Aquinas, Philippus

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Hebrew scholar and convert to Christianity; b. Carpentras, southern France, c. 1575; d. Paris, 1650. His Jewish name was Juda Mordechai. Little is known of his early years, but while occupying the position of rabbi at Avignon he showed great sympathy for Christianity. Because of this, he was forced to resign his position in 1610. He subsequently entered the Church at Aquino in the Kingdom of Naples, taking the name Philip Aquinas (of Aquin). In later years he was engaged in teaching Hebrew in Paris, where he was named professor at the College of France by Louis XIII. Some indication of his position in French court life may be drawn from the fact that his grandson, Anthony of Aquin (d. 1696), became the chief physician of Louis XIV. Philippus worked on the Paris Polyglot (see polyglot bibles), but his principal publications were Radices breves linguae Sanctae (Paris 1620) and Dictionarium Hebraeo-Chaldaeotalmudicorabbinicum (Paris 1629), in which he made the Hebrew dictionaries of Nathan ben Jehiel of Rome (d. 1106) and J. Buxtorf more complete.

Bibliography: a. strobel, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d ed. Freiburg 195765) 1:782. Nouvelle biographie générale, ed. j. c. hoefer, v. 2 (Paris 1859) 946.

[s. m. polan]