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Judaica Petropolitana


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ISSN 2542-1794

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ISSN 2307-9053

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Issue 1 (2013)


I. R. Tantlevskij.   The “Old New” Jewish Studies of St. Petersburg   Summary
I. R. Tantlevskij.   «Staronovaia» iudaika Sankt-Peterburga   

184 kB download pdf
Russian C. Aslanov.   Northwest Semitic Structural Influences on Archaic Greek: a Reassessment    Summary 230 kB download pdf
A. V. Nemirovskaya.   Further Considerations on Deuteronomy 32:5   Summary
A. V. Nemirovskaia. K interpretatsii bibleiskogo fragmenta Vtorozakonie 32:5
290 kB download pdf
R. V. Svetlov.   Biblical Tubal-Cain and Plato’s «Sophist»   Summary
R. V. Svetlov. Bibleiskii Tuval-Kain i platonovskii «Sofist»
Russian M. Pontoppidan.   Biblical Ethics and Plotinus   Summary 163 kB download pdf
D. V. Romashov.   Rabbinic Traditions about Alexandrians: Transition and Transformation   Summary
D. V. Romashov. Peredacha i transformatsiia ravvinisticheskikh traditsii ob aleksandriitsakh
356 kB download pdf
A. Bikard.   Elia Levita and Teofilo Folengo: Creativity and Linguistic Freedom within the Genre of Chivalric Romance in Italy (ca. 1500–1530)   Summary 207 kB download pdf
V. E. Kelner.  “High as Their Goals Might be, They are Not Our Goals” (M. М. Vinaver as an Antizionist)   Summary
V. E. Kel'ner. «Ikh tseli mogut byt' vysoki, no oni — ne nashi tseli» (M. M. Vinaver — antisionist)
215 kB download pdf
Russian D. E. Rozenson.   Isaac Babel: Cognitive Insider vs. Social Outsider as Seen through the Prism of His Writings and His 1920 Diary   Summary 230 kB download pdf
I. Dvorkin.   The Being and the Existing. Overcoming of Metaphysics in Cohen, Heidegger and Levinas   Summary
I. Dvorkin. Sushchii i sushchestvuiushchii. Preodolenie metafiziki u Kogena, Khaideggera i Levinasa
223 kB download pdf
V. V. Fedchenko.   English and Yiddish Versions of Itskhok Bashevis Zinger’s Novel “Enemies. A Love Story”   Summary
V. V. Fedchenko. Angliiskaia i idishskaia versii romana I. B. Zingera «Vragi. Istoriia odnoi liubvi»
180 kB download pdf
V. Chernin.   The Man Who Stood in the Breach in the Wall: Hebrew Language in Shimon Frug’s Poetry   Summary 163 kB download pdf
E. Bareket.   A Holy Community — the Terminology and Its Usage according to Genizah Letters of the 11th Century   Summary 174 kB download pdf
Hebrew U. Gershowitz.   Fourteenth Century Philosophical Commentary on the Sefer Ha-Bahir   Summary 185 kB download pdf
Previous article Article summary

Uri Gershowitz
Chais Center for Jewish Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Fourteenth Century Philosophical Commentary on the Sefer Ha-Bahir

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The paper provides an overview and analysis of the philosophical commentary on Sefer Ha-Bahir written by fourteenth century thinker, R. Elijah ben Eliezer of Candia. This commentary was written in 1385, and remained in a single manuscript. Rationalistic thinkers, generally speaking, did not relate to Sefer ha-Bahir. Indeed, that R. Elijah ben Eliezer, who belonged to the rationalistic school, chose to interpret Sefer ha-Bahir is itself a rather surprising fact that calls for explanation. R. Elijah’s main concern in writing this commentary seems to have been a certain polemic need: R. Elijah attacks therein the Kabbalists, who found support for their views in Sefer ha-Bahir and interpreted it in a manner suitable to their positions and beliefs. According to R. Elijah, the Kabbalistic reading of Sefer ha-Bahir (which he referred to as Sefer Midrashim, a book of midrashim) is distorted, and the manner in which it is used is totally improper. R. Elijah’s interpretation is explicitly philosophical, belonging in this respect to the genre of philosophical interpretation of midrash and aggadah. R. Elijah’s method in interpreting Sefer ha-Bahir is that of the allegorical, philosophical exegesis of Rabbinic sayings, like that of Maimonides and his followers. According to this view, the Talmudic Sages are seen as expert in the various sciences, like the great philosophers, their sayings being interpreted as philosophical discourse concealed in poetic idiom and homiletics on Biblical verses. R. Elijah’s Commentary also displays influence of Samuel Ibn Tibbon’s Ma’amar Yikavu ha-Mayim.
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