The Zohar describes the point that gave origin to creation as a shapeless nucleus, issued from a supernal effulgence. There was a Primordial Light from which the first point developed, but it also was a light that burst when it expanded, emerging into being. In the paper we will try to prove that the accommodation of Primordial Light to the changes of the world is only possible as a perception of the recipients, and this makes us consider that the Zohar postulates a kind of acosmism, according to which changes in our material world exist only from our perspective.
This paper will explore a short Hebrew text appearing in a 15th-century Italian manuscript hitherto unpublished. This short text is part of an eclectic collection of works in philosophy, astronomy, scriptural commentary, poetry, and short anecdotes. More interestingly, it presents what seems like a Hebrew version of a chivalric romance, complete with a young knight, a damsel in distress, and a type of dragon. Upon a closer examination, the text is revealed to be a medieval version of the Oedipus story based on a non-Jewish version of the Greek classic. Importantly to my argument, this ‘oedipal anecdote’ claims to be an exemplum of points made by Gersonides in his Biblical commentary. In fact, this claim to relevance to Jewish scholarship is the excuse allowing for this anecdote’s very commitment to parchment.
The Averroist thesis of the unity of the intellect was extremely controversial in medieval philosophy. Averroism was institutionally supported in universities and ecclesiastically denounced. Pico della Mirandola (1463-1494), who studied Averroism in Padua from 1480-1482, commissioned a Jewish Averroist, Elia del Medigo, to translate Averroes from Hebrew (texts unavailable in Latin) and to compose a commentary on Averroes. I will examine the influence of Averroes on Pico’s text Conclusiones, focusing on Pico’s reception of the unity of intellect thesis and examining the Averroist separation of religion and philosophy in connection to Pico’s concordistic aims and theory of correspondences. I also examine del Medigo’s Averroism in Pico’s thought, uncovering sites of mediation between medieval Islamic, Jewish, and Christian traditions.