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03/10/2015

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Meirav Jones

Eric, thanks for engaging my thought on Pico's reading. I think that if there is only one truth to which all sources lead, then any of those sources could be dispensible if the others are at hand. But usually the idea that all sources lead to a single truth is accompanied by an understanding that different sources (nature, scripture, Kabbala, direct speech of God, Greek oracles, etc.) are accessible at different times to different people in different ways, and we need to learn to read the sources correctly. According to the figurative reader of the Old Tesatment, say, the Old Testament points to the truths in the new testament. Either text could then be taken as redundant so long as we have the other, but having both texts allows us to read both in affirmation of one truth, and the more affirmation the better. Your observation about the amendation of the book of Moses is brilliant. It also serves the case for agreement of sources: if something doesn't fit, we can always explain it away as having been later amended. If sources are "amended", we better have lots of them, so that we can get to the hebraica veritas... or an illusion of it.

Aaron Alvarez

Pico's appropriation of Cabala against Judaism seems to be part of his Christology. He held that nature had an emanationist structure but human existence and salvation occurred through a concentric relation. Humans chose their place in nature based upon their relation of knowing. This epistemic relation habituated their placement in relation to the unity of things and determined their salvation. Cabala for him seemed to a type of knowledge consigned to the natural world. A comparison can be made to Gregory Palmas move where he critiques the concept of a world soul as reductive causation in actuality as being a necessary concept for salvation in the Triads I. i. 18. Palmas makes that epistemic relation also ontological though. He does that via his reading of energia as conferring ousia. Pico seems to be more in line with a different reading of reason as conferring ousia.

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