Yohanan Alemanno

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Yohanan Alemanno[1] (born in Constantinople or in Mantua, c. 1435 – died after 1504) was an Italian Jewish rabbi, noted Kabbalist, humanist philosopher, and exegete, and teacher of the Hebrew language to Italian humanists including Pico della Mirandola.[2][3] He taught that the Kabbalah was divine magic.[4][5][6]

He was a pupil of Judah Messer Leon,[7] but departed from the Aristotelian sympathies of his teacher in the direction of neoplatonic thought.[8]


His works include Hay ha-Olamim,[9] Sefer sha`ar ha-heshek and a Cheshek Shlomo.[10][11] He cites Judah ben Nissim Ibn Malkah.[12]

Alemanno's writings show versatility. In his chief work, "Ḥesheḳ Shelomoh" (The Delight of Solomon), he evinces philosophic acumen as well as a wide acquaintance with both the Arabic and the Greek philosophers. The introduction to this work is a discourse on the artistic and intellectual attainments of the human race, all of which are combined in King Solomon, whom the author places above Plato and his fellows (compare "Sha'ar ha-ḤesheḲ," pp. 3–7). Excerpts from the introduction were published, with additions by Jacob Baruch ben Moses Ḥayyim, at Livorno in 1790. In the introduction to this work, Alemanno lists all the known writings of King Solomon; however, Senior Sachs researched and uncovered that twenty-one philosophical works on the list were written by Solomon ibn Gabirol, whose signature, "Solomon of Malaqa" was mis-interpreted.[13]: xxx 

Alemanno also wrote:

  • "'Ene ha-'Edah" (The Eyes of the Congregation), a cabalistic commentary on the Torah (compare Gedaliah ibn Yaḥya's "Shalshelet ha-ḳ;ab-balah," ed. Warsaw, 1889, p. 86)
  • "Ḥayye Olam" (Eternal Life), a treatise on immortality
  • "LiḲḲutim Collectanea," a volume of about two hundred pages, containing stray thoughts, aphorisms, noteworthy quotations from rare authors, and exegetical remarks.


  • Ḥay ha-ʻolamim = L'immortale by Yoḥanan Aliman (1995) Fabrizio Lelli
  1. ^ Rabbi Johannan Alemanno, Yohanan ben Isaac Alemanno, Yochanan Alemanno, Johanan Alemanno, Johann Alemanno, Johanan Allemanno, Yohanan Isaac Allemanno, Aliman, Alemannos
  2. ^ Congress, The Library of. "LC Linked Data Service: Authorities and Vocabularies (Library of Congress)". id.loc.gov. Retrieved 2020-08-22.
  3. ^ Chajes, J. H. (Yossi); Harari, Yuval (2019-01-02). "Practical Kabbalah: Guest Editors' Introduction". Aries. 19 (1): 1–5. doi:10.1163/15700593-01901001. ISSN 1567-9896. S2CID 211949570.
  4. ^ Colette Sirat, A History of Jewish Philosophy in the Middle Ages (1985), p.410.
  5. ^ He brought together in his thinking Averroist, Kabbalistic, Neoplatonic and Renaissance humanist themes. [1] Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, article Jewish Philosophy.
  6. ^ [2]: "The wise of Israel speak of a world which is not that of the philosophers: the world of the sefiroth is superior to that of the corruptible entities, as well as to the world of circular movements and that of the angels."
  7. ^ Daniel H. Frank and Oliver Leaman (eds.), History of Jewish Philosophy(1997), p.515.
  8. ^ Frank & Leaman p.428: Thinkers like Jacob Anatoli, Isaac Pollegar, and Yochanan Alemanno continued the Platonic-Farabian-Maimonidean emphasis on the prophet's political mission [...].
  9. ^ [3]: Like Judah's Dialoghi, Alemanno's dialogue Hay ha-'olamim, composed in late-fifteenth-century Florence, was in conversation with the neoplatonic thought of Ficino and Pico. Like Judah, Alemanno was also concerned with the relationship between imagination and intellect, and the role of poetics and rhetoric as disciplines necessary for the attainment of human felicity.
  10. ^ The Desire of Solomon; also the title of a later work.
  11. ^ Further titles from [4] are ’Einei hah’éda, Sefer likutim. That source states that he originally came from Constantinople. (In French, under Aliman.)
  12. ^ Sirat p. 262.
  13. ^ Davidson, Israel (1924). Selected Religious Poems of Solomon ibn Gabirol. Schiff Library of Jewish Classics. Translated by Zangwill, Israel. Philadelphia: JPS. p. 247. ISBN 0-8276-0060-7. LCCN 73-2210.

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