Nieto, David Ben-pinchas

Nieto, David Ben-Pinchas (or, as his full name is, Signor Hachacham B. David Netto Rab del Kehilla Kedosha, de Londres), a Jewish savant, noted as a philosopher, physician, poet, mathematician, astronomer, historian, and theologian of extraordinary ability, was of Spanish descent, and was born at Venice, Italy, in 1654. He practiced medicine at Leghorn, occasionally preaching in the synagogue. While there he wrote in Italian a work entitled Pascalogia, a disquisition on the paschal festival of the Christian Church, in which he pointed out the causes of the differences between the Greek and Latin churches on the time of Easter, and between them and the synagogue on that of the Passover. This book he dedicated to the "Altezza Reverendissima di Francesco Maria Cardinale de Medici." The fame of his talents led the congregation of London to invite him to be their head in the place of Jacob Abendana (q.v.). Nieto accepted the call, and arrived at London in 1701. In 1704 he published a theological treatise on Divine Providence, or Dialogues on the Universal Law of Nature. In 1718 he published a Jewish Calendar, entitled בַּינָה לעַתַּים. In Hebrew he published his אֵשׁ דָּת מַפַּי דָ8ן, i.e. The Fire of the Law, impugning the doctrine of R. Nehemiah Chajun: — The Rod of Judgment (מִטֵה דָן), or second part of the Kusari, to prove the divine authority of tlhe oral law (Engl. transl. by Laz. Lw [London, 1842]): — a contribution to the history of the Inquisition, Noticias reconditas y posthumas del procedimiento de has Inquisicione de Espana y Portugal, etc.: — and, besides some pulpit discourses, and A Reply to the Sermon of the Archbishop of Cranganor at the auto-da-fe at Lisbon in 1705, he wrote among other polemical pieces one against the doctrines of Sabbathai Zewi, who at that time, as one of a succession of impostors of the same class, had been making a sensation among the Jews as a pretender to the Messiahship. Nieto died in 1728. That he was a very learned man may be seen from a passage of one of the funeral sermons which were delivered at his grave, wherein he is spoken of as a "'theologo sublime, sabio profundo, medico insigne, astronomo francoso, poeta dolce, — pregador facundo, logico arguto, physico engenhoso, rhetorico fluente, author jucundo, nas lenguas prompto, historias notorioso, posto que tanto em ponco, a guy se encerra, que e muito, e pauco, em morte ha pouca terra." See Fiirst,Bibl. Jud. 3:33 sq.;

De Rossi, Dizionario (Ger. transl.), p. 246 sq.; Lindo, Hist. of the Jews in Spain, p. 372 sq.; Etheridge, Introd. to Hebrew Literature, p. 472 sq.; Glatz, Gesch. d. Juden, 10:322, 333, 361; Jost, Gesch. d. Judenth. u. s. Sekten, 3:235; Steinschneider, Jewish Literat. p. 213; Kayserling, Geschichte d. Juden in Portugal, p. 325 sq.; Sephardim, p. 299, 307; Bibliothek jud. Kanzelredner, vol; i (1870), Beilage, p. 9, 17. (B. P.)

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