28 January 1531 Mark Raphael advises Henry VIII on Divorce and Levirate Marriage #onthisday

On This Day In Messianic Jewish History


Bernstein summarises:

Raphael, Mark, an Italian Jewish convert, flourished at Venice at the beginning of the sixteenth century. It is said that he was a rabbi before his conversion.[ 60] He was consulted by Henry VIII on the question of the legality, according to Jewish law, of his levirate marriage to Catharine of Braganza, and was invited by him to England. Raphael accordingly arrived in London on January 28, 1531 (Calendar of State Papers, Spanish, i. 335). He decided that such marriage was legal, but suggested that the King might take another wife conjointly with the first. Later, he reviewed his opinion by pointing to the object of levirate marriage, and contending that as no children had been the result of the union, the King must have married his brother’s widow without the intention of continuing his brother’s line, and consequently the marriage was illegitimate and invalid. We have…

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