ABRABANEL, (ABRAVANEL, ABARBANEL), ISAAC: The last Jewish exegete of importance; b. of distinguished family, which boasted of Davidic descent, at Lisbon 1437; d. in Venice 1509. He was treasurer of Alfonso V. of Portugal, but was compelled to flee the country under his successor, John II., in 1483. He lived in Spain until the Jews were expelled thence by Ferdinand and Isabella (1492), when he went to Naples. In both countries he rendered important services to the government as financier. From 1496 till 1503 he lived at Monopoli in Apulia, southern Italy, occupied with literary work, and later settled in Venice. He wrote commentaries on the Pentateuch (Venice, 1579) and on the earlier and the later Prophets (Pesaro, 1520 [?]) which show little originality, and are valuable chiefly for the extracts he makes from his predecessors. In his Messianic treatises (Yeshu'ot meshihho, "The Salvation of his Anointed," Carisruhe, 1828; Ma'yene ha-yeshu'ah, "Sources of Salvation," Ferrara, 1551; Mashmia' Yeshu' ah, "Proclaiming Salvation," Salonica, 1526) he criticizes Christian interpretations of prophecy, but with no great insight. His religio-philosophical writings are less important. In the interest of Jewish orthodoxy he defends the creation of the world from nothing (in Mif'alot Elohim, "Works of God," Venice, 1592) and advocates the thirteen articles of faith of Maimonides (in Rosh amanah, "The Pinnacle of Faith," Constantinople, 1505). His eschatological computations made the year of salvation due in 1503. (G. DALMAN.)
Abrabanel held a place of some importance in the history of Christian exegesis due to the facts that he appreciated and quoted freely the earlier Christian exegetes and that many of his own writings were in turn condensed and translated by Christian scholars of the next two centuries (Alting, Buddaeus, the younger Buxtorf, Carpzov, and others). J.F.M.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. H. Majus, Vita Don Iaaac Abrabanielis, Giessen(?), 1707(?); C. F. Bischoff, Dissertatio . . . de . . . vita atque scriptis Issaci Abrabanielis, Altdorf, 1708; M. Schwab, Abravanel et son époque, Paris, 1865; JQR, i. (1888) 37-52; H. Graetz, Geschichte der Juden, viii. 324-334, ix. 5-7, ii. 208, 213, Eng. transl., London, 1891-98; Winter and Wunsche. Geschichte der judischen Litteratur, ii. 333, 339, 443, 451, 791-792, Berlin, 1894; D. Cassel, Judische Geschichte und Litteratur, Leipsic, 1879, pp.321 sqq., 427, 425 sqq.