JEWS. See ISRAEL, HISTORY OF.
Although the kingdom of God which Christ had come to realize was to extend, according to the predictions of the prophets, not only over Israel, but over the whole earth, Jesus had, nevertheless, restricted his personal activity to Israel; and had even commanded his disciples not to go in the way of the Gentiles (Matt. x. 5). It was not till he was about to depart from the earth that he commanded them to teach and baptize all people. The Twelve, however, directed their efforts primarily to the Jews; and the earliest Christian congregations were composed entirely of Jews and proselytes to Judaism. Apostolic missions among the Jews were so successful that James could point out to Paul thousands of converted Jews (Acts xxi. 20). A large number of priests were also obedient to the faith (Acts vi. 7); and in the congregations which Paul founded in Asia Minor, Greece, Crete, etc., the nucleus was Jewish. That the conversion of the Jews was not lost sight of in the second or third century is proved by the dialogue of Justin Martyr with the Jew Trypho and Tertullian's Adversus Judæos. But Jewish Christianity had long developed a heretical tendency by insisting upon the national and religious peculiarities of Judaism and by avowing the most pronounced Gnosticism. The further growth of the Jewish element in the Church would have seriously endangered her inner life and existence, if the insurrection of Bar Kokba had not led to a sharp separation of Judaism from the universal catholic character of the Church. Deprived of their political power and national autonomy, the Jews concentrated their whole spiritual life upon the study of the Law and produced the Talmud. The transformation of prophetism into Talmudism created a wide gulf between Jews and Christians. From the very beginning, the spirit of the Talmud drew a veil over their eyes (II Cor. iii. 13-16).
The early church did not possess any special institutions for the conversion of the Jews, although there were always those whom the love of Christ compelled to preach the Gospel to the Jews, and there were likewise other factors which made it advisable for the leaders of both Church and State to win the Jews for Christianity. Cassiodorus, when he became a monk, felt himself constrained, in his exegesis of the Psalms (as in his conclusvo to Ps. lxxxi.), to urge the Jews to be converted. So the Emperor Justinian, from political motives, stated that the purpose he had in ordering the synagogues to use the Greek and Latin translations of the Old Testament, and to abstain from Talmudic exegesis, was to lead the Jews to Christianity. Bishops did not hesitate to resort to acts of violence to compel the Jews to become Christians. Justice, however, demands recognition of the fact that many popes protected the Jews. Gregory I. condemned all compulsory baptisms, and by kindliness and rewards tried to win the Jews for the Church. Although he put no high estimate upon converts gained in this way, he counted upon their descendants. "If we do not win the parents," he said, "we shall have their children"--a remark which experience proved to be ill-founded, especially in Spain. There was hardly a century that works were not written to bring about the conversion of the Jews, hardly one in which rewards were not offered to secure them for the Church, and also not a century in which numbers of proselytes, thoroughly convinced, did not pass over to Christianity, many of whom became an honor to the Church.
In France there were comparatively few efforts in this direction; and at the court of Louis the Pious there was even a suspicious sympathy with Judaism. With the exception of Nicholas of Lyra (1300-40), of Jewish descent, though born a Christian, who wrote a number of controversial writings against the Jews, there was hardly any one who labored for the conversion of the Jews. Still, France lacked neither pious proselytes and families of proselytes nor numerous compulsory baptisms, persecutions, and acts of violence. In Italy both power and monks were deeply interested in the conversion of the Jews. Lorenzo of Brundisium (d. 1619), general of the Capuchins, preached with great power and traveled through Italy, Hebrew Bible in hand, converting rabbis and laymen. In Rome many Jews accepted Christianity at all periods, and in 1550 Paul III. founded an institute for the conversion of the Jews; while Pius V. won more than a hundred learned and rich Jews for the Church. Many of the innumerable proselytes in Italy occupied high positions in the Church, or were received into the nobility of the nation. The history of missions among the Jews in England is singular. During the reign of William Rufus, the Jews complained because so many of their number became Christians; the king attempted to force them to return to Judaism, but the steadfastness of these proselytes hindered the execution of his menaces (1100). About 1200 Richard, prior of Bermondsey, established a hospital of converts, and the Dominicans in Oxford opened a similar institution. Henry III. set apart a special house in London for the reception and care of proselytes, for which it soon became necessary to organize branch institutions. Under Edward I. 500 proselytes received baptism in the Converts' House, yet this same king was compelled, in 1290, to banish 16,500 Jews for usury and coining. Germany stands in the strongest contrast to England. Here there is no record of any missionary efforts, but only of compulsory baptisms occasioned by the persecutions during the crusades, the invasions of the Tatars, and the Black Death.
Modern Roman Catholic efforts for the conversion of the Jews began in France. The two brothers Lehmann, both proselytes, worked successfully under Pius IX. among the Jews of France. The proselyte Abbé Bauer used his brilliant oratorical gifts for the conversion of the Jews in Paris and Vienna. The most extensive work, however, was carried on in Palestine by the proselyte Maria Alphonse Ratisbonne, who joined the Roman Catholic Church in 1842. With his brother he established the order of Nôtre Dame de Sion for the education of Jewish girls and founded many charitable institutions, not only in Palestine, but also in France, England, Chalcedon, Galatia, and elsewhere.
The corruption of the churches and their institutions, and the apostasy of thousands from all faith, led many in England to believe that the end of the world was near, and that soon a general conversion of the Jews was to take place. With Simeon of Cambridge, Marsh of Birmingham, the proselyte J. F. Fry, and the Preacher Legh Richmond, Lewis Way, a wealthy clergyman, founded in 1808, under the patronage of the Duke of Kent, the London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews, which included both churchmen and dissenters until 1815, when the latter withdrew from the organization
Among the other English missionary societies for the conversion of the Jews are the following: The Free Church of Scotland Jewish Mission, established in 1840, with about 77 workers and stations at Budapest, Constantinople, Breslau, Tiberias, Safed, and Edinburgh, and publishing the Free Church of Scotland Monthly and The Children's Record; the Presbyterian Church in Ireland Jewish Mission, established in 1841, with stations at Hamburg-Altona (with two ordained missionaries and three colporteurs and Evangelists) and Damascus (with four ordained missionaries and four other laborers), and publishing The Missionary Herald of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland; the British Society for the Propagation of the Gospel among the Jews, established in London in 1842, its membership including representatives of the various dissenting bodies, with twenty-two missionaries and sixteen stations in England, Germany, Austria, Russia, and Turkey, and publishing The Jewish Herald; the Church of Scotland Jewish Mission, established in 1841, with stations in Alexandria, Beirut, Smyrna, Constantinople, and Saloniea, and publishing The Church of Scotland Home and Foreign Mission Record; The Presbyterian Church of England Jewish Mission, established in 1860, with two missionaries in London, one agent in Aleppo and one in Corfu; Parochial Missions to the Jews at Home and Abroad, established in 1875, under the auspices of the Established Church, laboring chiefly in parishes with a large percentage of Jewish population, having stations in England and Bombay, and publishing Church arid Synagogue; the Mildmay Mission to the Jews, established in 1876, with stations in Russia, South Africa, Egypt, and Bulgaria, and publishing Trusting and Toiling; the East London Mission to Jews, established in 1877, with a mission house and orphans' home; the Barbican Mission to the Jews, established in 1879; The Jerusalem and the East Mission Fund, established in 1897 by Bishop Blyth of Jerusalem, with eighteen assistants in Jerusalem, Beirut, Haifa, Cairo, and Suez, and publishing Bible Lands; The Kilburn Mission to the Jews, established in 1896 by the proselyte Ben Oliel, especially for the well-to-do business men of London; and The London City Mission to Jews with sixteen laborers among the 250,000 foreign Jews in London. Besides these societies, a Hebrew Christian Union and a Prayer Union for Israel were founded in 1897, the latter publishing The Friend of Israel.
In Germany there are three societies for missions among Jews. The Gesellschaft zur Verbreitung des Christentums unter den Juden was established in 1822 at Berlin under the influence of Lewis Way and Tholuck. It has stations in Berlin, Posen, Czernowicz, and Stanislau. Since its existence about 713 baptisms have taken place. Its official organ is the Nathanael. Independently of this missionary society Prof. H. L. Strack manages the Institutum Judaicum, an association formed for the purpose of acquainting theological students at the university with the mission among the Jews. The Evangelisch-lutherischer Centralverein für Mission unter Israel was established in 1871 at Leipsic. It tries to unite all Lutheran missions among the Jews to uniform activity and employs three laborers in Leipsic and in Galicia; its organ is the Saat auf Hoffnung. In connection with it Professor Delitzsch founded in 1880 the first Institutum Judaicum. There is also a seminary for missionaries among the Jews. The Westdeutscher Verein für Israel was established in 1843 in Cologne. It has stations at Cologne, Frankfort, and Strasburg. Its organ is the Missionsblatt des westdeutschen Vereins für Israel.
Switzerland has a Verein der Freunde Israels at Basel, established in 1830. It publishes Der Freund Israels and L'Ami d'lsrael. France has a Société française pour l'évangélisation d'Israel, established in 1888 by the Rev. G. Krüger, with one missionary for France and agencies in Algiers and Oran. Its organ is Le Réveil d'lsraël. Scandinavia has three societies for missions among the Jews: the "Evangelical National Society," established in 1856, with a station at Hamburg; the "Society for Missions among Israel," established in 1875 by the Rev. A. Lindström at Stockholm, with a home for proselytes at Stockholm and lay missionaries at Budapest and Cracow, and publishing Missions Tidning för Israel; the "Norwegian Central Committee for Missions to Israel," established in 1865 at Christiania, with two missionaries at Galaz and Braïla in Rumania, and publishing Missions Blad for Israel. In Russia, where half of all the Jews of the world live, the government limits Protestant missionary work among the Jews. Missionary work in the proper sense is restricted to the State Church.
In the United States there are eleven church missions: the Church Society for Promoting Christianity amongst the Jews (Protestant Episcopal) established in 1842 in New York, with stations at New York and Philadelphia and five missionaries, and publishing The Gospel of the Circumcision; the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church of North America, established in 1871 in New York, working at Urumia, Teheran, Hamadan, and Sidon, and publishing The Assembly Herald; the Reformed Presbyterian Mission to the Jews, established in 1894 in Philadelphia, with three laborers; and the Messiah Mission of Chicago, established in 1896 and continued since 1899 as the Mission of the Women's Association of the United Presbyterian Church of North America. Specifically Lutheran are the four following missions: the Norwegian Zionsforeningen for Israelsmissionen blandt norske Lutheranere i Amerika, established 1878 at Minneapolis, with three laborers in Minsk and Odessa in Russia and New York; the Jewish Mission of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States, established in 1885 in New York; the Jewish Mission of the Joint Synod of Ohio, established in 1892; and the Mission of the German Lutheran Synod of the Jews in Chicago, established in 1894 in Chicago. The Methodists have the New York City Church Extension and Missionary Society, established in 1892; the Baptists, the Missionary Society of the Seventh Day Baptists, established in 1887; and the Quakers the.Friends' Mission at Ramallah in Palestine, established in 1870 by English Quakers, and continued in 1887 by American Quakers as the Eli and Sibyl Jones Mission. Besides these, there are twenty-one independent missions, the most important of which are: the New York City Mission, the oldest of all American missions, established in 1828; the Chicago Hebrew Mission, founded in 1887 and publishing The Jewish Era; the Gospel Mission of the Jews, formerly the Hope of Israel Mission, established in 1892 in New York; the Brooklyn Christian Mission to the Jews, established 1892 in New York and publishing Our Hope and the Yiddish "Hope of Israel"; the World's Gospel Union, established in 1892 at Kansas City, Mo., with eight missionaries, one in Morocco; the American Mission to the Jews, established in 1895 by the proselyte Warschaviak; and the Immanuel Mission to the Jews in Cleveland, established in 1898, and publishing Immanuel's Witness. The American missions to the Jews engage 150 laborers in all.
Missionary activity must assume a different attitude in non-Evangelical countries, where Jews live in a compact mass. This is the case principally in eastern Europe, especially in the western provinces of Russia that formerly belonged to Poland. The number of Russian Jews is estimated at from 4,500,000 to 6,000,000. Thousands of Jews are also crowded together in Galicia and Rumania. In countries like Russia missionaries encounter special difficulties, owing to deep-rooted Jewish fanaticism, hatred of the Christians, Jewish narrowness, and great erudition
Since 1897 the movement of Zionism has presented new problems to Christian missions. It arose as a reaction against the efforts of assimilation, and as a means of remedying the oppressions of anti-Semitism; and its object is to regain the Jewish country for the Jewish people. It looks upon missions as an instrument by which an increasing number are cut off from the national body of the Jews; but on the other hand, the Zionists seek the friendship of the Christians because they need their moral and material aid in the realization of their plans. Thus Zionists are enemies of missions, but not enemies of Christianity. Missionaries must, therefore, convince the Jews that acceptance of Christianity does not necessarily include the sacrifice of Jewish nationality, and that a national regeneration of their people is impossible without a religious regeneration.
The total number of missionaries working among the 10,000,000 or more Jews in the world is about 500.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: F. F. A. de la Roi, Die evangelische Christenheit und die Juden unter dem Geschichtspunkt der Mission, 3 vols., Carlsruhe, 1884-92; A. A. Bonar, Narrative of a Mission of Enquiry to the Jews from the Church of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1854; J. Mason, Three Years in Turkey; Medical Mission to the Jews, London, 1860; Mrs. Edwards, Missionary Work among the Jews in Moldavia, Galicia, and Silesia, ib. 1867; C. K. Kalkar, Israel und die Kirche, Hamburg, 1869; G. A. Dalman, Kurzgefasstes Handbuch der Mission unter Israel, Berlin, 1893; J. Dunlop, Memories of Gospel Triumphs among the Jews, London, 1894; The Jewish Question and the Mission to the Jews, ib. 1894; A. L. W illiams; Missions to the Jews, ib. 1897; W. T. Gidney, The Jews and their Evangelization, ib. 1899; idem, Missions to Jews, ib. 1899; At Home and Abroad, ib. 1900; A. E. Thompson, A Century of Jewish Missions, Edinburgh, 1902; J. Richter, Jüdische Missionsgeschichte, Gütersloh, 1906; H. O. Dwight, Blue Book of Missions for 1907, New York, 1907; J. Schneider, Kirchliches Jahrbuch, Gütersloh, 1909.
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