This microtextual analysis of a Zoharic textual unit sheds light on the boundaries and ideologies that guided the editors as they prepared the first print edition of the Zohar (Mantua, 1558), revealing how they adapted and interpolated an external commentary by Joseph of Hamadan, a thirteenth-century Castilian kabbalist. Furthermore, examining the adaptation of this same passage by a fourteenth-century Italian kabbalist, Menahem Recanati, provides insights into an important stage in the canonization of the Zohar. This fascinating case study not only contributes to the textual criticism of the Zohar but also brings to the fore the construction of improper sexuality as the most dangerous threat to the male Jew.
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