The personal networks and the exoteric and esoteric writings of Italy’s leading rabbi Moses Zacuto (ca. 1610–1697) are a paradigmatic example of the social and spiritual world of Baroque European Jewish cultural history. While the Jewish lifestyle was still organized by rabbinical institutions, decisions, and educational commitments, the idea of “mending” the world through kabbalistic learning and individual piety stimulated messianic expectations. Between the priorities of the Sephardic and Ashkenazic communities, the different settings of magic, cultural activities, and theoretical approach of texts belonging to schools in the wake of Isaac Luria’s (d. 1572) circle are particularly noteworthy.
This project aims to produce editions of three central works for the study of Zacuto’s life and his approach to practical and theoretical Kabbalah. The first comprehensive Corpus of Moses Zacuto’s Correspondence (CMZC) includes both private and official writings belonging to different genres and with special consideration of his halakhic texts in the form of responsa. A variety of digital tools will facilitate research on scholars, topics, and ties between different locations. The introduction to the printed version will include information on Zacuto’s biography, social networks, and reception history. The second digital edition will launch a database of Hebrew Holy Names (DHN), which will be designed as a dynamic and expandable research tool. It will be based on Zacuto’s “Alphabet of the Names” (Alfa-Beta shel ha-Shemot), which survives in a single manuscript and which also includes the third work to be edited, the unique testimony of a hitherto unknown text of the kabbalistic school of Israel Saruq, the “One Hundred and Twenty-One Ways [of Interpretation]” (Quf Kaf Alef Ofanim).