BELLELI, LAZARUS (MENAHEM):
Greek polyglot writer and philologist; born in Corfu, Greece, Oct. 31, 1862. In 1877 he edited "'Aṭṭeret Baḥurim." (The Crown of the Young), being a Hebrew-Greek vocabulary for the Book of Genesis, supplemented by a sketch of Hebrew grammar, and afterward contributed to the "Vessillo Israelitico," the "Famiglia Israelitica," and the "Mose." Belleli matriculated in the University of Athens. A controversy of an anti-Semitic character caused him to leave for Italy; and when a student in the Istituto di Studi Superiori at Florence he was appointed principal of the Jewish schools at Leghorn.
Belleli in 1890 resigned his principalship, which allowed him little time for study, and paid a lengthy visit to Paris, whence he returned to Greece after having contributed "Deux Versions Peu Connues du Pentateuque" to the "Revue des Etudes Juives," vol. xxii., and "Une Version Grecque du Pentateuque du Seizième Siècle" to the "Revue des Etudes Grecques," vol. iii. In the following year Belleli graduated in Florence as doctor of philology with a special certificate in Hebrew and Aramaic.
Shortly after graduating, Belleli was a witness of the Corfu outbreak against the Jews which followed the murder of the Jewish girl Rubina Sarda; and he reported for the Alliance Israélite Universelle the trials which in that connection came before the Patras assize court.
The spread of anti-Jewish literature induced Belleli to undertake the translation into Greek of Th. Reinach's "Histoire des Juifs," and the work was published at Athens in 1895.
In 1897 Belleli, while in England, contributed to the "Revue des Etudes Juives," vol. xxxv., an article severely criticizing D. G. Hesseling's transcription of the Constantinople Neo-Greek Pentateuch.
Belleli in 1899 represented the Greek government at the twelfth Congress of Orientalists.
- Harris, Jewish Year Book, 1901, p. 244.