RIBEIRO DOS SANTOS, ANTONIO (1745–1818), Portuguese jurist, philologist, and humanist. Ribeiro was born in Oporto, Portugal. After studying under the Jesuits in Brazil, he returned to Portugal in 1764, where he studied Canon Law at Coimbra. He was ordained subdeacon in 1796, and fulfilled important ecclesiastical functions in Viseu, Faro, and Evora, where he served as Deputy of the Holy Office. He was a strenuous defender of the principle of democratic rule as opposed to the divine right of absolute monarchy.
In 1776 Ribeiro was appointed the first Director of the Public Library of Lisbon, in which capacity he served until his death.
He left many works on literature, history, law, and philology, among them studies on the history and literature of Portuguese Jewry. His Memoria da literatura sagrada dos Judeus portugueses desde os primeiros tempos da Monarquia até aos fins do sec. XV ("An Account of the Sacred Literature of the Portuguese Jews form the Early Days of the Monarchy until the End of the 15th Century"); Memoria da literatura sagrada dos Judeus portugueses no sec. XVI ("An Account of the Sacred Literature of the Portuguese Jews in the 16th Century"); Memoria da literatura sagrada dos Judeus portuegueses no sec. XVII ("An Account of the Sacred Literature of the Portuguese Jews in the 17th Century"); Memoria da literatura sagrada dos Judeus portugueses no sec. XVIII ("An Account of the Sacred Literature of the Portuguese Jews in 18th Century") were published by the Portuguese Academy of Sciences.
He bequeathed several manuscripts to the Public Library of Lisbon, among them two studies entitled Do estado civile religioso dos Judeus em Portugal e da sua emigraçâo para varias partes do mundo ("On the Civil and Religious Status of the Jews in Portugal and Their Emigration to Various Countries in the World") and Memorial dos feitos de Jeronimo de Santa Fé contra os Hebreos "An Account of the Activities of Jeronimo (Geronimo) de Santa Fe against the Jews").
Ribeiro revealed his Jewish origin to a friend, Attilio Zuccagni Orlandini, an Italian geographer, and asked him to copy his manuscript on the "Civil and Religious Status of the Jews in Portugal" and to publish it "in his happy Tuscany, where one enjoys that honest freedom of opinion which in Portugal is almost always denied and punished, so that my work on the unfortunate Israelite Nation, so painstakingly compiled, should not remain forever buried in the Archives of the Public Library."
Zuccagni Orlandini in fact copied the manuscript and translated it into Italian, but failed to publish it.
Grande Enciclopedia Portuguesa a Brasileiria, 25 (1935–1958), 610–12.