Ferdinand, Philip (DNB00)

FERDINAND, PHILIP (1555?–1598), Hebraist, was born in Poland, of Jewish parents, about 1555. In his boyhood he learnt the Talmud, after the Jewish fashion, without grammatical rules. Afterwards he became a Roman catholic, and eventually a protestant. Coming to this country he entered the university of Oxford as a poor student. Dr. Airay, Dr. Rainolds, and others obtained for him employment in several colleges as a teacher of Hebrew. He was duly registered among the Oxford students, after he had taken the oath of supremacy and the usual oath to the university. He himself mentions that he read lectures assiduously for many years subsequently to his arrival in England. Removing to the university of Cambridge he was matriculated on 16 Dec. 1596, and probably obtained a living by teaching Hebrew. Dr. William Gouge, then a scholar in King's College, was one of his pupils (Clarke, Lives of Modern Divines, ed. 1677, p. 236). He obtained a professorship at Leyden through the interest of Joseph Scaliger, and died there at the close of 1598. Writing to Janus Drusius, 21 Dec. 1598, Scaliger laments the premature death of Ferdinand, and says that it interrupted his own Hebrew studies. In another letter he states that he had learnt from Ferdinand, whose practical familiarity with the Talmud was surprising, many proverbs which he proposed to send for insertion in Drusius's ‘Commentarium Verborum’ (Scaligeri Epistolæ, edit. Leyden, 1627, pp. 208, 594).

His only publication is: ‘Hæc sunt verba Dei &c., Præcepta in Monte Sinai data Iudæis sunt 613, quorum 365 negativa, et 248 affirmativa, collecta per Pharisæum Magistrum Abrahamum filium Kattani, et impressa in Bibliis Bombergiensibus, anno à mundo creato 5288 Venetiis, ab Authore Vox Dei appellata: translata in linguam Latinam per Philippum Ferdinandum Polonum. Cum licentia omnium primariorum virorum in inclyta et celeberrima Cantabrigiensi Academia,’ Cambridge, 1597, 4to.

[Addit. MS. 5869, f. 127; Ames's Typogr. Antiq. (Herbert), p. 1426; Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. ii. 239, 549; Davies's Athenæ Britannicæ, iii. 37; Montagu's Diatribæ upon the first part of the late History of Tithes, p. 384; Archbishop Ussher's Letters (Parr), p. 4; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), i. 667.]

T. C.