Aboab, Isaac de Mattathias

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ABOAB, ISAAC DE MATTATHIAS (1631–1707), Dutch Sephardi scholar. His father Manuel Dias Henriques (1594–1667) was born in Oporto into a Marrano family, a descendant of Isaac *Aboabii. After escaping from the Inquisition in Mexico he reverted to Judaism as Mattathias Aboab in Amsterdam in 1626. Isaac was a wealthy East India merchant trading with Spain and Portugal under the assumed name of Dennis Jennis. Although not a rabbi, as generally stated, he patronized rabbinical works and was a prolific writer and copyist. His only published work is a brief handbook of moral conduct, first written for his son in Hebrew but published in Portuguese under the title of Doutrina Particular (Amsterdam, 1687, 1691, reprinted by M.B. Amzalak, Lisbon, 1925). He advised his son to read Spanish books from time to time for his entertainment. He also wrote (1685) a morality play (Comedia) on the life of Joseph, and compiled a history and genealogy of his own family.


Revah, in: Boletim internacional de bibliografia Iusobrasileira, 2 (1961), 276–310 (full list of Aboab's writings); Kayserling, Bibl., 3–45, 55, 81, 110; C. Roth, in: jqr, 23 (1922/33), 122 ff.; A. Rubens, Jewish Iconography (1954), 65–67; H.I. Bloom, Jews of Amsterdam (1937).

[Cecil Roth]