Isaac ibn Latif (1210-1280) between Philosophy and Kabbalah: Timeless and Timebound Wisdom


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Hebrew and Judaic Studies


This project focuses on a medieval Spanish-Jewish thinker, Isaac ibn Latif, who engaged in speculation about the end of days around 1240, in the multicultural setting of thirteenth century Toledo. Latif's thought stands out due to a peculiar synthesis of philosophy and mysticism, best shown in his adoption and mystical reworking of the tradition of political philosophy (he is the first translator into Hebrew of the work of Alfarabi, founder of Islamic political philosophy), and in his view on time, which merges linear and cyclical elements. The dissertation traces his views on esotericism, Bible exegesis, politics, and time in his seven extant works, none of which has ever been translated, focusing on the most important among them, The Gates of Heaven, which is found in an unpublished manuscript.