Battista,Giovanni Giuda Giona

Battista,Giovanni Giuda Giona (originally Jehuda Jona ben-Isaac), the teacher of the learned Barrolocci (q.v.), was born at Safed, in Galilee, Oct. 28, 1588, where he was also appointed to rabbiship. He was a descendant of a Spanish family, which, after their expulsion by Ferdinand, retired into Tuscany. Pius V having expelled them thence also, his parents went to the East, where Jehuda Jona was born. Having gone through his course of studies, he visited Italy, Amsterdam, Hamburg, and Poland. In the latter country he joined the Church with his wife and children in 1625, taking the name of Giovanni Battista Giona, after the bishop Lancelot of Nola, the papal nuntius at the court of king Sigismund III of Poland, who baptized him. He now gave up his Talmudical studies, while he commenced the study of the Bible. As he made his living by the sale of jewelry, the king of Poland sent him to Constantinople for the purpose of buying precious stones. He was, however, taken for a spy of the Cossacks, who had lately burned a city upon the banks of the Euxine Sea, and would have lost his life had he not been ransomed by the Venetian ambassador. He was sent to Italy, where he remained some time as teacher of Hebrew and Chaldee at the Academy of Pisa, which he left for Rome, where he was appointed professor of Hebrew and assistant librarian at the College pro Propaganda Fide. He died May 26, 1668. He wrote, לַמּוּד הִמּשַׁיחַי, The Doctrine of Christianity, translated from the Italian of Robert Bellarmin, with notes (Rome, 1658):בּרַית חֲדָשָׁה, The Four Gospels, translated from the Latin into Hebrew, with a preface of Clement IX (ibit. 1668): — דּרוּשׁ, a discourse on the Advent of the Messiah and the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit, in Hebrew and Latin (ibid. 1653). See Wolff, Bibl. Hebr. i, 430; 3, 312 sq.; Furst, Bibl. Jud. i, 94; 3, 73; Wagenseil, Die Erlsung Israels, p. 137; Basnage, Histoire des Juifs (Taylor's transl.), p. 704; Kalkar, Israel und die Kirche, p. 81 sq.; Le Long-Masch, Bibl. Sacra, i, 144. (B. P.)

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