LUZZATTO, MOSES flAYIM (1707-1747), Hebrew dramatist and mystic, was born in Padua 1707, and died at Acre 1747. He was influenced by Isaac Luria (q.v.) on the mystical side, and on the poetical side by Italian drama of the school of Guarini (q.v.). He attacked Leon of Modena's anti-Kabbalistic treatises, and as a result of his conflict with the Venetian Rabbinate left Italy for Amsterdam, where, like Spinoza, he maintained himself by grinding lenses. Here, in 1740, he wrote his popular religious manual the Path of the Upright (Messilath Yesharim) and other ethical works. He visited London, but finally settled in Palestine, where he died. Luzzatto's most lasting work is in the realm of Hebrew drama. His best-known compositions are: the Tower of Victory (Migdal 'Oz) and Glory to the Upright (Layesharim Tehittah). Both of these dramas, which were not printed at the time but were widely circulated in manuscript, are of the type which preceded the Shakespearean age they are allegorical and all the characters are types. The beautiful Hebrew style created a new school of Hebrew poetry, and the Hebrew renaissance which resulted from the career of Moses Mendelssohn owed much to Luzzatto.
See Gratz, History of the Jews, v. ch. vii. ; I. Abrahams, Jewish Life in the Middle Ages, pp. 190, 268; N. Slouschz, The Renascence of Hebrew Literature, ch. i. (I. A.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)