Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Short Changed Luzzatto

Yirmeyahu Bindman attempts in his Rabbi Moshe Chaim LuzzattoHis Life and His Works, to chronicle  this great religious scholar and master of the Kabbalah.    

Luzzatto lived in an era of monumental change (born 1707, and died 1746), during the rise of the modern nation state, democratic movements, the destruction of the stranglehold of religion upon the life of Western Europeans, and the beginning of the industrial revolution.

Unfortunately, Bindman’s book is poorly arranged.  The reader does not get a sense of the arch of Luzzato’s life, nor the layout of his works.   

Certainly, there is some interesting material here.  Bindman does a good job at showing the petty in fighting that got Luzzatto kicked out of Padua, Italy, into an exile of sorts in Amsterdam.

But the book lacks punch, and Luzzatto, this important figure in the history of JJudaism, gets short changed.

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