Templo, Jacob Judah (Aryeh) Leon

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TEMPLO, JACOB JUDAH (Aryeh ) LEON (1602–1675), Dutch rabbi, teacher and scholar. Born in Portugal in the area of Coimbra to a Marrano family and educated under Isaac Uziel, together with the future leaders of the Amsterdam Sephardi community Isaac *Aboab da Fonseca and *Manasseh Ben Israel, Templo was his nickname at the end of his life; his descendants adopted it as their family name. He went to Hamburg, where in 1628/29 he became a rabbi of the house-synagogue of the Cardozos. Afterwards he taught in the congregational school in Amsterdam until the union of the three Sephardic communities in 1639. Then he was appointed ḥakham at Middleburgh, Holland, where he was financially supported by the Christian Orientalist and collegiant Adam Boreel with whom he collaborated in translating the Mishnah into Spanish, a chiliastic project. In connection with this work he constructed a wooden model of the Temple of Solomon which made him famous. Thanks to a print in a Dutch States Bible of 1682, illuminated by the master illuminator Dirk van Santen, even the colors used in this model are known. In 1643 he returned to Amsterdam to serve as teacher in the Ets Ḥaim academy. There he collaborated at Manasseh Ben Israel's press, punctuating the 1646 Hebrew edition of the Mishnah. While in Middleburgh he published a work in Dutch and Spanish on the Jerusalem Temple, Afbeeldinghe vanden Tempel Salomonis (1642, reprinted in 1644 and 1669) and Retrato del Templo de Selomoh (1642), some copies being illustrated with copper engravings, which might be the work of Pieter Willemsz and other artists. The book also appeared in Hebrew (Tavnit Hekhal, 1650), French (1643), German (1665) and Latin (1665, reprinted in 1674). It was followed by similarly illustrated treatises on the Ark (Tratado del Arco del Testamento, 1653), the cherubim (De Cherubinis tractatus, 1647 and Tratado de los Cherubim, 1653/54), and the Tabernacle (Afbeeldinge van den Tabernakel, 1647 and 1669, Retrato del Tabernaculo de Moseh, 1654; Eng. tr., 1675). Templo was not only an artist, who illustrated his books himself, but a collector of pictures. For his private museum at Amsterdam where he sold his books and the copper engravings, he also constructed a model of the Tabernacle and a scale model of the Israelites in the desert. Two illustrated posters with information on his exhibits are known, from which it appears that he traveled with his models to other places. His exhibition was visited by many people from the Netherlands and abroad, who sometimes reported about it, such as John Dury, Philipp von Zesen, William Lord Fitzwilliam, Philip Skippon. He showed the temple model to Queen Henrietta Maria of England when she visited Amsterdam in 1643. He took his model with him to England in 1671 with letters of recommendation by the famous Dutch poet and statesman Constantin Huygens, who was instructed in Hebrew literature by him in his youth. The letters were directed, among others, to the Portuguese ambassador, the archbishop of Canterbury, and the architect Sir Christopher Wren; possibly Leon hoped to show the model to King Charles ii. (While there, he is said to have designed the coat of arms used by the English freemasons. This, however, seems unlikely.) The model remained on show in London for over a century but is now probably lost. In 1670/71 he published Kodesh Hillulim (Las alabanças de santidad) in Amsterdam – the Hebrew text of the Psalms with translation, paraphrase, and annotations in Spanish. Among his unpublished works, which mostly dealt with the Temple and its worship, was a series of drawings illustrating the Mishnah, subsequently used by Wilhelm *Surenhuis for his Latin translation. He left behind some polemical materials in manuscript, but his connection to the Latin disputation with Philip Limborch, generally called the Colloquium Middleburgensis, is no longer believed. He died on July 19, 1675, in Amsterdam, shortly before the inauguration of the great Sephardi Esnoga. His portrait (in two versions and dating from the 1640s) was drawn and engraved by Salom Italia. A third portrait from 1652 is anonymous. The earliest portrait was copied by the German engraver C. Buno (Baum) for the Latin translation of the book on the Temple. His son, solomon judah leÃo templo (d. c. 1733), also taught in the Jewish congregational schools in Amsterdam. He composed a Hebrew grammar in Portuguese (Reshit Ḥokhmah, Principio de sciencia, 1703) for their use, besides publishing a number of sermons.


Brugmans-Frank, 389, 521–3. add. bibliography: J. Zwarts, in: Nieuw Nederlandsch Biografisch Woordenboek, 6 (1924), 941–43; idem, in: Hoofdstukken uit de geschiedenis der Joden in Nederland (1929), 120–5; idem, in: Historia, 4 (1938), 277–82, 307–10, 381–85; 5 (1939), 84–89; H. Rosenau, in: jjs, 23 (1972), 72–81; A.K. Offenberg, in: De tempel van Salomo. Een terugblik in het nabije en verre verleden (1976), 54–75; idem, in: Studia Rosenthaliana, 12 (1978), 111–32; 26 (1992), 125–31; idem, in: Jewish-Christian Relations in the Seventeenth Century. Studies and Documents (1988), 95–115; idem, in: De Zeventiende Eeuw, 9 (1993), 35–50; idem, in: De weergaloze Van Santen (2000), 21–30; A.L. Shane, in: jhset, 25 (1977), 120–36.

[Cecil Roth /

A.K. Offenberg (2nd ed.)]

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Templo, Jacob Judah (Aryeh) Leon

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