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CANTORI, JOSHUA DEI:

Assailant of the Talmud at Cremona in 1559. According to Steinschneider, he belonged to the family Cantarini (). In consequence of a dispute with Joseph Ottolenghi, who was head of the Talmudical school of Cremona, Cantori, in order to avenge himself on his adversary, appeared with the converted Jew Baptista Vittorio Eliano, and denounced the Talmud as containing blasphemies against the Christian faith. The result of this accusation was the public burning of Hebrew books in 1559 at Cremona. Joseph ha-Kohen records this incident, and adds that later Cantori was found assassinated in a street of Cremona, and was buried "behind the board" in the Jewish cemetery of that city as a mark of contumely. According to another source quoted by J. Wolf ("Bibl. Hebr." i. 131), Cantori was a convert to Christianity.

Bibliography:
  • Joseph ha-Kohen, 'Emeḳ ha-Baka, ed. Letteris, p. 138;
  • Grätz, Gesch. der Juden, ix. 360.
L. G. I. Br.
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