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From Christianity to JudaismStory of Isaac Orobio de Castro$
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Yosef Kaplan

Print publication date: 1989

Print ISBN-13: 9780197100608

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9780197100608.001.0001

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Facing Calvinists and Catholics

Facing Calvinists and Catholics

(p.235) 9 Facing Calvinists and Catholics
From Christianity to Judaism

Yosef Kaplan

Liverpool University Press

This chapter studies how Isaac Orobio was able to exploit his wide reading in Christian sources of different periods in debates with various Christian theologians in Holland. On more than one occasion, he tore their arguments to shreds by turning Christian sources to good use, and by making the divisions and disputations current within the Christian world serve his own purpose. In his Prevenciones Divinas, arguing against the Carmelites, he adduced proofs from the biblical exegesis of Arias Montano. Meanwhile, in order to trounce the anonymous Huguenot preacher with whom he disputed, he appealed to the commentaries of Jerome and Augustine. During the early 1670s, Orobio was called upon to face up to Christian theologians of differing schools, and to wrangle with them over the points at issue in the Jewish–Christian debate. It seems likely that in consequence of the reputation which he had won for himself in various Christian circles, he was regarded by many as the outstanding intellectual amongst the Portuguese Jews, so that to debate with him came to be a challenge of the first order. Two pieces of his polemical writing dating from this period highlight the intellectual atmosphere in which the Jewish–Christian argument was conducted in Amsterdam, as well as on the attitude of Orobio himself towards the religion in which he had been educated in his youth.

Keywords:   Isaac Orobio, Christian theologians, Amsterdam, biblical exegesis, Jewish–Christian debate, Portuguese Jews, polemical writing

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