R. Judah Aryeh (Leone) Modena (1571–1648), Italian rabbi, scholar, and writer, is one of, if not the most fascinating Jewish personality of the Italian Renaissance. He was a child prodigy in both Jewish religious studies and music, becoming a scholar of stupendous productivity and a famous rabbi of the Venetian community. He wrote many books, in Hebrew and Italian, and his fame spread far beyond Venice. His eloquent sermons gained popularity even among non-Jews. His life was marred by personal instability and ill fortune. Not only was he in perennial difficulties because of gambling, but he also lived to see three of his five children die and his wife become insane. Despite these tribulations, he was a prolific writer. His Magen va-Herev is one of the most effective anti-Christian polemics to be written in Hebrew (even in the incomplete form in which the work has been preserved). R. Modena used contemporary scientific and historical critical methods, as well as traditional exegesis, to show the superficiality of the Christian interpretation of Scripture and the illogicalities in its dogma. R. Modena regarded his life as a failure, especially because he felt that he had lost the battle against his own shortcomings. However, his literary achievements disprove his own evaluation.
עיין: פירסט, .III, B. J, עמ' 139.
עם העתקת "דברי צונץ בענין הקבלה וספריה... כתוב בלשון אשכנזי [גרמנית, בספרו] קדמוניות יהודיות בענין הדרש והאגדה".
על הוצאת הספר ונסיבותיה עיין: אגרות לשד"ל, מאת יצחק חיים קסטיליוני , קראקא תר"ס, עמ' 56-55; תולדות משפחת ראזענטהאל, מאת ר' יקותיאל יהודה גרינוואלד, בודאפעשט תר"ף, עמ' 104-101.