The Leibniz Review 5:27-28 (1995)

Christia Mercer
Columbia University
Anyone interested in Leibniz, the Kabbalah, the Cambridge Platonists, Gnosticism, Platonism, or seventeenth-century metaphysics will want to read Allison P. Coudert’s Leibniz and the Kabbalah. Coudert argues that core features of Leibniz’s mature philosophy were directly influenced by the Kabbalah in general and Francis Mercury van Helmont’s Lurianic Kabbalah in particular. This is a provocative thesis to which Coudert brings an impressive amount of scholarly detective work. Her argument in brief goes as follows: there are important differences between the philosophy of Leibniz’s middle period and that of the late; some of the most distinctive features of the late philosophy are very similar to key aspects of the Lurianic Kabbalism of van Helmont, with whose works and ideas Leibniz became increasingly familiar after 1687; therefore, Leibniz’s late philosophy was significantly influenced by the thought of van Helmont.
Keywords History of Philosophy  Major Philosophers
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ISBN(s) 1524-1556
DOI 10.5840/leibniz199554
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