Introduction into the translation of the work by David Nieto.
It is wonderful to see such diversity of ideas in a conference taking place in such a special place as the city of Saint-Claude in Guadeloupe, French West Indies.
I am a Chilean writer, published in Chile, in a non-independent way by publishing houses established in Chile. In 2001, I published a collection of poems thanks to the writer who trained me, the poet Miguel Arteche, National Prize of Literature. Then I studied Ancient Oriental Studies at the Free University of Berlin. So, when I talk about the Bible or symbols, I do it from the point of view of a linguist.
I come from the art of poetry and the way of interpreting poems, which is part of hermeneutics, started with the biblical texts.
Now that pantheism is becoming popular – I do not refer to Spinoza’s cold and rational pantheism – I think of David Nieto’s idea, to feel Divinity in every tree, in every leaf and perceive at the same time all its harmonious singularity.
David Nieto saw this 300 years ago in a traditional form [of Judaism].
He was a great doctor, astronomer and also a leader in the community where he tried to be a righteous man. I do not think he knew the controversy he was going to generate when he agreed to become rabbi of the Portuguese and Spanish Jewish community in London.
David Nieto was Italian and he arrived in England when the country was obsessed with science, precisely when Isaac Newton established strict laws of nature and John Toland coined the term pantheism to confront the duality that exists between Christianity and the proclamation of nature in a context of separation between god and nature. At the time, the laws of nature had been declared absolute and a fundamental element of reality. Then, the “Abrahamic God” with his personal preferences and dislikes had been removed in favor of a world governed solely by natural laws.
In 1703, David Nieto told his congregation:
My dear brothers, I know that what I am about to say to you now is a fundamental belief of our people and this has been the case since our foundation:
There is no such thing as nature. The word “nature” simply does not exist in the Hebrew language. About 500 years ago, the word used in modern Hebrew to describe nature, teva, was adapted from Aramaic.
He wrote: “De la Divina Providencia o Naturaleza Universal“.
This work had not been translated. It was forgotten in the British library. Even though this book has already been scanned many times, it has always been preserved in its Judeo-Spanish version of the original facsimile.
The translation of David Nieto’s work, De la Divina Providencia o Naturaleza Universal was recently published for the first time in Spanish and English in ebook and paperback format on Amazon, available for free on Kindle or other reading devices from May 6 to May 10, 2019.