ESCUDERO, LORENZO

ESCUDERO, LORENZO
ESCUDERO, LORENZO (d. apparently in 1682), convert to Judaism and polemist. He was born in Córdoba (Spain) to Old Christian parents. He left his wife in Seville when he was 40 years old and apparently married an English woman who converted later on to Judaism. Later, he went to Amsterdam, studied Judaism, and in due course was converted, being known henceforth as Abraham Israel Peregrino (i.e., "the convert") or Abraham Guer (Ger) de Cordova. After the Portuguese community in Amsterdam refused to convert him, he applied to the Ashkenazi community, which agreed to do so. He was circumcised in 1658. Subsequently, the Portuguese community changed its attitude towards the new convert. Although a skilled fencer and able musician, he spent the rest of his life in penury. Perhaps he served as shamash in the Portuguese synagogue. After his conversion, he was invited to the wedding of Emperor Leopold and Marguarita Maria in Brussels, despite the prohibition of Philip IV, Margarita's father, of Jews to dwell in his Flemish territory. It is astonishing that a convert to Judaism was invited to Spanish-ruled Flanders. Attempts in Brussels to bring him back to Christianity failed. He adopted a very daring attitude towards Christian lay and religious leaders and he challenged Alonso de Cepeda to participate in the debate with Isaac Orobio de Castro. He lived in London from 1655 to 1659, when he was denounced to the Lisbon Inquisition. Abraham Guer was converted out of conviction, but he was not the author of Fortaleza del Judaismo y confusion del estraño as suggested by some scholars, including Cecil Roth (prob. Amsterdam, c. 1680), of which manuscript translations exist in Italian and in Hebrew (under the title Ẓeri'aḥ Bet El). According to his own testimony he was attracted to Judaism under the influence of the Dominican Fray Luis de Granada, whose spiritualism and attack against Christian "physical ritual" attracted both old and new Christians. Copia da vida do bemaventurado Abraham Pelengrino (sic; formerly in the D. Henriques de Castro collection, no. 534), contrary to what Roth wrote, was written by another convert, Manuel Cardoso de Macedo, who also took the name Abraham Peregrino, who died in 1652. Daniel Levi (Miguel) de Barrios\>\> wrote a sonnet in his honor. Escudero was not an isolated case of a Jewish convert in 17th-century Amsterdam. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: G.B. de' Rossi, Bibliotheca Judaica Antichristiana (1800), 5–7, 128; P. de Azevedo, in: Academia das Sciencias de Lisboa, Boletim da segumeha classe, 9 (1915), 464; L. Wolf, Jews in The Canary Islands (1926), 203n; A. Marx, in: Studies in Jewish Bibliography in Memory of A.S. Freidus (1929), 259, 264; I.S. Revah, Spinoza et le Dr Juan de Prado (1959), 31n. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Y. Kaplan, in: Proceedings of the 7th WCJS, vol. 4 (1981), 87–101 (Heb. section). (Cecil Roth / Yom Tov Assis (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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