Abraham Cohen de Herrera

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Abraham Cohen de Herrera (Hebrew: רבי אברהם כהן בן דוד דה-הירירה‎), also known as Alonso Nunez de Herrera or Abraham Irira (c. 1570 – c. 1635), was a religious philosopher and cabbalist. He is supposed by the historian Heinrich Graetz to have been born in 1570. He is widely supposed to have been descended from a Marrano family: place of birth is unknown but may (according to Barbosa Machado the biographer) have been Lisbon, Portugal. Other sources link him to Italy, specifically Tuscany, and as the son of the last Chief Rabbi of Córdoba in Spain.

He is known to have married a Sara de Herrera in Amsterdam in 1600; however, it is unlikely that this is the wife's original surname. It is also reasonably certain that he had an uncle, Juan de Marchena, who worked as a factor for the Sultan of Morocco Moulay, Achmed-el-Mansur.

While in Cadiz on the Sultan's business, Herrera is supposed to have been captured by the English, was released again after an exchange of diplomatic correspondence between the Sultan and Queen Elizabeth I, and travelled thereafter to Amsterdam, where he returned to Judaism. His date of death is between 1635 and 1639: Wiener believes it was 1635. According to Rodriguez de Castro he may have died in Vienna. He wrote several works, originally in Spanish but later (in accordance with his will) translated to Hebrew.

Works[edit]

  • Epistle on Shiur Qomah, an attempted reconciliation between kabbalah and philosophy. However, as Alexander Altmann, writes "Herrera was too much of a genuine philosopher to believe in the possibility of a fusion of the two realms, and he was too much of a genuine kabbalist to wish for it."
  • Puerta Del Cielo, a discourse on kabbalah and religious themes of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, in relation to Occidentalism & Platonic philosophy. Among few texts of the Kabbalah written and directed toward common readership; criticized as such.
  • Abraham Cohen Herrera, Epitome y Compendio de la Logica o Dialectica, reprinted and edited by Giuseppa Saccaro Del Buffa, with a critical introduction in English, CLUEB, Bologna, 2002.

Sources[edit]

  • Bartleby.com, German Jewish Encyclopaedia, independent genealogical research.