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As Light Before DawnThe Inner World of a Medieval Kabbalist$
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Eitan P. Fishbane

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780804759137

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804759137.001.0001

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The Wandering Kabbalist

The Wandering Kabbalist

Historical Profile and Context

Chapter:
(p.20) Two The Wandering Kabbalist
Source:
As Light Before Dawn
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804759137.003.0002

During the thirteenth century, Akko was a cosmopolitan port city at the northern end of Haifa Bay where international commerce was bustling and ethnic diversity flourished as Christians, Muslims, and Jews interacted on the street on a daily basis. The city also served as the main gateway for immigration and pilgrimage from Christian Europe to the Holy Land. However, the bloody battle of 1291 between the Christian rulers of the city and the Mameluk Muslim invaders led to the fall of Akko and the collapse of its vibrant Jewish community. These events were pivotal in the life of Isaac ben Samuel of Akko, a mystic who journeyed from the Land of Israel westward through Aragon and Castile and learned new ideas and practices along the way. He escaped during the Muslim reconquest of Akko in 1291 and renewed his adherence to the Kabbalah of Nahmanides under the influence of Solomon Ibn Adret in Catalonia.

Keywords:   Akko, Isaac ben Samuel of Akko, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Israel, Nahmanides, Kabbalah, Solomon Ibn Adret, Catalonia

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