Leon, Moses ben-Shem Tov de

(c. 1240–1305)
   Spanish mystic. Leon is generally believed today to have been the author of the Zohar, the most influential of all works of cabbalistic literature and in some periods actually held in as great esteem as the Bible and the Talmud. He settled in Avila, and some time late in the 1280s or early 1290s began to circulate the manuscript of the Sefer haZohar (‘Book of Splendour’). Written in Aramaic, the book is set in an imaginary Land of Israel and purports to recount discussions between the celebrated 2-century mishnaic teacher, SIMEON BARYOHAI, and his son and disciples. Modern scholars are inclined to believe that Moses de Leon wrote most of the Zohar himself. It became the major literary work of the Cabbala (Jewish mysticism). It is impossible to give more than a hint of the content of this vast work, couched in intricate symbolism and at times impenetrable mythology. Central to the Cabbala, and to the Zohar in particular, is the conception that there are four levels of interpretation of Scripture: the literal, the aggadic, the philosophical or allegorical, and what the author of the Zohar calls raza de-mehemanuta, the secret mystery of faith. Another important Zoharic conception is tikkun, a correction or perfecting which is achieved mainly through prayer. It was no part of the intention of Moses de Leon or of any other Cabbalist to overturn the traditional teaching of rabbinic Judaism. Indeed the great talmudic scholars were often also Cabbalists. 19-century rationalism rejected the Zohar as bizarre and left its study to the charlatans and cranks who hover on the edges of any mystical system. In recent years, though the traditional reverence may be lacking, the book is once more approached with respect, and recognized as a work of fundamental importance in Jewish history.

Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament. . 2012.

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  • Moses ben-Shem Tov de Leon —    see Leon, Moses ben Shem Tov de …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • MOSES BEN SHEM TOV DE LEON — (c. 1240–1305), a leading kabbalist, author of the bulk of the zohar . (For later views on the authorship of the Zohar, see the addendum to zohar .) Moses was apparently born in Leon, near Castile – he also calls himself Moses from the town of… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Moses ben Shem Tov de Leon — (1250 1305)    Spanish kabbalist. He lived in Guadalajara and, from 1290 in Avila. He wrote some 20 kabbalstic works and is known for his revelation of the Zohar: according to kabbalistic tradition, the book (attributed to Simeon ben Yohai) was… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Moïse ben Shem Tov ibn Habib —  Ne doit pas être confondu avec Moïse de León ni Moïse ben Salomon ibn Habib …   Wikipédia en Français

  • IBN SHEM TOV, JOSEPH BEN SHEM TOV — (c. 1400–c. 1460), Spanish philosopher. A son of shem tov ibn shem tov , Joseph, in contrast to his father, was a devotee of philosophical and other secular studies. He served in the Castilian court of King John II and his successor Henry IV.… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Moses ben Jacob Cordovero — Cordovero s grave in Safed Moses ben Jacob Cordovero, (1522–1570) (Hebrew: משה קורדובירו‎), was a central figure in the historical development of Kabbalah, leader of a mystical school in 16th century Safed, Israel. He is known …   Wikipedia

  • Joseph ibn Shem-Tov — (15th century) was a prolific Judæo Spanish writer born in Castile. He lived in various cities of Spain: Medina del Campo de Leon (1441); Alcalá de Henares (1451); Segovia (1454). Though it is not known precisely what office he held at court, he… …   Wikipedia

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  • Moses de Leon — (c. 1250 ndash; 1305), known in Hebrew as Moshe ben Shem Tov (משה בן שם טוב די ליאון), was a Spanish rabbi and Kabbalist who is thought of as the composer or redactor of the Zohar. It is a matter of controversy if the Zohar is his own work, or… …   Wikipedia

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