Tradition and creativity in Nahmanides' Kabbalah. The commentary on the creation story and its history

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Abstract

Nahmanides' kabbalistic work has been discussed particularly in the context of his kabbalistic comments which are embedded within his well known Commentary on the Torah. In this article I would like to concentrate on another document which has been published by Gershom Scholem and contains a kabbalistic commentary of Nahmanides to the Creation story in Genesis. By close reading and analyzing this document the article confirms its attribution to Nahmanides. It asserts however that it's not an early work that stands on its own, as Scholem assumes, but rather the first edition of his commentary to the Creation story in the book of Genesis, which was excised from it at a certain stage and replaced with a new commentary. In this context, the article points out the meaning of the change in Nahmanides' exegetical position regarding the Creation story and its significance and importance in understanding his intellectual and kabbalistic biography. The picture that arises here is that alongside the respect that Nahmanides felt toward the traditional kabbalistic commentaries that he used extensively; he did not hold himself back from engaging in speculative exegesis and following his own judgment in choosing to adopt, change or reject earlier traditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-73
Number of pages37
JournalRevue des Etudes Juives
Volume177
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Religious studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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