Spanish priest, statesman, regent, and grand inquisitor; born 1436; died 1517. He studied in Rome, and upon his return to Spain was appointed confessor to Queen Isabella of Castile. In 1507 the pope invested him with the dignity of a cardinal, and at the same time he was appointed grand inquisitor, being the third to hold that office in Spain. Two years later he accoutered an army at his own expense, and invaded North Africa in order to forcibly introduce Christianity. It is said that he succeeded in conquering the city of Oran by employing some Jewish spies. Upon his return to Spain he founded the University of Alcalá de Henares, with the establishment of which is connected the publication of the first polyglot Bible. Ximenes was dismissed from the government service by Charles V. in 1517.

During the beginning of his incumbency as grand inquisitor, De Cisneros was less severe than his predecessors, Torquemada and Diaz. When, however, Charles V., in accordance with the advice of his Flemish councilors, began negotiating with the Maranos, offering them religious liberty on payment of 800,000 gulden (gold), the grand inquisitor proceeded mercilessly against both Maranos and Jews; and 2,500 persons were given over to autos da fé during his inquisitorship.

When the University of Alcalá de Henares was founded, Ximenes commenced the work of compiling the polyglot Bible, which was completed in 1517, and published in Alcala under the title "Biblia Hebraica, Chaldaica, Græca et Latina." Volume iv. of this work was supplied with a Hebrew grammar, "Introductio Artis Grammaticæ Hebraicæ," adapted from Reuchlin's grammar; while a glossary entitled "Lexicon Hebraicum et Chaldaicum" was appended to the last volume.

  • Hefele, Der Cardinal Ximenes, Tübingen, 1851;
  • Leorente, Histoire de l'Inquisition en Espagne, i. 345 et seq.;
  • Meyers Konversations-Lexikon, ix. 567-568;
  • Grätz, Gesch. ix. 14, 218;
  • Fürst, Bibl. Jud. iii. 559.
J. S. O.
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