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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
Recent research has pointed to a number of possible influ­
ences on Nahmanides’ writings that also require further study.
R. Yehudah ha-Levi’s impact on Ramban in regard to the pri­
macy of the Land of Israel has been duly noted.45 Ha-Levi’s
significant role in regard to the parameters of natural law has
also been demonstrated.46A number of other phrases and con­
cepts in Ramban’s thought may owe their origins to ha-Levi,
whose
Kuzari
reflects elements of
merkavah
mysticism.47 Some
of ha-Levi’s material may have been brought to Ramban’s at­
tention via Avraham ibn Ezra who, in addition to having a major
impact on Ramban’s biblical exegesis, also had an influence on
Nahmanides’ kabbalistic conceptions.48
PIETIST INFLUENCES
R. Eleazar of Worms, who was cited by Ramban in his letter
to the rabbis of northern France and was linked in kabbalistic
pseudepigraphy to Ramban, also had a significant amount of
influence, as did other unnamed German Pietists. In addition,
Jewry, 1391-1492, held at Yeshiva University in October 1992. Ta-Shema
discusses the ramifications o f these omissions in a forthcoming article in
Shenaton ha-Mishpat ha-Ivri.
45. See M. Idel, “The Land o f Israel in Medieval Kabbalah,”
The Land of Israel:
Jewish Perspectives,
ed. L.H. Hoffman (Notre Dame, 1986), pp. 176-78; Sha­
lom Rosenberg, “The Link to the Land o f Israel in Jewish Thought,”
The
Land of Israel: Jewish Perspectives,
pp. 148-56; A. Ravitzky,
Al Da'at ha-Makom,
pp. 42-55; E. Wolfson, “By Way o f Truth,” p. 151, n. 36.
46. See Michael Nehorai, “Torat ha-Nes veha-Teva Etzel ha-Ramban ve-Zikatah
le-R. Yehudah ha-Levi,”
Da’at
17 (1986): 23-31 (and cf. D. Berger’s response
in
Da’at
18 [1987]: 169-70).
47. Elliot Wolfson, “Merkavah Tradition in Philosophical Garb — Judah Halevi
Reconsidered,”
Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research
57
(1991): 179-242; Scholem,
Origins,
pp. 223-24, 410-11; Septimus, “Open
Rebuke,” pp. 14-16, 27, 30; Idel, “We Have No Kabbalistic Tradition,”
pp. 59, n. 33, 69; Wolfson, “By Way o f Truth,” 105, n. 6; Safran, “R.
Azriel and Nahmanides: Two Views o f the Fall o f Man,” p. 84, n. 43,
p. 100, n. 84. Cf. 1. Twersky,
Rabad,
pp. 275-76, 280, and see now Howard
Kreisel, “Judah Halevi’s Influence on Maimonides: A Preliminary Apprais­
al,”
Maimonidean Studies
2 (1991): 95-121.
48. See Septimus, “Open Rebuke,” p. 23, nn. 42, 43; Scholem,
Origins,
p. 411,
n. 108; and Wolfson, “By Way o f Truth,” 115, n. 37. Regarding Ramban’s
relationship to the exegetical methods o f Rashi and Ibn Ezra, see Septimus,
“Open Rebuke,” pp. 17-18, nn. 27-28, and 19-20, nn. 31-32, and Y.S. Licht,
“Ramban,”
Entziklopediah Mikra’it
8:683-89.