Giordano Bruno and the Kabbalah: Prophets, Magicians, and Rabbis

Overview

In this major new interpretation of the thought of the heretical philosopher Giordano Bruno (1548-1600), Karen de Leon-Jones depicts the influential thinker as mystic and Kabbalistic. She rejects the popular view of Bruno as Hermetic magus - a position initiated by Frances Yates and widely accepted by succeeding scholars. Bruno's interest in mysticism and the Kabbalah was not merely intellectual or satiric, de Leon-Jones contends: a close look at his study of the Kabbalah reveals him as a practicing believer. ...
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Overview

In this major new interpretation of the thought of the heretical philosopher Giordano Bruno (1548-1600), Karen de Leon-Jones depicts the influential thinker as mystic and Kabbalistic. She rejects the popular view of Bruno as Hermetic magus - a position initiated by Frances Yates and widely accepted by succeeding scholars. Bruno's interest in mysticism and the Kabbalah was not merely intellectual or satiric, de Leon-Jones contends: a close look at his study of the Kabbalah reveals him as a practicing believer. This book sets Bruno's thought in the context of the widespread interest in non-Christian religions in fifteenth- and sixteenth century Italy. His quest for an alternative model to the strict spirituality of post-Reformation churches, for a way to encompass both scientific and mystical views of the universe, led Bruno to the Kabbalah. De Leon-Jones argues that Bruno's dialogue Cabala del cavallo (Kabbalah of the pegasean horse) expressed his mystical, kabbalistic doctrine. For Bruno, the Kabbalah reconciled science with theology and provided a biblical support for theories such as metempsychosis that he wished to prove scientifically through atomic theory and physiognomy. Balancing his mystical Cabala dialogue with the Hermetic vein of his dialogue Spaccio della bestia trionfante and the Napoleonic emblems of De'li eroici furori, Bruno creates a solid syncretic trilogy, as well as a strikingly modern apology for scientific and philosophical debates still of interest today.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300068078
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 9/23/1997
  • Series: Yale Studies in Hermeneutics
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.57 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1 Nola, the Nolan, and the "Nolana Filosofia" 1
2 Bruno's Kabbalistic System 17
3 The Sefirot 19
4 Hokhmah, Minerva, and Sofia-Sapienza 53
5 Ignoranza, Sofia, and Verita 63
6 Metempsychosis 83
7 The Ass, the Asino Cillenico, and the Cavallo Pegaseo 109
8 Rabbis, Hebrew Doctors, and the Symbol of the Ass 118
9 The Prophet Balaam and the Prophetic Ass 128
10 The Prophet Moses 137
11 The Prophet Solomon 146
12 The Prophetic Allegory 157
13 Prophets, Magicians, and Rabbis 174
Appendix 1 The Actaeion Emblems from Eroici Furori 185
Appendix 2 The Sun Emblems from Eroici Furori 189
Appendix 3 The Emblems of the Nine Lovers from Eroici Furori 195
Appendix 4 The Nine Orders of Blindness from Eroici Furori 200
Notes 203
Bibliography 255
Index 267
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