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Margarita (Margalita), Anton

MARGARITA (Margalita), ANTON

MARGARITA (Margalita), ANTON (b. c. 1490), apostate and anti-Jewish writer. Although the son of a rabbi, Samuel son of Jacob *Margolioth of Regensburg, while he was still a Jew, denounced the Regensburg community to the authorities. He converted to Catholicism in 1522, and later became a Protestant. He was a lecturer in Hebrew at Augsburg, Meissen Zell, Leipzig, and from 1537 until his death, at Vienna University. In his first anti-Jewish book, Der Gantz Juedisch Glaub… (first published in Augsburg, 1530), Margarita modeled himself on similar writings by the apostates Johannes *Pfefferkorn and Victor von *Carben. In an attempt to ridicule the religious precepts of the Jews, their customs, and their habits, he accused them of lacking charity, of reviling Christianity (in the *Aleinu prayer), and finally of treason. The large number of Jewish prayers in his own translation included in the book reveal his ignorance of Jewish writings (as noted by Johann *Wagenseil in his Latin translation of tractate Sotah (Altdorf, 1674), 1105) and his scanty knowledge of Hebrew. The book formed the basis of a religious disputation between *Joseph (Joselmann) b. Gershom of Rosheim and Margarita held at the Diet of Augsburg of 1530 at the instance of Emperor *Charles v. When Joseph of Rosheim succeeded in proving that the apostate's allegations were unfounded, Margarita was imprisoned and later banished from Augsburg. However, his book was reprinted many times (Frankfurt, 1544, 1561, 1689; Leipzig, 1705, 1713) and was widely read. It particularly influenced Martin *Luther, who quoted it many times in his Von den Juden und ihren Luegen. Margarita was also the author of Dar Muschiach Schon Khomen (1534).

bibliography:

Wolf, Bibliotheca, 1 (1715), 202–4; 3 (1727), 129–30; 4 (1733), 789; G. Wolf, Studien zur Jubelfeier der Wiener Universitaet (1865), 28–29; L. Geiger, in: zgjd, 2 (1888), 324–5; H. Breslau, ibid., 5 (1892), 310–2; A. Fuerst, Christen und Juden (1892), 191; J. Mieses, Die aelteste gedruckte deutsche Uebersetzung des juedischen Gebetbuches… und ihr Autor Anton Margalita (1916); Graetz, Hist, 4 (1949), 551; Baron, Social2, 13, 223ff.; Josef Ish Rosheim, Sefer ha-Minḥah (1920), introd., 25ff.

[Bernard Suler]

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