 recto
Abraham Abulafia's "Light of the Intellect" 1285, Vat. ebr. 597 leaf 113 recto

Abraham ben Samuel Abulafia (Hebrew: אברהם בן שמואל אבולעפיה) was born in Saragosa, Spain in 1240, and died sometime after 1291, in Comino, Maltese archipelago. Abulafia (the Latinized version of the Arabic name أبو العافية, Abu-l-Afiyya, Hebrew: ‎) can refer to: Partial genealogy of the Abulafia family of Spain. ... Image File history File links Abraham_abulafia. ... Image File history File links Abraham_abulafia. ... “Hebrew” redirects here. ... Location Coordinates : Time Zone : CET (GMT +1) - summer: CEST (GMT +2) General information Native name Zaragoza (Spanish) Spanish name Zaragoza Founded 24 Postal code 50001 - 50018 Website http://www. ... Events Batu Khan and the Golden Horde sack the Ruthenian city of Kyiv Births Pope Benedict XI Deaths April 11 - Llywelyn ap Iorwerth, also known as Llywelyn The Great Prince of Gwynedd Monarchs/Presidents Aragon - James I King of Aragon and count of Barcelona (reigned from 1213 to 1276) Castile... For broader historical context, see 1290s and 13th century. ... Comino (Maltese: Kemmuna) is an island of the Maltese archipelago between the islands of Malta and Gozo in the Mediterranean Sea, measuring 3. ...


Born in Saragossa, Spain, in 1240, Abulafia’s life was characterized by ceaseless wandering. His first journey was to Israel when he was 20 years old. On his return he determined to go to Rome, but stopped short in Capua, where he devoted himself with passionate zeal to the study of philosophy and the ‘Guide for the perplexed’ by Maimonides, under the tutelage of the well-known philosopher and physician Hillel ben-Samuel of Verona.


With an eagerness to teach others, he wrote extensively on Kabbalistic, philosophical, and linguistic subjects, succeeding in surrounding himself with numerous students, to whom he imparted much of his enthusiasm.


At the age of thirty-one he returned to Barcelona, where he immersed himself in the study of the book ‘Yetzirah’ [Creation] and its numerous commentaries. This book explains the creation of the world and man as based on letter combinations. The book, and particularly the commentary and method of the German mystic Eleazar of Worms, exercised a deep influence upon Abulafia, and greatly increased his mystical tendencies.


Letters of the alphabet, numerals, vowel-points, all became symbols of existence to him. Their combinations and permutations possessed for him an illuminating power most effective in elevating his degree of perception and his ability to explore the riddles of mind, the problems and purpose of human life.


Abulafia soon left Spain again, and in 1279 wrote in Patras, Greece, the first of his prophetic books, Sefer ha-Yashar (The Book of the Righteous). Then, in 1280, he went to Rome to meet Pope Nicholas III. The Pope, then in Suriano, issued orders to burn the fanatic as soon as he reached town. The very night Abulafia arrived at Suriano, the Pope suddenly died. Returning to Rome, Abulafia was thrown into prison by the Minorites, but was released after four weeks detention.


He was next heard of in Sicily, where he appeared as a prophet. The local Jewish congregation in Palermo addressed this issue to Shlomo ben-Aderet, who subsequently wrote a letter against Abulafia. Abulafia had to take up the pilgrim’s staff anew, and under distressing conditions compiled his Sefer ha-Ot (The Book of the Sign) on the little island of Comino, near Malta, 1285–88. In 1291 he wrote his last major meditation manual, Imre Shefer (Words of Beauty). Since then, all traces of him are lost.


Abulafia's writings include Sefer haYashar (The Book of the Righteous), Sefer ha-Ot (The Book of the Sign),Hayei Olam HaBa (Life of the World to Come), Or HaSechel (Light of the Intellect), Imre Shefer (Words of Beauty), Get HaShmot, Gan Na'ul (commentary on Sefer Yetzirah), Otzar Eden Ganuz (another commentary on Sefer Yetzirah), and Sefer HaCheshek. Sefer Yetzirah (Hebrew, Book of Creation[1], ספר יצירה) is the title of the earliest book on Jewish esotericism. ...

Contents

Early life and travels

Very early in life he was taken by his parents to Tudela, in Navarre, where his aged father Samuel Abulafia carefully instructed him in the Bible and Talmud. When he was eighteen years old his father died, and two years later Abraham began a life of ceaseless wandering. His first journey was to Palestine, whence he intended to start and find the legendary river Sambation and the lost Ten Tribes. He got no further than Akko, however, owing to the desolation and lawlessness in the Holy Land stemming from the chaos following the last Crusades. He then determined to go to Rome, but stopped short in Capua, where he devoted himself with passionate zeal to the study of philosophy and of the Moreh of Maimonides, under the tutelage of a philosopher and physician named Hillel — probably the well-known Hillel ben Samuel ben Eliezer of Verona. Although he always holds Maimonides in the highest estimation, and often makes use of sentences from his writings, he was as little satisfied with his philosophy as with any other branch of knowledge which he acquired. He thirsted after the highest. He was of a communicative disposition, able and eager to teach others. He wrote industriously on kabbalistic, philosophical, and grammatical subjects, and succeeded in surrounding himself with numerous pupils, to whom he imparted much of his own enthusiasm. On his return to Spain he became subject to visions, and at the age of thirty-one, at Barcelona, immersed himself in the study of the Sefer Yetzirah and its numerous commentaries. This book, and particularly the commentary and method of the German mystic, Eleazar of Worms, exercised a deep influence upon him, and had the effect of greatly increasing his mystical bent. Letters of the alphabet, numerals, vowel-points, all became symbols of existence to him, and their combinations and permutations, supplementing and explaining one another, possessed for him an illumining power most effectively to be disclosed in a deeper study of the divine names, and especially of the consonants of the Tetragrammaton. With such auxiliaries, and with the observance of certain rites and ascetic practises, men, he says, may attain to the highest aim of existence and become prophets; not in order to work miracles and signs, but to reach the highest degree of perception and be able to penetrate intuitively into the inscrutable nature of the Deity, the riddles of creation, the problems of human life, the purpose of the precepts, and the deeper meaning of the Torah. His most important disciple, and one who carried his system further, was the cabalist Joseph Chiquitilla. Abulafia soon left Spain again, and in 1279 wrote at Patras, in Greece, the first of his prophetic books, Sefer ha-Yashar (The Book of the Righteous). Tudela is a town and municipality in Spain, in the northern province of Navarra. ... Capital Pamplona Official language(s) Spanish and Basque Area  â€“ Total  â€“ % of Spain Ranked 11th  10,391 km²  2. ... This Gutenberg Bible is displayed by the United States Library. ... The first page of the Vilna Edition of the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Berachot, folio 2a. ... The Holy Land or Palestine Showing not only the Old Kingdoms of Judea and Israel but also the 12 Tribes Distinctly, and Confirming Even the Diversity of the Locations of their Ancient Positions and Doing So as the Holy Scriptures Indicate, a geographic map from the studio of Tobiae Conradi... This article needs to be wikified. ... Lost Ten Tribes, also referenced as the Ten Lost Tribes or the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel, usually refers to ten of the tribes of the ancient Kingdom of Israel that were reported lost after the Kingdom of Israel was totally destroyed, enslaved and exiled by ancient Assyria. ... The Old City of Akko in the 19th or early 20th century, looking south-west from atop the Land Wall Promenade, the open space now a parking lot. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Holy Land (Biblical). ... This article is about the medieval crusades. ... Nickname: Motto: SPQR: Senatus Populusque Romanus Location of the city of Rome (yellow) within the Province of Rome (red) and region of Lazio (grey) Coordinates: Region Lazio Province Province of Rome Founded 21 April 753 BC Government  - Mayor Walter Veltroni Area  - City 1,285 km²  (580 sq mi)  - Urban 5... Capua is a city in the province of Caserta, (Campania, Italy) situated 25 km (16 mi) north of Napoli, on the northeastern edge of the Campanian plain. ... Commonly used image indicating one artists conception of Maimonidess appearance Maimonides (March 30, 1135 or 1138–December 13, 1204) was a Jewish rabbi, physician, and philosopher in Spain, Morocco and Egypt during the Middle Ages. ... Precognition (from the Latin præ-, “prior to,” + cognitio, “a getting to know”) denotes a form of extra-sensory perception wherein a person is able to perceive information about places or events before they happen through paranormal means. ... Location Coordinates : Time Zone : CET (GMT +1) - summer: CEST (GMT +2) General information Native name Barcelona (Catalan) Spanish name Barcelona Nickname Ciutat Comtal (City of Counts) Postal code 08001–08080 Area code 34 (Spain) + 93 (Barcelona) Website http://www. ... Sefer Yetzirah (Hebrew, Book of Creation[1], ספר יצירה) is the title of the earliest book on Jewish esotericism. ... Eleazar ben Judah ben Kalonymus of Worms (Hebrew: אלעזר מוורמס, also Elazar Rokeach or Rokeiach) (c. ... It has been suggested that Yahweh be merged into this article or section. ... For other senses of this word, see Prophet (disambiguation). ... It has been suggested that Tawrat be merged into this article or section. ... Joseph ben Abraham Gikatilla (1248-ca. ... Patras (Demotic Greek: Πάτρα, Pátra, Classical Greek: Πάτραι, Pátrai, Latin: , Ottoman Turkish: Ballıbadra) is the third-largest city of Greece and the capital of the prefecture of Achaea, located in northern Peloponnese, 215 kilometers to the west of Athens. ...


Journey to Rome

In obedience to an inner voice, he went in 1280 to Rome, in order to effect the conversion of Pope Nicholas III on the day before New Year, 5041. The pope, then in Suriano, heard of it, and issued orders to burn the fanatic as soon as he reached that place. Close to the inner gate the stake was erected in preparation; but not in the least disturbed, Abulafia set out for Suriano and reached there August 22. While passing through the outer gate, he heard that the pope had succumbed to an apoplectic stroke during the preceding night. Returning to Rome, he was thrown into prison by the Minorites, but was liberated after four weeks' detention. He was next heard of in Sicily, where he appeared as a prophet and Messiah. . Nicholas III, né Giovanni Gaetano Orsini (Rome, ca. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see Stroke (disambiguation). ... Franciscans is the common name used to designate a variety of mendicant religious orders of men or women tracing their origin to Francis of Assisi and following the Rule of St. ... Sicily ( in Italian and Sicilian) is an autonomous region of Italy and the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, with an area of 25,708 km² (9,926 sq. ... In Judaism, the Messiah (Hebrew: , Standard  Tiberian ; Aramaic: , ; Arabic: , ; the Anointed One) at first meant any person who was anointed with oi on rising to a certain position among the ancient Israelites, at first that of High priest, later that of King and also that of a prophet. ...


Decline and exile to Comino

This claim was put an end to by a letter to the people of Palermo, which most energetically condemned Abulafia's conduct. It was written by Rabbi Solomon ben Adret, who devoted much of his career to calming the various messianic hysteriae of the day. Abulafia had to take up the pilgrim's staff anew, and under distressing conditions compiled his Sefer ha-Ot (The Book of the Sign) on the little island of Comino, near Malta, between 1285 and 1288. In 1291 he wrote his last, and perhaps his most intelligible, work, Imre Shefer (Words of Beauty); after this all trace of him is lost. For other uses, see Palermo (disambiguation). ... Shlomo ben Aderet (or Solomon son of Aderet) (1235-1310), universally known to scholars of Judaism as the Rashba (the acronym for his Hebrew name), was a Medieval rabbi, Halakhist, and famous Talmudist. ... Hysteria is a diagnostic label applied to a state of mind, one of unmanageable fear or emotional excesses. ... Comino (Maltese: Kemmuna) is an island of the Maltese archipelago between the islands of Malta and Gozo in the Mediterranean Sea, measuring 3. ...


Mystical teachings

Abulafia called his kabalistic system "prophetical kabbalah," distinguishing it thus from that of his predecessors, which he considers of lower grade, because it satisfied itself with the characterization of God as En-Sof ("the Being without end"), with the Sefirot as vague intermediaries, and with the doctrine of the transmigration of souls, and because its method remained essentially speculative. Such is only a preliminary and inferior grade of knowledge; the highest goal is prophetism, assuring men a certain degree of community with God. Means hereunto are afforded by the close study of the names of God, particularly of the four-lettered YHWH, and also by gemaṭria, the symbolical employment of letters as numerals. In this the letters of a word are to be considered not only as letters, giving the sound, but as numerals, the sum of which may be replaced by the equal sum of other letters, producing, of course, a new word, which must prove to be identical in significance, or at least allied, with the first word whose sum it equals. Thus Abulafia calls himself sometimes and sometimes [missing Hebrew text?], because the total of the letters in each of these words equals 248, which is likewise the total of the letters in his own given name. In one place, desiring to call himself "Berechiah," he misspells it in order to make it aggregate 248 (Steinschneider, Cat. Munich, No. 409). He also employs the processes of notarikon (regarding each letter in a word as the initial of some other word, and so making of it an acrostic), of temurah (substitution of one letter for another), and of ziruf (connecting various letters of the same word). He claims to have derived his system of letter-symbols from Moses Nahmanides; but he probably drew it, especially the gemaṭria and the play with the names of God and the necessary attendant ascetic life and contemplation——from the German mysticism of Eleazar of Worms. His view of prophetism or the prophetic gift as the highest goal seems to indicate the influence of Judah ha-Levi's Kuzari but his idea of the nature of prophecy itself is rather in accord with Maimonides. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Sephirah, also Sefirah (Hebrew language סְפִירָה Enumeration); plural Sephiroth or Sefiroth סְפִירוֹת. In the Kabbalah, the Sephiroth (or Enumerations) are the ten emanations of God (or infinite light: Ain Soph Aur) into the universe. ... Transmigration can has several meanings: Transmigration of the soul is a common term for reincarnation. ... Moritz Steinschneider (March 30, 1816, ProstÄ›jov (Prossnitz), Moravia – 1907) was an Austrian bibliographer and Orientalist. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... An acrostic (from the late Greek akróstichon, from ákros, extreme, and stíchos, verse) is a poem or other writing in an alphabetic script, in which the first letter, syllable or word of each verse, paragraph or other recurring feature in the text spells out another message. ... Temurah is one of the three ancient methods, the other two are gematria and Netrikon, used by the Kabbalists to rearrange words and sentences in the Bible to derive the esoteric substratum and deeper spiritual meaning of the words. ... Nahmanides (1194 - c. ... Judah Ha-Levi, also Yehudah Halevi, was a Jewish Spanish philosopher and poet. ... The Kuzari is the most famous work by the medieval Spanish Jewish writer Yehuda Halevi. ...


Influence

Abulafia's influence upon the further development of the Kabbalah was rather of a retarding than a fostering nature (Kohler, Jewish Encyclopedia). He gave it a visionary turn. Owing to his influence there was a growing tendency to juggle with the names of God and angels, and to employ gematria in its most diverse forms. Kohler is a family name of German origin and can refer to: Kohler, Wisconsin Kohler Company Kohler Glacier Kohler Range People Alan Kohler, Australian journalist Kaufmann Kohler, reform rabbi Herbert Kohler, Jr. ... The Jewish Encyclopedia was an encyclopedia originally published between 1901 and 1906 by Funk and Wagnalls. ... This article is about the supernatural being. ...


Abulafia began his fruitful literary activity in 1271; he himself states the number of his writings to be twenty-six, of which twenty-two are "prophetical." Of these the following have been printed:

  • Sefer ha-Ot (in the Grätz-Jubelschrift, Hebrew part, p. 65)
  • ("And this is for Judah"), consisting of a reply to Solomon ben Adret's attack, in Adolf Jellinek, Auswahl Kabbalistischer Mystik, p. 13
  • Sheba' Netibot ha-Torah (The Seven Ways of the Law), and Imre Shefer, in Jellinek, Philosophie und Kabbala
  • a part of his autobiography from his Ozar Eden Ganuz (The Hidden Treasure of Eden), in Jellinek, B.H., iii, introduction, p. xl.

Jellinek, in his preface to Sefer ha-Ot, says "In the Spaniard Abraham Abulafia of the thirteenth century Essenism of old found its resurrection. Preaching asceticism and the highest potentiality of the spirit through communion with God, effected by a perfect knowledge and use of His names, he was thoroughly convinced of his prophetic mission, and considered himself to be the God-sent Messiah and Son of God. He differs, however, from the Messiahs who have risen at different times in his many-sided philosophical training as well as in his perfect unselfishness and sincerity. He addresses himself not to the masses, but to the educated and enlightened, and does not confine his mission to his coreligionists, but is filled with the desire to extend it to the adherents of the Christian church also. It seems that, for the sake of influencing these, he tried to construct a Trinitarian system, though it was a Trinity in form merely, and did not touch the essence of God's personality. Before his vision stood the ideal of a unity of faith, the realization of which he longed to bring about. Imbued with this spirit, his disciples worked in Spain and Italy, emphasizing still more the Trinitarian idea while treating of the 'Ten Sefirot' in order to win the adherents of the Church. Hence the terms Father, Mother, Son, and Holy Ghost, borrowed from the Christian creed, in the cabalistic literature of the thirteenth century. In order to understand Abulafia psychologically and judge him correctly and without bias in the light of history, it must be borne in mind that his cradle was in Spain, the home of religious ecstasy, and that the age in which he lived was that of the Crusades, so favorable to mystic speculation, an age in which many longed to see the barriers separating Judaism, Christianity, and Islam broken down, and in which the Messianic hopes of the Jews found new nourishment in many hearts." Shlomo ben Aderet (or Solomon son of Aderet) (1235-1310), universally known to scholars of Judaism as the Rashba (the acronym for his Hebrew name), was a Medieval rabbi, Halakhist, and famous Talmudist. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... The Essenes (Issiim) were a Jewish religious sect of Zadokites that flourished from the 2nd century BC to the 1st century AD. The name Essene, itself, is either a version of the Greek word for Holy, or various Aramaic dialect words for pious, and is probably not what the... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see Christian (disambiguation). ... The adjective trinitarian is used in several senses: Ideas or things pertaining to the Holy Trinity A person or group adhering to the doctrine of Trinitarianism, which holds God to subsist in the form of the Holy Trinity The Trinitarian Order is a Catholic monastic order founded in 1198 by... The Holy Spirit, from the Christian viewpoint, while related to Gods will, is not Gods will personified. ... This article is about the medieval crusades. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... For people named Islam, see Islam (name). ...


Jellinek gives a list of Abulafia's works in the introduction to Philosophie und Kabbala, p. 7; but it needs correction from Steinschneider, Catalog, 2nd ed., No. 285 et passim, Munich. Abulafia's writings are not wanting in excellent ideas and beautiful illustrations, but these are so overgrown with mystic obscurity and abstruseness that a perusal of them is not very edifying (Kohler et al., Jewish Encyclopedia).


Abulafia in popular culture

  • Abulafia is the nickname given by deuteragonist Jacopo Belbo to his home computer in Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum. The machine was used not only for word processing, but also to attempt to extract meaningful snippets from random permutations of text in a fashion reminiscent of Abraham Abulafia's methods.
  • Paul Durham uses the word Abulafia as the escape code to call up a terminal in his virtual reality simulations in Greg Egan's Permutation City. This is again a reference to the permutation process, though it is unclear whether it is intended as an homage to the machine in Eco's work or to Abraham Abulafia himself.
  • The young speller Eliza Naumann is introduced to the work of Abulafia by her father in the novel Bee Season by Myla Goldberg, and the film adaptation (2005) directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel.
  • Science fiction writer Philip K. Dick claimed at one point to have been possessed by Abulafia's spirit.

Children playing on a Amstrad CPC 464 in the 1980s. ... Umberto Eco (born January 5, 1932) is an Italian medievalist, semiotician, philosopher and novelist, best known for his novel The Name of the Rose (Il nome della rosa) and his many essays. ... Cover of Foucaults Pendulum, 1989 Picador edition. ... Greg Egan (August 20, 1961, Perth, Western Australia) is an Australian computer programmer and science fiction author. ... Permutation City is a science fiction novel (ISBN 1-85798-218-5) by Greg Egan which explores quantum ontology via the various philosophical aspects of artificial life and simulations of intelligence. ... Bee Season is a 2000 novel (ISBN 0385498799) by Myla Goldberg. ... Myla Goldberg (born 1972) is an American novelist and musician. ... Bee Season is a 2005 feature film based on the 2000 novel by Myla Goldberg. ... David Siegel is a Graduate of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and of The University of Vermont. ... Philip Kindred Dick (December 16, 1928 – March 2, 1982) was an American writer, mostly known for his works of science fiction. ...

Bibliography

  • Kohler, Kaufman et al.. "Abulafia, Abraham." Jewish Encyclopedia. 1901-1906; which cites:
    • M. H. Landauer, in Literaturblatt des Orients, 1845, pp. 381 et seq. (this scholar disinterred Abulafia from his long obscurity);
    • Adolf Jellinek (who devoted a great deal of study to this author), in the works already mentioned and in his Beiträge zur Gesch. der Kabbala, pt. ii;
    • Moritz Steinschneider, Catalog der Hebr. Handschriften der Staatsbibliothek zu München, 2nd ed., Nos. 28 et alia, containing references to Hebr. Bibl.;
    • Heinrich Grätz, Gesch. d. Juden, vii.7;
    • Bloch, Gesch. d. Entwickelung d. Kabbala, pp. 46 et seq.;
    • Hermann Vogelstein and Paul Rieger, Geschichte der Juden in Rom, i.247 et seq. (needs some emendation)

The Jewish Encyclopedia was an encyclopedia originally published between 1901 and 1906 by Funk and Wagnalls. ... M. H. Landauer (1808–February 3, 1841) was a writer on Jewish mysticism, born at Kappel, near Buchau, Württemberg. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Moritz Steinschneider ( March 30, 1816, Prostějov (Prossnitz), Moravia - 1907) was the Austrian bibliographer and Orientalist. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ...

References

Wikisource has original text related to this article:
The Zohar and Later Mysticism

Image File history File links Wikisource-logo. ... The original Wikisource logo. ... The Jewish Encyclopedia was an encyclopedia originally published between 1901 and 1906 by Funk and Wagnalls. ... The public domain comprises the body of all creative works and other knowledge—writing, artwork, music, science, inventions, and others—in which no person or organization has any proprietary interest. ...

See also

Christian mythology is the body of traditional narrative associated with Christianity. ... Jewish mythology is a body of stories that explains or symbolizes Jewish beliefs. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
Learn Kabbalah | Abraham Abulafia (1032 words)
Abraham Abulafia (1240-1291) is the most important figure in the prophetic Kabbalah, and among the most fascinating Kabbalists in our historical record.
Abulafia believed himself to be a messianic figure — not quite the redeemer of Israel, but someone who would prepare the way and who was revealing important new secrets of Creation.
Abulafia was a prolific writer, fluent in the languages of philosophy, Kabbalah, and theology — though it is not known how well-versed he was in the traditional learning of the Talmud and later authorities.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

COMMENTARY     


Share your thoughts, questions and commentary here
Your name
Your comments

Want to know more?
Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 


Press Releases |  Feeds | Contact
The Wikipedia article included on this page is licensed under the GFDL.
Images may be subject to relevant owners' copyright.
All other elements are (c) copyright NationMaster.com 2003-5. All Rights Reserved.
Usage implies agreement with terms, 1022, m