ABENATAR MELO, DAVID (d. c. 1646), Marrano poet. Abenatar was born in the Iberian Peninsula, probably as Antonio Rodriguez Mello. He was arrested by the Inquisition and survived years of imprisonment and torture. After appearing as a penitent at an auto-de-fé, he escaped to Amsterdam and reverted to Judaism. In 1616 he was a founding member of the talmud torah (Eẓ Ḥayyim) society there and in the following year subsidized the publication of a prayer book in Spanish (Orden de Roshasana y Kipur); in 1622 he similarly printed a Passover Haggadah. In 1626 he published a remarkable translation of the Book of Psalms into Spanish verse (Los CL. Psalmos de David: in lengua española en uarias rimas) dedicated to "The Blessed God and the Holy Company of Israel and Judah, scattered through the world." The prologue contains an account of his sufferings. The work is more a paraphrase than a translation and contains several allusions to current events and the tyrannies of the Inquisition (cf. Psalm 30, at the end of which he mentions the auto-de-fé at which he himself appeared when 11 Judaizers were burned). He was probably the father of IMMANUEL ABENATAR MELO, ḥazzan of the Sephardi community of Rotterdam until 1682 and then of Amsterdam, and grandfather of DAVID ABENATAR MELO, member of the Yesiba de los Pintos and subsequently preacher and ḥazzan in Amsterdam. To the same family presumably belonged Diego Henriques Melo who, after trial by the Toledo Inquisition, escaped in 1618 to Amsterdam with his father, sister, and nephew. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: M. Kayserling, Sephardim (1859), 169 ff.; Kayserling, Bibl, 67–68; Roth, Marranos, 329–30, 397; M. Menéndez y Pelayo, Historia de los heterodoxos españoles, 2 (1956), 256–8; H.L. Bloom, Jews of Amsterdam (1937), 10; ESN, 8; S. Seeligmann, Bibliographie en Historie (Dutch, 1927), 50–57. (Cecil Roth)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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