Ars Judaica

From Kurdistan to Baghdad: The Transfer of Visual Knowledge during the Early Modern Period

Ars Judaica (2018), 14, (1), 79–92.

Abstract

The paper addresses two themes that have not received the attention they deserve in the existing research: the presence of Kabbalah in Kurdistan and the transfer of visual Kabbalistic knowledge between different cultures. It describes the way in which Italian visual objects were transferred to Kurdistan at the beginning of the seventeenth century, how they were adapted to Kurdish culture, and how they were then relocated and readapted following the immigration of Rabbinic Kurdish families to Bagdad. The article focuses on the work of two scholars from Kurdistan: R. Yehoshua b. R. David and R. Yehuda b. Pinḥas. These two kabbalists created a kabbalistic ilan (literally: tree), a complex diagram consisting of drawings and texts and relating to the spheres of divine emanation. The ilan, based on Italian knowledge, teaches us about the various relations between Italy and Kurdistan in the seventeenth century.

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Details

Author details

Baumgarten, Eliezer