Egidio da Viterbo°

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EGIDIO DA VITERBO ° (c. 1465–1532), Italian ecclesiastical statesman and humanist. He entered the Augustinian order in 1488. The papal Curia utilized his diplomatic talents and in 1517 Leo x made him a cardinal; he was also bishop of Viterbo. For many years he maintained Elijah *Levita in his entourage in Rome, Levita instructing the cardinal in rabbinics and Jewish mysticism and himself obtaining instruction in Greek. He was also among *Reuchlin's correspondents (Illustrium … epistolae … ad … Reuchlin, Hagenau, 1519, 97–98) and entertained the false messiah David *Reuveni. Egidio's interests in Jewish (particularly kabbalistic) studies were very considerable. In addition to projecting a plan for translating David Kimḥi's dictionary he translated (or sponsored translations of) extracts of the Zohar and various esoteric tracts (Ginnat Egoz, Razi'el, etc.; also portions of Menahem Recanati's commentary), and composed a treatise on the Ten *Sefirot (all preserved in manuscript: Paris Mss. 527, 596–8, 3363, 3367, Angelica Ms. 3).


Vogelstein-Rieger, 2 (1896), passim; G. Signorelli, Il Cardinale Egidio da Viterbo … (1929); G.E. Weil, Elie Lévita … (1963), 203–11 and passim; C. Astruc and J. Monfrin, in: Bibliothèque d'humanisme et renaissance, 23 (1961), 551–4; A. Palmieri, in: Dictionnaire Theologique Catholique, 6 (1920), 1365–71; F. Secret, Le Zôhar chez les Kabbalistes chrétiens de la Renaissance (1958), index.

[Raphael Loewe]