By Benzion Netanyahu
Original yr of publication: 1968
This publication tells the tale of 1 of the main outstanding personalities within the historical past of the Jewish humans. Abravanel symbolizes the tragic finish, in 1492, of the Jewish neighborhood which had flourished in Spain for over 1000 years. He selected to accompany its remnants into exile instead of stay as a convert within the cozy place guaranteed him by means of his wealth and his connections with the royal court docket. Nor used to be this the final exile he suffered. With a few of his fellow Jews he went from Spain to Naples and, many years later, from Naples to Venice, time and again experiencing the bitterness of homelessness.
Don Isaac Abravanel dedicated his lifestyles to 2 starkly contrasting worlds: international relations and finance, and literature and philosophy. He used to be a talented financier and diplomat. anywhere he went the rulers of the nation invited him to place their funds so as, and he at all times approved those invites. whilst, he used to be a proficient linguist, a philosopher, a mystic. He wrote commentaries to numerous books of the Bible in addition to quantity after quantity facing the issues of faith typically and Judaism in particular.
All this the writer has set down in a piece which represents a definitive biography of this striking character. Abravanel comes vividly to lifestyles either as someone and as a philosopher. The unusual dualism of his character – Abravanel the sensible financier and Abravanel the mystic – is thoroughly mentioned and defined. the writer skillfully recreates the weather of that intellectually turbulent age and identifies the present of which Abravanel was once half. He makes us conscious of the tragedy of the Jews of that iteration and unfolds ahead of our eyes the paranormal and really remarkable answer which Abravanel provided to the issues which then confronted the Jewish humans.
Don Isaac Abravanel (1437–1508) used to be a huge historic determine in the course of the waning of the center a long time. Statesman, diplomat, courtier, and financier, he was once, even as, a pupil of encyclopedic studying, a thinker, an exegete, a prolific writer, a mystic, and an apocalyptist. In Abravanel, B. Netanyahu indicates, lengthy traces of culture met and concluded: that of medieval Jewish statesmen and that of medieval Jewish philosophers. In what's either a biography and an exploration of Abravanel's idea and effect, Netanyahu describes how Abravanel illuminated the grave problem and profound transformation skilled via the Jewish humans after the Spanish expulsion.
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Additional info for Don Isaac Abravanel: Statesman & Philosopher (2nd Edition)
11 One should not betray one’s mission in life! His mind now turned more and more to the “spiritual and eternal,” and, as Abravanel tells us, he delivered during that period a series of lectures on the Former Prophets. 12 The lectures covered at least Joshua and Judges and must have extended over a period of two or three months, probably from August to October. Then Abravanel, seized by a creative urge of a strength and intensity he had never felt before, set about putting his ideas down on paper.
They are contained in a contemporary chronicle and may have been considerably embellished by the chronicler, but they truthfully reflect Alfonso’s stand on the religious controversies of his time. 55 Like other medieval kings in the Peninsula, he was intrigued by the • 21 • problem the Jews presented, and listened with interest to disputations on religion between Jews and Christians. It was to satisfy his intellectual curiosity, rather than to lead the Jews to conversion, that he sometimes addressed to the Jews pointed questions concerning the validity of their principles; and, though rarely pleased with the answers he received, he nevertheless understood that matters of faith could not be compressed into logical formulae.
He was only waiting for an opportunity. The condition of the country after Alfonso’s death was favorable to effecting the changes he contemplated. The country smarted • 27 • from the wounds of defeat; the people were impoverished by the heavy taxes which the repeated wars of Alfonso had necessitated; and there was general clamor for reform. João II, appearing as the people’s champion, was thus able to embark upon measures which aimed at destroying both the judicial and economic powers of the nobles.
Don Isaac Abravanel: Statesman & Philosopher (2nd Edition) by Benzion Netanyahu