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Provençal, Abraham ben David


PROVENÇAL, ABRAHAM BEN DAVID (16th century), scholar of Mantua. He was the son of David b. Abraham *Provençal. Abraham was the teacher of Azariah dei Rossi and Abraham Portaleone, who refer to him in terms of the highest praise and make mention of his extensive knowledge of Torah and Talmud, Latin, philosophy, and medicine. The titles of doctor of philosophy and doctor of medicine were conferred upon him, and from 1563 he started to become widely knownas an outstanding physician. At the same time he served as rabbi in various Italian towns, including Ferrara and Mantua. With his father, he planned, in 1564, the founding of a university for the study of Judaism and the general sciences. Both David and Abraham Provençal belonged to a group of Italian scholars who aspired toward a beneficial merger between the curricula of Jewish religious studies and of general knowledge in order to strengthen religious education among Jews and to minimize the influences of general education.


M. Guedemann, in: Festschrift… A. Berliner (1903), 164–75; J.R. Marcus, Jews in the Medieval World (1938), 381–8; H. Friedenwald, Jews and Medicine (1944), 221f.; C. Roth, Jews inthe Renaissance (1959), 42f., 247f., 254, 331; S. Simonsohn, in: KS, 37 (1962), 106, 115, 118f.; M.A. Shulvass, Ḥayyei ha-Yehudim be-Italyah bi-Tekufat ha-Renaissance (1955), 239f.

[Yehoshua Horowitz]

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