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REUCHLIN, JOHANN (1455-1522).

Non-Jewish defender of Jews and Hebrew literature against many malicious attacks. He was an authority on Hebrew grammar and was fascinated by the mystical teachings of the Kabbalah. Perhaps the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492 stirred Reuchlin to uphold their cause in his native Germany. He thwarted the attempt by Johann Pfefferkorn, the Jewish convert to Christianity, to burn all the Hebrew books in Cologne and Frankfurt. Because of Reuchlin’s influence with the Emperor Maximilian, which he exerted in favor of the Jews, he bore the brunt of the Catholic Church’s attack, especially the Dominican order. Reuchlin was the first non-Jew to make Hebrew an official course of study at a university (Tubingen).

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