Homem, Antonio

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HOMEM, ANTONIO (1564–1624), Marrano martyr. Homem was a great-grandson of the physician Moses Bueno of Oporto, a victim of the forced conversion of 1497. Brought up by his mother, an "old Christian," he was educated by the Jesuits, and in 1614 was appointed professor of canon law at the University of Coimbra. He also acquired a reputation as a theologian, preacher, and confessor. At the same time, Homem was the leader of the Marrano group, including several members of the university faculty, which flourished then at Coimbra, and he officiated at the secret Jewish services they held. In a sermon delivered on the Day of Atonement in 1615 he is reported to have taught that the essential difference between Judaism and Christianity lay in the observance of the Sabbath and the worship of images, and that while living in persecution it was sufficient to have in mind the intention of performing the divine precepts. In 1619 Homem was arrested by the Inquisition and sent to Lisbon for trial, and with several other members of the group perished in an Auto-da-Fé on May 5, 1624. Other members of the Homem family, such as Francisco Nuñez Homem, afterward David Abendana (d. 1625), were among the founding members of the Amsterdam Sephardi community.


A. José Texeira, Antonio Homem e a Inquisição (1895); A. Baião, Episodios Dramaticos da Inquisição Portuguesa, 1 (1919), 103–24; Brugmans-Frank, 1 (1940), 204–5; I. da Costa, Noble Families among the Sephardic Jews (1936), 83.

[Cecil Roth]