Abendana, Isaac

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ABENDANA, ISAAC (c. 1640–c. 1710), scholar of Marrano origin, younger brother of Jacob b. Joseph *Abendana. In 1662 lsaac went to England, where from 1663 he taught Hebrew at Cambridge and prepared for the university a translation of the Mishnah into Latin, receiving much encouragement from the local scholars. The work was completed in 1671 but remained unpublished; the manuscript, in six quarto volumes, is preserved in the Cambridge University Library. During this time, Isaac had been selling Hebrew books and manuscripts to the Bodleian Library in Oxford, and he moved to that city in 1689, teaching Hebrew at Magdalen College and elsewhere. From 1692 to 1699 he published a series of annual Jewish almanacs for Christian use, with learned supplements which he collected and republished later in a single volume entitled Discourses on the Ecclesiastical and Civil Policy of the Jews (Oxford, 1706; 2nd ed., 1709). He was in correspondence with several outstanding English scholars, especially Ralph Cudworth, master of Christ's College and regius professor of Hebrew at Cambridge. There is no authority for the statement that he studied medicine in his youth.


Roth, Mag Bibl., 157–8, 330, 426.

[Cecil Roth]