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Title: A critical analysis of Jean Thenaud's Kabbalistic Manuscript Arsenal ms.5061
Author: Christie-Miller, I. R.
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1997
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Jean Thenaud, a Franciscan from the region of Angouleme had intimate access to the royal family of Francis I (1494-1547), King of France, who commissioned Thenaud to journey to the Holy Land. Although the report on this voyage was published all Thenaud's other works, which include poetical commentary, horoscopes, monumental moralistic directives for the royal household and two Kabbalistic works remained in manuscript. (All his works were written in French). The first Kabbalistic work was the 1519 manuscript La saincte et tres chrestienne cabale metrifiee (BN. Fr. 882) which was in verse and which, perhaps because of this, did not gain royal approval. Thenaud rewrote his findings and in 1521 duly presented Traite de la cabale (Arsenal ms. 5061). The present thesis compromises an analysis of the Kabbalistic oeuvre of Thenaud plus an assessment of the state of Hebrew learning in Christian circles, particularly in France, up to the end of the sixteenth century. The edition of Arsenal ms. 5061 includes commentary and translation. A text-only transcription of the original is also provided on diskettes. At first sight Arsenal ms. 5061 is thoroughly neo-Platonic. It follows the Kabbalistic works of Johann Reuchlin, employs a cosmology and numerology derived from Dionysius the Areopagite and re-interprets Kabbalism by means of the Figure of the ninth century Rabanus Maurus of Fulda. Although Jews had been banned from France in 1394 the thesis proposes that Thenaud had direct access to an otherwise unrecognised Hebrew Kabbalistic source. This is supported by analysis of the distribution of the endings of the names of the 72 angels together with the form of exorcism given in Treatise 4. Furthermore new research in this thesis concerning Jewish-Christian relationships as found in Toledot Yeshu confirms that Thenaud did have direct access to a distinct Hebraic tradition. This tradition, mediated through Thenaud's European scholarship, allowed him to present the Kabbalah in accordance with medieval cosmology making full use of superbly illustrated colour diagrams.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral