Moses Cordovero Ben-jacob

Moses Cordovero Ben-Jacob (also called Re. mak = רמק, from the acrostic of his name, קורדואירו, R. Moses Cordovero), a Jewish savant, was born at Cordova in 1522, studied the Cabala under his brother-inlaw, Solomon Alkabaz, and very soon became so distinguished as a Cabalist and author that his fame travelled to Italy, where his books were greedily bought. Cordovero represents the Cabala in its primitive state, since he is chiefly occupied with its scientific speculations, or the speculative Cabala (קבלה עיונית), as can be seen from the following specimen of his lucubrations on the nature of the Deity. "The knowledge of the Creator is different from that of the creature, since in the case of the latter knowledge and the thing known are distinct, thus leading to subjects which are again separate from him. This is described by the three expressions cogitation, the cogitator, and the cogitated object. Now the Creator is himself knowledge, knowing, and the known object. His knowledge does not consist in the fact that he directs his thoughts to things without him, since in comprehending and knowing himself he comprehends and knows everything which exists. There is nothing which is not united with him, and which he does not find in his own substance. He is the archetype of all things existing, and all things are in him in their purest and most perfect form; so that the perfection of the creatures consists in the support whereby they are united to the primary source of his existence, and they sink down and fall from that perfect and lofty position in proportion to their separation from him" (Pardes Rimmonim, 55 a). He died in 1570. Moses wrote an introduction to the Cabala, entitled A Sombre or Sweet Light, or אוֹר נֶעֵָרב (first published in Venice, 1587, then in Cracow, 1647, and in Fiirth, 1701): — The Book of Retirement, or סֵפֶר גֵּרוּשַׁין, Cabalistic reflections and comments on ninety-nine passages of the Bible (Venice, 1543): — The Sacrifices of Peace, or שׁלָמַים זַבחֵי, a Cabalistic exposition of the Prayer-book (Lublin, 1613): — The Plant of Deborah, תֹּמֶר דּבוֹרָה, ten chapters on ethics in the Cabalistic style (Venice, 1589; Livorno, 1794); but his principal work is the Garden of Pomegranates, or פִּרדֵס רַמּוֹנַים, which consists of thirteen sections or gates (שערים), subdivided into chapters, and discusses the Sephiroth, the divine names, the import and signification of the letters, etc. (Cracow, 1591). Excerpts of it have been translated into Latin by Bartolocci, Bibl. Migagna Rabbin. 4:231 sq.; and Knorr von Rosenroth, Tractatus de Anima ex libro Pardes Rimmonim, in his Cabala Denudata (Sulzbach, 1677). For the other works of Cordovero, see Furst, Bibl. Jud. 1:187 sq. See also Steinschneider, Catal. Libr. Hebr. in Bibl. Bodleiana, col. 1793, etc.; De Rossi, Dizionario (Germ. transl.), page 87 sq.; Etheridge, Introd. to Hebr. Literat. page 359; Ginsburg, The Kabbalah, page 132 sq. (Lond. 1865); Finn, Sephardin, page 307 sq.; Lindo, The Jews in Spain, page 359; Basnage, Hist. of the Jews (Taylor's transl.), page 703; Jost, Gesch. d. Juden u.s. Sekten, 3:137 sq.; Gratz, Gesch. d. Juden, 9:444; Zunz, Zur Gesch. u. Liferatur, page 294; Die Mf- onatstage, page 35 (Berlin, 1872). (B.P.)

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