Advertisement

Michel de Montaigne

Writer and philosopher Michel de Montaigne, born Michel Eyquem on this date in 1533, was a major figure in the French Renaissance. His mother was Jewish, but converted to Protestantism, while his maternal grandfather was a crypto-Jew whose family converted to Catholicism. It is thought that there were conversos on his father’s side as well. Montaigne heard and […]

Read More

The Uncivil Servant: Protestantism at 500

by Mitchell Abidor Discussed in the essay: Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet, by Lyndal Roper. Random House, 2017, 540 pages.   WHEN ON NOVEMBER 7 we observe the centennial of the Bolshevik Revolution, which died a slow, ugly death after a life of barely seventy-five years, we should not forget the far greater revolution celebrating its 500th […]

Read More

December 13: Burning the Messiah

Solomon Molcho (Diogo Pires), a self-declared Jewish messiah, was burned at the stake at the age of 32 by the Inquisition on this date in 1532. Born a Christian to Portuguese converso parents, Molcho converted to Judaism and circumcised himself as a young man, then emigrated to Turkey, Syria, and Palestine, becoming an admired kabbalist […]

Read More

August 4: Zohar, Hot Off the Press

The first print edition of the Zohar, the central book of Jewish mysticism, was published on this date in 1558, following the removal of a ninety-year rabbinical ban on its printing. Most sources hold this first printed Zohar to be a three-volume edition published in Mantua, Italy; other sources describe a one-volume edition published in […]

Read More