Usque, Abraham

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USQUE, ABRAHAM , Marrano printer. Born in Portugal and known there as Duarte Pinel (Pinhel), Usque fled from the Inquisition shortly after 1543, established himself at Ferrara, and became associated with the press established by the Spanish ex-Marrano, Yom-Tov ben Levi Athias (Jerónimo de Vargas). He followed Athias' plan of publishing Jewish liturgies in the vernacular, as well as other texts intended to facilitate the Marranos' return to Judaism. Usque's name first appears in connection with the famous Bible translation of 1553, the so-called Ferrara Bible. This Bible was published in two forms: one intended for a Jewish audience, bearing a Hebrew date (14 Adar 5313) and a dedication to Doña Gracia *Nasi, and listing the Hebrew names of the printer and publisher (Usque and Athias); the other for the Christian world, dated March 1, 1553, with a dedication to Duke Ercole d'Este of Ferrara and the names of Duarte Pinel and Jerónimo de Vargas. Books published by Usque also include the enigmatic Menina e Moça, by Bernardim *Ribeiro, Samuel *Usque'sConsolaçam as tribulaçoens de Israel (1553), and various works in Hebrew. The fury of the Counter-Reformation gradually halted Usque's printing activities. He published no books in Spanish or Portuguese after 1555 and continued the publication of Hebrew books only to 1558.

Solomon *Usque may be identical with Usque's son and assistant Solomon, but his relationship to Samuel Usque is impossible to determine.


C. Roth, in: Modern Language Review, 38 (1943), 307–17; M.A. Cohen (ed. and tr.), S. Usque, Consolation for the Tribulations of Israel (1965).

[Martin A. Cohen]