Lorki (i.e., of Lorca), Joshua

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LORKI (i.e., of Lorca), JOSHUA

LORKI (i.e., of Lorca), JOSHUA (d. c. 1419), physician and writer who converted to Christianity and became an implacable enemy of Judaism. His father was Joseph Abenvives (or Ibn Vives) of Lorca, near Murcia in Spain. In his youth Lorki apparently studied in Alcañiz under Solomon ha-Levi (*Pablo de Santa María), and was greatly influenced by his teacher's conversion. Deeply impressed by the letter sent by Pablo to R. Joseph *Orabuena concerning the fulfillment of the messianic prophecies through Jesus, Lorki wrote to Pablo disclosing his own doubts in the Jewish faith and analyzing the causes of Pablo's conversion. Lorki nevertheless remained in the fold of Judaism until 1412, when he became converted under the influence of the Dominican preacher Vicente *Ferrer. On baptism, Lorki assumed the name Hieronymus de Sancta Fide (or Gerónimo de Santa Fé). Immediately after his conversion, Lorki conceived the idea of convening a disputation with the leading Jews of Alcañiz. He submitted his proposal to the antipope *Benedict xiii, whose personal physician he became. Benedict recommended that the disputation should be held at *Tortosa, and that the foremost Jews of Aragon should take part in it. During the disputation Lorki treated his former coreligionists with contempt and threatened them with punishment by the Inquisition. The Jews referred to himas "Megaddef" ("The Blasphemer"), a combination of the initials of Maestre Gerónimo de [Santa] Fé. After the disputation, Lorki traveled widely, trying everywhere to win Jews to Christianity.

Probably when still a Jew, Lorki wrote a book in Arabic on plants and herbs and their therapeutic qualities at the request of Don Benveniste de la *Cavallería. It was translated into Hebrew by Don Vidal Joseph, son of Benveniste (Gerem ha-Ma'alot, Vienna Ms. 154). After his conversion, Lorki wrote two polemics against Judaism: Contra perfidiam Judaeorum, in which he cites aggadic passages allegedly attesting to the coming of Jesus, and De Judaeis erroribus ex Talmuth (Augsburg, c. 1468; Zurich, 1552; later Hamburg, n.d.; both in Bibliotheca Maxima Veterum Patrum, vol. 3, Frankfurt, 1602), under the name Hebraeomastix. Both works were written around the time of the Tortosa Disputation in 1413–14 and were used during the debates. Many days were spent in Tortosa arguing about the advent of the messiah, which is the topic of the first work. The second work deals with the Talmud, the main source of the Jews' errors.

One of Lorki's sons, pedro de santa fé, was a favorite of Queen María, the wife of Alfonso v of *Aragon. Another descendant, francisco de santa fé, filled various important public offices. At the end of 1485 Francisco was accused of being implicated in the murder of Pedro de *Arbues, the inquisitor of Saragossa, and arrested. He committed suicide in the prison of the Inquisition. His body was burned and its ashes thrown into the Ebro River.


Baer, Spain, index, s.v.Joshua Halorki; Baer, Urkunden, 1 (1929), 809ff., 833ff.; L. Landau, Das Apologetische Schreiben des Josua Lorki (1906); A. Lukyn Williams, Adversus Judaeos (1935), 235ff.; A. Pacios López, La Disputa de Tortosa, 2 vols. (1957), index; J. Amador de los Ríos, Historia Social… España y Portugal (1960), 836ff. Add. Bibliography: M. Orfali, Jerónimo de Santa Fe's El tratatado 'De iudaicis erroribus ex Talmut,' Introducción general, estudio y análisis de las fuentes (1987); idem, in: Annuario di studi ebraici, 10 (1980–4), 157–78; idem, in: Proceedings of the 10th World Congress of Jewish Studies (1990), Division b, vol. 1, 109–15.

[Haim Beinart]