#64 Hope in Darkness: Jewish History of the 14th & 15th Centuries (Part Three)

The 1400s in Jewish history was a time of turbulence and uncertainty while also a period of tremendous Jewish intellectual and mystical exploration. In this podcast episode, the last of the three-part series ‘Hope in Darkness: Jewish History of the 14th and 15th Centuries’, David examines the lives of several fascinating figures and their contributions to Jewish and world thinking. However, it is the enormity of the historical events that shaped the Jewish experience of the time, particularly in Europe, that dominates much of the material discussed in this episode. David explores the impact of printing on Jewish life and learning; the increasing interest in Hebrew and Jewish texts among Christian scholars; and the devastating consequences arising from the union of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile, leading to the unrelenting cruelty of the Inquisition and the eventual cataclysmic expulsion of the Jews of Spain.

This episode includes discussions of:

  • practical kabbalists of the the 1400s
  • the remarkable ideas and contributions of Jewish philosophers of the 15th century
  • the growing number of Jewish doctors in Europe and the respect accorded to them
  • the advent of printing and the enormous impact on Jewish life and learning – the Spanish Inquisition and the Jewish expulsion
  • the different shape of the Portuguese expulsion – the prophecies of Ines ‘The Maid’ of Herrera
  • the rebuilding of the Jewish community of Jerusalem

Watch part one https://youtu.be/O6oGjEUSNDA

Watch part two https://youtu.be/7oxkdFVgeLc

Find more of David Solomon’s podcast, with dozens of lectures on Jewish history, the Bible, Jewish philosophy, and Kabbalah here.


This three-part series was recorded in Melbourne at the Caulfield Shule in 2020.