Renaissance and Rebirth: Reincarnation in Early Modern by Brian Ogren

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By Brian Ogren

During the subject of metempsychosis as mentioned through students in Renaissance Italy, this booklet addresses the troublesome query of the jobs of Jews who lived in Italy within the improvement of Renaissance tradition in its Jewish and its Christian dimensions.

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Additional info for Renaissance and Rebirth: Reincarnation in Early Modern Italian Kabbalah (Studies in Jewish History and Culture)

Example text

The second is the fact that these relatively new Jewish communities were composed primarily of immigrants with diverse cultural backgrounds, from French, German or Spanish lands, or even from other regions in Italy. As will be seen throughout the present study, this diversity in the face of an already weak sense of political influence led to internal conflict, and often bitter struggles for religious and political authority. The third factor pointed out by Ruderman involves the concentration of economic wealth within these fledgling communities, in the hands of a small number of affluent banking families.

128–130. 42 chapter one the community from a long family line of Candian leaders,5 came to the defense of both the doctrine of metempsychosis and its association with the institution of levirate marriage. Scrupulously responding to the philosophical war waged against him and his circle, Balbo’s espousal of this very mystically charged doctrine took on a predominantly philosophical character. 7 Combined with the need to defend his position against the philosophical claims of Ashkenazi, Balbo’s philosophical expertise not only provided a common foundation on which possible dispute and dialogue could occur, it naturally led the discussion in a philosophical direction.

In the case of Pico, the purpose is to erase sharp distinctions, to appropriate (or to re-appropriate, as he sees it) that which he views to be positive, and in the process, to win over converts. In the case of Ficino, the purpose seems to be to assert the primacy of Christianity through Plato, who perhaps by no coincidence, was used during the period by autodidacts such as Alemanno in order to interpret kabbalistic thought. In an interesting reverse, which will be shown in chapters seven and eight respectively, in the case of metempsychosis, Pico does not relate to kabbalistic thought at all but rather relies upon the Neoplatonic interpretations of Plotinus, while Ficino does appropriate some ideas from kabbalah.

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