Jewish mysticism

Biblioteca Teresiana

An impressive comment of the Zohar, probably completed in Mantua. It shows the traditional text of the kabbalah, in the Lurianic version. With the arrival of Zacuto in Mantua (in 1673) the city became one of the most important Jewish centres, maintaining that role until late seventeen hundreds.

The Sefer ha-Zohar, the Book of Light, is the most important fruit of the kabbalistic tradition, the mystical, sapiential, and magic knowledge which took shape in Europe in the second millennium. It is a comment to the Old Testament, probably composed in Spain in the thirteenth century and attributed to Moseh de Leon (Guadalajara 1250, Arevalo 1305). In these pages the Jewish thought reaches peaks of metaphysical speculation that enrich and broaden the Old Testament and the Talmud. The text was the source of study and contemplation for entire generations of kabbalah scholars, who reinterpreted its contents throughout the centuries.

The Zohar 1558
This first edition of the Zohar was printed in three volumes, between 1558 and 1560. It marked the success of an editorial and financial adventure, which gave one of the most important works, philologically exemplar, in the area of classical mysticism. Mantua was one of the most important Jewish centres in Italy from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century. This printed copy is the first of its kind, and also presents a paradox: printing made it possible to reproduce and spread the most secret and precious book of the European Jews, which could now be divulged, albeit in a language that only a few were able to understand at the time. The beauty of this edition inspires also pride, the book is a unique treasure, now part of the Jewish Mantua collection which comprises religious, poetic, philosophical and theatrical texts, now digitalized and available to researchers. 
Credits: Story

Ideato e promosso da / Founded and Promoted by:
Mattia Palazzi (Sindaco del Comune di Mantova)
con Lorenza Baroncelli (Assessore alla rigenerazione urbana e del territorio, marketing urbano, progetti e relazioni internazionali del Comune di Mantova)

Coordinamento Scientifico / Scientific Coordinator:
Sebastiano Sali

Curatore testi e immagini / Superintendent texts and images:
Giovanni Pasetti

Foto di / Photo by:
Gian Maria Pontiroli

Redazione/ Editors:
Erica Beccalossi
Sara Crimella
Carlotta Depalmas
Veronica Zirelli

In collaborazione con / In collaboration with:
Biblioteca Teresiana

Un ringraziamento speciale a / A special thanks to:
Cesare Guerra
Pasquale Di Viesti
Emma Catherine Gainsforth

Credits: All media
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