Abraham Abulafia and Pope Nicholas III

And on the sixth day [Friday] on the twenty-fifth day of the sixth month the star will appear and be gathered to the seventh day [the Sabbath]. And after seventy days, it will be covered up and will be seen no more. On the first day it will be visible in the city of Rome, and on that day three high walls of the city of Rome will fall, and the great palace there will collapse and the ruler of that city will die.

Zohar vol3 fol. 212b
Pope Nicholas III died on August 22, 1280, which fell on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, the sixth month counting from Nissan. As Jellinek has pointed out, this date agrees with what is reported in the Zohar regarding the demise of the ruler or Rome. The congruency between the predicted date fro the death of the Roman ruler according to the Zohar and trhe death of Nicholas III is uncanny. Moreover, the similarity between the eschatological tone struck by the Zohar and the messianic tone of Abulafia's incident is highly suggestive. Is Jellinek correct in calling his note "Ein Historisches Datum in Buche Sohar"? If his supposition is correct, we have a postquem date for the composition of some of the last sections of the Zohar as not earlier than the end of 1280. It is possible that not only the death of Nicholas but also other information about Abulafia's planned meeting with the pope a a certain time could have influenced this section of the Zohar ... Moreover, it may well be that Abulafia's later claim, found in a book composed between the years 1285 and 1288 and intended to be sent to "Sefarad" (apparently Castile), to the effect that he had killed the pope by means of the divine name might also have had an impact on the author of the Zohar.
Moshe Idel: Messianic Mystics, Yale, 1998, p.122-123
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