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Leon Da Modena


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Italian Rabbi, prolific author, poet, and preacher (1571–1648). Da Modena, a typical Renaissance figure, was a man of many parts and contradictions. He was a staunch traditionalist and equally fervent modernist; having written, in his early youth, a treatise against gambling, he was addicted to the vice, which reduced him to penury, during his adult life. He acquired renown as a preacher in Venice, attracting Christians to his sermons as well as Jews. Da Modena had a thorough knowledge of the Talmud and wrote Responsa, although these were not published from manuscript until as late as the twentieth century. His anti-Christian polemic, Magen Va-Herev (Shield and Sword) also remained unpublished until the twentieth century. In this work he makes the observation that it is chiefly the doctrine of the Incarnation, which implies that there are three persons in the Godhead, that makes the Christian dogma highly offensive to Jews. The idea that there are three powers in the Godhead is found, in a sense, in the Kabbalah.

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies.


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