Martini, Raymond

Martini, Raymond a Spanish Dominican friar, noted for his great attainments as an Orientalist, was born at Sobirats, Catalonia, near the middle of the 13th century. At a general chapter held at Toledo in 1250, Martini was selected as among the most promising and talented of his order to be educated as a defender of the faith. Spain was at this time the great center of Jewish and Mohammedan scholarship, and the Dominican general Raymond de Penafort was bent upon a polemical war with the "heretics." To defray the expenses of educating such of the priests and friars as might act as polemics, Raymond had secured a pension from the kings of Castile and Aragon. Both Hebrew and Arabic were assiduously studied by Martini, who, after having sufficiently qualified himself by the mastery of these Shemitic tongues, promptly commenced his attack on the Jews in a work entitled Pugiofidei, which he finished in 1278. He is also reputed to have written Capistrum Judaeorum, and also A Confutation of the Alcoran. The time of his decease is not generally known. The great knowledge which Martini displayed in his comments on the books and opinions of the Jews, has made some unjustly imagine that he was of that religion. The "Pugio fidei" is said to have been greatly enlarged after Martini's death. We are told that Bosquet, who died bishop of Montpelier, fell upon the manuscript, while he was with great ardor rummaging all the corners of the library of the College de Foix at Toulouse, about 1.629, read it, and, after copying some things out of it, gave it to James Spiegel, a learned German, and his preceptor in the Hebrew tongue. Spiegel advised Maussac to publish it; but the latter, though very able to do it himself, had for an assistant Mr. de Voisin, son of a counselor in the Parliament at Bourdeaux, who took upon him the greatest part of the task. Thomas Turc, general of the Dominicans, was very earnest in spurring on the promoters of this edition; and, not satisfied with soliciting them by letters equally importunate and obliging, he gave orders that they should be provided with all the manuscripts of the "Pugio fidei" that could be recovered. In short, the Dominican Order interested themselves so much in it that they bore the charges of the impression, which was made at Paris in 1651.

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