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Antonio Homem was born in 1564 and was a great-grandson of the physician Moses Bueno of Oporto, a victim of the forced conversion of 1497. Brought up by his mother, an “old Christian,” he was educated by the Jesuits, and in 1614 was appointed professor of canon law at the University of Coimbra. He also acquired a reputation as a theologian, preacher, and confessor. At the same time, Homem was the leader of the Marrano group, including several members of the university faculty, which flourished then at Coimbra, and he officiated at the secret Jewish services they held. In a sermon delivered on the Day of Atonement in 1615, he is reported to have taught that the essential difference between Judaism and Christianity lay in the observance of the Sabbath and the worship of images and that while living in persecution it was sufficient to have in mind the intention of performing the divine precepts.
Antonio was arrested in 1619 by the Inquisition and sent to Lisbon for trial. And with several other members of the group perished in an Auto-da-Fé on May 5, 1624. Other members of the Homem family, such as Francisco Nuñez Homem, afterward David Abendana (d. 1625), were among the founding members of the Amsterdam Sephardi community.
A. José Texeira, Antonio Homem e a Inquisição (1895); A. Baião, Episodios Dramaticos da Inquisição Portuguesa, 1 (1919), 103–24; Brugmans-Frank, 1 (1940), 204–5; I. da Costa, Noble Families among the Sephardic Jews (1936), 83.
ALSO ON THIS DAY
1766 – Jean Astruc, a pioneer in the study of venereal diseases and of biblical criticism died. In an effort to defend the books of Moses, he noted the different contexts of Elohim and Yahweh (Hebrew names for God) and proposed the documentary hypothesis, that Genesis was based on several ancient sources.
1886 – A General Conference of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church (later renamed the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church) meets in Augusta, GA. Its principal achievement was the establishment of a financial system that assessed twenty cents per year on each member, to be divided in this way: for bishops, eight cents; missions, three cents; education, three cents; publishing interests, three cents; Israel Church and Miles Chapel, three cents. The system worked well and was retained with variations for many years.
1910 – Death in Edinburgh, Scotland, of Alexander McLaren, a non-conformist preacher who had preached from the original languages of the Bible and witnessed deep transformations in the churches he pastored. He had thought his sermons fell short, but posterity will regard them as among the clearest ever published.
1922 – Elder William Carson begins tent meetings in Los Angeles that lead to the formation of the Apostolic Faith Home Assembly in August 1923.