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Cuenque (Cuenca?), Abraham ben Levi

CUENQUE (Cuenca?), ABRAHAM BEN LEVI

CUENQUE (Cuenca?), ABRAHAM BEN LEVI (b. 1648), kabbalistic author and Shabbatean. He was born in Hebron, where he joined the Shabbatean movement, remaining among its followers even after *Shabbetai Ẓevi's conversion to Islam. In 1683 he went as special envoy to Europe, crossed Italy, France, Poland, and Germany and returned in 1693. At the request of a friend in Frankfurt, Cuenque wrote in 1689 his memoirs of Shabbetai Ẓevi, whom he had met in Hebron. The work constitutes "an almost idolatrous biography and a kind of Shabbatean gospel" (Graetz). Large sections of it are included in Jacob *Emden's Torat ha-Kena'ot (Amsterdam, 1752) under the title Tofes Shelishi (or Nosaḥ Shelishi). Cuenque also wrote a description of his travels (which has remained unpublished). He is also the author of the following works: (1) Avak Soferim (3 pts., Amsterdam, 1704), commentaries on the Bible and sermons; (2) Minḥat Kena'ot (Ms.), about envy, also containing a dialogue entitled Vikku'aḥ al ha-Kinah u-Se'ifeha; (3) Avak Derakhim (Ms.), a collection of sermons delivered on his travels. He died in Hebron.

bibliography:

Graetz, Gesch, 10 (1896), 231, 312, 332, 431; D. Kahana, Toledot ha-Mekubbalim, 1 (1913), 119, 140; Scholem, Shabbetai Ẓevi (1967), index.

[Joseph Elijah Heller]

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