Biography of León Hebreo (ca. 1460-1523)

Judá Abravanel, León Hebreo, doctor, philosopher and Jewish poet, son of Isaac Abravanel. Born in Lisbon to 1460, happened shortly after with his father to Spanish lands. Having to leave Spain in 1492, the family settled in Italy. There Judah practiced his profession as a doctor, especially in Naples and Genoa. He had close contact with the Italian humanists and currents neo-Platonic, to also be a true Renaissance man.

His most famous, in Italian, are the Dialoghi d'amore (dialogues of love), see the light in Rome in 1535, which are translated and reprinted endlessly along the same 16th century (in 1584 it appeared in translation of Guedolías Yahya Zaragoza, and in 1590 saw the light of the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega in Madrid). They are three dialogues on the subject of love from a more Renaissance medieval point of view. In them he exhibits a systematic vision of the world as harmony, ruled by the love of God. The man intended to mystically merge with God, but not by way of the intellect, but by the love, which is able to transfigure the lover in the beloved, and Judah conceived as ecstasy. The dialogues exerted considerable influence that warns in the poetry of Miguel Angel, and the thought of Giordano Bruno and Spinoza. His philosophy is strongly inspired by the authors, ancient and medieval, mostly Greek, Arab and Jewish; It incorporates elements of Greek mythology, shares with Ibn Gabirol Neoplatonism, but neither fully rejects to the Aristotelian, including Maimonide. Leans toward the anti-rationalism: for him, it is object of faith does not require demonstration, faith is more than science. In a certain sense is that it is the last important sample of medieval philosophy.

He writes some poetic compositions in Hebrew, including a complaint against fate, a poetic verses 132 letter to his son, kidnapped and baptized by force by King Juan II of Portugal. Written in Naples in 1503, maintains in good part the Andalusian style, with very characteristic motifs applied to the situation. The Charter has a strong emotional charge and is not, of course, an exercise in rhetoric, but an expression of feelings and deeply real events; We don't know if she returned to see her son. Also in Hebrew, he wrote a lay on the death of his father, particularly solemn.


Hebrew, Leon: Dialogues of love. Translated by David Romano. Introduction and notes of Andrés Soria Olmedo, Madrid, Tecnos, 1986.

SORIA OLMEDO, a., Los Dialoghi d'amore León Hebreo. Literary and cultural aspects, Granada, Univ. Granada, 1984.