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Lullism

Lullism or llullism is an esoteric philosophy based on the search for truth in all areas of knowledge. It stemmed from a belief that the mundane secrets and celestial levels of existence could be deciphered by manipulating the letters of the alphabet. It was originally developed by Ramon Llull (1232-1316). Manuscripts show that Llull anticipated prominent work on elections theory several centuries ahead of his time. He is also considered a pioneer of computational theory, given his influence on Gottfried Leibniz.

In 1263, Llull experienced a religious epiphany in the form of a series of visions. He narrated the event within his autobiography, Vita coaetanea ("Daily Life");

In the early 14th century at the age of 82, Llull visited North Africa. After his release, Llull was stoned by an angry crowd in the city of Bougie. Genoese merchants took him back to Mallorca where he died at his home in Palma the next year. According to Bonner, Llull journeyed to Tunis because he was erroneously informed that its ruler was interested in Christianity.

Due to this, his reception in the 14th century or lack thereof cannot be seen on a linear manner, given the diversity in the overall reception of Ramon Llull. The transformation of Ramon Llull into a mystic began to spread even into the 16th century Europe and began to turn into a phenomenon almost three hundred years after his death. Europeans at this time valued his works as a method for integrating all different types of knowledge, including the works of Peter Ramus and Guillaume Budé.

Lullism has been seen as a bridge between Christianity and Islam. Aspects of theology and Muslim philosophy are incorporated in its works.

Llull's many works; such as, the Libre d’ amic e amat, contain Sufi ideas and allegories and show an appreciation of Islamic mystical expressions. Eve Bonner has assessed the influence of Franciscan mysticism and Troubadour poetry on Lullism.

Its geographical proximity to Judaism allowed for fertile ground where Llull could develop his own theories regarding the relationship between God and man as well as the search for truth. Dominique Urvoy suggests that the Jews were a knowledgeable source for Lullism about Islam, because they incorporated Muslim philosophy and Sufi ideas into their books.

Connections between Lullism and Kabbalah have been debated by Christian and Jewish scholars with different results. Adolphe Franck and Christian David Ginsburg referred to Lullism as Kabbalistic in their works, was based on the inaccuracy that the Opusculum raymundinum de auditu kabbalistico was a lullistic work. Arthur Edward Waite and Joseph Leon Blau interdicted a connection between Lullism and Kabbalah. Frances Amelia Yates said, "Llull himself was almost certainly influenced by Cabala which developed in Spain at the same time as his art. In fact, the art is perhaps best understood as a medieval form of Christian Cabala".

These works have approached the subject through the studies of Pico della Mirandola who connected the two phenomena: Lullism and Kabbalah. These works, however, had anachronistically presented Lullism as a Renaissance understanding and use of Kaballah.