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Alemanno, Yohanan ben Isaac (1433/4–after 1503/4)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-J031-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved May 19, 2024, from

Article Summary

An outstanding Jewish thinker of the Italian Renaissance, Alemanno combined an eclectic Jewish philosophic rationalism, steeped in the medieval sources – Maimonidean, Averroist and Kabbalistic – with Renaissance humanism and Neoplatonism. He was an Aristotelian and Maimonidean in ethics, a Platonist and Averroist in political philosophy and a Neoplatonist and Kabbalist in metaphysics. His fusing of Aristotelian rationalism with Platonizing mysticism is striking but not atypical for the period. Influenced by Renaissance thought after he settled in Italy, he was active in Christian as well as Jewish circles in Florence, Padua and Mantua. Pico della Mirandola learned Hebrew under his instruction and relied on him for access to medieval Jewish texts in philosophy and Kabbalah. Both Christian Kabbalah and Renaissance Hebraism were products of the interactions in which Alemanno was a chief participant. His ties to the Florentine Academy of the late 1480s are evident in his adaptations to Jewish thinking of the ideas current among its members as to the unity of truth, the immortality of the soul and the dignity of man.

Citing this article:
Melamed, Abraham. Alemanno, Yohanan ben Isaac (1433/4–after 1503/4), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-J031-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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