Galatinus, Pietro Columna°

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GALATINUS, PIETRO COLUMNA ° (1460–1540), Italian theologian and Christian kabbalist. A Franciscan friar who believed himself to be the "Angel Pope" first prophesied by followers of Joachim of Fiore in the 13th century, Galatinus wrote a monumental work of Christian mysticism, De arcanis catholicae veritatis (Ortona, 1518), first printed by Gershom *Soncino. Though anti-Jewish in tone, it was published in defense of the great German humanist Johann *Reuchlin and did much to promote Christian Hebraism. The book, which assembled a vast number of polemical texts, inspired many later Christian kabbalists, including the French visionary Guillaume *Postel. It was prefaced by laudatory Hebrew verses and laid great stress on numerology. The most popular work of its kind in the 16th century, the Arcana was praised by *Amatus Lusitanus. Galatinus anticipated Daniel *Bomberg by advocating the publication of the Talmud. He "explained" early Christianity's lack of explicit reference to the Kabbalah by citing a passage in the Babylonian Talmud (Ḥag. 11bff.), which forbids the indiscriminate transmission of the creation and chariot mysteries (see *Merkabah Mysticism), especially in writing.


D.W. Amram, Makers of Hebrew Books in Italy (1909), 124–6; C. Roth, Jews in the Renaissance (1959), 182; F. Secret, Les kabbalistes chrétiens de la Renaissance (1964), 102–6; idem, in: Studi francesi, 3 (1957), 379ff.

[Godfrey Edmond Silverman]