Martin, Raymond

, a Dominican friar, and eminent orientalist, who flourished in the thirteenth century, was born at Sobiras in Catalonia; and was one of those of his order who were appointed, at a general chapter held at Toledo in 1250, to study Hebrew and Arabic, in order to confute the Jews and Mahometans. The occasion of it was this: Raymond de Pennafort, general of the order, having a strong desire to extirpate Judaism and Mahometanism, with which Spain was infected, procured an order from this chapter, that the religious of his society should apply themselves to the study of Hebrew and Arabic. This task he imposed on Martin among others; and he obtained a pension of the kings of Arragon and Castile, for such as should study those languages, pn purpose that they might be able to exert themselves in the conversion of infidels. Martin accordingly applied himself to those studies with great success; and, having sufficiently studied the works of the rabbins, they furnished him with such arguments, as enabled him to combat the Jews very skilfully. This appears from his “Pugio fidei,” which waa finished, as we learn from himself, in 1278, though the first publication of it at Paris was not till 1651. Bosquet, | who died bishop of Montpelier, met with the manuscript, while he was with great ardour examining the library of the college de Foix at Toulouse, about 1629, and, after copying some things out of it, he gave it to James Spieghel, a learned German, and his preceptor in the Hebrew tongue. Spieghel advised Maussac to publish it; who, though very able to do it by himself, had however for an assistant Mr. de Voisin, son of a counsellor in the parliament at Bourdeaux, who took upon him the greatest part of the task. Thomas Turc, another general of the Dominicans, was very earnest in spurring on the promoters of this edition; and, not satisfied with soliciting them by letters equally importunate and obliging, he gave orders that they should be provided with all the manuscripts of the “Pugio fidei” that could be recovered, In short, the Dominican order interested themselves so much in it, that they bore the charges of the impression. Some assert, that Martin wrote another book, entitled, “Capistrum Judaeorum,” and also “A Confutation of the Alcoran;” and that a copy of the “Pugio fidei,” written by his own hand in Latin and Hebrew, was preserved at Naples in the convent of St. Dominic. The great knowledge which he has discovered of the books and opinions of the Jews, has made some imagine that he was of that religion; but this is thought to be a mistake. The time of Martin’s death is uncertain. 1

1 Moreri. Geu. Dict.