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Title: Astrologie, Kabbale et histoire dans les Curiositez inouyes (1629) de Jacques Gaffarel
Author(s): SANCHEZ, Jean
Volume: 47 Issue: 2 Date: 2020
In 1629, a strange treatise was published in Paris: the Curiositez inouyes ('unheard-of curiosities'), a survey of the astrology of the ancient Hebrews and the talismanic art of the Persians. Its author, the Orientalist Jacques Gaffarel (1601-1681), was a rising figure of French scholarship and a friend of Pierre Gassendi (1592-1655) and Gabriel Naudé (1600-1653). The originality of his treatise, one of the last defences of astrology authored by a French scholar in the seventeenth century, lay in its antiquarian approach to knowledge based mainly on a corpus of rabbinic sources. In this article, I address one of the essential aspects of the Curiositez inouyes: the re-establishment of astrology based on the doctrines of the ancient Hebrews. I show how Gaffarel used, not without ambiguity, the rhetoric and resources of historical scholarship to introduce a new legitimisation of astrology through the Jewish Kabbalah. Through this analysis I wish to explore how the attitude toward Antiquity shaped the conception of astrology in early modern France.