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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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Seeing the Secret

Seeing the Secret

Creative Process and the Hermeneutics of Insight

(p.101) Five Seeing the Secret
As Light Before Dawn
Stanford University Press

Compared to Me'irat 'Einayim which is characterized by authorial self-awareness and the use of the first-person voice, Isaac ben Samuel of Akko's 'Ozar Hayyim features a testimonial mode that assumes an entirely new level of maturity and development as well as a pronounced shift away from the eclecticism of tradition-collection to the rhetoric of individuality and innovation. There is a substantial difference in the manner and extent to which Isaac allows his own persona to rise to the surface of the discourse in 'Ozar Hayyim, thus reflecting a remarkably new use of first-person testimony and autobiography in the communication of kabbalistic wisdom. In addition to the stimulative power associated with waking from sleep and ritual practice, Isaac ben Samuel of Akko often frames new interpretive insight as the product of an encounter with the natural world.

Keywords:   Isaac ben Samuel of Akko, 'Ozar Hayyim, kabbalistic wisdom, rhetoric, individuality, innovation, first-person testimony, autobiography, natural world, waking from sleep

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