Covert Jewish Sources of Christian Kabbalah: The Case of Guillaume Postel and Iyyun Traditions

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The article focuses on Guillaume Postel's Latin Zohar Commentary (1553), with the aim of uncovering a hitherto unknown influence of the medieval Iyyun Corpus on Postel's Kabbalistic thought. Following a prefatory methodological exposition it is demonstrated that in addition to the more common Kabbalistic doctrines, such as those of the Zohar and other central theosophical-Kabbalistic treatises, Postel was also influenced by a different trend of Kabbalah, namely, the anonymous thirteenth-century mystical corpus originating in Languedoc, designated in scholarship as the Iyyun Writings. A reliable analysis of Kabbalistic Christian writings requires acquaintance with the writers' sources, especially given the extent and divergence of medieval Kabbalistic literature. Therefore, we cannot make do with locating overt citations or references to known Kabbalistic treatises found in these writings, but also aim at uncovering covert Kabbalistic traditions which influenced them, as in the case of Postel and the Iyyun Corpus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalMedieval Encounters
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Christian Kabbalah
  • Guillaume Postel
  • Iyyun traditions
  • Renaissance
  • medieval Kabbalah

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • History
  • Religious studies
  • Linguistics and Language


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