Azariah Dei Rossi
Azariah ben Moses dei Rossi (Hebrew: עזריה מן האדומים) was an Italian-Jewish physician and scholar. He was born at Mantua in 1513 or 1514; and died in 1578. He was descended from an old Jewish family which, according to a tradition, was brought by Titus from Jerusalem. He was known among Jews as Azariah min-Ha'adumim (Azariah of the Red Family), a play on his name as well as a possible allusion to the fact that he lived in Catholic Italy, Rome being regarded as a spiritual heir of Esau (Edom, from Hebrew `-d-m, red). Combining an insatiable desire for learning with remarkable mental power, Dei Rossi early in life became exceptionally proficient in Hebrew, Latin, and Italian literature. He studied simultaneously medicine, archeology, history, Greek and Roman antiquities, and Christian ecclesiastical history. When about the age of thirty he married and settled for a time at Ferrara. Later he was found at Ancona, Bologna, Sabbionetta, and again at Ferrara. In 1570 a terrible earthquake visited the last-named city (see 1570 Ferrara earthquake) and caused the death of about 200 persons. The house in which Dei Rossi lived was partly destroyed; but it happened that at the moment he and his wife were in their daughter's room, which remained uninjured. During the disturbances consequent upon the earthquake Dei Rossi lived in an outlying village, where he was thrown into association with a Christian scholar, who asked him if there existed a Hebrew translation of the Letter of Aristeas. Dei Rossi answered in the negative, but in twenty days he prepared the desired translation, which he entitled Hadrat Zekenim. His account of the earthquake, written shortly after, is entitled Kol Elohim; he regarded the earthquake as a visitation of God, and not merely as a natural phenomenon.
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... Dei Rossi's followed the burgeoning scientific method of inquiry in his work and did not rely solely upon tradition ... Moses Provençal of Mantua (to whom Dei Rossi had submitted his work in manuscript), Isaac Finzi of Pesaro, and David Provençal, who endeavored to defend Philo ... Dei Rossi appended to some copies of the Me'or Enayim an answer to the criticisms of Moses Provençal, and a dissertation entitled Tzedek Olamim, in which latter he refuted the arguments of Isaac ...
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