Sunday 28 April 2019


One of 7,500 sheets of Isaac Newton's recently discovered private manuscripts.


Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), arguably one of the world’s greatest scientists, is best known for his Laws of Inertia, Acceleration and Reciprocal Actions. He also invented Calculus and discovered the Universal Principle of Gravitation.

However, there is another side of his life that has only come to light in the past few decades, with the discovery of some of his hitherto unknown non-scientific manuscripts.

Bernard Cohen writes about these manuscripts (quoting John Maynard Keynes):

“Upon his [Newton’s] death in 1727, a big box of unusual papers was discovered in his room. Bishop Samuel Horsley, who was also a scientist, ‘was asked to inspect the box with view to publication. He saw the contents with horror and slammed the lid...’"

Alan Avery-Peck writes:

“Bishop Horsley (1733-1806), who examined some of Newton’s papers on theology, declared them unfit for printing.”[1]

This article is an attempt at exploring the gist of some of the manuscripts which filled that box.


The story behind the discovery of Newton’s unexpected writings is fascinating:
Isaac Newton had passed away and left behind a big box of papers. This collection of writings remained, apparently unread, in the family home for two centuries. Even Cambridge and Harvard Universities, at that time, weren’t interested in receiving this collection of non-scientific documents.
It was only much later - in 1936 - that these papers were eventually sold at a public auction at Sotheby’s. 

On the same day as the auction, the other great auction house, Christie's, was selling Impressionist art, and that event attracted a much greater crowd. The result was that only two main bidders showed up at the Newton auction: the economist John Maynard Keynes (who bought the alchemy papers)[2] - and Avraham Shalom Yahuda, the son of a rabbi, and a Jewish Oriental Scholar and book collector (who bought the theological papers).


Avraham Shalom Yahuda was a collector who amassed what was reputed to be the largest and most valuable assemblage of rare Arabic books and manuscripts in private hands.[3] 

Sarah Dry describes how Yahudah came from a religious Jewish family. He was encouraged to study in the wider world, but was still expected to observe Jewish law. Once, while staying with an observant host family while studying in Frankfort, he felt the need to smoke a cigarette on Shabbat. Not wishing to offend his hosts, he caught a train to a nearby town and, as luck had it, he was seen smoking by a relative and was ostracised by his family.

As a result of this rejection by his family, he drifted towards a more ‘leftist’ style of Judaism.[4]

Sarah Dry writes:

“In 1915 Yahuda was offered a professorship in rabbinic literature and languages at the University of Madrid, the first such position to be created in Spain since the expulsion of the Jews in 1492. Directed to make an appearance before King Alfonso XIII, Yahuda took the opportunity to proclaim both his heritage and his independence:
‘I am not the first in my family who appears in audience before one of your majesty’s family,’ he informed the monarch. ‘It was in the midtwelfth century, when one of my forefathers, Sheshet Benveniste, had the high honor of appearing before your majesty’s forefather, King Alfonso II.’”
Avraham Shalom Yahuda and Albert Einstein became friends. Einstein lent an air of importance to Yahuda’s newly acquired collection of Newton's theological papers when he wrote:

“While the formative development of Newton’s lasting physics works must remain shrouded in darkness, because Newton apparently destroyed his preparatory works, we do have in this domain of his works on the Bible drafts and their repeated modification; these mostly unpublished writings therefore allow a highly interesting insight into the mental workshop of this unique thinker.”

However, in 1955, just two weeks before Einstein died, he expressed his hope that the unpublished writings of Newton remain unpublished. He believed that they were uncompleted works and that was why they were placed in a box in the first place. Einstein felt Newton had the right to maintain the privacy of those personal writings.

Nevertheless, Yahuda’s collection of the Newton papers was eventually donated to the Israel National Library in 1969, and the shroud of mystery over his personal worldview was finally lifted.


Yahuda, a colourful character, had had disagreements with some of the early Zionists, including the first president of Israel, Chaim Weitzman. When Yahuda died in 1951, his wife Ethel inherited his entire library, including the Newton papers. She decided, despite her late husband’s disagreement with Weitzman, to donate all the books and manuscripts she had inherited, to the Israel National Library. She made this announcement at a luncheon in Israel – attended by the Israeli president - in the early 1950s. 

Ethel died in 1955 and in the absence of any written documentation concerning her donation, a relative challenged the legality of moving the library to Israel. A court case ensued until 1966 when the Supreme Court of Connecticut finally ruled that the library can be moved, because there was clear evidence of her oral intentions which were made before a large crowd.

This case became an important precedent for the intention of donations in the absence of written documentation.[5]

Recently, Israel’s National Library has digitised 7,500 pages of Newton’s theological writings from the Yahuda collection, as they were originally found and in his own handwriting. [See here.] 
The shroud of secrecy over the Newton papers had finally been lifted.
Lest one think that Newton may have experienced some sort of ‘break down’ by withdrawing into a theological cocoon, Keynes writes:

“All his unpublished works...are marked by careful learning, accurate method, and extreme sobriety of statement, they were nearly all composed during the same 25 years of his mathematical studies.”

There is still much of Newton’s personal life as well as some of his original drafts of his scientific work that are still withheld from us. B. Gordon writes:

“It’s perhaps no wonder that he hid his true identity and means of study from the public; he would have likely been ostracized and his scientific discoveries immediately dismissed.”[6]

According to Sarah Dry:

“The drafts were evidence not of insanity or senility but of a vigorous faith that did not waver... The recopying, the fact that Newton had rewritten sections two or even three times, was evidence of the difficulty of the task as well as Newton’s passion for it.”[7]


These newly discovered manuscripts paint a picture of Newton which is very different from the perceived ‘paragon of English rationality as enshrined in Westminster Abbey’.

According to Louis Trenchard More:

“[T]here was something sinister in his religious beliefs.”[8]

Alan Avery-Peck writes:

“The papers reveal that Newton was a strict monotheist. He saw no need for a new revelation and rebuffed the Christian notion of atonement and salvation...

...the Noahide precepts alone suffice for salvation, and thus there is no need for Jesus’ expiatory death.

...Newton was resolute in his belief that the Law of Moses was not abrogated with the advent of Christianity...”

Newton himself wrote quite tellingly:

“We need not pray to Christ to intercede for us.”[9]


Newton actually believed that Jewish thinking was behind Greek mathematics and philosophy. In his Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended, Newton claimed that the Greeks “had falsely predated their history by 300-400 years to cover-up that they had received their ideas in mathematics and philosophy from the Jews. For example, he hypothesized that Plato travelled to Egypt where he made contact with Jews.[10]


Apparently, Newton had more books on theology than any other books. His library included Rambam’s Mishneh Torah, an (incomplete version of) The Guide of the Perplexed, Abarbanel’s commentary on Vayikra, Seder Olam, and various Kabbalistic works.


According to the Sephardic Chacham, and academic writer, Rabbi Jose Faur:

“Newton's knowledge of Rabbinics was neither casual nor superficial. To illustrate, when expounding the apocalyptic conflict of Gog and Magog, Newton refers to the Targum or Aramaic Version of Esther (2:12), as well as to Vayikra Rabba, and the commentaries of Se'adya Gaon and Ibn `Ezra.

In a discussion of a Rabbinic passage, Newton records the opinion of R. Aharon ha-Levi (thirteenth century), the supposed author of Sefer haHinnukh, and his disagreement with Rashi on the matter at hand.

 He also refers to the Rabbinic work Sifra as well as to the position of R. Aharon ibn Hayyim (born c. 1560), the author of Qorban Aharon (Venice, 5369/ 1609).

Later on, he discusses Seder Ma'amadot (the participation of the Israelites in the daily sacrifices) and quotes the opinion of Bertinoro on the Mishna Yoma (7:1).

There are extensive copies in Newton's own hand of passages from the Babylonian and Palestinian Talmud in Latin.”


According to many scholars, including Faur and Keynes, Newton was very much influenced by the writings of Maimonides.

Keynes, who is regarded as an expert in Newton’s theological manuscripts, wrote:

“Very early in life Newton abandoned orthodox belief in the Trinity...He was...a Judaic monotheist of the school of Maimonides.”[11]

Faur writes that:

“Newton's interest in Maimonides is well-documented. In addition to four books of Maimonides' Legal Code in Latin, as well as Pococke, Porta Mosis (1655) in Hebrew and Latin found in his library, there are thousands of words copied by Newton from Maimonides' legal writings in Latin. More importantly, there are many parallels between the doctrines of Maimonides and those of Newton... Newton did not see any contradiction between the realm of physics and the scriptural concept of God.

Newton used Rambam’s ‘Laws of sanctification of the New Moon’ in his notes on ‘considerations about rectifying the Julian calendar’.

He also studied the measurements of the Beit haMikdash and the Third Temple to understand the dimensions of the earth, because he believed that the Temple was a microcosm for the earth – and he quoted excerpts from the Latin translation of Maimonides’ De Cultu Divino, which explain those measurements.

Newton recorded his calculations of the amah or cubit in his Dissertation upon the Sacred Cubit of the Jews and Cubits of the several Nations. Dr Arnie Gotfryd claims that “[T]he accuracy of his analysis of the circumference of the earth and his theory on gravity were dependent on these findings.”

Many are unaware that Judaism also suggests a theology for non-Jews who wish to observe the seven commandments of Noah. This was intended to be a universal religion for all people of the world. Its adherents are known as Bnei Noach, and they live in theological harmony with Jews, correspondingly known as Bnei Yisrael.

Newton was aware of this and wrote:     

“Although the precepts of Noah are not as perfect as the religion of the Scripture, they suffice for salvation...Indeed, Jews had admitted into their gates heathens who accepted Noah’s precepts, but had not converted to the Law of Moses.”


It is now, perhaps, clear just why Bishop Horsley shut the lid of the box declaring these manuscripts unworthy of publication – and why the contents remained unknown until recently.

This fascinating collection of more than 8 million words which comprise Newton’s theological papers raises two important questions:

Was one of the world’s greatest scientists indeed influenced by Maimonides and did he regard himself as a Ben Noach?

Whatever the answer is, a great irony remains: - it is most likely that Newton never
even met a single Jew during his lifetime.

[1] Judaism and Christianity, by Alan Avery-Peck and Jacob Neusner, p. 133.
[2] Newton the Man, by John Maynard Keynes. 1946.
[3] Sarah Dry explains that the bulk of these—an incredible 4,800 Arabic texts spanning a thousand years of history and ranging across astronomy, mathematics, literature, geography, philosophy, and medicine—ended up in the Princeton University Library, making it the largest repository of Islamic manuscripts in North America (which it remains today). 
[4]According to Sarah Dry: “Yahuda was a forensic philologist, a practitioner of a brand of so-called Higher Criticism. ‘Lower Criticism’ concerned itself with the nuts and bolts of transcription, the errors introduced into texts by lazy or unskilled scribes, the almost unavoidable mutations a manuscript underwent as it was copied over many years. Higher Criticism was after bigger game, capturing not simply the literal meaning of words written long ago but the entire worldview or culture in which those words were written. What did the writer of the text mean to accomplish at the time? What events surrounded its composition? Such questions seem plain enough, but when asked of the Bible, they become sensational...”
[5] Hebrew University Assn. v. Nye.
[6] Sir Isaac Newton and Judaism, by B. Gordon.
[7] The Newton Papers, by Sarah Dry.
[8] Isaac Newton: A Biography (New York, 1962), p. 631.
[9] Sir Isaac Newton Theological Manuscripts, by McLauchlan, p. 51.
[10] The Newton You Never Knew, by Dr Arnie Gotfryd.
[11] Newton, the Man, The Royal Newton Tercentenary Celebrations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1947), p. 30.

Sunday 14 April 2019




The Hebrew vowel-points, or nekudot, are the markings at the bottom, middle and top of the Hebrew letters of the Alphabet.

Surprisingly, the origins of the nekudot became the subject of a very emotional debate, which sometimes became quite heated. It also, perhaps very unfairly, turned into a symbolic debate which weeded out the so-called ‘non-traditionalists’ from the ‘more authentic traditionalists.’



Perhaps the earliest indication of some form of nekudot system is alluded to in the first translation of the Torah into Greek, known as the Septuagint of around 200 BCE. This is where some Hebrew words are spelt out with Greek equivalent vowel-pointing to indicate the pronunciation.


Besides vowels, space separation between words, was another development which may have occurred over time. According to Ramban, in his introduction to his commentary on the Torah, originally there were no space separations between words in the early books of the Torah.

In other ancient documents, there is evidence of short vertical lines indicating breaks between words. These were later replaced by dots. [1]


The Masoretes or Baalei haMesora were active between the 6th and 10th centuries CE. They were a group of scribes (many of them were Karaites) who were involved in identifying and establishing the most accurate texts, and readings thereof, for future Torah transmission.

However, it was only from around the 7th century where the nekudot system appears to have been firmly established.

From around the 9th century, the Baalei haMesora, developed official schools of Hebrew grammar and vocalization. Three main schools existed at that time: The Babylonian school, or nikud Bavli; the Jerusalem school, or nikud Eretz Yisrael; and the Tiberius school, or nikud Teveiriyani.

The Babylonian school developed six vowels, the Palestinian school developed five and the Tiberius school had seven.

In the Babylonian and Jerusalem schools, the nekudot were placed above the letters, known as superlinear vocalization. With time, the Tiberius school became more dominant and remains the system still in use today. The Tiberius school also used cantillation marks which indicate the tune the text is to be recited in.

[For more on how Hebrew used to be pronounced see The ‘JIN’, the ‘RIMMEL’, the ‘THAW’ and the ‘WOW’.]

BEN ASHER (d. 960):

A key figure in the Tiberius school was Aharon ben Moshe ben Asher, and the Torah text we follow today, as well as our general pronunciation, are largely according to his version. His Torah was later endorsed by Rambam. [See The Aleppo Codex.]

Ironically, it is quite possible that the Ben Asher family were Karaite Jews. [See A Karaite Link in the Mesora Chain?]

BEN NAFTALI (d. 940):

A conflicting family of Baalei haMesora of the same period, was the Ben Naftali family. (Yaakov?) ben Naftali also wrote his own version of the Torah which provided different nekudot and pronunciations. Rav Saadia Gaon preferred the Ben Naftali version.

There are about 875 differences between the Ben Asher and Ben Naftali schools.

R. ELIYAHU HABACHUR (1468-1549):

During the 1500’s R. Eliyahu Bachur created waves when he suggested - although borne out by the historical record - that the nekudot were not as ancient as many maintained.  Many believed, based on the Zohar which had surfaced just 200 years earlier, that the tradition of nekudot went right back to Sinai. Bachur, however, suggested that the origins of the nekudot were relatively new - dating back to the end of the Talmudic period at around the 5th century CE - and not dating back to Sinai.

Bachur put forward some strong arguments for his case. Most compelling was the fact that nekudot are not mentioned in neither the Mishna (0-200 CE) nor the Talmud (200-500 CE), nor Aggadot nor Midrashim.[2]

Additionally, Bachur writes that “most of the names of the nekudot are not Hebrew, but they Aramaic.” This was a strong support for the notion that they are relatively new cannot be regarded as being ancient.

NATRONAI (d. 858):

Eliyahu Bachur was not the first rabbi to propose this, because other scholars, such as Natronai II ben Hilai the Gaon of Sura, had made similar suggestions already in the 9th century.
Natronai replied to a question as to whether it was permitted to put vowels points in a Sefer Torah scroll.

He wrote:

“...since the law, as give to Moses on Sinai, had no points, and...having been invented by the sages, and put down as signs for the reader; and moreover since it is prohibited to us to make any additions from our own cogitations, lest we transgress the command ‘Ye shall not add’...; hence we must not put points to the Scrolls of the Law.”

MACHZOR VITRY (d. 1105):

In a similar fashion, according to Machzor Vitry - written by Simcha ben Shmuel of Vitry who was a student of Rashi:

“In the [unspecified] Teshuvot ha-Geonim… the Torah that was given to Moses at Sinai did not contain nekkudot, and in fact the nekkudot were not even given at Sinai. . . therefore we do not place nekkudot in the sefer Torah.”[3]

IBN EZRA (1089-1167):

At around the same time, Ibn Ezra made a similar observation.
Referring to the dots on the shin and sin, Ibn Ezra wrote:

“ was the custom of the sages of Tiberius to put down these points...from whom we obtained the whole system of punctuation.”


Historically, these views are corroborated by the Codex Hilali:
“It is now generally acknowledged among scholars that the Codex Hilali derives its name from the fact, that it was written at Hilla, a town near the ruins of ancient Babel.

This Codex, which was completed circa A.D. 600, had not only the then newly invented vowel-points and accents, but was furnished with Massoretic glosses.

It was brought to Toledo about A.D. 1100, where the grammarian Jacob b. Eleazar used it for his works, and a portion of it was purchased by the Jewish community in Africa, about A.D. 1500.”[4]

ZOHAR (first published in 1558):

All our sources so far, indicate that the nekudot were introduced during the period of the Baalei haMesora sometime between 500 and 1000 CE.

However, at the other end of the spectrum was the Zohar which regarded the nekudot as ancient and divinely given:

The vowel points proceeded from the same Holy Spirit which indited the sacred Scriptures, and that far be the thought to say that the scribes made the points.”[5]

Because of the position of pre-eminence the Zohar held amongst many (most?) Jews, this view naturally became the dominant view.

It should be pointed out, though, that there are divergent views regarding the dating and authority of the Zohar. [See Mysteries Behind the Origins of the Zohar.]

R. AZARIA DEI ROSSI (1512-1577):

R. Azaria dei Rossi, in his Meor Eynayim, attacks Eliyahu Bachur for his view on the dating of the origins of the nekudot as being around the 5th century.

Azaria dei Rossi fervently subscribed to the view of the Zohar which claimed that the nekudot originated at Sinai.

Azaria quoted Bachur who had confidently proclaimed: “I shall succumb to the will of any person who can disprove my argument against our rabbis.

And he equally confidently proceeded to be the one to disproved Bachur because - very simply – the Zohar had settled the debate, and the nekudot were from Sinai!

But he gives Bachur a little wiggle room because he acknowledges that:

“...the kabbalistic works to which we shall refer were not yet in print in his [Bachur’s] lifetime…
However today … the Bahir, Zohar, Tikkunim...have been published . . . and they all discuss the nekkudot by their names and their descriptions...

Thus, Bachur’s view is patently undermined since we have intimations to prove that the different kind of vowels and accents were in existence not only before the close of the Gemara, but even before the composition of the Mishnah.

And if he were with us today, he would certainly submit to our view.”[6]

Eliyahu Bachur died in 1549[7], the Zohar was first printed in Mantua in 1558 [although it had surfaced 300 years earlier – either written - or discovered[8] - by Moshe de León (1240-1305)], and the Meor Eynayim was published in 1573.

Azaria dei Rossi’s support of the Zohar and the more ‘traditionally conservative’ view that the nekudot were given at Sinai, is rather surprising since he certainly was not accepted within the traditional camp. In fact, rabbis like the Maharal and even R. Yosef Karo had wanted to ban his writings including his Meor Eynayim.  [For more, see Azaria dei Rossi.]

THE CHIDAH (1724-1806):

R. Chaim Yosef David Azulai, the Kabbalist known as the Chidah, also defends the view of the Zohar:
“In my youth I saw . . . in Mesorat ha-Masorat [by Eliyahu Bachur] that tammim and nekkudot were instituted after the close of the Talmudic era by the wise [Baalei haMesora] of Tiberius.

R. Eliyahu is incorrect and must beg forgiveness, as these [nekudot] are Halacha leMoshe miSinai.

Further, it is already known that R. Simeon ben Yohai the teacher of Rebbi Yehuda haNasi, the compiler of the Mishna, in the Tekkuni Zohar speaks wonders regarding the tammim and the nekkudot.”[9]


Dan Rabinowitz describes the tension between those who claim the nekudot were given with the Torah (and even before[10]); and those who claim the vowels - as we know them - only came into existence around the 6th century CE, as follows:

“If one assumes that G-d unquestionably gave the Torah with a single, undisputed reading, one would argue that the current nekkudot system was in place at the time the Torah was given. In other words, at the time of the reception of the Torah, we also received from G-d a codified pronunciation system, the nekkudot.

The other opinion understands that although Hebrew necessarily includes a vowel system, the actual nekkudot symbols themselves were not given by G-d along with the Torah. Indeed, this "non-traditional" view generally holds that the nekkudot symbols were instituted by the Ba’alei Mesorah sometime between the sixth and eighth centuries of the Common Era.”[11]

R. YAAKOV EMDEN (1697-1776):

Rabinowitz also points out that R. Yaakov Emden mentions the reference to the vowel-point ‘kametz’ in the Tikkunei Zohar. R. Emden uses this reference to suggest that:

“this language is a clear proof that this [Zohar] is not written by R. Simeon ben Yohai, because it is known that the Ba’alei haDikduk are very late.

They do not date to the Tannaim, nor even during the Amoraim or Gaonic periods as there is no mention of them, instead they are after the Gaonic period, in the countries of the East is where we find the first Ba’al Dikduk, R. Judah ibn Hayyuj.”

R. Emden places the origins of nekudot at a much later time than anyone else in this debate – at the end of the period of the Gaonim which was around the year 1000, and was even 500 years later than Eliyahu Bachur’s estimation!


Fascinatingly, Rabinowitz informs us about a surprising irony relating to Moses Mendelssohn, who founded the Enlightenment movement and leaned towards the Reform movement.

Mendelssohn also weighed in on the debate as to the age of the nekudot. Yet, instead of siding with those who concluded that the nekudot were introduced by the Baalei haMesora around 600 CE - as one might have expected – he followed the view of the Zohar and maintained they originated at Sinai!

In his Torah commentary known as the Biur, he mentions the view of Eliyahu Bachur – but disagrees with him and instead chooses to go with:

 “the mekubalim [Kabbalists], specifically the Bahir...[and the] Zohar...which are not only before the close of the Talmudic era, but even before the writing of the Mishna. They all mention the names of the nekkudot.”

This is interesting for two reasons; firstly because Mendelssohn the Maskil selects the Zohar over ‘historical’ sources, and secondly because he also believes the Zohar was indeed an ancient work written by R. Shimon bar Yochai, a thousand years before Moshe de León.


As Dan Rabinowitz shows, the fiery debate as to the age of the nekudot has brought some interesting opinions from some unlikely sources. It is not surprising to see that the Chidah unquestionably supported the view of the Zohar

But it is surprising that people like R. Azaria de Rossi and Moses Mendelssohn, who were regarded as more ‘academic’ than ‘traditional’ by the Renaissance and Enlightenment standards respectively - yet both defended the position of the Zohar.

On the other hand, it is interesting to see that someone like R. Yaakov Emden, a fierce defender of orthodoxy - and a ‘hunter’ of secret followers of Shabbatai Zvi whom he believed had infiltrated into, and were threatening the essence of, mainstream orthodoxy - opted to challenge the very authenticity of the Zohar itself and dated the nekudot to even more recent times than anyone else had.

And it is also interesting to see that with the surfacing of the Zohar, suddenly even the authentic voices of Gaonim like Natronai, and Rishonim like Ibn Ezra and the Machzor Vitry - and the historical records of the schools that specialised in nekudot and texts, like Ben Asher and Ben Naftali - were overwhelmingly silenced.

To bring this debate into our modern era, it would be best to conclude with the opening remarks of Rabinowitz himself:

Recent history has witnessed a rise in the polarization within the Jewish community...

...this polarization is evidenced by – if not exacerbated by – some individuals or groups who have sought to mask the relative heterogeneity of philosophical, historical or halakhic opinions firmly within Orthodox or traditional scholarship.

That is, some rabbinic authorities and authors have attempted to portray Orthodoxy as a unified and monolithic collection of viewpoints, such that any dissent is to be characterized as “out-of-the-mainstream,” if not outright heretical.

This effort to marginalize viewpoints on fundamental topics of Jewish law and philosophy – even though such viewpoints have been the opinion of many distinguished sages – quite obviously promotes polarization by effectively casting disfavored views in a pejorative light.

Orthodox Judaism itself is not homogeneous; instead it is comprised of individuals who espouse many different views and defy rigid categorization. One example of this rich diversity and lack of homogeneity within Orthodox Judaism is the controversy regarding the origins of the system of nekkudot, vowel markers.

...Orthodoxy is comprised of multiple viewpoints, and...the bearers of those views cannot necessarily be categorized by shorthand labels.”


Massoreth  HaMassoreth (Ginsburg).
Nekkudot: The Dots that Connect Us, by Dan Rabinowitz. (Hakirah Journal 2005.)

[1] This can be seen in the Mesha Stone from around 850 BCE, which some believe to have been written in Old Hebrew.
[2] See Messoreth haMessoreth.
[3]Machzor Vitri, p. 192. (Goldschmidt edition.)

[4] Messoreth haMessoreth (Ginsburg) footnote 40.
[5] Zohar on Song of Solomon, 57b, ed. Amsterdam, 1701.

[6] Me'or Enayim, R. Azariah di Rossi, Warsaw 1899 p. 413.
[7] However, see Eliyahu Bachur, where it appears that copies of the Zohar (in manuscript form) were apparently available during Bachur’s lifetime.
[8] Moshe de Léon had claimed he had discovered the 1000-year-old text written by R. Shimon bar Yochai.
[9] Shem haGedolim, Tuv Tam p. 59.
[10] According to Jewish mysticism, the world was created with the Hebrew letters, and the specific Hebrew words for all manner of creation as written and pronounced, provided the life-force for each individual entity.
[11] Nekkudot: The Dots that Connect Us, by Dan Rabinowitz. (Hakirah Journal 2005.)