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Acosta, Uriel

Uriel Acosta (ōōr´yĕl äkō´stä), or Uriel da Costa (dä kō´stä), c.1585–1640, Jewish rationalist, b. Oporto, Portugal. His original name was Gabriel da Costa, and his family had been converted to Roman Catholicism. When he reached manhood, he was restive in the Christian faith and persuaded his family to move to Amsterdam, where all of them returned to Judaism. In a work in 1624, he expressed rationalistic doctrines and criticized rabbinical Judaism. He was tried, imprisoned, and excommunicated. In 1633 he recanted, but soon he again offended and was excommunicated. After seven years, he once more recanted and was subjected to public humiliation. Rather than endure further trouble he committed suicide. He left an autobiographical sketch, Exemplar humanae vitae (1687, Eng. tr., Specimen of Human Life, 1695). Karl Ferdinand Gutzkow wrote a tragedy about him, Uriel Acosta.

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Da Costa, Uriel

Da Costa, Uriel (1585–1640). Rationalizing Jewish freethinker. He was born in Portugal of a Marranos family. After beginning a career as a church lawyer, he abandoned Christianity when he read the Hebrew Bible. Da Costa insisted on sola scriptura (‘by scripture alone’), and rejected later halakhic accretions, as well as ritual. He cast doubt on the immortality of the soul; his first publication (1624) was duly burnt, and he was excommunicated (ḥerem). In 1633, he formally submitted, though remaining privately sceptical. Such views led to a second excommunication (1633). His decision to recant required public humiliation and punishment, the thought of which led him to suicide.

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Da Costa, Uriel

Uriel Da Costa: see Acosta, Uriel.

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Costa, Uriel da

Costa, Uriel da: see DA COSTA, U.

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