- Benedetto (Baruch) Luzzatto:
- Beniamino Luzzatto:
- Ephraim Luzzatto:
- Filosseno (Philoxene) Luzzatto:
- Isaia Luzzatto:
- Jacob ben Isaac Luzzatto:
- Moses Ḥayyim Luzzatto:
- His Psalter.
- Cabalistic Productions.
- Opposition and Polemics.
- Renewed Cabalistic Activity.
- At Amsterdam.
- Samuel David (ShaDaL) Luzzatto:
- Early Ability.
- Critical Treatment of Bible.
- Views on Philosophy.
- Simeon (Simḥah) ben Isaac Luzzatto:
- His "Discorso."
- His "Socrate."
Name of a family of Italian scholars whose genealogy can be traced back to the first half of the sixteenth century. According to a tradition communicated by S. D. Luzzatto the family descends from a German who immigrated into Italy from the province of Lausitz, and who was named after his native place ("Lausatia," "Lausiatus" = "Luzzatto"). The name "Luzzatti," which one branch of this family bears, can similarly be traced back to the plural form "Lausiati." The German rite is credibly reported to have been observed in the family synagogue (Scuola Luzzatto) in Venice.
The earliest member of the family of whom there is record is one Abraham Luzzatto, who lived at Safed at the beginning of the sixteenth century. His descendants may be grouped with some degree of probability in the following pedigree:
- Autobiografia di S. D. Luzzatto Preceduta di Alcune Notizie Storico-Letterarie sulla Famiglia Luzzattoa Datare del Secolo Decime Sesto, Padua, 1878-82;
- Brann, Die Familie Luzzatto, in Samuel David Luzzatto;
- Ein Gedenkbuch zum Hundertsten Geburtstag, Berlin, 1900;
- Mortara, Indice.
Italian preacher and poet; flourished in the seventeenth century at Padua, where he was chief rabbi toward the close of his life. He united Talmudic learning with profound classical scholarship, and was especially well versed in history and philosophy. In 1636 he wrote a finished Italian sonnet for his friend Immanuel Porto Rapa's mathematical treatise "Porto Astronomico."
Luzzatto was highly esteemed by contemporary scholars. The anatomist and botanist Giovanni Weslingio was his intimate friend, and Leon of Modena in a list of his pupils praises his halakic learning. None of his works has been published.
- S. D. Luzzatto, Autobiografia, p. 12;
- Brann, in Samuel David Luzzatto, ein Gedenkbuch, p. 36.
Italian physician; born at Padua Dec. 3, 1850; died there June 22, 1893; son of Samuel David Luzzatto. Educated at the university of his native town (M.D. 1872), he became physician at the general hospital. In 1876 he was appointed lecturer on pathology, and in 1882 assistant professor and chief of the propædeutic clinic of Padua University.
Luzzatto wrote essays on the systolic murmur of the apex of the heart (Padua, 1875); on chronic broncho-pneumonia and tuberculosis (Milan, 1876); on tetanus traumaticus in pregnancy (Padua, 1876); and he was also the author of: "Embolia dell' Arteria Pulmonale," Milan, 1880; "Vade Mecum di Percussione," Padua, 1882; "Lezioni di Propedeutica Clinica," ib. 1883.
- Pagel, Biog. Lex.
Italian physician and poet; born at San Daniele, Friuli, in 1729; died at Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1792; studied medicine at the University of Padua, graduating in 1751. After practising in Italy for some years, he settled, in 1763, in London, where he was appointed physician in the hospital of the Portuguese congregation. In 1792 he left London, and was on his way to Italy when he died. Luzzatto was a highly gifted Hebrew poet, and he exercised his talent with equal success in national, mythological, moral, and sometimes amorous themes; the beauty of his style and the richness and delicacy of his vocabulary place his productions far above the average. He seems, however, to have lacked conviction and to have wavered sometimes between the extremes of religion and atheism, between Judaism and paganism.
Luzzatto wrote "Eleh Bene ha-Ne'urim," poems on various subjects (London, 1766), and "Ḳol Shaḥal" (Berlin, 1796). A second edition of the former work was published by Meïr Letteris (Vienna, 1839).
- Carmoly, in Revue Orientale, i. 459;
- S. D. Luzzatto, in Busch's Kalender, p. 152;
- D. A. de Sola, in Orient Lit. i. 7;
- Delitzch, Zur Gesch. der Jüdischen Poesie, p. 92;
- Kokebe Yiẓḥaḳ, xxii. 20;
- Mortara, Indice, p. 36.
Italian scholar; son of Samuel David Luzzatto; born at Triest July 10, 1829; died at Padua Jan. 25, 1854. Luzzatto (whose surname is the Italian equivalent of the title of one of his father's principal works, "Oheb Ger," which was written at the time of Filosseno's birth) showed from childhood remarkable linguistic aptitude, and having mastered several European languages, he devoted himself to the study of Semitic languages and Sanskrit. When a boy of thirteen he deciphered some old inscriptions on the tombstones of Padua which had puzzled older scholars. Two years later, happening to read D'Abbadie's narrative of his travels in Abyssinia, he resolved to write a history of the Falashas. In spite of his premature death, he wrote several important works: "L'Asia Antica, Occidentale e Media" (Milan, 1847); "Mémoire sur l'Inscription Cunéïforme Persane de Behistan," in "Journal de l'Institut Lombard" (ib. 1848); "Le Sanscritisme de la Langue Assyrienne" (Padua, 1849); "Etudes sur les Inscriptions Assyriennes de Persépolis, Hamadan, Van, et Khorsabad" (ib. 1850); "Notice sur Abou Jousouf Hasdai ibn Shaprout" (ib. 1852); "Mémoire sur les Juifs d'Abyssinie ou Falashas" (printed posthumously in "Arch. Isr." xii.-xv.). He also translated into Italian eighteen chapters of Ezekiel, adding to the same a Hebrew commentary. Luzzatto contributed to many periodicals, mostly on philological or exegetical subjects. Of special interest are his observations on the inscriptions in the ruins of the ancient Jewish cemetery in Paris ("Mémoires des Antiquités do France," xxii. 60).
- S. Cahen, in Arch. Isr. xv. 270 et seq.;
- Fürst, Bibl. Jud. ii. 281;
- H. S. Morais, Eminent Israelites, pp. 218 et seq., Philadelphia, 1880.
Italian notary; born at Padua Sept. 27, 1836; died there Nov. 7, 1898; son of S. D. Luzzatto; graduated in law at the university of his native city. He was for some time attorney for one of the principal Jewish families of the community. His life was saddened by illness and other troubles. Besides a small work, written in his youth, on the battle of Legnano, he wrote various books to serve as a guide for the publication of his father's writings: "Materiale per la Vita di S. D. Luzzatto" (extract from the "Corriere Israelitico"), Triest, 1877; "Index Raisonné des Livres de Correspondance de Feu S. D. Luzzatto de Trieste, Precédé d'un Avant-Propos et Suivi d'un Essai de Pensées et Jugements Tirés de Ses Lettres Inédites," Padua, 1878; "Materiale per la Illustrazione degli Scritti Editi e Inediti di S. D. Luzzatto," ib. 1878; "Catalogo Ragionato degli Scritti Sparsi di S. D. Luzzatto, con Riferimento Agli Altri Suoi Scritti, Editi e Inediti," ib. 1881.
- Vessillo Israelitico, 1898, p. 380.
Oriental rabbi and preacher; flourished at Safed in the second half of the sixteenth century. In the pinḳes of Venice it is stated that a Jacob Luzzatto died in that city April 13, 1587, at the age of about sixty; he may well have been the subject of this article, though there is nothing to sustain the identification.
Luzzatto was the author of "Kaftor wa-Feraḥ" or "Yashresh Ya'aḳob" (Basel, 1580), containing besidessome stories from the "Sefer Ḥasidim," 165 haggadot explained according to Rashi, the Tosafot, Solomon b. Adret, and R. Nissim; parallel passages being cited from the Yerushalmi, Midrashim, and cabalistic works. The particular object of this work was to defend the Haggadah against the attacks of ecclesiastical censors. As at the end of the book Luzzatto calls himself "corrector," S. D. Luzzatto concluded that it was Jacob Luzzatto who wrote the "Haggahot," or explanatory notes to the Talmud, printed at Basel, 1578-80, under the censorship of Marco Marino. The object of those notes was to show that the haggadot which seem to be directed against Christianity have really an allegorical meaning. Luzzatto wrote also "Ḳehillat Ya'aḳob" (Salonica, 1584), novellæ on the Talmud, and edited and supplied a preface and index to Solomon Molko's "Sefer ha-Mefo'ar" (Cracow, 1570) and to Menahem Recanati's "Ṭa'ame ha-Miẓwot" (Basel, 1581). From his preface (rimed) to the latter work, it is seen that though born at Safed, his Hebrew pronunciation was that of the German Jews, indicating his German origin.
- Fuenn, Keneset Yisrael, p. 554;
- Fürst, Bibl. Jud. ii. 277;
- Jellinek, in Orient, Lit. vii. 221;
- S. D. Luzzatto, Autobiografia, in Mosé, i. 83-86;
- Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. col. 1230.
Italian cabalist and poet; born at Padua 1707; died at Acre May 6, 1747. His father was the wealthy merchant Jacob Luzzatto, and his mother also was a descendant of the Luzzatto family. He was carefully educated by his father in Latin and in other languages. At the age of thirteen he entered the Talmud Torah of his native city, which was then widely known through the teachings of Judah Minz, and which numbered among its instructors Isaiah Bassani and Isaac Ḥayyim Cohen de Cantarini, with the former of whom Luzzatto was especially intimate. He read omnivorously in the library of the Talmud Torah, being attracted particularly by the cabalistic works he found there.
Benjamin ha-Kohen Vital of Reggio (comp. Kaufmann in "Monatsschrift," xli. 700 et seq.), a pupil of Moses Zacuto and father-in-law of Bassani, seems to have exerted a great influence on Luzzatto's development as poet and cabalist. Luzzatto soon took up Isaac Luria's works, endeavoring to master the practical Cabala by their aid; and he instructed his former teachers in its mysteries in a school which he opened in his own house after Bassani had moved to Reggio.His Psalter.
The Talmud and mysticism, however, did not satisfy Luzzatto's versatile mind; and at an early age he began a thorough study of the Hebrew language and of poetic composition. He wrote epithalamia and elegies, a noteworthy example of the latter being the dirge on the death of his teacher Cantarini, a lofty poem of twenty-four verses written in classical Hebrew. Before completing his twentieth year Luzzatto had begun his composition of one hundred and fifty hymns modeled on the Biblical Psalter. In these psalms, composed in conformity with the laws of parallelism, he freed himself from all foreign influences, imitating the style of the Bible so faithfully that his poems seem entirely a renaissance of Biblical words and thoughts. They provoked the criticism of the Rabbis, however, and were one of the causes of the persecutions to which Luzzatto was later subjected. R. Jacob Poppers of Frankfort-on-the-Main thought it unpardonable presumption to attempt to equal the "anointed of the God of Jacob." Only two psalms are known of which it can with certainty be said that they belonged to Luzzatto's psalter ("Bikkure ha-'Ittim," 1825, p. 56; 1826, p. 99); in addition seven hymns by him which were sung at the inauguration of the enlarged Spanish synagogue at Padua appeared in the work "Ḥanukkat ha-Maron" (Venice, 1729); but it is not certain whether they were taken from the psalter.
As a youth Luzzatto essayed also dramatic poetry, writing at the age of seventeen his first Biblical drama, "Shimshon u-Felistim," of which only fragments have been preserved, in another work of his. This youthful production foreshadows the coming master; it is perfect in versification, simple in language, original and thoughtful in substance. This first large work was followed by the "Leshon Limmudim," a discussion of Hebrew style with a new theory of Hebrew versification, in which the author showed his thorough knowledge of classical rhetoric. It is in a certain sense a scientific demonstration of the neoclassic Italian style, in contrast with the medieval. There is a vast difference between Luzzatto's style, which recalls the simplicity, smoothness, and vigor of the Bible, and the insipid, exaggerated, and affected work of his contemporaries. The book, dedicated to his teacher Bassani, was printed at Mantua 1727, with a text which deviates from the manuscript formerly in the possession of M. S. Ghirondi.
In the same year or somewhat later, Luzzatto wrote his allegorical festival drama "Migdal 'Oz" (or "Tummat Yesharim"), on the occasion of the marriage of his friend Israel Benjamin Bassani. This four-act play, which shows Latin and Italian as well as Biblical influence, illustrates the victory of justice over iniquity. It is masterly in versification and melodious in language, the lyrical passages being especially lofty; and it has a wealth of pleasing imagery reminiscent of Guarini's "Pastor Fido." The drama was edited by M. Letteris, and published with notes by S. D. Luzzatto and prolegomena by Franz Delitzsch, Leipsic, 1837.Cabalistic Productions.
The Cabala, however, attracted Luzzatto more than did science or poetry; and he was seized with the illusion that he enjoyed the special favor of a heavenly genius ("maggid") which vouchsafed divine revelations to him as it had done to his cabalistic predecessors. He imagined that he beheld heavenly visions and that he conversed with the prophet Elijah, Adam, the Patriarchs, and others; and he finally became convinced that he was the Messiah, called to redeem humanity and more especially Israel. Many cabalistic works, including "Shib'im Tiḳḳunim," "Kelale Ḥokmat ha-Emet," " Pitḥe Ḥokmah," "Ma'amar ha-Ge'ullah," "Liḳḳuṭe Kawwanot," "Ḥibbur 'al Ḳohelet," Ma'amar ha-Wikkuaḥ," "Perush 'al 'Aseret ha-Dibrot," "Ma'amar 'al ha-'Iḳḳudim Asher be-Sefer ha-Zohar,""Perush la-Tiḳḳunim ha-Meyuḥasim le-RaSHBI," were the fruit of these aberrations of a great mind. He explained his teachings in pure, simple Hebrew reminiscent of the language of the Mishnah. In his cabalistic commentary on the Pentateuch, on the other hand, which he entitled "Zohar Tinyana," he imitated the language of the Zohar, thinking that this "second Zohar" would in time take the place of the first.
None of these works, however, was published; and only two sympathetic disciples, Isaac Marini and Israel Treves, were initiated by Luzzatto into his esoteric doctrine and were deemed worthy to meet him for daily cabalistic discussion. Chance revealed their secret. While Luzzatto was visiting his teacher Bassani at Reggio, a scholar by the name of (Raphael) Israel Ḳimḥi (author of the "'Abodat Yisrael") came to Padua for a few days, and Luzzatto's disciples showed him their master's writings. Ḳimḥi guarded his discovery while in Padua; but at Venice he told of it. Luzzatto's reputation as a cabalist soon spread far and wide, attracting many pupils, while his native city also began to awaken to his greatness and to honor him in various ways.Opposition and Polemics.
Among Luzzatto's pupils was a Pole, Jekuthiel b. Löb Gordon of Wilna, who had come to the university in 1729 to study medicine. At home he had given much time to the Talmud and to other Jewish literature; and now, putting his other studies aside, he took up the Cabala under Luzzatto. Fascinated by his teacher, he described his impressions, together with Luzzatto's visions, in a letter to Meïr H. Bösing, which, by a trick of fate, fell into the hands of the court agent Mordecai Jaffe of Vienna. Jekuthiel then wrote a letter to R. Joshua Höschel of Wilna, in which he enclosed a leaf from the "Zohar Tinyana." Luzzatto's reputation thus spread beyond Italy; and while the followers of the Cabala rejoiced in its new disciple, its opponents, who had not forgotten the troubles caused by Shabbethai Ẓebi, looked with apprehension upon Luzzatto's work. Chief among these was Moses Ḥagiz of Altona. The Venetian rabbis had still another cause for complaint against Luzzatto, for when Leon of Modena's anticabalistic work "Ari Noham" (or "Sha'agat Aryeh") fell into his hands he wrote the pointed reply "Ḥoḳer u-Meḳubbal" (or "Ma'amar ha-Wikkuaḥ"), in which he unsparingly attacked the famous Venetian rabbi. The other rabbis thereupon indignantly opposed Luzzatto, who now found himself unwillingly the center of public discussion. Every effort was made to condemn him; and letters and responsa multiplied in Padua, Venice, Leghorn, and Altona. No decisive steps were taken at the time in Italy itself; but the German rabbis, yielding to Luzzatto's enemies who were headed by Moses Ḥagiz, pronounced the ban upon any who should write in the language of the Zohar, in the name of the "faithful shepherd," or of other saints.
The Venetian rabbis thereupon requested Bassani at Reggio to explain to Luzzatto the consequences of his actions, and to take an active part in the controversy generally. Bassani then went to Padua and induced Luzzatto to declare in writing before the delegates of the Venetian rabbinate that he would renounce the teachings of the Cabala, would not show his works to any one, and would publish nothing in future without the approval of his teacher Bassani and other reliable men. Luzzatto's works were locked up in a casket, one key of which was given to Bassani and another to the representatives of the Venetian rabbinate. Luzzatto himself received the title of rabbi.Renewed Cabalistic Activity.
He now seemed definitely to have renounced his connection with the Cabala, and he turned again to literature, producing his finest poems. He traveled, cultivated his friends, married the daughter of R. David at Mantua, and took part also in the business affairs of his relatives. Despite all this, he could not permanently resist the attractions of the Cabala. It seems that decreasing prosperity once more led him to mysticism; for, notwithstanding his promises, he composed the cabalistic works "Kelalim Rishonim le-Ḥokmat ha-Emet," "Tefillah we-Shir 'al Ge'ullat Miẓrayim," "Tefillah we-Shir 'al Mattan Torah," and "Wikkuaḥ ben ha-Sekel weha-Neshamah," and Bassani was weak enough to slur his duty and to refrain from opposition to this activity. The news reached the Venetian rabbis, who had been informed that Luzzatto intended also to publish his polemic against Leon of Modena. They lent a credulous ear to those who had been set to watch Luzzatto; and when he refused to take an oath that he would publish no more works without submitting them to the censorship of the Venetian rabbinate, the six rabbis of Venice pronounced (Dec., 1734) a ban upon him and his works, and made it incumbent upon every one who possessed any copies of his writings to deliver them to the rabbinate. News of the ban was sent to all the communities of Germany; and Ḥagiz was informed of the victory he had gained.
It was now impossible for Luzzatto to remain in Italy; for he was abandoned by all except Bassani and a few faithful friends. He therefore decided to emigrate to Amsterdam. On the journey he did not neglect to exhort his pupils to endurance and harmony. In Frankfort-on-the-Main a deep humiliation awaited him: he had to promise under oath to give up his mystic studies and not to print or even write a sentence cabalistic in content. Not until his fortieth year would he be permitted to study the mysteries of the Cabala, and then only in the Holy Land in company with worthy men. This declaration was communicated to many rabbis in different countries; and Luzzatto's works were taken away from him.At Amsterdam.
Luzzatto was welcomed at Amsterdam with great honor. He was received into the house of the prominent Moses de Chaves, whose son he taught, and the Sephardic community offered him a salary; but, preferring his personal independence, he supported himself by grinding optical lenses. He devoted his spare time to study and teaching, and was soon able to send for his wife, son, and parents, who likewise were cordially received. Luzzatto now resumed his correspondence with Bassani and his pupils; he commended the latter to his teacherand exhorted them to remain faithful to the study of the Cabala. This correspondence became known to the Venetian rabbis, and as they could do nothing further to Luzzatto, they attacked Bassani, who was suspected of having opened the casket which contained Luzzatto's works (though perhaps the psalms were not included [Kahana, "Luzzatto," p. 10, note 2]) and of having restored them to him. This casket, which was supposed to be guarded by a cherub (Zunz, "Die Monatstage des Kalenderjahrs," p. 26), is said to have found its way to Prague after many vicissitudes (comp. Kaufmann, "Contributions à la Biographie de Mosé Hayyim Luzzatto, Yekutiel Gordon et Mosé Hages.—La Caisse des Manuscrits de Luzzatto et Jacob Cohen Popers," in "R. E. J." xxiii. 256-261). The ban was then renewed against those having forbidden works by Luzzatto in their possession and failing to deliver the same to the rabbinate of Venice.
Meanwhile Luzzatto's reputation was increasing at Amsterdam. He won the friendship of the foremost men there and displayed great activity as a teacher, still continuing his cabalistic studies. In that city he published the following works: "Mesillat Yesharim" (1740), a popular survey of religious ethics, which was widely read; the Talmudic and methodologic treatise "Derek Tebunot" (1743); the smaller works, dealing with various subjects, "Ma'amar ha-'Iḳḳarim," "Ma'amar 'al ha-Aggadot," "Derek Ḥokmah," "Ma'amar ha-Ḥokmah" (1743); and the allegorical drama "La-Yesharim Tehillah," written on the marriage of his pupil Jacob de Chaves—"a work of art unique in Neo-Hebraic literature, masterly in form, language, and thought, a monument to his great gifts, fitted to immortalize him and the tongue in which he composed it." This drama, which in its simple plot bears much resemblance to that of the "Migdal 'Oz," is closely connected in sentiment with the ethical works written by Luzzatto at Amsterdam and is filled with lofty thought. It was imitated by many on account of its style, which is modeled, though with great freedom, on that of the Bible. Luzzatto had only fifty copies printed, which he distributed among the prominent members of the Sephardic community of the city.
At Amsterdam Luzzatto lived quietly and comfortably for ten years, making one short visit to London. When his period of renunciation of the Cabala drew to a close he was filled with a longing for the Holy Land, and after many hardships he arrived with his wife and son at Safed. He exchanged some letters with his disciples at Padua, in which he spoke of his aims and hopes; but in the midst of his plans for the future he, together with his wife and son, died of the Plague in his fortieth year, and was buried at Tiberias beside R. Akiba.
- Jacob Emden, Torat ha-Ḳena'ot;
- M. S. Ghirondi, in Kerem Ḥemed, ii. 54 et seq.;
- J. Almanzi, ib. iii. 113 et seq.;
- Franz Delitzsch, Zur Gesch. der Jüdischen Poesie, pp. 89 et seq.;
- Jost, Gesch. des Judenthums und Seiner Sekten, iii. 179 et seq.;
- Grätz, Gesch. x. 369 et seq.;
- Zunz, Literaturgesch. p. 449;
- Autobiografia di S. D. Luzzatto Preceduta di Alcune Notizie Storico-Letterarie sulla Famiglia Luzzatto, Padua, 1882;
- Abraham Kahan, Rabbi Ḥayyim Luẓẓaṭṭo, Warsaw, 1899;
- Kaufmann, Poésies de Moïse Hayyim Luzzatto, etc., in R. E. J. xxxix. 133 et seq.;
- Halberstam, ib. 317 et seq.
Italian philologist, poet, and Biblical exegete; born at Triest Aug. 22, 1800; died at Padua Sept. 30, 1865. While still a boy he entered the Talmud Torah of his native city, where besides Talmud, in which he was taught by Abraham Eliezer ha-Levi, chief rabbi of Triest and a distinguished pilpulist, he studied ancient and modern languages and profane science under Mordecai de Cologna, Leon Vita Saraval, and Raphael Baruch Segré, whose son-in-law he later became. He studied Hebrew also at home, with his father, who, though a turner by trade, was an eminent Talmudist.Early Ability.
Luzzatto manifested extraordinary ability from his very childhood, so that while reading the Book of Job at school he formed the intention to write a commentary thereon, considering the existing commentaries to be deficient. In 1811 he received as a prize Montesquieu's "Considérations sur les Causes de la Grandeur des Romains," etc., which contributed much to the development of his critical faculties. Indeed, his literary activity began in that very year, for it was then that he undertook to write a Hebrew grammar in Italian, translated into Hebrew the life of Æsop, and wrote exegetical notes on the Pentateuch (comp. "Il Vessillo Israelitico," xxv. 374, xxvi. 16). The discovery of an unpublished commentary on the Targum of Onḳelos induced him to study Aramaic (preface to his "Oheb Ger").
At the age of thirteen Luzzatto was withdrawn from school, attending only the lectures in Talmud of Abraham Eliezer ha-Levi. While he was reading the "'En Ya'aḳob" by Jacob ibn Ḥabib, he came to the conclusion that the vowels and accents did notexist in the time of the Talmudists, and that the Zohar, speaking as it does of vowels and accents, must necessarily be of later composition. He propounded this theory in a pamphlet which was the origin of his later work "Wikkuaḥ 'al ha-Ḳabbalah."
In 1814 there began a most trying time for Luzzatto. His mother dying in that year, he had to do the housework, including cooking, and to help his father in his work as a turner. Nevertheless, by the end of 1815 he had composed thirty-seven poems, which form a part of his "Kinnor Na'im," and in 1817 had finished his "Ma'amar ha-Niḳḳud," a treatise on the vowels. In 1818 he began to write his "Torah Nidreshet," a philosophico-theological work of which he composed only twenty-four chapters, the first twelve being published in the "Kokebe Yiẓḥaḳ," vols. xvi.-xvii., xxi.-xxiv., xxvi., and the remainder translated into Italian by M. Coen-Porto and published in "Mosé," i-ii. In 1879 Coen-Porto published a translation of the whole work in book form. In spite of his father's desire that he should learn a trade, Luzzatto had no inclination for one, and in order to earn his livelihood he was obliged to give private lessons, finding pupils with great difficulty on account of his timidity. From 1824, in which year his father died, he had to depend entirely upon himself. Until 1829 he earned a livelihood by giving lessons and by writing for the "Bikkure ha-'Ittim"; in that year he was appointed professor at the rabbinical college of Padua.Critical Treatment of Bible.
At Padua Luzzatto had a much larger scope for his literary activity, as he was able to devote all his time to literary work. Besides, while explaining certain parts of the Bible to his pupils he wrote down all his observations. Luzzatto was the first Jewish scholar to turn his attention to Syriac, considering a knowledge of this language necessary for the understanding of the Targum. His letter published in Kirchheim's "Karme Shomeron" shows his thorough acquaintance with Samaritan. He was also the first Jew who permitted himself to amend the text of the Old Testament; and his emendations have met with the approval of Christian scholars. Through a careful examination of the Book of Ecclesiastes, Luzzatto came to the conclusion that its author was not Solomon, but some one who lived several centuries later and whose name was Ḳohelet. The author, Luzzatto thinks, ascribed his work to Solomon, but his contemporaries, having discovered the forgery, substituted the correct name "Ḳohelet" for "Solomon" wherever the latter occurred in the book. As to the Book of Isaiah, in spite of the prevalent opinion that chapters xl.-lxvi. were written after the Captivity, Luzzatto maintained that the whole book was written by Isaiah. Difference of opinion on this point was one of the causes why Luzzatto, after having maintained a friendly correspondence with Rapoport, turned against the latter. Another reason for the interruption of his relations with the chief rabbi of Prague was that Luzzatto, though otherwise on good terms with Jost, could not endure the latter's rationalism. He consequently requested Rapoport to cease his relations with Jost; but Rapoport, not knowing Luzzatto personally, ascribed the request to arrogance.Views on Philosophy.
Luzzatto was a warm defender of Biblical and Talmudical Judaism; and his opposition to philosophical Judaism brought him many opponents among his contemporaries. But his opposition to philosophy was not the result of fanaticism nor of lack of understanding. He claimed to have read during twenty-four years all the ancient philosophers, and that the more he read them the more he found them deviating from the truth. What one approves the other disproves; and so the philosophers themselves go astray and mislead students. It is for this reason that while praising Maimonides as the author of the "Yad," Luzzatto blames him severely for being a follower of the Aristotelian philosophy, which, he says, brought no good to himself while causing much evil to other Jews ("Penine Shadal," p. 417). Luzzatto attacked Abraham ibn Ezra also, declaring that the latter's works were not the products of a scientific mind, and that as it was necessary for him in order to secure a livelihood to write a book in every town in which he sojourned, the number of his books corresponded with the number of towns he visited. Ibn Ezra's material, he declared, was always the same, the form being changed sometimes slightly, and at other times entirely ("Kerem Ḥemed," iv. 131 et seq.). Luzzatto's pessimistic opinion of philosophy made him naturally the adversary of Spinoza, whom he attacked on more than one occasion.
During his literary career of more than fifty years, Luzzatto wrote a great number of works, both in Hebrew and in Italian. Besides he contributed to most of the Hebrew and Jewish periodicals of his time. His correspondence with his contemporaries is both voluminous and instructive; there being hardly any subject in connection with Judaism on which he did not write. The following is a list of Luzzatto's works:In Hebrew.
- Kinnor Na'im, collection of poems. Vol. i., Vienna, 1825; vol. ii., Padua, 1879.
- Ḳinah, elegy on the death of Abraham Eliezer ha-Levi. Triest, 1826.
- Oheb Ger, guide to the understanding of the Targum of Onḳelos, with notes and variants; accompanied by a short Syriac grammar and notes on and variants in the Targum of Psalms. Vienna, 1830.
- Hafla'ah sheba-'Arakin of Isaiah Berlin, edited by Luzzatto, with notes of his own. Part i., Breslau, 1830; part ii., Vienna, 1859.
- Seder Tannaïm wa-Amoraïm, revised and edited with variants. Prague, 1839.
- Betulat Bat Yehudah, extracts from the diwan of Judah ha-Levi, edited with notes and an introduction. Prague, 1840.
- Abne Zikkaron, seventy-six epitaphs from the cemetery of Toledo, followed by a commentary on Micah by Jacob Pardo, edited with notes. Prague, 1841.
- Bet ha-Oẓar, collection of essays on the Hebrew language, exegetical and archeological notes, collectanea, and ancient poetry. Vol. i., Lemberg, 1847; vol. ii., Przemysl, 1888; vol. iii., Cracow, 1889.
- Ha-Mishtaddel, scholia to the Pentateuch. Vienna, 1849.
- Wikkuaḥ 'al ha-Ḳabbalah, dialogues on Cabala and on the antiquity of punctuation. Göritz, 1852.
- Sefer Yesha'yah, the Book of Isaiah edited with an Italian translation and a Hebrew commentary. Padua, 1855-67.
- Mebo, a historical and critical introduction to the Maḥzor. Leghorn, 1856.
- Diwan, eighty-six religious poems of Judah ha-Levi corrected, vocalized, and edited, with a commentary and introduction. Lyck, 1864.
- Yad Yosef, a catalogue of the Library of Joseph Almanzi. Padua, 1864.
- Ma'amar bi-Yesode ha-Diḳduḳ, a treatise on Hebrew grammar. Vienna, 1865.
- Ḥereb ha-Mithappeket, a poem of Abraham Bedersi, published for the first time with a preface and a commentary at the beginning of Bedersi's "Ḥotam Toknit." Amsterdam, 1865.
- Commentary on the Pentateuch. Padua, 1871.
- Perushe Shedal, commentary on Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Proverbs, and Job. Lemberg, 1876.
- Naḥalat Shedal, in two parts; the first containing a list of the Geonim and Rabbis, and the second one of the payyeṭanim and their piyyuṭim. Berlin, 1878-79.
- Yesode ha-Torah, a treatise on Jewish dogma. Przemysl, 1880.
- Ṭal Orot, a collection of eighty-one unpublished piyyuṭim, amended. Przemysl, 1881.
- Iggerot Shedal, 301 letters, published by Isaiah Luzzatto and prefaced by David Kaufmann. Przemysl, 1882.
- Penine Shedal (see below). Przemysl, 1883.
- Prolegomeni ad una Grammatica Ragionata della Lingua Ebraica. Padua, 1836.
- Il Giudaismo Illustrato. Padua, 1848.
- Calendario Ebraico. Padua, 1849.
- Lezioni di Storia Giudaica. Padua, 1852.
- Grammatica della Lingua Ebraica. Padua, 1853.
- Italian translation of Job. Padua, 1853.
- Discorsi Morali agli Studenti Israeliti. Padua, 1857.
- Opere del De Rossi. Milan, 1857.
- Italian translation of the Pentateuch and Hafṭarot. Triest, 1858-60.
- Lezioni di Teologia Morale Israelitica. Padua, 1862.
- Lezioni di Teologia Dogmatica Israelitica. Triest, 1864.
- Elementi Grammaticali del Caldeo Biblico e del Dialetto Talmudico. Padua, 1865. Translated into German by Krüger, Breslau, 1873; into English by Goldammer, New York, 1876; and the part on the Talmudic dialect, into Hebrew by Ḥayyim Ẓebi Lerner, St. Petersburg, 1880.
- Discorsi Storico-Religiosi agli Studenti Israeliti. Padua, 1870.
- Introduzione Critica ed Ermenutica al Pentateuco. Padua, 1870.
- Autobiografia (first published by Luzzatto himself in "Mosé," i-vi.). Padua, 1882.
- Isaiah Luzzatto published (Padua, 1881), under the respective Hebrew and Italian titles "Reshimat Ma'amare SHeDaL" and "Catalogo Ragionato degli Scritti Sparsi di S. D. Luzzatto," an index of all the articles which Luzzatto had written in various periodicals.
The "Penine Shedal" (= "The Pearls of Samuel David Luzzatto"), published by Luzzatto's sons, is a collection of eighty-nine of the more interesting of Luzzatto's letters. These letters are really scientific treatises, which are divided in this book into different categories as follows: bibliographical (Nos. i.-xxii.), containing letters on Ibn Ezra's "Yesod Mora" and "Yesod Mispar"; liturgical-bibliographical and various other subjects (Nos. xxiii.-xxxi.); Biblical-exegetical (Nos. xxxii.-lii.), containing among others a commentary on Ecclesiastes and a letter on Samaritan writing; other exegetical letters (Nos. liii.-lxii.); grammatical (Nos. lxiii.-lxx.); historical (Nos. lxxi.-lxxvii.), in which the antiquity of the Book of Job is discussed; philosophical (Nos. lxxviii.-lxxxii.), including letters on dreams and on the Aristotelian philosophy; theological (Nos. lxxxiii.-lxxxix.), in the last letter of which Luzzatto proves that Ibn Gabirol's ideas were very different from those of Spinoza, and declares that every honest man should rise against the Spinozists.
- Bernfeld, in Sefer ha-Shanah, ii. 278 et seq.;
- idem, in Gedenkbuch zum Hundertsten Geburtstag Luzzattos, Berlin, 1900;
- Educatore Israelita, xiii. 313, 357, 368; xiv. 19;
- Geiger, in Jüd. Zeit. iv. 1-22;
- A. Kahana, in Ha-Shiloaḥ, iii. 58, 337; iv. 58, 153;
- J. Klausner, ib. vii. 117-126, 213-228, 299-305;
- S. D. Luzzatto, Autobiografia, Padua, 1882;
- idem, in Ha-Maggid, ii., Nos. 17-19, 22, 23, 30, 33; iii., Nos. 1, 13, 14, 21, 22, 31-33; vi., Nos. 12, 15, 16, 21-23;
- H. S. Morais, Eminent Israelites of the Nineteenth Century, pp. 211-217, Philadelphia, 1880;
- Senior Sachs, in Ha-Lebanon, ii. 305, 327, 344.
Italian rabbi and apologist; born about 1580; died Jan. 6, 1663, at Venice, where he was rabbi. Luzzatto was one of the most prominent demagogues of his time, and when still a young man he had already acquired renown as a rabbi and scholar. He is styled "rabbi" at the head of a long responsum entitled "Mish'an Mayim," which he wrote in 1606 in regard to the "miḳweh" of Rovigo ("Mashbit Milḥamot," pp. 38b-56b). He shared the rabbinate of Venice with Leon of Modena, who held him in great esteem; according to Wolf ("Bibl. Hebr." iii. 1150), they wrote together a work on the Karaites. The above-mentioned responsum shows him to have been an authority in rabbinics; and he is quoted by Isaac Lampronti ("Paḥad Yiẓḥaḳ," i., s.v. ), Raphael Meldola ("Mayim Rabbim," No. 11), Mordecai Jaffe ("Lebush," end of "Eben ha-'Ezer"), and other rabbinical authorities.His "Discorso."
As may be seen from his Italian writings, Luzzatto was well acquainted with ancient literature and philosophy as well as with the literature of his time, while he is praised by Joseph Delmedigo as a distinguished mathematician (comp. Conforte, "Ḳore ha-Dorot," p. 50a). Luzzatto wrote two important works in Italian—"Discorso Circa il Stato degli Hebrei" (Venice, 1638) and "Socrate" (ib. 1651). The former is a treatise on the position of the Jews, particularly of those that lived in Venice. It is an apology for the Jews in eighteen arguments, each of which forms a chapter. For instance, one chapter defends them on the ground of their usefulness in commerce; another explains the causes of decreases in certain revenues of a state and shows that encouragement of the activities of the Jews would tend to increase those revenues. He points out that the Jews are especially fitted for commerce; that they loyally observe the laws of the state; that the Venetian republic reaped great advantages from their relations with them. The chief merit of this book is its impartiality, for while Luzzatto depicts the better characteristics of the Jews he does not ignore their faults. He shows remarkable knowledge of the commerce of his time and of the political influences that affected it. According to him, the common people felt little antipathy toward the Jews, upon whom, to some extent, they depended for their living. It was among the patricians that the fanatical religious zealots were found who, out of envy, advocated restrictions and even banishment. Wolf translated the last three chapters into Latin; they comprise (1) an examination of Hebrew literature and of the various classes of Jewish scholars; (2) an account of the directions in which the Jews were permitted freedom, and of their sufferings; and (3) a survey of the Jews in non-Italian countries ("Bibl. Hebr." iv. 1115-1135). The thirteenthchapter was translated into Hebrew by Reggio in his "Iggeret Yashar" (i. 65-70).His "Socrate."
In the second work, "Socrate," written in his youth, Luzzatto endeavors to prove the impotence of human reason when unaided by divine revelation. It is in the form of a parable, in which he puts his thoughts into the mouth of Socrates. Reason, being imprisoned by Orthodox Authority, appealed for liberation to the Academy of Delphi, which had been founded to rectify the errors of the human intellect. The academy granted her petition notwithstanding the remonstrance of Pythagoras and Aristotle, who argued that Reason, when free, would spread abroad most frightful errors. Liberated Reason caused great mischief, and the academicians did not know what to do, when Socrates advised combining Reason with Revelation. It is apparent that Luzzatto was a thinker and a believer as well; he did not share Manasseh b. Israel's dream that the ten tribes still exist together in some part of the world. He maintained that Daniel's revelation refers not to a future Messiah, but to past historical events. This utterance of Luzzatto was either misunderstood or deliberately perverted by the convert Samuel Nahmias (Giulio Morosini), who, in his "Via della Fide," makes Luzzatto say that Daniel's revelation may perhaps point to Jesus as the Messiah (comp. Wolf, l.c. iv. 1128).
Luzzatto, who dedicated this book to the doge and Senate of Venice, stated that his ancestors had settled in Venice two centuries previously. In the first book (pp. 5a, 99a), Luzzatto quotes a work of his own entitled "Trattato dell' Opinioni e Dogmi degl' Hebrei e dei Riti Loro Piu Principali." Jacob Aboab asserts that he saw in Venice a collection of Luzzatto's speeches and responsa, which included a decision in regard to the use of a gondola on the Sabbath.
- Fürst, Bibl. Jud. ii. 283;
- Grätz, Gesch. 3d ed., x. 147 et seq.;
- S. D. Luzzatto, Autobiografia (in Mosé, i. 300 et seq.);
- Nepi-Ghirondi, Toledot Gedole Yisrael, pp. 316-317;
- Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. col. 2597.