In reworking these chapters, I have considered the criticism of reviewers and colleagues, eliminated known errors, and introduced archival and primary documentation that surfaced subsequent to their first publication. The scholarly community can now determine whether they should be enlarged into fuller monographs. The writings of Ecclesiastes teach: "A season is set for everything, a time for every experience under heaven.
Central Zionist Archives, Jerusalem, A, folders 9 and Most significant has been the encouragement given such communities, in the spirit of American voluntarism, to develop their distinctive values and to contribute those values to the total complex of American civilization. This is a unique quality of the American experience. It is at the core of the spiritual history of America, as valuable for an understanding of American democracy as the political, economic, or cultural dimensions.
The concept "spiritual," as I understand it, is not a synonym for "religious"; it encompasses the spectrum of religious, cultural, and ethnic history—the accumulated moral, ethical, and creative divisions made by individuals and groups. In this sense, the America-Holy Land theme is integral to America's spiritual history. The broad concept of Holy Land or Zion or Eretz Israel Land of Israel has been a pervasive theme in American thought and action since the very beginnings of European settlement on the Western continent.
This conception has appeared in many variations: From the earliest formulations in Colonial times of the Puritan aspiration to a biblical commonwealth, where America itself was considered to be the embodiment of Zion; pilgrimages by Americans to the Holy Land; and in mid-twentieth century, Restoration under Jewish sovereignty in which the United States plays a strategic role.
Attachment to the Holy Land extends into American homes, patterns of faith, and education, illuminating the interplay of ideas among different religions and cultures. Here many varied elements meet, sometimes antithetically, but most often cooperatively. When the Congress, under the Articles of Confederation, voted in favor of appropriating funds to import twenty thousand copies of the Bible, its members voted, quite literally, to supply a household need. As the most widely read book in America during the Colonial era and the nineteenth century, the Bible was the unimpeachable source for both supporting and conflicting opinions in the struggle for political independence and in the antebellum period.
In trying as well as in glorious times of American history, prophets and idolaters, kings and commoners who lived centuries ago in ancient Israel rose to play contemporary roles. Moreover, as Samuel H. Levine points out, running through the literature "is the meta-physical transference of Holy Land specifics to New World identities.
What could have been a more appropriate seal for the underlying purpose of the Revolution, according to a committee composed of Franklin, Adams, and Jefferson, than the portrayal of the Israelites' exodus from Egypt? In the words of Thomas Jefferson: "Pharaoh sitting in an open chariot, a crown on his head and a sword in his hand passing thro' the divided waters of the Red Sea in pursuit of the Israelites: rays from a pillar of fire in the cloud, expressive of the divine presence, and command, reaching to Moses who stands on the shore and, extending his hand over the sea, causes it to overwhelm Pharaoh.
As Richaid B. Morris points out, 'This covenant theology see Genesis , ; Exodus , 28; Psalm ; Jeremiah It is government based upon consent of the people, although the Puritan leaders maintained that it must be a government in accord with God's will. Every nation, when able and agreed, has a right to set up over themselves any form of government which to them may appear most conducive to their common welfare.diatamulatumb.gq
The civil polity of Israel is doubtless an excellent general model; allowing for some peculiarities, at least some principal laws and orders of it may be copied to great advantage in more modern establishments. It influenced the individual lives of new Americans, immigrants who came to settle in their "Promised Land. To a great extent, this search was centered in the family circle, as its members drew together to study the Bible.
Some of the most remarkable treasures may be found in the large family Bibles, in which the records of births, marriages, and deaths were inscribed and which were handed down from parent to child.
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In these family Bibles we discover the spiritual folklore of America. Another manifestation of spiritual folklore is the map of America itself. If one's child could be called by a biblical name, why not one's home, one's town and city? Moriah, Mt. Tabor, Pisgah, Shiloh, Sinai, and Tekoa. Indeed, viewing the "biblical" map of America, one senses how founders with an intimate knowledge of scriptural sources instituted a spiritual folklore.
A Californian in search of gold named his settlement Havilah Genesis Zion as a place-name reflected the organic relationship between the United States and the Land of Israel.
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A much-favored biblical name dotting the map is Salem. There are no fewer than twenty-seven towns, cities, and counties called Salem, and New Jersey has both a city and a county by that name. Thus, the founders of these settlements symbolically extended their own "feast of peace" offerings see Genesis to neighboring inhabitants. As is well known, one of America's earliest settlements was Salem, Massachusetts.
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In , when the Pilgrims received corn from the Indians, they immediately associated the event with the patriarch Abraham and Melchizedek, king of Salem. Of historical interest is the fact that this particular place-name symbolizes the movement termed "progressive pioneering"—the transmission of a familial belief from generation to generation. Together with his son, he moved to Indiana and there founded another town named Salem.
The third lap of the journey was by the son to Iowa, where he plotted the Salem in Henry County. From it children were taught reading; and as they grew and matured, the indelible pages of the Scriptures, their first reader, served as their guide and sometimes even as a determining factor in their vocational choice. One of the most remarkable testimonies of the direct connection between childhood biblical training and vocational purpose is that of the nineteenth-century archaeologist Edward Robinson, whose name today is so closely related to current excavations near the Western Wall.
Robinson's Arch is one of the wonders of scholarly ingenuity evidenced for all who come to the reconstructed Temple Mount. In his three-volume Biblical Researches in Palestine, Mount Sinai and Arabia Petraea, Robinson writes that his scientific motivation issued from biblical fervor: As in the case of most of my countrymen, especially in New England, the scenes of the Bible had made a deep impression upon my mind from the earliest childhood; and afterwards in riper years this feeling had grown into a strong desire to visit in person the places so remarkable in the history of the human race.
Indeed in no country of the world, perhaps, is such a feeling The Holy Land in American Spiritual History 15 more widely diffused than in New England; in no country are the Scriptures better known, or more highly prized. From his earliest years the child is there accustomed not only to read the Bible for himself; but he also reads or listens to it in the morning and evening devotions of the family, in the daily village-school, in the Sunday-school and Bible-class, and in the weekly ministrations of the sanctuary.
Hence, as he grows up, the names of Sinai, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the Promised Land, become associated with his earliest recollections and holiest feelings. With all this, in my own case, there had subsequently become connected a scientific motive.. I can remember as a child growing up that we could not even write on the Bible.
When I went to the Seminary and some of my professors told me, "Just write in the margin,'' that was a real traumatic experience for me to take a pencil and write in the Bible. My father always said that if a Bible wore out you didn't destroy it or throw it in the trash; you burned it up. It was sacred—the book itself was invested with a certain sacredness.
Hebrew was the Holy Tongue, leshon hakodesh, bearer of eternal values, which brought Zion close to the basic elements of American civilization. Aquite remarkable example is the list of topics for Master of Arts subjects relating to the Scriptures presented at Harvard between and Some of the subjects are intriguing. For example: "Is the Hebrew language the oldest of all?
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Mencken deflated in characteristic fashion. The legend originated in deep-seated anti-English feeling, which prompted a suggestion to adopt a language other than English as the official language of the United States. Actually, the traveler the Marquis de Chastellux made the suggestion. Greek, too, was considered, but rejected. From the Colonial period until the beginning of the nineteenth century, the study of Hebrew was set in a strictly theological framework. Throughout the nineteenth century and until the turn of the twentieth, Hebrew was relegated to the realm of philology and was taught in the departments of Semitics that existed in a few universities, far from the mainstream of contemporary thought.
In our time, essentially because of its renaissance in Eretz Israel and the existence of a Jewish community there for whom Hebrew is the vernacular, the study of Hebrew has flourished, becoming a branch of general culture without in any way curtailing its role in the two previous areas of theology and Semitics. Though I am growne aged, yet I have had a longing desire to see with my own eyes, something of that most ancient language, and holy tongue, in which the law and Oracles of God were write; and in which God and angels spake to the holy patriarchs of old time; and what names were given to things from creation.
And though I cannot attaine to much herein, yet I am refreshed to have seen some glimpse hereof as Moyses saw the land of Canan a farr of. My aime and desire is, to see how the words and phrases lye in the holy texte; and to disceme somewhat of the same for my owne contente. Samuel Johnson, the first president of King's College—now Columbia University—himself The Holy Land in American Spiritual History 17 a Hebrew scholar, concluded that the Hebrew language "is essential to a gentleman's education"; hence all teachers in his institution were to possess a knowledge of Hebrew.
When Carigal was invited by the congregation to preach at the synagogue on the Festival of Shavuot, Stiles came to hear him and noted in his diary a rather extensive summary of the sermon delivered in Spanish, interspersed with Hebrew, including a colorful description of Carigal's dress and mien. The English version was the first Jewish sermon published in North America.
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May I hope for one in Answer to my long Hebrew Letter of The account of Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church, explains the reason and manner of his devotion to Hebrew, shedding light on a little-known aspect of American cultural and religious life. Dated 30 March , and signed by Joshua Seixas, it attests that Joseph Smith successfully completed a course of Hebrew under Seixas's guidance. Some years before, Smith had been in the process of recording his own version of the Bible because, according to the Book of Mormon, "many plain and precious things" had been removed from 18 America and the Holy Land the Bible by the Gentiles.
From time to time, according to Smith, several of these passages were revealed to him and written down by him. In he was instructed to stop his notation until he moved to Ohio. There Smith and his followers built a temple in the city of Kirtland. Special courses were organized and Joshua Seixas was engaged to teach them Hebrew.
At the time he met Smith he was an instructor of Hebrew at Oberlin College. Tuesday, [January] Mr Seixas arrived from Hudson, to teach the Hebrew language, and I attended upon organizing of the class, for the purpose of receiving lectures upon Hebrew grammar. His hours of instruction are from ten to eleven, a. His instruction pleased me much. I think he will be a help to the class in learning Hebrew.
Thursday, [February] 4. Attended school, and assisted in forming a class of twenty-two members to read at three o'clock, p. The other twenty-three read at eleven o'clock. The first class recited at a quarter before two, p. We have a great want of books, but are determined to do the best we can. May the Lord help us to obtain this language, that we may read the Scriptures in the language in which they were given. Wednesday, Attended the school and read and translated with my class as usual. My soul delights in reading the word of the Lord in the original, and I am determined to pursue the study of the languages [sic], until I shall become master of them, if I am permitted to live long enough.
At any rate, so long as I do live, I am determined to make this my object; and with the blessing of God, I shall succeed to my satisfaction. Seixas Kirtland Ohio March 30th This document and its background help to explain much of the Mormon experience in Kirtland, Ohio, at a crucial moment in the evolution of its theology and program.
Beyond that, some of the implications of the later relationship between Mormons and Jews become logical. Essentially, it was through this kind of experience that the inseparable bond of Mormon, Hebrew, Bible, and Holy Land was consecrated. Quite apart from its renaissance in Jewish culture, classical and modern Hebrew is now taught in more than four hundred and fifty institutions of higher learning in the United States—colleges, universities, and Christian institutions and seminaries.
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