Duran

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Duran

Duran, Durand (both: düräN´), or Durante (düräNt´), Jewish family of scholars. Profiat Isaac ben Moshe ha-Levi Duran, 1350–1414, called Efodi, was born probably in Perpignan, France, but he moved to Catalonia. In 1391, when widespread massacres of Spanish Jews resulted in mass conversions, Duran was one of the many who professed Christianity but in reality remained true to his faith. He ultimately returned openly to Judaism. He wrote a Hebrew grammar and a satiric epistle against Christianity, which was at first accepted by Christian authorities but later burned when its real intent was recognized. Simon ben Zemah Duran, 1361–1444, called Rashbatz, was a poet, physician, and Talmudic authority. He fled Spain after the persecutions of 1391 and became rabbi of Algiers. His writings were notable in the field of Jewish law and philosophy.

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