Abulafia and Umberto Eco

I was watching the other day a documentary about Kabbalah and at some point the name Abulafia came up.
Suddenly I remember where I’ve read it before: in Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum.
Interesting how things are connected in life.

In Foucault’s Pendulum Abulafia was the nickname of Belbo’s computer used by him and two other friend-editors to decipher the hidden coded manuscript alleged to contain the information on how the Templar Knights planned to take over the world.
When I’ve read the book, I was intrigued by the name, but that was all. I was too much preoccupied on trying to navigate the intrigue to give a second thought to this name. The book it’s not an easy reading but the journey through the labyrinth it’s quite interesting.

Who was Abulafia?
Abraham Abulafia (1240-1294) is the most important figure in the prophetic Kabbalah.
As opposed to the most known Kabbalist who lived a normal conventional family life, Abulafia was the wandering mystic and teacher, moving from town to town, spreading his teachings.
Abulafia teaches that, by using his methods of letter permutation, meditation, and free association, you can receive prophecy today. Naturally, the Thorah scholars are not quite happy with the mystical point of interpreting divine words.

Before my son was born, I tried to find a meaningful name for him. I came across a Kabbalarian analysis of names and it took me a few days to find one that seemed to work well with the last name and I liked as well. Nowadays everybody knows about artists embrassing Kabbalah, but without converting to Judaism, which is a point various rabbies are complaining about. Probably Abulafia opened Pandora’s box with his teachings.

Finally, what is Foucault’s Pendulum?
The Pendulum is made of a support, a wire and an iron ball that swings back and forth in a plane that is fix relative to the distant stars. Because of the Earth rotation, it will appear that the pendulum rotates anti-clockwise describing a full circle within 24 hours period.

Leave a Reply