Tuesday, August 01, 2006


R. Shnayer Z. Leiman, "Abarbanel and the Censor" in Journal of Jewish Studies 19 (1968), p. 49 n. 1:

Although modern scholarship (via Graetz and Baer) has adopted the spelling Abravanel, the traditional pronunciation and spelling, Abarbanel, has been preferred throughout this discussion. Cf. B. Netanyahu, Don Isaac Abravanel (Philadelphia, 1953), appendix A, p. 261, who admits that Don Isaac's son Judah "seems to have insisted on the form Abarbanel". Further support in favour of this form appears in Elijah Levita's ספר התשבי, published at Isny in 1541. It was vocalised by Levita himself and includes a list of corigenda which takes into account errors in vocalisation, also prepared by Levita, as he indicates both in his introduction (הקדמה בהלצה) and in the list of corrections. Levita (1468-1549) was a younger contemporary of Abarbanel, and taught at Padua from 1504-8, the very years during which Abarbanel, then at the peak of his fame, was residing at the neighbouring Venice. Even if he was not in direct contact with any of the Abarbanels, it is a fair assumption that Levita was familiar with the correct pronunciation of their name. In ספר התשבי, under the heading [Aben], he cites Abarbanel and vocalises [Abarbineil]. Under the heading [Olam Ha-Ba], he vocalises [Abarbinel]...

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