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Jagel, Abraham ben Ḥananiah Dei Galicchi

JAGEL, ABRAHAM BEN ḤANANIAH DEI GALICCHI (16th–17th cent.), Italian philosopher and author. He lived in Ferrara, Venice, and Sassuolo, and apparently served as private tutor to wealthy Jewish families. He was well versed in secular studies and Christian literature. Of special importance was his work Lekaḥ Tov (first published in Venice, 1595), which subsequently appeared in many editions and translations: Latin (London, 1679, Leipzig, 1687, Frankfurt on the Oder, 1691, Helmstedt, 1704); Yiddish (first published in Amsterdam, 1675, a freer translation in Vilna, 1884); and German (Leipzig, 1694, Brunswick, 1759). Written in the form of a dialogue between a rabbi and his disciple, and originally intended for young people, Lekaḥ Tov is a book of religious guidance whose main subject is ways for attaining happiness in the hereafter. Jagel sets forth faith, hope, and love (charity) as the principal foundations of religious life: faith and hope are viewed by him (as in Christianity) as "a gift given by God to our souls"; love encompasses both love of God and love of man. Jagel discusses sin and repentance and enumerates seven "principal classes of sin" and, in contrast, seven major virtues. In its form and content, this work was influenced by the Christian catechisms of Jagel's time, and especially by the writings of the Jesuit scholar, Canisius. In his listing of principles of faith, Jagel followed *Maimonides, on whose works he leaned heavily. His views on the love of man are reported in detail by his contemporary Isaiah Horowitz (1565, Sha'ar ha-Otiyyot, S.V. Beri'ot). Jagel also composed a kind of scientific encyclopedia, in four parts, entitled Beit Ya'ar Levanon, a few chapters of which have been published, but most of which is extant only in manuscript. Jagel's other writings deal with religious philosophy, astrology, religious tradition and law, and interpretations of astronomical works. Some modern scholars have identified Jagel with the apostate Camillo Jagel who, in 1611, was appointed by the heads of the Inquisition as book censor. This identification has been proved false since Abraham Jagel's writings, even after 1617, attest to his continuing adherence to Judaism.


S. Maybaum, Abraham Jagels Katechismus Lekach-tob (1892); U. Cassuto, in: EJ, 8 (1931), 70–71.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.