Lonzano, Abraham ben Raphael de

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LONZANO, ABRAHAM BEN RAPHAEL DE (late 17th–early 18th century), kabbalist and Hebrew grammarian. It seems that he was a descendant of the renowned kabbalist Menahem de *Lonzano. Abraham became well known through his Kinyan Avraham (Zolkiew, 1723) on Hebrew grammar, from which it appears that he came from Zakinthos (Zante), one of the Greek isles. Following the attacks of the local inhabitants against the Jews, many troubles befell him and he began to wander from country to country. He studied at the yeshivah Eẓ Ḥayyim in Amsterdam. At a later date, he appears to have been in Prague where he was persecuted by the scholars of the yeshivah because he criticized them sharply for studying Torah without a knowledge of the Hebrew language. He wrote a declaration against Neḥemiah Ḥiyya *Ḥayon in Genoa in 1715 (published in Sefunot; see bibliography). He was in Lemberg in about 1723. In one of his poems, which appeared in his book, he angrily attacked those who regard themselves as poets without having any knowledge of even the form and arrangement of a poem. He also wrote Ḥamishah Kinyanim (unpublished), a commentary to the Sefer Yeẓirah. He subsequently converted to Christianity in the Prussian town of Idstein and adopted the name Wilhelm Heinrich Neumann.


Steinschneider, Handbuch, 85 no. 1201; J.F.A. de le Roi, Die evangelische Christenheit und die Juden, 1 (1884), 393; M. Friedman, in: Sefunot, 10 (1966), 602–6; Frumkin-Rivlin, 2 (1928), 156–7.

[Abraham David]