Moses of Rieti
Moshe ben Yitzḥaq (in Italian Mosè di Gaio) of Rieti (1388–before 1466) was a poet, philosopher, and physician. His main work is Miqdash me‘at (Little Sanctuary), a Hebrew poem of about 5000 verses explicitly inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy for its metrical structure and for the description of a supernatural journey. The poem is at once an encyclopedia of Jewish and secular sciences, a description of the “Jewish Paradise” and a history of Jewish literature, from the Bible to the author’s time. Miqdash me‘at is organized according to the three sections of the Temple of Jerusalem, of which it aims at being a poetic substitute.
Probably influenced by the school of the Roman philosopher Yehuda Romano (thirteenth-fourteenth centuries), Moshe of Rieti complains, in Miqdash me‘at and other works, both in Hebrew and Italian, for the loss of the knowledge of religious truths and invokes a divine illumination in order to restore that knowledge. His writings reflect the transition between the so-called “medieval” world (his authorities are Aristotle and Maimonides) and different perspectives expressed with neoplatonic and cabbalistic concepts.
Very popular among Italian Jews until the beginning of the seventeenth century, he was subsequently almost completely forgotten until the rediscovery of the Jewish philologists in the nineteenth century.
- da Rieti, Mosè. 1851. In Il Dante ebreo, ossia il Picciol Santuario, ed. Y. Goldenthal. Vienna: Cesarea Accademia delle Scienze.Google Scholar
- da Rieti, Mosè. 1989. In Filosofia naturale e fatti de Dio. Testo inedito del XV secolo, ed. Irene Hijmans-Tromp. Leyde: Presse Universitaire.Google Scholar
- Esposito, Anna. 2012. Mosè da Rieti. In Dizionario biografico degli italiani, vol. 77. Roma: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana. http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/mose-da-rieti_(Dizionario-Biografico)/.Google Scholar
- Guetta, Alessandro. 2002. Lev levavi ha-neehav: ha-qinah shel Mosheh-mi-Rieti ‘al petirat ishto. In Te’udah. XIX: Studies in Hebrew literature of the Middle Age and the Renaissance in honor of Professor Yona David, ed. T. Rosen and A. Holzmann, 309–327. Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University.Google Scholar
- Guetta, Alessandro. 2004. The crisis of Medieval knowledge in the work of the Fifteenth century poet and philosopher Moses de Rieti. In Renewing the past, reconfiguring Jewish culture: From al-Andalus to the Haskalah, ed. R. Brann and A. Sutcliffe, 59–68. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.Google Scholar
- Guetta, Alessandro. 2005. “Ya‘ar ha-Levanon”, ou la quête de la connaissance perdue. Un texte en prose rimée de Moshe de Rieti. Revue des Études Juives CLXIV: 67–129.Google Scholar