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The Scandal of KabbalahLeon Modena, Jewish Mysticism, Early Modern Venice$
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Yaacob Dweck

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691145082

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691145082.001.0001

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The Afterlife of Ari Nohem

The Afterlife of Ari Nohem

Chapter Six The Afterlife of Ari Nohem
The Scandal of Kabbalah

Yaacob Dweck

Princeton University Press

This chapter traces the circulation of Ari Nohem in manuscript, from its composition through its first appearance in print. The different stages in the reception of Ari Nohem in manuscript offer an alternative history of Kabbalah in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, one that has largely been told through the histories of Sabbatianism and Hasidism. The manuscript transmission of Ari Nohem was typical rather than aberrant for texts written by early modern Jewish intellectuals on a variety of subjects: polemical writings on Christianity, esoteric kabbalistic treatises, and epistolary campaigns against the mystical messiah Sabbatai Zevi and his followers. The evidence of these manuscripts, combined with repeated citation of and allusion to Ari Nohem in letters, diaries, treatises, responsa, and compendia composed between 1639 and 1840, indicate that Jews and Christians continued to read Modena's text in nearly every generation between the death of the author and the printing of his book.

Keywords:   Ari Nohem, Kabbalah, Sabbatianism, Hasidism, Jewish intellectuals, esoteric kabbalistic treatises, Sabbatai Zevi, Christianity

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