Moses de Leon

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Spanish Kabbalist (d. 1305). De Leon was the author of a number of Kabbalistic works but these pale into insignificance when compared to his major work, the Zohar, or, at least, to the major portions of this work. There is hardly any doubt that Moses de Leon introduced the Zohar to the world of the Kabbalists but he is reported as saying that he copied the work from an ancient manuscript and that the true author was the second century teacher Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai. It is, however, the virtually unanimous view of modern scholarship, especially thanks to Gershom Scholem, that de Leon was the author of the bulk of the Zohar. De Leon obviously used earlier material but he compiled the Zohar in an Aramaic of his own and in this sense the work is highly original. The later additions were made by other hands and efforts have been made by scholars to point to the differences between these and the body of the Zohar.

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies.

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