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Bidding Information
Lot #    9030
Auction End Date    1/11/2005 1:51:00 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    The Old Paths or, A Comparison of the Principles
Title (Hebrew)    Sabbbath Readings
Author    [Polemic] Alexander McCaul; A. Benisch
City    London
Publisher    London Society; P. Valentine
Publication Date    1837; 65
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   First editions. viii, 240 pp., 210:130 mm.; light age staining. A good copy bound in contemporary cloth boards, rubbed. 16, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 16, 9-16, 9-16, 9-16, 9-16, 9-18, 9-24, 19-24, 17-24, 17-24, 17-32, 25-32, 25-32, 25-32, 21-40, 33-40, 33-48, 41-48, 41-48, 35-46, 43-50 pp., 194:114 mm., light age staining. A good copy bound in contemporary cloth boards, rubbed.
   Two related but antithetical works. The first is The Old Paths; or, A Comparison of the Principles and Doctrines of Modern Judaism with the Religion of Moses and the Prophets by the Rev. Alexander McCaul. It is a missionary work comprised of a series of articles that appeared from Friday, January 15, 1836 through Friday, March 3, 1837. The book begins with an Advertisement, which is in fact a preface, an index, and then the text. The Advertisement begins “The reader will perceive by the date at the head of each number, that the following papers were published weekly, and from the contents, he will readily infer that they were intended for distribution amongst those Jews, who still adhere to the Rabbinic system.” Old Paths, an elaborate attack upon Jewish legalism, published weekly for over a year, was translated into several languages, including Hebrew. The author, Rev. Alexander McCaul (1799-1863), was an English Christian missionary. He became interested in the Jews, and was sent as a missionary to Poland in 1821, where he studied Hebrew and German at Warsaw. In 1822 he went to interview the czar in regard to the conversion of the Jews. McCaul wrote vigorously against the blood accusation, and refused the Protestant bishopric of Jerusalem, on the ground that it should be held by a Jew by birth. He became professor of Hebrew and rabbinical literature at King's College, London.

The second work has an original wrapper that states Sabbath Readings issued by the Jewish Association for the Diffusion of Religious Knowledge. The title page is headed “The Principal Charges of Dr. M’Caul’s Old Paths as Stated by Dr. Newgate in the House of Commons Considered & Answered by Dr. A. Benisch. This is misleading as only the first of these readings is directed towards McCaul’s work. The remainder of the volume is discourses and homilies on a wide and diverse range of subjects of interest to the Jewish reader. It is an interesting piece of Anglo-Jewish period literature. These sermons, as the verso of the wrapper informs, were originally distributed by the Jewish Chronicle, which is now being discontinued, other arrangements now being made. A. Benisch (1811-78) was a journalist and theologian. He acquired considerable influence in Jewish and Christian circles. When among Christians Benisch strenuously combated the once rampant conversion idea. In 1854 he became editor of the Jewish Chronicle, which position he held till 1869, resuming the editorship again from 1875 till the year of his death. His editorial influence was exerted in favor of a moderate orthodoxy.

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Listing Classification
19th Century:    Checked
England:    Checked
History:    Checked
Polemics:    Checked
Other:    Anti-Semitism
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    English
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica