The Beginning of Modernity

  • Lionel Kochan


The work of Abrabanel can be regarded as the swan-song of classical historico-messianology. This remains so, despite the temptation that the sack of Rome (1527), the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, and the wars of religion might be expected to offer to eager ‘calculators of the end5. There were indeed those, such as R. Abraham b. R. Eliezer Halevi (born Spain 1460, died Jerusalem 1528), who saw in Luther a disguised Jew. R. Abraham brought the fall of Constantinople, the exile of the Jews and the advent of the messiah into one schema of salvation: ‘from the time that Constantinople was conquered by the great Turkish king, from then began the time of the end …’1 Certain Lutheran teachings must without fail arouse a congenial response amongst many Jews. At the end of the sixteenth century, for example, the chronicler-historian, David Gans, wrote of Luther with evident sympathy. He described him as

a great scholar in their writings [who] examined, studied and composed many works and walked in the footsteps of Johannes Hus … and made the religion of the Pope odious and divided the heart of the Christians and wanted to bum and destroy all images, and they should no longer pray to Mary, mother of their anointed, and not to his twelve apostles and that bishops and clergy should take wives …’2


Sixteenth Century Jewish History Imaginary Dialogue Jewish World Christian World 
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Copyright information

© Lionel Kochan 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lionel Kochan
    • 1
  1. 1.University of WarwickUK

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