## Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

### Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#61
[quote=mikeH] It's a relief for me to know that these assignments aren't very ancient. The horizontals do correspond to the Sefer Yetzirah precisely. The verticals are one reasonable way of assigning Sefer Yetzirah letters to paths, but not the only one. The diagonals at least have the letters that the Sefer Yetzirah assigns to the diagonals, but as I have said, the configuration on the diagram doesn't fit any order of zodiacal constellations that I know of. There may be some distortion, or some special reason I don't know.[/quote]

Imagine instead of a cube shape, a diamond shape.

Imagine a cross, like an X, the two crossed lines represent front/back, left/right; imagine a vertical line passing through the centre for up/down. This gives you three lines (mother letters, and/or the directional letter YHV) and seven points (including the centre). Connect the 6 outer points by a hexagram within a hexagon, imagine this as a 2d representation of a 3d space, the central point in the middle, the 12 lines of the hexagram,hexagon form a diamond shape, they can be traced unicursally, these represent the 12 single letters/signs, drawn in the order of the SY, this diamond shape can be divided into three planes, or three pyramid like shapes, the plane base of which gives the order of the signs so that there is a plane with mutable signs, a plane with fixed signs, and a plane of cardinal signs. I have instructions with diagrams somewhere, I have posted it in several places, wrote it about 14/15 years ago – will try and dig it out and provide a link or email you a pdf.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

### Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#62
Thanks, Steve. This is something I had expected you would know something about. I eagerly await your presentation.
At the moment, I see a few problems. You wrote:
Imagine instead of a cube shape, a diamond shape.
I agree about the diamond shape, at least in so far as a cube put on one of its vertices/corner-points can, suitably positioned, take the form of 6 diamonds when projected onto two dimensions (2 of which, plus halves of 2 others, involve duplication of sides and vertices).

Steve M wrote (continuing from the above)
Imagine a cross, like an X, the two crossed lines represent front/back, left/right; imagine a vertical line passing through the centre for up/down. This gives you three lines (mother letters, and/or the directional letter YHV) and seven points (including the centre).
I have trouble with the cross. In the SY, the mother letters are explicitly horizontal. None of the lines in your cross is: two are diagonal, the third is vertical. Also, the seven planetary lines are in the SY explicitly lines, not points, and all explicitly vertical. It seems like you are ignoring the SY's descriptions.

Huck wrote,
... perhaps one may conclude, that Jews in Narbonne would take more the side of the bishop than of the Cathars, just from this condition, beside possible contradicting details in the religious concepts. But religious competition might have been creative for both sides and might develop new ideas on both sides.
I would conclude that the persecution of the Cathars gives a good reason for some of the Jews of Narbonne to keep their views secret. Also, we are talking about only a few of the Jews of Narbonne. What side the Jews of Narbonne as a whole would take, if any, is not only a matter of religious views but of survival tactics, which may take precedence.

I need to study the other parts of your presentation more thoroughly.

### Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#63
Huck wrote, back at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1049&start=50#p15966
Actually the first Sephira wandered and became the last. When the Sephiroth tree found to some forms, with often one contradicting all others ("every kabalists had his own system" or similar Gerschom Scholem had described the situation), a period of 600-1200 years had passed since the SY was written.

Further: The SY might contradict itself. Further: we have 4 different versions. Further: the SY, that we assume to be the original, might be not the original, but just a degenerated version of a better version. Further: the text is old and some words might have been translated in wrong and disturbing manner.
When you write, "Actually the first Sephira wandered and became the last" I don't see why that is so definite. That assumes that you know which Sephira wandered. In your hypothesized original diagram, the top point seems to be what the SY calls "breath", and so the origin of everything else. I have no argument with that, but how could the creator become the lowest of the created? This is not Christianity. It seems more in keeping with Jewish tradition that the Bride would wander, and the Bride is not at the top. but near it and also near the Groom (or more exactly, between the King and the shepherd-Beloved, as in the Song of Songs, as Alemanno analyzes the literal meaning of this text). The Bride (= breath from breath, the second sefira, originally at the bottom of the top diamond), allegorically the human soul, then falls, in sin, to the lowest position.

As far as the Sefer Yetzirah contradicting itself, that is possible, but only as a last resort. Otherwise it is better to assume that seeming contradictions are actually enigmas. And although there are four versions, they do not contradict each other in what we are dealing with.

### Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#64
mikeh wrote:Huck wrote,
... perhaps one may conclude, that Jews in Narbonne would take more the side of the bishop than of the Cathars, just from this condition, beside possible contradicting details in the religious concepts. But religious competition might have been creative for both sides and might develop new ideas on both sides.
I would conclude that the persecution of the Cathars gives a good reason for some of the Jews of Narbonne to keep their views secret. Also, we are talking about only a few of the Jews of Narbonne. What side the Jews of Narbonne as a whole would take, if any, is not only a matter of religious views but of survival tactics, which may take precedence.

I need to study the other parts of your presentation more thoroughly.
I don' claim to know much about it. Scholem took the position, that the differences between Cathars and Jews were possibly even greater than the differences between Christian and Cathars.
When you write, "Actually the first Sephira wandered and became the last" I don't see why that is so definite. That assumes that you know which Sephira wandered. In your hypothesized original diagram, the top point seems to be what the SY calls "breath", and so the origin of everything else. I have no argument with that, but how could the creator become the lowest of the created? This is not Christianity. It seems more in keeping with Jewish tradition that the Bride would wander, and the Bride is not at the top. but near it and also near the Groom (or more exactly, between the King and the shepherd-Beloved, as in the Song of Songs, as Alemanno analyzes the literal meaning of this text). The Bride (= breath from breath, the second sefira, originally at the bottom of the top diamond), allegorically the human soul, then falls, in sin, to the lowest position.
About the group structure of the 32 ways in SY ( 22 [= 1+6) + 3 + 12] + 10 [1+3+6] ) one can say, that it appears also in the 32 complementary hexagram pairs of I-Ching. It's plausible, that this is not accidental so, but cause of a result of an identical or at least rather similar mathematical consideration.

The SY uses a row from 1-10 for the 10 objects in the Sephiroth tree, the I-Ching doesn't use the row. Considering, that the hypercube of 6 (2^6) doesn't produce or need the row from 1-10, we have the condition, that the row of 1-10 is just a not necessary condition for the math object, similar to the identification with the 22 letters, which are important for Jewish culture, but naturally not of importance in the Chinese culture and also not for the related math object.

The Jewish Kabbala development made a strong metaphysical development with this not necessary addition "1-10" in its Sephiroth tree system, in contrast the binary system in the SY went into the background and was more or less even forgotten or "hidden for unknown reasons", at least it dominated not the foreground.

The Jews involved a complex genesis-of-the-world-system (also a not really necessary addition), the Chinese ha similar ideas, but were (at least to our eyes) less intensive with it. Later the Jews modified the direction of their interpretation, and focussed on ideas, how the world would end. Just another addition, but nonetheless it was finally a major topic.

... .-) ... let's assume, that these 32 ways of wisdom are like an empty soccer field. Then, at Saturday, 22 players, some referees and onlookers appear, and have a big show with goals, excitements, yellow and red cards, penalties and much beer for the audience etc. Finally everybody leaves. Still the soccer fields meditates its old dream. The Platzwart comes and repairs the green, a lonely man on a wide field, to which he adds fresh new white lines.
As far as the Sefer Yetzirah contradicting itself, that is possible, but only as a last resort. Otherwise it is better to assume that seeming contradictions are actually enigmas. And although there are four versions, they do not contradict each other in what we are dealing with.
Some of the elements of the SY might be from 1000 years and more before the authors birth, other might be of a younger date. It's a potpourri of many ideas. The connected math goes in different directions, the 32 ways for instance have nothing to do with the letter considerations. "231" is also not necessary. The 5-5 system seems not necessary. The connection to astrology is not necessary.
We don't know the name of the author and we don't know his time and location.

Perhaps the riddle of the disappearance of the knowledge of the math background of the 32 ways of wisdom lies in the contrast between Iyyun kabbalists and the school, which lead to Isaak the blind. Perhaps it are just the general insecurities of the related time and region. We have, that the Cathars disappeared. We have, that the Kabbala emigrated from Provence to Northern Spain.
We have, that kabbalists spoke of secrets, which they wouldn't tell easily. We have these dualismus aspects in the math code, and gnostic perspectives weren't welcome. We have the relative exalted religious behavior accompanying the crusade against the Cathars. We have an absolute crazy crusade of children. We have Joachim of Fiore's prophesies.

... :-) ... and we have the condition, that we mostly did focus on 15th century and not on 12th or 13th century. So likely we have a lot of blind spots.

### Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#65
Huck wrote
I don' claim to know much about it. Scholem took the position, that the differences between Cathars and Jews were possibly even greater than the differences between Christian and Cathars.
Which snippet or page number are you referring to? I looked through all the ones that are at that link and could not find what you are referring to; perhaps I missed something.

Huck wrote,
About the group structure of the 32 ways in SY ( 22 [= 1+6) + 3 + 12] + 10 [1+3+6] ) one can say, that it appears also in the 32 complementary hexagram pairs of I-Ching. It's plausible, that this is not accidental so, but cause of a result of an identical or at least rather similar mathematical consideration.
I am not arguing with that breakdown of the structure of the 32 paths in the SY (whatever its relationship to that of the I Ching). The 10 also break down simply as 4 + 6, but that is not important. What is important is which one of the 10 wandered. It does not seem plausible, in the light of the Kabbalist allegorical use of the 10, that it was the first, as opposed to one of the following 3, specifically the one that allegorically corresponded to the Bride.

### Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#66
... Cathars
at the German edition 206-210, which should be in the English "around 237"

In the SY the first Sephira gets the special quality against following "three elements" and "six directions".
In the later Kabbala the upper 3 are combined, then 4-9, and finally Malkuth.

The code of I-Ching knows not a sequence inside this group, but knows, which pair is singled out, which are the group of 3 pairs, and which are the group with 6 pairs.

So, how would you describe this change or difference between SY and later Kabbala? I said, the single pair "wandered" from top (1) to bottom (10), naturally it's clear to me, that not all attributes of the first sephira in SY "wandered" to Malkuth, but only the "structural loneliness".
Naturally one could say also, that the interpretation in 12th/13th century simply changed the perspective of SY in many points.

Compare it with the Fool in Tarot. That was also occasionally first and occasionally last. The use of it changed, the rules know many differences. Nonetheless the whole object stayed somehow "Tarot".

### Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#67
Thanks for the explanation. But I don't see any "structural loneliness" about the top sefira. It is just the top vertex of a diamond. That is, not the left configuration at http://a-tarot.eu/p/2015/seph-1.jpg but that of http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ka1W5NuxG1E/V ... quare5.JPG

I have tried to justify the latter of the two above in my posts here, as the result of the projection of a cube in two dimensions. What is your justification for there having been a sefira on top connected to the rest in the way you suppose, other than it fits your hypothesis of "structural loneliness"?

### Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#68
Sorry, I nearly overlooked this ...
mikeh wrote:Thanks for the explanation. But I don't see any "structural loneliness" about the top sefira. It is just the top vertex of a diamond. That is, not the left configuration at http://a-tarot.eu/p/2015/seph-1.jpg but that of http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ka1W5NuxG1E/V ... quare5.JPG

I have tried to justify the latter of the two above in my posts here, as the result of the projection of a cube in two dimensions. What is your justification for there having been a sefira on top connected to the rest in the way you suppose, other than it fits your hypothesis of "structural loneliness"?
Sephira 1 (in SY) is the center of a 3-dimensional system, which naturally has also 6 directions. Isn't this center role a "structural loneliness"? Is there any point other point in the system with the same quality? Maybe each other point would also generate 3 dimensions and 6 directions, but this would be "another system" and another world.

The Sephira 1 "on top of the life tree" is just another philosophical image. It want to tell something else and has another viewing point.

Can you point to the expression "tree" in one of the SY texts ? I think not.

Here we have a tree ...

Bahir, passage 22, page 9 in the Kaplan edition

***************

"Structural loneliness"

Inside the first chapter of SY (long version) the individual Sephiroth get their character:
passage 9: Sephira 1 (according SY)

passage 10: all 4 first Sephiroth together

passage 11: Sephira 2 (according SY)
passage 12: Sephira 3 (according SY)
passage 13: Sephira 4 (according SY)

passage 14: Sephiroth 5-9 (according SY)
This arrangement alone gives reason to assume, that Sephira 1 (SY) is not of the same ranking as 2, 3, 4

Further there is the attribution of elements
Sephira 1 "Ruach Elohim" = breath of God
Sephira 2 "Ruach" = breath = air
Sephira 3 water
Sephira 4 fire
The Sephiroth 2-4 have not the same quality as Sephira 1.

Aryeh Kaplan in his interpretations interestingly comes to the idea (page 71), that it is not Sephira 1, which transmutes to Sephira 10 Malkuth, but Sephira 2.

Well, ...

### Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#69
Huck wrote,
Sephira 1 (in SY) is the center of a 3-dimensional system
Where does it say that? I can't see that any of the first four sefirot are in the "3-dimensional system". And if 1 by some chance were in the center, where would the other three be? If points, where? If lines, they would have to be horizontal ones (fire, breath, water): but these are elements, not sefirot. If they were horizontal lines, where would they go? If they are anywhere in this "3-dimensional system", would any of them cross the center point? If so, the center is not alone. To me all these questions are nonsensical; the SY, fortunately, doesn't say any of it with regard to sefirot, nor could it.

Huck wrote,
Can you point to the expression "tree" in one of the SY texts ? I think not.
I see no reason to assume that the sefirot are arranged in a "tree" in the SY. If I use the word "tree" in reference to the SY, I mean it in quotes, because people seem to call its arrangement a "tree". It doesn't say what the arrangement should be called, as far as I can tell.

Huck wrote,
This arrangement alone gives reason to assume, that Sephira 1 (SY) is not of the same ranking as 2, 3, 4
This arrangement gives reason to assume that Sefira 1 is first in the ranking, unlike the others. Well, one of them has to be first. That's not a reason to call it structurely "lonely", any more than secondness would be for sefira 2. It is perhaps more isolated than 2, because it is next to only one other sefira (unless there is a 0), but that doesn't make it alone or "lonely": it has an infinite number of companion numbers.

Huck wrote,
Further there is the attribution of elements
Sephira 1 "Ruach Elohim" = breath of God
Sephira 2 "Ruach" = breath = air
Sephira 3 water
Sephira 4 fire
The Sephiroth 2-4 have not the same quality as Sephira 1.
You've oversimplified. They are breath of, or from, God; breath of, or from, breath; water of, or from, breath; and fire of, or from, water. These are all parallel in "quality". It's just that the first comes from outside the system, inevitably, unless it is circular. You could also say that 2 has a different quality from the rest, because "breath" is said twice.

Huck wrote,
Aryeh Kaplan in his interpretations interestingly comes to the idea (page 71), that it is not Sephira 1, which transmutes to Sephira 10 Malkuth, but Sephira 2.
Well, that's what I think, in the most logical reading of what "2" is (i.e. most consistent with how the procession goes otherwise, i.e. from north not to east or west but south), namely, the sefira opposite 1 on the diamond. But I don't know if he means what I mean. I hope I get to see the library's copy of Kaplan's SY soon.

### Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#70
mikeh wrote:Huck wrote,
Sephira 1 (in SY) is the center of a 3-dimensional system
Where does it say that? I can't see that any of the first four sefirot are in the "3-dimensional system". And if 1 by some chance were in the center, where would the other three be? If points, where? If lines, they would have to be horizontal ones (fire, breath, water): but these are elements, not sefirot. If they were horizontal lines, where would they go? If they are anywhere in this "3-dimensional system", would any of them cross the center point? If so, the center is not alone. To me all these questions are nonsensical; the SY, fortunately, doesn't say any of it with regard to sefirot, nor could it.
At least we should agree, that the model of 6 directions (North-South-West-East-top-bottom) demands a point in the middle, from which North is North, South is South, West is West etc. Without this point in the middle North wouldn't be North, and South wouldn't be South.
Also one can't overlook, that opposite directions like North-South build a "dimension" (a word, which we know, but which the author possibly hadn't; there are 3 opposite pairs, so there are 3 dimensions).
The author has just a 10. If he gives further explanations to the three dimensions (three elements) and the point, one shouldn't be confused. He just speaks of "space".
The whole work (SY) speaks about the genesis of a world ("created His universe", SY 1.1). A world needs space to have a place.
Huck wrote,
This arrangement alone gives reason to assume, that Sephira 1 (SY) is not of the same ranking as 2, 3, 4
This arrangement gives reason to assume that Sefira 1 is first in the ranking, unlike the others. Well, one of them has to be first. That's not a reason to call it structurely "lonely", any more than secondness would be for sefira 2. It is perhaps more isolated than 2, because it is next to only one other sefira (unless there is a 0), but that doesn't make it alone or "lonely": it has an infinite number of companion numbers.
As I said, the text arrangement is ...
passage 9: Sephira 1 (according SY)

passage 10: all 4 first Sephiroth together

passage 11: Sephira 2 (according SY)
passage 12: Sephira 3 (according SY)
passage 13: Sephira 4 (according SY)

passage 14: Sephiroth 5-10 (according SY)
... there is a cut between the passages 9 and 11 (passage 10). Before (passages 1-8) he speaks only globally about the 10 Sephiroth of Nothingness, they are not specified. All individual Sephiroth descriptions are in the passages 9-14.

Here's the text:

Huck wrote,
Further there is the attribution of elements
Sephira 1 "Ruach Elohim" = breath of God
Sephira 2 "Ruach" = breath = air
Sephira 3 water
Sephira 4 fire
The Sephiroth 2-4 have not the same quality as Sephira 1.
You've oversimplified. They are breath of, or from, God; breath of, or from, breath; water of, or from, breath; and fire of, or from, water. These are all parallel in "quality". It's just that the first comes from outside the system, inevitably, unless it is circular. You could also say that 2 has a different quality from the rest, because "breath" is said twice.
The SY is an old text with difficulties to understand even the words. If you see a "fire" and a "water", one naturally expects an "air", but in this case you get a "Ruach". Kaplan translates Ruach as breath, but it ...
"is also the word for wind and the Sefer Yetzirah apparently uses the it as an a term for air". And "This word, however, is often used in the Bible to denote spirit, and this is the sense what is used here" (speaking of the first Sephira, not the second)
Kaplan SY, p. 69
Well, the whole thing contains that, what's usually might be a "theory of the elements", which usually contains 3-5 termini "fire, water, air, not always earth and occasionally aither" with differences in the various languages (the Chinese for instance have wood and metal instead of air and aither). In detail there are naturally a lot of specific opinions about these elements, for instance there are amusing strong differences in the pre-platonic philosophy of the Greeks.

Breaking through Kaplan's difficult SY interpretations one likely best would interpret, that the "first breath" (Sephira 1) means simply aither (or something similar to it) and the second breath (SY Sephira 2) means simply air. Missing would be then the 5th element "earth", which one probably has to search in the realized 3-dimensional world (in the SY the sephiroth 5-10). In some theories of the element theories earth isn't an own element, but just the mix of the three others fire-water-air.
Huck wrote,
Aryeh Kaplan in his interpretations interestingly comes to the idea (page 71), that it is not Sephira 1, which transmutes to Sephira 10 Malkuth, but Sephira 2.
Well, that's what I think, in the most logical reading of what "2" is (i.e. most consistent with how the procession goes otherwise, i.e. from north not to east or west but south), namely, the sefira opposite 1 on the diamond. But I don't know if he means what I mean. I hope I get to see the library's copy of Kaplan's SY soon.
Considering the math of I-Ching as the true background, I would think, that this is nonsense, considering the SY "5 pairs" model "first-last, good-bad, north-south, west-east, top-bottom" it makes sense.

Malkuth is the last (in later kabbala), but the second in the row of the 5 pairs.

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