“El entendimiento con el qual me conoscan”: Intellectual Mysticism in the Visión Deleitable

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Abstract

Visión deleytable is a fictional tale based in the Aristotelian philosophical and Neoplatonic mystical beliefs of the Judeo-Arabic tradition of medieval Iberia. This fifteenth-century work of imaginative fiction, a “best-seller” among Iberian readers, tells of the ascent of the active intellect to the celestial spheres and an experience of God. In this narrative, knowledge of the Latin trivium and quadrivium are combined with that of the Arabo-Andalusi philosophic traditions. Particularly noteworthy is the author, De la Torre’s extensive use of Maimonides’ work, the Guide of the Perplexed, as a source for the wisdom revealed in the Visión deleytable. While Maimonides’ position on the mystic experience is debated by contemporary scholars, in the present study I explore how the concept of intellectual mysticism, applied to the Neoplatonic/Aristotelian model of the intellect’s conjunction with the divine as found in Maimonides’ work, also describes the goal toward which the protagonist (and reader) of the Visión deleytable strive. As such, the Visión deleytable reveals how this notion of human-divine union (most notably in the concept of the “prophet-angel”) from the Judeo-Andalusi tradition, transmitted in Arabic and Hebrew, was translated into Spanish and adopted into the Catholic and converso frameworks of the Visión deleytable in fifteenth-century Iberia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5
JournalReligions
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2020

Keywords

  • Alfonso de la torre
  • Andalusi philosophy
  • Converso literature
  • Early print works
  • Maimonides
  • Manuscript studies
  • Prophecy
  • Spanish allegory
  • Spanish intellectual history
  • Spanish medieval literature

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