Abrabanel, Abrabenel, or Abravanal Isaac

Abrabanel, Abrabenel, or Abravanal Isaac (also called ABARBANEL, ABRAVENEL, BARBANELLA, RAVANELLA), ISAAC, a famous rabbi, born at Lisbon, 1437. He was descended from an ancient and distinguished Jewish family, which claimed to be able to trace their pedigree to king David. He was a favorite of Alphonso V of Portugal, but after that king's death he was charged with certain misdemeanors and compelled to quit Portugal. He took refuge in Castile, where he obtained (1484) employment under Ferdinand and Isabella; but, in 1492, with the rest of the Jews, he was driven out of the kingdom. He went at first (1493) to Naples, where he gained the confidence of king Ferdinand I. After the conquest of Naples by Charles VIII of France, he followed Alphonso II to Sicily. After the death of Alphonso he flew to Corfu, then (1496) to Monopoli, a town of Apulia, and ultimately (1503) to Venice, in which city he became very popular by terminating a conflict between the Venetians and the Portuguese. He finally died at Venice, 1508. His body was brought to Padua, and there buried with the greatest honors on the part of the republic of Venice. Abrabanel was an indefatigable student and writer, and is placed by the Jews almost in the same rank with Maimonides. He wrote bitterly against Christianity, but his commentaries are nevertheless much esteemed, as he is very careful in illustrating the literal sense of the text. The most important of them are, פֵּרוּשׁ הִתּוֹרָה, a Commentary on the Pentateuch (fol. Venice, 1579, and later; best ed. by Van Bashuysen, fol. Hanau, 1710); פֵּרוּשׁ רַאשׁוֹנַים נבַיאַים, a Commentary on the Early Prophets [Joshua - Kings] (fol. Pesaro, 1522; Naples, 1543; best ed. by Pfeiffer and Christiani, Leipz. 1686); עֲסִר פֵּ8 נבַיאַים א2ֲ2ִח - רוֹנַים וּתרֵי, a Commentary on the [properly so called] Prophets (fol. Pesaro, 1520; best ed. Amst. 1641); פֵּ8 דָּנַיֵּאל, a Commentary on Daniel (4to, Naples, s. d.; Ferrara, 1651, and later; best ed. Venice, 1652). This commentary contains the strongest invectives against Christ and the Christians, though some of them are omitted in the second edition (see De Rossi, Bibl. Jud. Antichr. p. 7 sq.), and it therefore called forth a large number of refutations from Danz, C. l'Empereur, Seb. Schnell, Pfeiffer, Koppen, Brand, H. Gebhard, J. Fr. Weidler, and C. G. Mundinus. Latin translations were published of the Commentaries on Nahum and Habakkuk by J. Meyer (in his Notes to Seder Olam); of the commentary on Haggai by Scherzer (Trifol. Or. Lips. 1663 and 1672), and Abicht (Select. Rabb. Phil.); of the commentaries on Malachi by J. Meyer (Hamburg, 1685). A translation of the whole commentary was made, but not published, by a former Jew at Vienna. The preface to this work by Rabbi Baruch gives an essay on the life and the writings of Abrabanel, compiled from his works. He also wrote מִשׁמַיעִ ישׁוּעָה (herald of salvation), an explanation of the principal Messianic passages of the Old Testament, in which work a complete system of the views of the Jewish theology concerning the Messiah is given. This work, in which Abrabanel gives full scope to his animosity against the Christians, was prepared by him at Monopoli, and for the first time published (in 4to) without the name of place (probably at Salonichi) in 1526 (again, Amsterdam, 1644; Offenbach, 1767). A Latin translation, under the title Proeco Salutis, was published by H. May (Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1712, 4to), who, in the room of a preface, gives a biography of Abrabanel. רֹאשׁ אֲמָנָה (head of security), a treatise on the articles of the Jewish faith (first ed., Constantinople, 1505, fol.). עֲטֶרֶת זקֵנַים (crown of old men), one of the first works of the author, in which he treats of the different kinds of prophecy (first printed at Sabionetta, 1537, 4to). מַפעֲלוֹה א6לֹהַים (works of God), a philosophical treatise on the creation of the world, in which he argues against the assumption of an eternity of the world (Venice, 1592, 4to). Several works of Abrabanel have not been printed yet. The proposal of Bashuysen to issue a complete edition of all the works of Abrabanel has never been executed. All his works were in Hebrew, but many of his Dissertations have been translated into Latin by Buxtorf (4to, Basil, 1660) and others. Although he spent many years at royal courts, Abrabanel, in one of his works, expressed very decided republican opinions. He left two sons, one of whom distinguished himself as a physician and as the author of an Italian poem, Dialogi d' Amore; the other embraced the Christian religion. The son of the latter published at Venice, in 1552, a collection of Hebrew letters. — Winer, Theol. Lit. vol. 1; Furst, Bib. Jud. 1, 11 sq.; Jost, Gesch. d. Judenthums, 3, 104; Wolf, Biblioth. Hebraica, 3, 544; Mai, Dissertatio de origine, vita et scriptis Abrabanielis (Altdorf. 1708); Hoefer, Biographie Generale, 1, 31; Ersch and Gruber, Encycl. s.v.

 
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