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The Abendana Brothers and the Christian Hebraists of Seventeenth-Century England

  • David S. Katz (a1)


One of the most striking features of the first decades of open Jewish resettlement in England is the speed with which Jews managed to integrate themselves into so many different spheres of English life. From the first appointment of a Jew as a broker on the Exchange in 1657 to the first Jewish knighthood in 1700, the story is one of a dramatic rise in the acquisition of rights, privileges and special consideration. So, too, had Jews long been a part of English intellectual and academic life, but before Cromwell's tacit permission of Jewish residence in 1656 only Jewish converts to Christianity dared to make their appearance at English universities. This pattern was broken with the Abendana brothers, Jacob (d. 1685) and Isaac (d. 1699), Hebrew scholars and bibliophiles who came to London from Holland after the Restoration. Jacob Abendana, in the last four years of his life, was rabbi of the Sephardic community in London; Isaac, from at least 1663, taught Hebrew at Oxford and Cambridge. Both men were very much in demand by English scholars, who turned to them to solve Hebraic problems of various kinds and to procure Hebrew books for themselves and for university libraries. Both brothers worked on the first translations of the Mishnah into European languages and thus helped make available to Christian scholars this central core of the Talmud, the Jewish ‘oral’ law. Finally, it was Isaac Abendana who invented the Oxford diary and thereby made a permanent mark on the social habits of the university in which he laboured.



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1 Abrahams, D., ‘Jew brokers of the City of London’, Miscellanies of the Jewish Historical Society of England iii (1937), 81; Rabinowicz, O. K., Sir Solomon de Medina, London 1974. For background see Katz, D. S., Philo-Semitism and the Readmission of the Jews to England, 1603–1653, Oxford 1982.

2 Isaac Abendana’s date of death is usually incorrectly given as c. 1710. It can now be shown to have occurred in 1699.

3 E. I. J. Rosenthal, ‘Edward Lively: Cambridge Hebraist’, in Essays… Presented to S. A. Cook, ed. D. W.Thomas, London 1950, 95–112; Jones, G. Lloyd, The Discovery of Hebrew in Tudor England, Manchester 1983; Katchen, A. L., Christian Hebraists and Dutch Rabbis, Cambridge 1984.

4 Udall, I., The Key Of The Holy Tongve, Leiden 1593, repr. 1650. Cf. L. and Fuks, R., ‘The Hebrew production of the Plantin-Raphelengius Presses in Leyden, 1585—1615’, Sludia Rosenlhaliana (hereinafter cited as Stud. Ros.) iv (1970), 124.

5 The Life and Times of Anthony Wood, ed. A. Clark, Oxford 1891–1900, iii. 375. Altham was replaced by Thomas Hyde in 1697 but regained the chair in 1703 and held it for twelve years, The Historical Register of the University of Oxford, Oxford 1900, 50.

6 Early Statutes of the College of St. John…Cambridge, ed. Mayor, J. E. B., Cambridge 1859; Loewe, R., ‘Jewish scholarship in England’, in Three Centuries of Anglo-Jewish History, ed. Lipman, V. D., London 1961, 125–48.

7 Scarisbrick, J. J., Henry VIII, London 1968, 256–7; Roth, C., The Jews in the Renaissance, New York 1959, ch. vii.

8 Stein, S., ‘Phillipus Ferdinandus Polonus: a sixteenth-century Hebraist in England’, in Essays in Honour of…J. H. Hertz, ed. Epstein, I. et al. , London 1944, 397412.

9 Roth, C., ‘Jews in Oxford after 1920’, Oxoniensia xv (1950), 64–8; DNB.

10 Letters of Sir Thomas Bodley to Thomas James, ed. G. W. Wheeler, Oxford 1926, 173; Ley, J., Sunday A Sabbath, London 1641, 56–7; Roth, ‘Oxford’, 65. For more on Bodley’s Hebraic connections see Roth, C., ‘Sir Thomas Bodley - Hebraist’, Bodleian Library Record vii (1966), 242–51; Fuks, L., ‘Het Hebreeuwse Brievenboek van Johannes Drusius Jr.’, Stud. Ros. iii (1969), 152.

11 Wood, A., The History and Antiquities of the University of Oxford, ed. Gutch, J., Oxford 17921796, ii. 316; idem, Life, i. 422; Acts of the Privy Council, 1613–14, 272–3 (which had Barnet hustled out of the realm on 16 Nov. 1613).

12 See Trevor-Roper, H. R., ‘Three foreigners: the philosophers of the Puritan Revolution’, in his Religion, the Reformation and Social Change, London 1967, 237–93; and Webster, C., The Great Instauration, London 1975. See also Yates, F., The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age, London 1979, passim.

13 Anon, (in Amsterdam) to Hartlib, 24 Oct. 1647, Sheffield University, MS Hartlib 1/6/1-iv. I am grateful to Professor R. H. Popkin for this reference, for the other citations from the Hartlib Papers and for photocopies of the MSS.

14 Dury to Hartlib, n.d., Sheffield Univ., MS Hartlib 1/6/11–14, summarised very sketchily in Turnbull, G. H., Hartlib, Duty and Comenius, London 1947, 262. Professor Popkin has written on Boreel and the translation of the Mishnah in ‘Some aspects of Jewish-Christian theological interchanges in Holland and England, 1640–1700’, in Jewish-Christian Relations in the Seventeenth Century: studies and documents, ed. J. van den Berg and E. G. E. van der Wall, Dordrecht 1988, 3–32, where he reveals the following important sources: Boreel to Mersenne, 3 Sept. 1646, in Marin Mersenne, Correspondance, xiv (1646), 430–1; Boreel to Dury and Hartlib, Nov. 1646. BL, MS Sloane 649, fos 37, 39. See also R. H. Popkin and D. S. Katz, ‘The prefaces by Menasseh ben Israel and Jacob Judah Leon Templo to the vocalized Mishnah (1646)’, ibid. 151–3; and Shane, A. L., ‘Rabbi Jacob Judah Leon (Templo) of Amsterdam (1603–1675) and his connections with England’, Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England (hereinafter cited as TJHSE) xxv (1977), 120–36.

15 Dury to Hartlib, n.d., Sheffield Univ., MS Hartlib 1/6/11–14.

16 Sheringhamio, Roberto, Joma. Codex Talmudicus, London 1648, esp. long preface; Wood, Life, ii. 398; DNB.

17 For some of them, see Turnbull, Hartlib; and Webster, Instauration.

18 Dury to ?, 26 Jan. 1648–9, Sheffield Univ., MS Hartlib 1/7. On Dury’s mission see Turnbull, op. cit. 273.

19 See Katz, Philo-Semitism, ch. vi.

20 Hartlib to Worthington, 12 Dec. 1655, John Worthington, Diary and Correspondence, ed. J. Crossley and R. C. Christie (Chetham Society xiii, xxxvi, cxiv, 1847–86), i. 78–9; Hartlib to Worthington, 10 Mar. 1655–6, ibid. i. 83–4.

21 Amsterdam 5406 [= 1646], printed by Menasseh’s son, Joseph, in 247 pp. 80, with prefaces by Menasseh and Templo. Of the 4,000 copies printed, only two have been located, Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana, Universiteits-Bibliotheek, Amsterdam, 1899 j 28; and in the private collection of Professor Fuks. See Popkin ‘Aspects’, passim.

22 Hartlib to Worthington, 5 May 1659, Worthington, Diary, i. 131.

23 Hartlib to Worthington, 7 June 1659, ibid. i. 134. For more on Sadler, see Katz, Philo-Scmilism, 103, 140–1, 194–5, 231, 242. 244.

24 Hartlib to Worthington, 30 Jan. 1659–60, Worthington, Diary, i. 168.

25 Hartlib to Worthington, 4 June 1660, ibid. i. 199.

26 Hartlib to Worthington, 30 Jan. 1659–60, ibid. i. 168. The work would be entitled Jesus Nazarcnus Legislator: ‘It was never published,’ writes Popkin in ‘Aspects’, ‘but Oldenburg arranged for Serrarius to have a copy made for Sir Robert Boyle. This copy is in the Boyle Papers at the Royal Society. Henry More also had a copy that he got from Van Helmont.’ See also idem, ‘Could Spinoza have read Bodin?’, Philosophia xvi (1986), 307–14.

27 Worthington to Hartlib (Dec. 1660), Worthington, Diary, i. 242–3.

28 Hartlib to Worthington, 17 Dec. 1660, ibid. i. 249–50. Hartlib writes that Boreel expressed this view in a letter to Dury: ‘But many tell me that Mr. Lightfoot can find no such truth revealed nor promised, either in the Holy records, or in any of the Jewish writers. Till it be known what grounds he doth alledge, we can oppose the authority of the late learned Dr. Ames, who professed to his dying day the conversion of the Jews to be a most liquid scriptural truth, but could not approve of any of the Millenary tenets.’

29 Hartlib to Worthington, 20 Dec. 1660, ibid. i. 255; Hartlib to Worthington, i Jan. 1660–1, ibid. i. 257–9.

30 Worthington to Hartlib, 3 June 1661, ibid. i. 319; Hartlib to Worthington, 11 June 1661, ibid. i. 335.

31 Worthington to Hartlib, 3 June 1661, ibid. i. 319–20; Dury to Hartlib, 5/15 July 1661, Sheffield Univ., MS Hartlib 4/4/26.

32 Isaac Abendana to Jean Buxtorf the younger, 24 Feb. 1660, from Leiden (Hebrew), printed by Kayserling, M., ‘Lcs correspondants juifs de Jean Buxtorf’, Revue des Études Juivcs xiii (1886), 273–4; Adrien Pauli to Buxtorf, 20 Feb. and 3 Apr. 1660, letters descr. in ibid. 272–3. It is still unclear whether Isaac Abendana was at any time a practising physician: David Nieto was emphatic that he ‘w a s not a physician’, Nieto to Christian Theophilus Unger, 1719 (Hebrew), printed by Solomons, I., ‘David Nieto and some of his contemporaries’, TJHSE xii (1931), 3844, esp. at p. 39. Cecil Roth wrote that there ‘is no authority for the statement that he studied medicine in his youth’, Encyclopaedia Judaica, s.v. ‘Abendana, Isaac (c. 1640-c. 1710 [sic] ).’ But he is listed as physician in J. C. Wolf, Bibliotheca Hebraea, i. Leipzig 1715, 627; and Carmoly, E., Histoire des Médecins Juifs, Brussels 1844, 178, citing Wolf. Carmoly also included Menasseh ben Israel among his Jewish physicians but noted understandingly that ‘son gout pour les sciences Théologiques ne lui laissa probablement pas le temps de s’appliquer à cette science avec tous les soins néccssaires pour la bien pratiquer’, ibid. 183. H. Friedenwald, The Jews and Medicine, i, Baltimore 1944, 235, mentions Isaac Abendana, but not specifically as a physician.

33 Pauli to Buxtorf, 20 Feb. 1660, Hulsius, Antonius, Disputatio epislolaris Hebraica, Leiden 1669, correspondence between 24 Sept. 1659 and 16 June 1660. The possibility of publishing Mikhlal Yofi was especially discussed in the sixth letter; Jacob suggested the price of 10 florins per copy, falling to 5½ florins after the sale of 100 copies. For more on Hebrew at Leiden, see Drewes, G. W. J., ‘The Legatum Warnerianum of the Leiden University Library’, in Levinus Warner and his Legacy, Leiden 1970, 131.

34 I. Abendana to Buxtorf, 24 Feb. 1660; Buxtorf to I. Abendana, 12 Mar. 1660, printed in R.Jacob Abendana, [Mikhlal Yofi ]Perfectio pulchritudinis, Amsterdam 5421 [= 1661], p. vi; Pauli to Buxtorf, 3 Apr. 1660, abstracted in Kayserling, ‘Buxtorf’, 275; I. Abendana to Buxtorf, abstracted in ibid.; J. Abendana to Buxtorf, 11 Nov. 1660, from Amsterdam, ibid. Kayserling notes that’ il existe aussi a la Bibliothèque nationale de Paris, sous le no 1289, des lettres hébraïques de Jacob Abendana’.

35 These approbations also appear in the later edition published at Amsterdam in 1684; see also Ernest. Fabricus, Christ., Ex Michlal Jophi, Gottingen 1792. Cf. Samuel Andrcae to Buxtorf, 15 July 1662, from London, abstracted in Kayserling, ‘Buxtorf’, 276.

36 Correspondence between Hartlib, Dury and Worthington, 11 June-5 Sept. 1661, Worthington, Diary, i. 336, 343, 354–5, 365; ii. 3; Turnbull, Hartlib, 131, 152, 295–6. Dury was also acquainted with Boreel’s brother, William, who, in 1640, was in Hamburg as an agent for the States of Holland and, in 1642, was one of the ambassadors in England from the Hague, ibid. 213, 227.

37 Abendana, Jacob, Cuzary, Amsterdam 5423 [= 1663], esp. at p. *2. On Davidson, apart from DNB, see Samuel, W. S., ‘Sir William Davidson (1616–1689) and the Jews’, TJHSE xiv (1940), 3979, where the dedication is translated, 40–1, 65–6. See also Court, W. del, Sir William Davidson in Nederland, The Hague 1906. The nature of the connection between Abendana and Davidson puzzled Israel Solomons, who wrote to Notes & Queries, 11th ser., xi (20 Feb. 1915), 148, and had a reply from Davidson’s biographer, del Court, ibid. (6 Mar. 1915), 192.

38 Edward Pocock, Theological Works, i, ed. Leonard Twells, London 1740, ‘An Account of his Life’, 64. Twells’s life of Pococke was repr. separately in 1816; this reference appears in ibid. i. 271–2.

39 Stokes, H. P., Studies in Anglo-Jewish History, Edinburgh 1913, 220, from the archives of Trinity College; cf. idem, A Short History of the Jews in England, London 1921, 74–5. See Abendana to John James Buxtorf, Basle University Library, MS A xii 19. I am grateful to Professor Raphael Loewe for this reference and for a photocopy of the MS. Sciallitti/Shalit’s godfathers were the bishop of Chester, Dr George Hall, and Dr Samuel Collins, sometime fellow of King’s College, Cambridge; his godmother was the countess of Huntingdon, The Register of St. Margaret’s, Westminster, ed. H. F. Westlake and L. E. Tanner (Harleian Society lxiv, 1934), 24: 14 June 1663, ‘Scialitti a Jewe aged 34 yeares’. See also Scialitti, Moses, A Letter Written to the J ewes, London 1663, in Italian and English; Paul Shalit, ‘A Remonstratione againe the jeues’, Bodl. Lib., MS Rawl. C 26, fos 1r-71v.

40 J. F. Mieg to Buxtorf, 28 Jan. 1664, letter abstracted in Kayserling, ‘Buxtorf’, 276. The Hebrew MS is said to contain numerous fragments of Yedaya Penini. Mieg was the son of the vice-chancellor of Heidelberg University and himself arrived in Oxford in 1662 with letters of introduction to Pococke from the elector Palatine and Hottinger: Pococke, Works, i. 64.

41 Worthington to Lightfoot, 13 Feb. 1665–6, in John Lightfoot, Whole Works, xiii, ed. J. R. Pitman, London 1824, 433–4. Worthington was still anxious to obtain a copy of Templo’s work (now correctly identified): ‘that Jew made a piece of livelihood by shewing’ his model, but in his published work ‘he quotes not his authors’.

42 Cf. Bodl. Lib., MS Seld. supra 109, fo. 378r, Selden buys Hebrew books from Menasseh.

43 Oldenburg to Boyle, 28 Jan. and 4 Feb. 1667–8: Henry Oldenburg, Correspondence, ed. A. R. and M. B. Hall, Madison-Milwaukee-London 1965., iv. 121, 145. Boyle was no stranger to Hebrew learning. He made reference in his works to ‘their famous Rabbi, and my learned acquaintance, Manasseh Ben-Israel’ and noted that he it was ‘with whom I have conversed at Amsterdam’. Boyle also remembered ‘a Jewish professor of Hebrew (who assisted me in my studies of that mysterious tongue)’, Boyle, Robert, Works, London 1772, i. 279; v. 183. Cf. Weil, G., ‘Aus einem Briefe John Lockes’, Soncino Blatter I (19251926), 199208.

44 Castell to Samuel Clarke, 18 Feb. 1667–8: Bodl. Lib., MS Rawl. D 3178, fo. 170r. Clarke was a bedel at the university.

45 Macray, W. D., Annals of the Bodleian Library Oxford, 2nd edn, Oxford 1890, 134, accounts for the year 1668, which also include £7 paid out for the ‘Hebr. books of Rabbi Gaba’, the reference after that to Abendana.

46 El Libro de los Acuerdos, ed. and trans. L. D. Barnett, Oxford 1931, 35.

47 Stokes, Studies, 220.

48 Cambridge UL, MS U. Ac. 1 (4), fo. 40 of 1669 sect. (13 Mar. 1668–9); fo. 41 (1 June 1669); fo. 42 (1 Sept. 1669).

49 Isaaco Abendana, ‘[Mishna]’, Cambridge UL, MS Mm 14.-9, i. 299, 411, 447, 511, 551, 583. The MS itself is composed of six quarto vols: 618 pp. (48 blank), 546 (46 blank), 464 (24 blank), 527 (41 blank), 630 (62 blank), 1026 (88 blank), and is written almost entirely in Isaac Abendana’s hand; Cambridge UL, MS U. Ac. 2 (2), p. 89, entry in audit book for year ending 3 Nov. 1671.

50 Surenhusius, Guilielmus, Mischna, Amsterdam 16981703, 5 of preface. The work itself consists of six sumptuously printed folio volumes with illustrations, printed by Gerardus and Jacobius Borstius.

51 Israel Abrahams, late reader in rabbinics at Cambridge, affirms in ‘Isaac Abendana’s Cambridge Mishnah and Oxford Calendars’, TJHSE viii (1918), 111, that ‘Jacob Abendana’s Spanish translation is not, and never has been, in Cambridge’. Moses Gaster, Abendana’s nineteenth-century successor to the post of Haham of the Anglo-Jewish Sephardic community, claims that it was once in the hands of Rosenroth, Knorr von, History of the Ancient Synagogue of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews London 1901, 37–8.

52 See above, n. 31.

53 Christian Knorr von Rosenroth was the son of a Silesian Protestant minister and, from 1668 until his death in 1689, was a close adviser to the mystically-minded Prince Christian August in the Bavarian city of Sulzbach. Leibniz was so impressed with the Kabbala dcnudala that he visited him in 1687 to discuss the Jewish mystical tradition; see Scholem, G., Kabbalah, Jerusalem 1974, 416–19.

54 More to Conway, 5 Feb. 1671–2, Conway Letters, ed. M. H. Nicolson, London 1930, 350–2.

55 Abendana to Bernard, 9 Oct. 1673, Bodl. Lib., MS Smith 8, repr. in Macray, W. D., ‘A letter from Isaac Abendana’, in Festschrift zum Achtzigsten Geburtstage Moritz Sleinschneider’s, Leipzig 1896, 8990. Cf. Abrahams, I., ‘Note on Isaac Abendana’, TJHSE x (1924), 221–4.

56 Latin entry by Lightfoot, 21 Mar. 1671–2, Cambridge UL, MS Mm 14–9, ii. 356; Abendana’s receipt, 23 Mar. 1671–2, Cambridge UL, MS U. AC. I (5), no fo., in ‘not found’ sect, at end of 1672 receipts. Cf. Abendana’s receipts, 22 June 1672, ibid.; 8 July, ibid, on same fo.; 12 Aug., ibid.; 21 Oct., fo. 6 of 1673 sect.; 20 Dec, fo. 7 of 1673 sect.; Audit Book, Cambridge UL, MS U. AC. 2 (2), p. 99, also noting the five tractates submitted on 21 Oct. 1672.

57 Abendana’s receipts, 31 Oct. 1674, Cambridge UL, MS U. Ac. 1 (5), fo. 18* of 1674 sect.; 7 June 1675, fo. 18; 14 Jan. 1665–6 (= 1675–6), fo. 20 of 1676 sect.

58 Lightfoot to Buxtorf, cited in DNB.

59 Notes from the university archives by Anthony Wood, written in the second half of the seventeenth century, Bodl. Lib., MS Wood E 5, fo. i i6r. Two earlier Jewish readers at the Bodleian were Jacob Wolfgang (28 May 1608, fo. 87V) and Jacob Levita (19 Nov. 1612, fo. 89v). Henry Oldenburg registered on 24 June 1656 (fo. 106r) and John James Buxtorf on 2 Mar. 1666 (fo. 109v).

60 See Acuerdos, p. xii; Bevis Marks Records, Part I, 9–10; Hyams, A. M. on, The Sephardim of England, London 1951, 5960. It is known that he was in Oxford on 18 July 1681, for it was there that he signed the ‘Stammbuch des Andreas Arnold’, Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel, MS Blankenburg 226, fo. 39r. I am grateful to Professor Popkin for this reference.

81 A Register of the Members of St. Mary Magdalen College, Oxford, ed. W. D. Macray, London 1894–1915, iv. 48. Abendana’s predecessor at Magdalen was the notorious Jewish professional convert, Paul Isaiah, ibid. iv. 11; see also Katz, D. S., Sabbath and Sectarianism in Seventeenth-century England, Leiden 1988, 5867.

62 Oakeley to Charlett, n.d., Bodl. Lib., MS Tanner 20, fo. 71r. Charlett became Master of University College in 1692. See also S. G. Gillam, ‘The correspondence of Arthur Charlett’, BLitt diss., Oxford 1957.

83 Abendana to Pragestus, 23 Feb. 1691, from Oxford, BL, Add. MS 1381, fo. 72r.

64 Peritsol, A., hinera mundi, ed. Hyde, Thomas, Oxford 1691. See also Kochan, L., The Jew and his History, London 1977, 3558.

65 Thomas Hearne, Remarks and Collections, iii, ed. C. E. Doble (Oxford Historical Society xiii, 1889), 76, entry for 4 Nov. 1710. Hearne discusses other oriental matters here and affirms that Dr Bernard ‘was certainly a very great man’.

66 Hyde, Thomas, De ludis orientalibus, Oxford 1694.

67 For an analysis of the contents of Abendana’s almanacs, see Abrahams, ‘Abendana’, 117–18.

68 1692 almanac, Bodl. Lib., Aim. 1692. fo. 1.

69 1693 almanac, Bodl. Lib., Opp. add. 120 23a.

70 1696 almanac, Bodl. Lib., Ravvl. Alm. 100, fo. 5 from end, verso; MS note that ‘this seems to be Dr A. Charlett’s copy with his notes’.

71 But see pass for Isaac Abendana and Anth. Rodrigues for Harwich and Holland, 3 Jan. 1692–3, Calendar of State Papers, Dom., 1693, 2.

72 See Abendana to Covel, 23 Dec. 1692, from Oxford, BL, Add. MS 22, 910, fo. 417r; Abendana to Covel, 21 Sept. 1696, from Oxford, ibid. fo. 446r; Abendana to Covel, 9 Oct. 1696, from Oxford, ibid. fo. 450.

73 Abendana to Covel, 5 May 1698, from Oxford, Bodl. Lib., MS Tanner 22, fo. 46r; Abendana to Covel, 9 Oct. 1696, from Oxford, BL, Add. MS 22, 910, fo. 450r.

74 Charlett to Tanner, 18 July 1699, from Univ. Coll., Oxford, Bodl. Lib., MS Tanner 21, fo. 116r, perhaps referring to events of 17 July

75 William Elstob to Tanner, 11?/17? July 1699, from Univ. Coll., Oxford, Bodl. Lib., MS Tanner 21, fo. 128V, in postscript. These above two letters provide the first conclusive evidence of Isaac Abendana’s date of death. The date is incorrectly given in the Ency. Jud., s.v. ‘Abendana, Isaac’, as c. 1710, despite the fact that later sources cited below make it clear that Abendana was no longer alive and that his salary from Oxford and his profitable almanacs all stop abruptly in 1699.

76 Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation, MS 373a, Treasurer’s Acct. Book, 5460 [= 1699–1700],’ 14 Elul paid to Ishac Gomes for expenses made in bringing from Oxford the body of Ishac Abendana, now with God, and expenses of his burial £9–18–0.’ I am grateful to Mrs M. Rodrigues-Pereira, Hon. Archivist, for this reference.

77 Nieto to Unger, ‘David Nieto’, 39, 43.

78 Surenhusius, Mischna, p. 5 of preface.

79 Abendana, Isaac, Discourses of the Ecclesiastical and Civil Polity of the Jews, London 1706. A second edition, or rather, reissue of the first, appeared in 1709.

80 Singer, S., ‘Early translations and translators of the Jewish liturgy in England’, TJHSE iii (1899), 42–3, 45. Singer adds cryptically, and perhaps modestly, that, had Abendana’s translation appeared, ‘I know at least one version of the Prayer-Book which would probably never have seen the light’.

81 Nieto to Covel, 18 Jan. 1705–6, from London, BL, Add. MS 22, 911, fo. 50r, Eng. trans, in TJHSE xii (1931), 21–3.

82 Covel to Nieto, 26 Jan. 1705–6, BL, Add. MS 22, 911, fo. 50V, trans, in TJHSE xii (1931), 23–4. On Nieto generally, see Roth, C., ‘Haham David Nieto’, in his Essays and Portraits in Anglo-Jewish History, Philadelphia 1962, 113–29.

83 Nieto to Unger, ‘David Nieto’, 42–3, 44. Nieto also mentions in this letter that he was sending to Unger a copy of Jacob Abendana’s translation of’the Cuzary into Spanish with a slight commentary’; he gave another copy to ‘the Secretary of the Envoy of the King of Poland (May his Glory be exalted)’, ibid. 39–40, 44. Nieto’s calendar was known to Lindo, E. H., A Jewish Calendar, London 1838, pp. iii, vii.

84 ‘M.G.’ [Arthur Charlett], Mercurius Oxoniensis, Oxford 1707, omitted in Capp, B., Astrology and the Popular Press: English almanacs 1500–1800, London 1979.

85 Bodl. Lib., MS Rawl. J 40 2, fo. 212r.

86 Bodl. Lib., MS Rawl. 15, fo. 76 (9 Apr. 1715) and fo. 77 (26 Apr. 1715); repr. Thomas Hearne, Remarks and Collections, v, ed. D. W. Rannie (Oxford Historical Society xlii, 1910), 42, 52–3. Cf. Hickes, G., Peculium Dei, A Discourse about the Jews, London 1681.

87 Bodl. Lib., MS Hearne Diary 91, p. 219 (9 July 1721), repr. Hearne, Remarks, vii. 258.

88 Wanley to Charlett, 1 Aug. 1705, from Duke St, Bodl. Lib., MS Ballard 13, fos 116v-17r; Bursars’ Accts, Magdalen College, Oxford, for 1706–9, Magdalen Register, iv 54–5, ending with a grant of £2 made to Levi’s widow in 1709. Cf. Levi, Philip, A Compendium of Hebrew Grammar, Oxford 1705, which C. Roth claims was actually written by Clavering, Bishop, Magna Bibliolheca Anglo-Judaica, London 1937, 365.

89 Wanley to Charlett, 15 Jan. 1710–11, from Duke St, Bodl. Lib., MS Ballard 13, fo. 121 r.

90 Magdalen Register, v. 9; Hearne, Remarks, xi. 245–6 (19, 22, 26 Aug. 1733).

91 Magdalen Register, v. 15; Bodl. Lib., MS Top. Oxon. c. 72; Gentleman1 s Magazine xxi (1751). 317–18.

92 Magdalen Register, v. 21; Muselli, Philippi, Ad Reverendissimum Praesulem Robertum Lowth Oxoniae Episcopum, Oxford 1768. Another Jew in eighteenth-century Oxford was Kennicott’s ungrateful assistant, Dumay, Jones, William, Memoirs of…George Home, London 1795, 101–6. See Roth, C., ‘Salomon Israel, writing master in Oxford, 1745 - alias Ignatius Dumay’, Oxoniensia xxviii (1963), 74–8. Cambridge had Israel Lyons, author of The Scholars Instructor An Hebrew Grammar, Cambridge 1735, with five more editions to 1823; idem, Observations Relating to various Parts of Scripture History, Cambridge 1768.

93 [Robert Spearman], An Abstract from the Works of John Hutchinson, 2nd edn, London 1755, 206.

94 Gibbon, Edward, Memoirs of My Life, Penguin edn, Harmondsworth 1984, 82.

95 Walton, Izaak, The Compleat Angler, Everyman edn, London 1906, 148–9.

96 DNB, s.v. ‘Lightfoot, John’.

97 See Katz, D. S., ‘The language of Adam in seventeenth-century England’, in History and Imagination: essays in Honour of H. R. Trevor-Roper, ed. Lloyd-Jones, H. et al. , London 1981, 132–45.

The Abendana Brothers and the Christian Hebraists of Seventeenth-Century England

  • David S. Katz (a1)


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