Hebrew and the Bible in America: The First Two Centuries

Anne Ed. Goldman, Author, Shalom Goldman, Editor Brandeis University Press $45 (289p) ISBN 978-0-87451-617-3
Puritan minister Cotton Mather, who sought ``the conversion of the Jewish nation,'' wore a skullcap, called himself ``rabbi'' and studied Hebrew language and literature. William Bradford, governor of Plymouth Colony, and William Brewster, leader of the Pilgrims, were both ardent students of Hebrew, which was regarded as a sacred language. Hebraicists were among the founders of Harvard, Yale, Columbia and other early colleges. Their study of Hebrew, the Bible and the Holy Land ``was central . . . to their notion of an emerging American culture,'' observes Dartmouth Hebrew studies professor Goldman in the introduction to this rich exploration of American Christians' and Jews' ``romance with the Hebrew language'' during the 17th and 18th centuries. Scholarly, accessible essays written by Nathan Kaganoff, Louis Feldman, Arthur Hertzberg and others investigate the legend of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, archeological evidence for a Jewish presence in pre-Columbian America, the first Jewish settlement in New Amsterdam (later New York) and the use of Hebrew and prayer books by American Jewish colonists. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/31/1993
Release date: 06/01/1993
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