Isaac Abendana

(1652—1699) Hebraist and book collector

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We do not know the precise year of Isaac's birth, but The Jewish Encyclopedia describes him as the younger bother of Jacob Abendana, rabbi to Jewish communities first in Amsterdam then in London, who was born in 1630 in Spain. The family moved to Hamburg when Isaac and Jacob were boys. After an early rabbinical education, Isaac studied medicine at the University of Leiden, then joined forces with his brother in Amsterdam to meet the growing demand for translations from Hebrew into Latin and the vernacular languages of Western Europe. In Protestant Europe in particular, the emphasis on the primacy of Scripture had led to a renewed interest in the Hebrew language. This interest, initially confined to the Old Testament, spread to the Talmud and the Cabbala, with Christian scholars seeking esoteric wisdom, anticipations of Christian doctrine, clues to the interpretation of the biblical prophecies, and possible strategies for the conversion of the Jews.


From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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