BARUCH OF BENEVENTO:
Cabalist in Naples during the first half of the sixteenth century. He was the teacher of Cardinal Ægidius of Viterbo and of Johann Albrecht Widmanstadt in the Zohar and other cabalistic works, and lectured upon these subjects in the house of Samuel Abravanel. In a note at the end of one of his manuscripts, Widmanstadt says: "Eodem tempore (MDXLI.) audivi Baruch Beneventanum optimum cabalistam, qui primus libros Zoharis per Ægidium Viterbiensem Cardinalem in Christianos vulgavit." Graetz, Perles, and others (see also Ægidius of Viterbo) have taken this to mean that Baruch translated the Zohar, or parts of it, into Latin; but Steinschneider has correctly remarked that it means nothing more than that he made the Zohar known to Christian scholars.
- Grätz, Gesch. der Juden, ix. 48, 95, 161;
- Perles, in Revue Etudes Juives, i. 299;
- idem, Beiträge zur Gesch. der Hebr. und Aramäischen Studien, Munich, 1884, pp. 154, 180;
- Steinschneider, in Hebräische Bibliographie, xxi. 81.