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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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Intentions and the Recovery of Meaning

Intentions and the Recovery of Meaning

(p.77) Four Intentions and the Recovery of Meaning
As Light Before Dawn
Stanford University Press

In his Me'irat 'Einayim, a metacommentary on Nahmanides' work Commentary on the Torah, Isaac ben Samuel of Akko interprets meaning as unfixed or flexible, but does not assert the full autonomy of the individual reader/interpreter. Rather, he argues that the legitimacy of each reading is determined by its reception from a reliable source, the “intention” of which should be clear to the recipient. Thus, despite the persistent argument for the instability of kabbalistic meaning on Isaac's part, he highly values “authorial” or “transmissional” intent. Me'irat 'Einayim is considerably taken up with the process of establishing Nahmanides' authorial intent with respect to a host of esoteric exegetical issues. The authenticity of Isaac's role as transmitter is contingent on his ability to theorize Nahmanides' real authorial intention. This chapter explores authorial intentions and meaning, as well as the self-perception of authorship and the act of writing in Me'irat 'Einayim.

Keywords:   Isaac ben Samuel of Akko, Me'irat 'Einayim, Nahmanides, Commentary on the Torah, meaning, authorial intention, authorship, writing

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