GÉNÉBRARD, GILBERT° (1537–1597), French theologian and Hebraist. Born in Riom, Auvergne, Génébrard, a pupil of the Provençal convert Abraham de Lunel, who is said to have reverted to Judaism in his latter years, was a polymath, specializing in biblical exegesis, theology, patristics, liturgy, chronology, and rabbinics. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he was in general opposed to the Kabbalah. From 1569 Génébrard was professor of Hebrew and Bible at the Collège de France and from 1593 he was archbishop of Aix-en-Provence. His outspoken support for the Catholic League – which opposed Henry of Navarre, a Protestant – incurred official wrath after the latter's accession (as Henry iv). Génébrard died in disgrace. As a Hebraist, he was considered an expert on the correct pronunciation of the "holy tongue." He was a prolific writer, translator, and editor: Steinschneider lists about two dozen of his publications.
His works include Commemoratio divorum et ritus nuptiarum, e libro Maḥzor (published with Symbolum fide); Eldad Danius … De Judaeis clausis (Paris, 1563), a Latin version of the Travels of *Eldad ha-Dani; De metris Hebraeorum ex libro R. David Jechiae … (Paris, 1562–63), an edition of the Sha'ar bi-Melekhet ha-Shir of R. David b. Solomon *Ibn Yaḥya; ΕΙΣΑΓΩΓΗ rabbinica ad legenda et intelligenda Hebraeorum Rabbinorum Commentaria sine punctis scripta … (Paris, 1563); Alphabetum Hebraicum (Paris, 1564); and Symbolum fidei Judaeorum … Precationes … dcxiii legis Praecepta e capitulisultimis More Nebuchim (Paris, 1569), based on *Maimonides. Génébrard also published Chronologia Hebraeorum Major (Paris, 1578), a Latin version of the Seder Olam of *Yose b. Ḥalafta, a shortened version of which, Hebraeorum breve Chronicon usque ad 1112, had appeared earlier (Paris, 1573); there are various later editions of this book. Two other works by Génébrard are Jakob Salomonis cap. Chelek (published with the Chronicon), a Latin edition of the commentary by Jacob b. Solomon Habib on a chapter of the tractate Sanhedrin (of the Babylonian Talmud) much studied by Renaissance Christian Hebraists and kabbalists; and an edition of the Song of Songs with three rabbinical commentaries (Paris, 1570). Gilbert Génébrard's pupils included the French diplomat and kabbalist, Blaise de *Vigenère.
F. Secret, Les Kabbalistes Chrétiens de la Renaissance (1964), 201–3; idem, Le Zôhar chez les Kabbalistes Chrétiens de la Renaissance (19642), 88–91; Steinschneider, Cat Bod, nos. 1006–08; Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, 6 (1920), 1183–85.
[Godfrey Edmond Silverman]
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