THE RARE BOOK AND
MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Treasures


14 Cabalistic compendium
Hebrew manuscript on vellum, 203 leaves, Rimini, 1405 (X893 G363)
Written by Moses Barzilai in a fine Italian rabbinic hand, this collection of cabalistic works contains three treatises by medieval Jewish scholars well-known for their mystical interpretations of the Scriptures, as well as miscellaneous writings from other sources. The first half of the manuscript contains the text of Sefer ha-orah (Book of Light) by the Spanish cabalist Joseph Gikatilla (1248-ca. 1305); the ten chapters of this work deal with the ten sefirot, or spheres of the universe, and reflect Gikatilla's transition from philosopher to mystic. A second essay, Sha'ar ha-razim (Gate of Mysteries), a commentary on Psalm 19 revealing the mysteries of the sefirot, was written by Todros ben Joseph Abulafia, the thirteenth century rabbi and spiritual leader of the Jewish community of Castile. Sha'are ha-zedek (Gates of Righteousness), the third major treatise, is by the Spanish physician and philosopher Nahmanides (ca. 1195-ca. 1270). Fourteenth century manuscripts of these texts are in the Laurentian Library in Florence and the Vatican Library.
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