Messer, Leon

Messer, Leon also called MESTRE LEON, LEONE HEBREO, was the oldest son of the famous statesman, philosopher, theologian, and commentator. Don Isaac b.-Jehudah Abrabanel (q.v.), whose full name was Don Jehuda Leon b.- lsaak Abravanel. He is better known as Leo Hebraeus. Leon Messer was born at Lisbon near the close of the 15th century. When the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492, he accompanied his father in all his peregrinations, and finally settled at Genoa, where he practiced medicine with great repute, for which cause he was also called "Medico Hebreo." He was a profound philosopher, and an excellent poet. His Philography, 'or Dialoghi di Amore (Rome, 1535; Venice, 1607). contains disquisitions on the doctrines of Neo-Platonism, the symbols of mythology, the Hebrew Kabala, and the Arabian philosophy. It exists in French, Spanish, and Latin translations, all made in the 16th century. He also wrote some poems in honor of his father, an elegy on his death, and a poem of 130 stanzas descriptive of the vicissitudes of his life, and containing exhortations to his son. He was also a good mathematician, and an amateur in music. The date of his death is not -known. Comp. First, Biblioth. Jud. 2:230 sq.; Lindo, History of the Jews of Spain and Portugal, p. 268 sq.; Finn, Sephardim, p. 418; Etheridge, Introd. to Hebr. Lit. p. 449 sq.; Da Costa, Israel and the Gentiles, p. 377; Ueberweg, History of Philosophy (transl. by C. Morris, NY. 1872), p. 428; Munk, Esquisse historique de la philosophie chez les Juifs (Germ. transl. by B. Beer, Leipsic, 1852), p. 37,84 sq.; Zunz, Literaturgesch. d. Synagog. Poesie, p. 524; Geschichte und fiteratur, p. 250, 316; Ticknor, Hist. of Spanish Literature (Am. ed.), 3:189,190, note; Jost, Geschichte d. Jud. us. Sekten, 3:117; Gritz, Gesch. d. Jud. vol. viii; but especially Delitzsch's lucid treatise in the L. B. d. Orients, 1840, c. 81 sq., Leo der Hebrder: Characteristik seines Zeitalters, seiner Ric. tung und seiner Werke. (B. P.)

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