Reuveni, David

(d. 1538?)
   Messianic adventurer. Reuveni first appeared in 1522, claiming to be the bearer of a special message to the Christian rulers of Europe. He was, he said, on a mission on behalf of his brother, the ruler of a Jewish kingdom in the Mesopotamian desert of Habor, inhabited by the lost tribes of Reuven (hence his name), Gad and part of Manasseh. If only the Christians would supply him with weapons, he would lead his brother’s army of 300,000 warriors against the Turks and seize the Holy Land. His claims were regarded with scepticism by the Jews, but when he arrived in Rome in 1524 he was warmly welcomed by Cardinal da Viterbo and favourably received by Pope Clement. Some wealthy Jewish families were disposed to accept him and gave him costly gifts. Armed with a letter from the pope, Reuveni arrived in Portugal in 1525, where the king treated him with the esteem due to an ambassador. Among the astonished Marranos (crypto-Jews) messianic speculation became rife and he was hailed as the herald of the new era. But his encouragement of the Marranos caused official displeasure; he was accused of encouraging them to overthrow Christianity and had to leave Portugal. A few years later, he joined Solomon MOLCHO on a hapless mission to Emperor Charles v and, like him, was taken in chains to Mantua. He probably died in a Spanish prison in 1538, and poison was suspected. Apart from letters written at the time, the major source of information about Reuveni is a diary written in Hebrew which is supposed to be by him. His real name and origin are not known, but some scholars believe that he was a Falasha, a black community in Ethiopia which considers itself Jewish.

Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament. . 2012.

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  • REUVENI, DAVID — (d. 1538?), adventurer who aroused messianic hopes in the first half of the 16th century. The main sources of information about his life are his diary, written in Hebrew, and contemporaries letters. Yet the diary accounts of his travels in the… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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  • Reuveni (Reubeni), David — (fl. 16th cent)    Italian adventurer. He claimed to be the son of a King Solomon and brother of a King Joseph, who ruled the lost tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half Manasseh in the desert of Habor. After travelling through Palestine and Egypt, he… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • BERGELSON, DAVID — (1884–1952), Russian Yiddish writer. Born in Okhrimovo (Sarna), near Uman, in the Ukraine, Bergelson was the son of a pious Talner ḥasid and prominent lumber and grain merchant, who died when Bergelson was only nine; his mother died five years… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Schlomo Molcho — Salomon Molcho, eigentlich Diogo Pires (* um 1500 in Lissabon; † 1532 in Mantua) war ein portugiesischer Gerichtsschreiber und Märtyrer. Leben Molcho war der Sohn portugiesischer Marranen und wird als Diogo Pires geboren. Er wird Schreiber König… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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