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LEMMLEIN (LÄMMLIN), ASHER:

Pretended forerunner of the Messiah. He appeared in Istria, near Venice, in 1502, and announced the coming of the Messiah in that very year, provided the Jews showed repentance and practised charity. Having gained many adherents in Italy, Lemmlein traveled through Austria and Germany, receiving there both sympathy and credence. Even Christians are said to have believed in his Messianic prophecy. The chronicler Ganz relates that his grandfather destroyed an oven destined for the baking of unleavened bread, firmly believing that at the next Passover he would be with the Messiah in Palestine. There were much fasting, much praying, and much distribution of alms wherever Lemmlein passed, so that the year of his propaganda was called the year of penitence. But he suddenly disappeared; and the agitation came to an end.

Bibliography:
  • Ganz, Ẓemaḥ Dawid, ed. Frankfort, 1692, p. 43a;
  • Joseph ha-Kohen, Dibre ha-Yamim, ed. Amsterdam, p. 53b;
  • Grätz, Gesch. ix. 242 and note 3.
G. I. Br.
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