Johann Reuchlin and the Kabbalah
Author: Cis van Heertum
Catalogue of an exhibition on the life and work of Johannes Reuchlin, pioneering Christian Hebraist and kabbalist and early champion of religious tolerance. Reuchlin visited Italy three times, in 1482, 1490 and 1498, carrying back to his native Germany the enthusiasm for the ‘prisca theologia’, the belief that a single, true theology pervades all religions. Already in Germany he became interested in kabbalistic works, attempting to acquire as many as he could for his library. He learnt Hebrew from Jewish tutors to be able to read the mystical texts in the original language.
Philosophia symbolica highlights Reuchlin’s connection with the humanist circle in Italy, his interest in Kabbalah and his humanist library, his defence of Jewish works, and finally his remarkable posthumous association with the newly founded University of Göttingen (1737) through the efforts of one of his admirers, the Christian Hebraist Hermann von der Hardt.
Keywords: Hebrew Kabbalah, Renaissance, humanist book collecting.
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