By Hava Tirosh-Rothschild
"...[This ebook is] a major, scholarly well-researched e-book on an incredible determine in early sleek Jewish heritage and concept. It offers an outstanding evaluate of Jewish lifestyles throughout the Renaissance, the histortiographic matters, and the man's position within the higher spectrum of Jewish philosophical considering. it can be crucial as a examine of either Italian and Ottoman Jewry and of the historical past of responses to Maimonides."
- Howard Adelman, Smith collage
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Extra resources for Between Worlds: The Life and Thought of Rabbi David Ben Judah Messer Leon
Elijah del Medigo did not share Pico's enthusiasm for Platonism and Kabbalah but continued to insist on the substantive difference between Aristotelianism and Platonism. In contrast to Alemanno, del Medigo regarded Kabbalah not as ancient wisdom but as a recent Midrash. In 1486 del Medigo wrote Pico of his reservations about both Kabbalah and Platonism in a letter that accompanied his translation into Latin ofthe Kabbalistic biblical commentary by Menahem Recanati. In 1485, while still in Pico's service in Florence, del Medigo was forced to defend Judaism in a public disputation, which we know about from Marsilio Ficino's letter to Domenico Benivieni.
He must have understood that role; we know that other Italian Jews did. 64 At his father's yeshivah, R. David had already been instructed in the studia humanitatis, and was acquainted with the current debates between scholastics and humanists in the Italian scholarly community - for instance, the debate between Pi co della Mirandola and Ermolao Barbaro. 65 A visit to Florence could only solidify R. David's mastery of the humanist curriculum. Indeed, R. David's extant works exhibit his profound indebtedness to Renaissance humanism, far beyond the initial openness of R.
Classical studies and other scholarly activity in Florence enjoyed the patronage of the ruling family and other patricians. The Medicis founded and encouraged the Platonic Academy, patronized handsomely the greatest philosophers - Ficino, Pico and others - and invested heavily in the arts. 62 Florence dominated the intellectual and artistic life of Italy during the fifteenth century. Jews partly financed Florence's art, architecture, and classical 46 Between Worlds scholarship, as well as its sumptuous life of pageants, tournaments and carnivals.