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Chapter Summary

In 1548, or possibly 1549, the Jewish physician Amatus Lusitanus met with an unnamed friend in a bookshop, probably in Ancona, where together they discovered the polemical work of Franciscan Friar Petrus Colonna Galatinus, De arcanis catholicae veritatis contra obstinatissimam Judaeorum nostrae tempestatis perfidiam. A further visitor joined the group: the thirty-five-year-old scholar Azariah de' Rossi, who, according to Lusitanus's report, was a very profound expert in Hebrew and Latin letters. These three Jews discussed the work of anti-Jewish polemics and admired its editorial value and the erudition of its author. This single episode contains within it all the ingredients that went into making the Renaissance a new intellectual age: the Jewish-Christian debate, the interest and curiosity of intellectual Christianity for Judaism, and the timid Jewish reaction to humanist culture with its openness to the challenges of the new epoch.

Keywords: Amatus Lusitanus; Ancona; Azariah de' Rossi; Jewish-Christian debate; Judaism; Petrus Colonna Galatinus



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