Spanish anti-Jewish writer; born about 1405 in Aragon; died at an advanced age after 1486. Baptized late in life, he attacked Judaism, though he had at one time defended it and his former coreligionists. In order to assail the Talmud and its commentators, which he had studied in his youth, he wrote a mystical work, "Iggeret ha-Sodot," which he ascribed to the Mishnaic teacher Neḥunya ben ha-Ḳana and his alleged son Ha-Ḳana, asserting that he had found it and translated it into Latin. In his ignorance, Paulus de Heredia put into the mouth of Neḥunya passages from the work of Judah ha-Nasi, who lived much later, and in the work "Galie Razaya" made him answer eight questions, addressed to him by his imperial friend Antoninus, in an entirely Christian sense. He admits the chief mysteries of Christianity, e.g., the doctrine of the Trinity. Neḥunya, who is made to say, "Ego ex iis unus sum qui crediderunt in eum et baptisatus fui et ambulo in viis rectis," finally exhorts his son to recognize Jesus as the Messiah.

Heredia's works "De Mysteriis Fidei" and "Corona Regia," on the immaculate conception (the latter dedicated to Pope Innocent VIII.), were also intended to convert the Jews. The latter, however, whom he assailed in the work "Ensis Pauli" with all the fire of a fanatical neophyte, vouchsafed no reply to his gross attacks on their faith. Paulus de Heredia was alleged to have collaborated on the Complutensian polyglot, issued under the auspices of Cardinal Ximenez.

  • Nic. Antonio, Bibl. Hispania, i. 216;
  • Wolf, Bibl. Hebr. ii., iii., 1687;
  • Rios, Estudios, pp. 456 et seq.;
  • idem, Hist. iii. 413, 424 et seq.;
  • Grätz, Gesch. viii. 231 et seq.
K. M. K.
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