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Researchers and Philosophers Write about Kabbalah

Johannes Reuchlin


Reuchlin, a German humanist, political counselor to the Chancellor, a classics scholar and an expert in the ancient languages and traditions (Latin, Greek, and Hebrew) was affiliated with the heads of the Platonic Academia (della Mirandola and others).

“My teacher Pythagoras, who is the father of philosophy, did nevertheless not receive those teachings from the Greeks, but rather he received them from the Jews. Therefore he must be called ‘a Kabbalist,’ [...] and he himself was the first to convert the name ‘Kabbalah,’ unknown to the Greeks, in the Greek name philosophy.”

“Pythagoras’ philosophy emanated from the infinite sea of the Kabbalah”

“The Kabbalah does not let us spend our lives on the ground, but rather raises our intellect to the highest goal of understanding.”

Reuchlin, De Arte Cabbalistica

Giovanni Pico della Mirandola


An Italian scholar and Neoplatonist philosopher whose De Hominis Dignitate Oratio (Oration on the Dignity of Man), composed in 1486, was a characteristic Renaissance work. It reflected his syncretistic method of taking the best elements from other philosophies and combining them in his own work. Additionally, della Mirandola researched Kabbalah, the Bible, and the Koran after reading them in their original languages.

“This true interpretation of the law (vera illius legis interpretatio), which was revealed to Moses in godly tradition, is called Kabbalah (dicta Cabala est), which to Hebrews is the same as for us receiving (receptio).”

“In whole [ there are ] two sciences - also with a name they honored them: the one is called ars combinandi and it is a measure of the progress in sciences [...]. The other one treats the forces of the higher things, which are over the moon, which is the highest part of magia naturalis. The Hebrews also call both of them Cabala [...]”

Pico della Mirandola, Conclusions

Paulus Ricius


Ricius, a physician and a professor of philosophy at Pavia University, Austria, served as personal physician and consultant to Maximilian I, Archduke of Austria, German King and Holy Roman emperor, and to Ferdinand I—King of Bohemia and Hungary.

“The ability to interpret the divine and human secrets by a type of the Mosaic law with allegorical sense is called Kabbalah.”

“A literal meaning (of a Scripture) submits to the conditions of time and space. Allegorical and kabbalistic - remains for centuries, unbounded by time and space.”

Paulus Ricius, Introductoria Theoramata Cabalae

Philippus Aureolus Paracelsus


A German-Swiss physician and alchemist, Paracelsus established the role of chemistry in medicine. He is considered one of the founders of modern science.

“Learn artem cabbalisticam, it explains everything!”

Paracelsus, Das Buch Paragranum

Christian Konrad Sprengel


A German botanist and teacher whose studies of reproduction in plants led him to a general theory of fertilization which is still accepted today.

“Adam, the first man, was very familiar with the Kabbalah. He knew the signatures of all things, and hence gave all animals the most suitable names ... which themselves indicate their nature.”

Kurt Sprengel, Versuch einer

Pragmatischen Geschichte der Arzneikunde

Raymundus Lullus


Lullus, a Spanish writer and philosopher born to a wealthy family in Palma, Mallorca, was well educated, and became the tutor of King James II of Aragon. He wrote in Arabic, Latin and Catalan. He wrote treatises on alchemy and botany, Ars Magna, and Llibre de meravelles.

“Creation, or language, are of equal weight in the science of Kabbalah. Because Creation or language are root of the regulation of everything, it is clear that its wisdom governs the rest of the sciences.”

“Sciences such as theology, philosophy and mathematics receive their principles and roots from her. And therefore these sciences (scientiae) are subordinate to that wisdom (sapientia); and their [the sciences] principles and rules are subordinate to her [Kabbalah] principles and rules; and therefore their [the sciences] mode of argumentation is insufficient without her [the Kabbala].”

Raymundus Lullus, Raymundi Lulli Opera Latina

Giordano Bruno


An Italian philosopher, astronomer, mathematician, and occultist who was ahead of his time. His theories anticipated modern science. The most notable of these were his theories of the infinite universe and the multiplicity of worlds, in which he rejected the traditional geocentric (Earth-centered) astronomy and intuitively went beyond the Copernican heliocentric (Sun-centered) theory, which still maintained a finite universe with a sphere of fixed stars. Bruno is, perhaps, chiefly remembered for the tragic death he suffered at the stake. A victim of his own beliefs, he maintained his unorthodox ideas when both the Roman Catholic and the Reformed churches were reaffirming rigid Aristotelian and Scholastic principles.

“The Kabbalah first gives an inexpressible name to the highest principle; from it she lets four principles emanate in an emanation of second degree, from which everyone branches out again to twelve [...] as there are innumerable kinds and subspecies. And in such a way they designate with a special name, depending upon their language, a God, an angel, a reason, a power, which governs over each individual species. In this way it is finally revealed that the whole divinity can be affiliated to one original Source, as well as the whole light, which shines originally and independently, and the images, which break in numerous different mirrors as in just as many individual objects can be led back to a formal and ideal principle, the source of those images.”

Giordano Bruno, Le Opere Italiane

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz


Leibnitz was a German philosopher, mathematician, and Imperial Court Counselor to the Habsburgs, important both as a metaphysician and as a logician and distinguished also for his independent invention of the differential and integral calculus. In 1661 he entered the University of Leipzig as a law student; there he encountered the ideas of men who had revolutionized science and philosophy, such as Galileo, Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, and René Descartes. In 1666 he wrote De Arte Combinatoria(On the Art of Combination), in which he formulated a model that is the theoretical ancestor of modern computers.

“Since people did not possess the right key to the secret, the thirst for knowledge eventually led to vanities and superstition of all kinds, from which ultimately developed a kind of Vulgar Cabbala that lies far away from the true one, as well as diverse fantastic theories under the false name of magic; the books are teeming with those.”

Leibnitz, Hauptschriften zur Grundlegung der Philosophie

Friedrich von Schlegel


German writer, critic and philosopher, contemporary of Goethe, Schiller and Novalis. A pioneer in comparative Indo-European linguistics and comparative philology, Schlegel deeply influenced the early German Romantic Movement. He is generally held to be the person who first established the term romantisch in the literary context.

“The true esthetics is Kabbalah (quote from December, 1802).”

Schlegel, Kritische F. Schlegel-Ausgabe, publisher:

Ernst Behler 35 Bde., Paderborn

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Johann Wolfgang Goethe is widely recognized as the greatest writer of the German tradition. The Romantic period in Germany (late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries) is known as the Age of Goethe, and Goethe embodies the concerns of the generation defined by the legacies of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, and the French Revolution. His stature derives not only from his literary achievements as a lyric poet, novelist, and dramatist, but also from his often significant contributions as a scientist (geologist, botanist, anatomist, physicist, historian of science) and as a critic and theorist of literature and art. For the last thirty years of his life he was Germany's greatest cultural icon, serving as an object of pilgrimage from all over Europe and the United States.

“The kabbalistic treatment of the Bible is a hermeneutics, which lives up in a convincing way to the independence, the marvelous originality, the versatility, the totality, I would even say immeasurability of its contents.”

Goethe, Materialien zur Geschichte der Farbenlehre

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