2009 | 2(230) | 141-161
Article title

A-MYSTICAL MESSIANISM OF EARLY KARAITES: RATIONALIST APPROACH TO BIBLICAL EXEGESIS (A-mistyczny mesjanizm wczesnych Karaimów: racjonalistyczne podejscie do egzegezy biblijnej)

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Messianism, understood as faith in the coming of a Messiah who will usher in a better future and complete the work of redemption has little in common with the recognition of suprasensory, direct contact with the deity, proclaimed by mystics. In practice, both these currents often occurred in the Judaic faith. Both the numerous mystics and many followers of Messianism were inclined to believe that the allegorical interpretation of the divine word contained in the Revelation could lead to true acquaintance with the Creator and his plans for mankind. The article attempts to show how the Karaite movement, which certainly was one of the most powerful Jewish messianic movements in the Middle Ages, condemned any manifestations of mysticism, both in the form of mystical union with the Lord and the possibilities of getting to know Him thanks to an allegorical interpretation of the Scriptures. To this end, analyses were made of Biblical commentaries of the leading Karaite exegetes from the so-called Golden Age (10th-11th centuries). Most of the analysed works have not been subject to critical editions yet and are only accessible in the form of manuscripts written in the Judeo-Arabic language. The authors of the commentaries represent various hermeneutic approaches. However, what all of them have in common is the prevalence of a rationalist element in the approach to exegesis and an attempt to come up with a scientific interpretation of the holy writings and the rejection of all exoteric, 'deeper' meanings and interpretations of the Scriptures.
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  • Marzena Zawanowska, Uniwersytet Marii Curie-Sklodowskiej w Lublinie, Zaklad Kultury i Historii Zydów, pl. M. Curie-Sklodowskiej 4, 20-031 Lublin Poland
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Publication order reference
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