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PRIMO, SAMUEL:

Shabbethaian sectary of the seventeenth century; born in Jerusalem; died probably at Constantinople. He was one of the earliest followers of Shabbethai Ẓebi, whose private secretary he became. He first acted in this capacity on Ẓebi's journey from Jerusalem to Smyrna in 1665, cleverly managing to give to the advent of the pseudo-Messiah an air of dignity. From Smyrna he spread the news among all foreign Jews that the Messiah had actually appeared. With certain of his confidants he was the first to plan the abolition of rabbinic Judaism. In the name of Shabbethai Ẓebi he also sent a circular to the Jews (Dec., 1665) advising the abolition of the fast-day of the tenth of Ṭebet.

In Feb., 1666, Primo accompanied Ẓebi to Constantinople; and after the latter had embraced Islam Primo even tried to explain this apostasy as having been foreordained in the Messianic röle. Concerning the rest of his life nothing is known.

Bibliography:
  • Hottinger, Thesaurus. xxx. 287-361, Zurich, 1649;
  • Weiss, in Bet ha-Midrash, 1868, pp. 64, 100;
  • Grätz, Gesch. 3d ed., x. 199 et seq. and note 3.
D. S. O.
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