The Role of the Jew in Franciscus Mercurius van Helmont’s Adumbratio kabbalae christianae

  • Sheila A. Spector An independent scholar
Słowa kluczowe: Franciscus Mercurius van Helmont, Adumbratio kabbalae christianae, Judaizing, Kabbalism, conversionism


While the use of the Jews as scapegoats is well documented, less noted is how they have provided a pretext for exploring and writing about heterodoxical ideas that otherwise might cause problems for the author. A case in point is the Adumbratio kabbalae christianae, by seventeenth-century esoteric thinker Franciscus Mercusius van Helmont. Although ostensibly designed to convert the Jews, a close examination reveals that the text was intended to inform like-minded Christians about an esoteric mode of thought that, at the time, was repudiated by Church authorities.

Biogram autora

Sheila A. Spector, An independent scholar

Sheila A. Spector – is an independent scholar who has devoted much of her career to studying Christian Kabbalism. As the foundation for her work, she compiled Jewish Mysticism: An Annotated Bibliography on the Kabbalah in English (Garland, 1984), still the only book-length resource available. In addition, she translated Francis Mercury van Helmont’s Sketch of Christian Kabbalism (Brill, 2012), the only fully developed Christianization of the kabbalistic myth. She also published the companion volumes – “Wonders Divine”: The Development of Blake’s Kabbalistic Myth, and “Glorious Incomprehensible”: The Development of Blake’s Kabbalistic Language (both Bucknell University Press, 2001) two studies that demonstrate van Helmont’s farreaching influence.


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Images of the Jews