Skip to comments.Puritans were more Jewish than Protestants
Posted on 07/24/2010 4:48:08 PM PDT by dennisw
PURITANS WERE MORE JEWISH THAN PROTESTANTS
A Puritan is a name often misunderstood. During the 17th century English Civil War (known as the Puritan Revolution), the Puritans were Protestant fundamentalists who wished to purify the Church of England. Some of the Puritans, known as Separatists separated, forming their own church. The Puritans felt that Parliament, and not the King, should have the final say and that the moral guidance for all legal decision should come from the Jewish Bible which they considered to be the highest authority in all matters.
The Puritans were obsessed with the Bible and came to identify their political struggle against England with that of the ancient Hebrews against Pharaoh or the King of Babylon. Because they identified so strongly with ancient Israel , they chose to identify with the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible). (World Book Encyclopedia & Encyclopaedia Judaica) In 1620, the Separatists sailed for America on the Mayflower. The Separatists/Puritans who settled at Plymouth Colony called themselves Pilgrims because of their wanderings in search of religious freedom. The Puritan culture of New England was marked from the outset by a deep association with Jewish themes. No Christian community in history identified more with the Israelites of the Bible than did the first generations of settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, who believed their own lives to be a literal reenactment of the biblical drama of the chosen people―they were the children of Israel and the ordinances of Gods Holy covenant by which they lived were His divine law. Since they viewed themselves as the persecuted victims of the sinful Christian establishment of the Old World ( England ), the Puritans also had a natural sympathy for the Jews of their own time. The Protestant Puritan leader Cotton Mather repeatedly referred to the Jews in his prayer for their conversion as God's "Beloved People. The New Israel―The influence of the Hebrew Bible marks every step of the Puritan exodus to their Zion in the wilderness of the New World . The Jewish Bible formed their minds and dominated their characters; its conceptions were their conceptions.
The "Separatists, ready to depart from England for the new land, fasted in a manner reminiscent of the fasts held by the Israelites before any new undertaking. Their Pastor Robertson read I Samuel 23:3-4 and then they sailed to the New Canaan in America . The biblical basis for this procedure is manifest; just as the ancient Israelites prayed and fasted before undertaking an uncertain venture, so did the Puritans. And once settled in America , the custom was retained and frequently renewed. Early in 1620, the very year of the Pilgrims' landing in the new Plymouth , a solemn day of prayer was observed; Pastor Robinson spoke, again quoting from I Samuel 23:3-4, by which he strove to ease their fears and strengthen their determination. This custom, combining prayer and fasting with biblical readings on momentous occasions, persisted and as late as 1800, President Adams likewise called a national day of prayer and fasting.
The next major group of Puritan settlers to arrive in New England (1630) was headed by John Winthrop (15881649) and founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony. They were ruled initially by an elite of leading Puritan families - since the colony itself was based on biblical principles and was moved by the Puritan spirit of the Scriptureswas the Holy Jewish Bible. The Puritans wholeheartedly believed that it was their special mission to establish in America a society precisely modeled on the precepts of Sacred Jewish Scriptures. The Massachusetts Bay Colony was at the very least a state inspired by and thoroughly devoted to the Jewish Bible. "If we keep this covenant," Governor John Winthrop assured his people, "we shall find that the God of Israel is among us, but if we deal falsely with our God... we be consumed out of the good land whither we are going." The Jewish covenant concept was thus the bedrock of all Puritan religious communities.
When the Puritans, a bitterly persecuted people by the English government, reached America , they drew clear analogies between themselves and the Jews of antiquity. They constantly referred to the Hebrew Bible, renewing the similarities to their own experience, so that its philosophy and spirit came to permeate their lives. Also, like Israel of old, the Pilgrims (and their fellow Puritan counterparts) regarded them-selves as the elect of God, so that throughout the Revolutionary War they visualized their enemies as Amalekites or Philistines. And in a manner reminiscent of the traditional Jewish Passover night, the Pilgrims too memorialized their passage into freedom. In searching the Scriptures for readings pertinent to their own situation, the Puritans readily discovered the general similarity between themselves and the ancient Israelites, and proceeded to draw from it some very particular conclusions. They firmly believed that the Hebrew prophets were speaking to them as directly as they had spoken to the Israelites. Thus the history of the Israelites as related in the Bible served, according to the ministers of the day, as a mirror in which the Puritans could see their own activities reflected. Still considering themselves as Christian Protestants, the Puritans related to the Israelites and their Jewish belief for their fundamental grounding.
In this respect they differed sharply from the majority of traditional Christian theologies. To the Puritans the primary lesson of the Old Testament was that a nation as well as an individual could enter into a covenant with God. The Puritans reasoned in America the concept of the covenant would assume new dimensions. Once they reached the colonies a new factor entered into the matter of the covenant. In this New Israel the Puritans established a completely new society based solely upon the Jewish concept of a covenant between God and man. Thus the Puritans made certain of the biblical system they wished to establish in the New World . When, during a convention of Puritan ministers at Boston on May 26, 1698 , they confirmed the belief that "under the Old Testament, the Church was constituted by a covenant." Because of this concept, the Puritan Church was not ruled by a formal and rigid papal hierarchy but derived its direction immediately from God, ruled by His word as revealed in the sacred Jewish Scriptures.
The Bible was in all circumstances and for all occasions the ultimate source of knowledge and precedent. The Jewish Bible was the inspired word of God which was for them a matter of absolute conviction, and, hence, indisputable. Accordingly, failure to abide by the strict reading and literal interpretation of the Scriptures was severely punished: If any "Christian, so called, spoke contemptuously of the Scripture, or the holy penmen thereof, they were to be punished by fine or whipping. Laws were also passed punishing those who violated the Sabbath. Laws and regulations adopted by them, which, at the present day, are stigmatized as singularities, were in many instances, the legitimate fruits of their strict adherence to the teaching of the Bible.
Most of the official acts of the colonies were determined by the Jewish Scriptures. One of these, the Connecticut Code of 1650, adopted a near Mosaic form of government. Its fifteen Capital Laws, Pentateuchal citations and language are later found in the Massachusetts Code of 1660. The guide of early Connecticut was Thomas Hooker, a man deeply touched by the Bible and its spirit, and called by some "the founder of American democracy." He wrote in a letter (1648) to Governor Winthrop of Massachusetts on the subject of liberty under the law: Sit liber judex, as the lawyers speak. Deuteronomy 17:1011: "Thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform, according to the sentence of the law. Thou shalt seek that Law at his mouth: not ask what his discretion allows, but what the Law requires." The Puritans' incorporated the Mosaic code and injunctions from the Old Testament into their own legal framework. It is worthy of note that fully half of the statutes in the Code of 1655 for the New Haven colony contained references to or citations from the Old Testament, while only three percent referred to the New Testament.
Accordingly, the first settlers in New England called themselves "Christian Israel." Comparison of the Puritan leaders with the great leaders of ancient Israel especially Moses and Joshuawere common. So the names of Daniel, Jonathan, Esther, Enoch, Ezra, Rachel and a host of others were in constant use among the Puritans. Interestingly enough, there was a conspicuous absence of the names of Christian saints. Names of cities, towns and settlements likewise derived from Hebraic sources. This widespread use of biblical names, however, was not confined to the naming of offspring, cities and towns - names of many biblical heights were eventually bestowed upon the great mountains of America . Mount Carmel and Mount Horeb , home of the Prophets, were popular names, as was Mount Nebo , the final resting place of Moses. Names like Mount Ephraim , Mount Gilead , Mount Hermon , Mount Moriah , Mount Pisgah , were all popular as well. Some mountains in the New World were even called Mt. Sinai , Mount Zion and Mount Olive . .
Puritan obsession with the Bible led them to try and incorporate many aspects of the Jewish commandments into their lifestyle based on their literal interpretation of Hebraic laws. One of the most significant was the concept of the Sabbath as a day of rest and meditation. Puritan Sabbath observance began at sundown and no work of any kind, even household chores, was allowed for the next 24-hours. Sabbath observance was strictly monitored by local officials.
In summary: The majority of the earliest settlers were Puritans from England . Unlike their cousins back home, these American Puritans strongly identified with both the historical traditions and customs of the ancient Hebrews of the Old Testament. They viewed their emigration from England as a virtual re-enactment of the Jewish exodus from Egypt : England was Egypt , the English king was Pharaoh, the Atlantic Ocean their Red Sea , America was the Land of Israel , and the Indians were the ancient Canaanites. They were the new Israelites, entering into a new covenant with God in a new Promised Land.
These settlers found themselves in a New World which had no existing laws or govern-ment. Their first task, therefore, was to create a legal framework for their communities and the first place they looked for guidance was the Hebrew Bible. Thus most of the early legislation of the colonies of New England was determined by Scripture. The most extreme example was the Connecticut Code of 1650 which created a form of fundamentalist government based almost entirely on Jewish law using numerous citations from the Bible. The same held true for the code of New Haven and many other colonies.
At the first assembly of New Haven in 1639, John Davenport clearly declared the primacy of the Bible as the legal and moral foundation of the colony: "Scriptures do hold forth a perfect rule for the direction and government of all men in all duties which they are to perform to God and men as well as in the government of families and commonwealth as in matters of the church ... the Word of God shall be the only rule to be attended unto in organizing the affairs of government in this plantation."
Thanksgiving which has evolved into a national day of feasting and celebration was initially conceived by the Pilgrims, in 1621, as a day similar to the Jewish Sukkot, the holiday of joy as told in Leviticus 23:40. It was for the Puritans and is for the Jews a day of great joy because it was the time of the year for the gathering grain and fruits from their fields into their homes. A time for introspection and prayer, because it was God, not man who allowed the first harvest.
1. H. B. Alexander, "The Hebrew Contribution to the Americanism of the Future" in: The Menorah Journal, VI, no. 2 (1920), 6566.
2. W. De-Loss Love, Jr., The Fast and Thanksgiving Days (1895), 6162.
3. Cf. S. Morgan, "Responsibilities of a Puritan Parent," More Books: The Bulletin of the Boston Public Library, XVII, no. 4 (1942), 141159.
4. S. Broches, Jews in New England (1942), 46.
5. J. Davis, New England 's Memorial (1669), 36.
6. C. Mather, Magnalia Christi Americana (1702), III, 100; cf., Appendix, Bay Psalm Book.
7. P. Miller, The New England Mind (1939), 475.
8. Ibid., 477.
9. I. Mather, The Order of the Gospels (1700), 30.
10. P. Miller and T. H. Johnson, The Puritans (1938), 49, 54.
11. J. Banvard, Plymouth and the Pilgrims (1856), 204, 2312.
12. R. Calef, More Wonders of the Invisible World (1700), 152.
13. P.M. Simms, The Bible in America (1936), 337342.
14. L. I. Newman, Jewish Influence on Christian Reform Movements (1925), 641.
15. P. Masserman and M. Baker, The Jews Come to America (1932), 69.
16. C. Mather, op. cit. I, 109110.
17. J. Davis, op. cit., 272.
18. G. R. Stewart, Names on the Land (1945), 123 ff.
19. C. E. Whiting, Studies in English Puritanism from the Restoration to the Revelation, 16001688 (1931), 445 ff.
20. C. Mather, op. cit. I, 63.
21. G. R. Stewart, loc. cit.
22. L. M. Friedman, Jewish Pioneers and Patriots (1942), 96.
23. Sivan, Gabriel, The Bible and Civilization, Jerusalem : Keter Publishing House, 1973, p. 236.
24. Katsh, Abraham I., The Biblical Heritage of American Democracy, New York : p. 97. Ktav Publishing House, Inc., 1977, Chapter 3 & 5.
I appreciate their part in the founding of this nation...but I wouldn’t have wanted to live among them. They seemed a grim, humorless bunch.
You’ve never heard of Cotton Matherstein?
I think they would NOT
1. Have en bloc voted democratic
2. Been mostly atheist
3. Supported abortion
4. Supported suppresion of religion in the public sphere
So, more likely they were Israeli but certainly not American Jewish, a group that has forgotten mostly about its covenant with God. Many (majority) of American Jews think they are an “ethnicity” as opposed to the CHOSEN TRIBE that made a covenant with GOD
Go Israel! Go Israeli Jews!
NO GO American Jews
They seemed a grim, humorless bunch.>>>>>
You would be grim and humorless and disciplined too if you moved to an alien continent with deep dark forests and were surrounded by hostiles who took scalps and found prolonged torture of prisoners to be the highest entertainment
I’m sure they would have been much more pleasant chaps if (like us) they had cable TV and DVD players and idiotic Hollywood movies to watch to take the edge off. Screw that God fantasy. I like Hollywood’s pagan fantasies better
I think their image has been somewhat co-opted by stereotype. Their creed was more moderation, rather than abstinence (see: Shakers)
Oh of course! Him and Yochanan Winthropsky were great Torah teachers!
So was Yonatan Edwardstein.
Interesting but I need to think about this as I never before heard it.
Don't mess with their women, either. One time, after Indian raiding parties had captured a bunch of fishermen from the coastal settlements, a group of rioting fishermen's wives actually tore two Indian captives apart, limb by limb (seriously!)
Your summation would be, the Puritans appreciated the struggles of the ancient Israelites and tried to emulate them. They saw their struggles as being similar and America was the promised land for them
Today’s American Jews would do well to copy the Puritans.
Here is book Glenn Beck likes and has had the author on a few times——>>>
America’s Prophet: Moses and the American Story
That is the stupidest concept for an article and a huge leap of premise.
They were not more Jewish than ????
Nor were they going to find parity with Jews, a separate and distinct religion, who would not find anything about Christianity part of their doctrine or fulfillment of prophecy, even today.
(did I just make a run on sentence?)
They didn’t look Jewish.
Let’s not confuse the Puritans (think John Kerry) of Mass Bay & Salem Colony and the more liberal Pilgrims of the Plimouth Colony.
Haym Solomon (or Salomon) (1740 January 6, 1785) was a Polish Jew who immigrated to New York during the period of the American Revolution, and who became a prime financier of the American side during the American Revolutionary War against Great Britain.
The son of a rabbi, Solomon was born in Leszno (Poland). In the 1700s, he journeyed throughout western Europe, during which time he acquired a knowledge of finance as well as fluency in several languages. He returned to Poland in 1770 but left two years later during the Partitions of Poland. After traveling to England, Solomon immigrated to New York City in 1775, where he established himself as a financial broker for merchants engaged in overseas trade.
Sympathizing with the Patriot cause, Solomon joined the New York branch of the Sons of Liberty. In September 1776, he was arrested as a spy but the British pardoned him, only after serving 18 months of his sentence and claims of torture on a British boat, in order to use his abilities as an interpreter for their Hessian mercenaries. Solomon used his position to help prisoners of the British escape and encouraged the Hessians to desert the war effort. In 1778 Solomon was arrested again and sentenced to death, but he managed to escape, whereupon he made his way with his family to the rebel capital in Philadelphia.
Once resettled, Solomon resumed his activities as a broker. He became the agent to the French consul, as well as the paymaster for the French forces in North America. In 1781, he began working extensively with Robert Morris, the newly appointed Superintendent for Finance for the Thirteen Colonies. Often working out of the "London Coffee House" in Philadelphia, Solomon sold about $600,000 in Bills of Exchange to his clients, netting about 2.5% per sale. During this period he had to turn to Morris for help when one sale of over $50,000 nearly sent him to prison. Morris used his position and influence to sue the defrauder and saved Solomon from default and disaster.
In August of 1781, the continental army had trapped Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis in the little Virginia coastal town of Yorktown. George Washington and the main army and the Count de Rochambeau with his French army decided to march from the Hudson Highlands to Yorktown and deliver the final blow. But Washington's war chest was completely empty, as was that of Congress. Washington determined that he needed at least $20,000 to finance the campaign. When Morris told him there were no funds and no credit available, Washington gave him a simple but eloquent order: "Send for Haym Salomon". Haym again came through, and the $20,000 was raised. Washington conducted the Yorktown campaign, which proved to be the final battle of the Revolution, thanks to Haym Salomon.
Solomon negotiated the sale of a majority of the war aid from France and Holland, selling bills of exchange to American merchants. Solomon also personally supported various members of the Continental Congress during their stay in Philadelphia, including James Madison and James Wilson. Acting as the patriot he was, he requested below market interest rates, and he never asked for repayment.
The Treaty of Paris, signed on September 3, 1783, ended the Revolutionary War but not the financial problems of the newly established nation. It was Haym Salomon who managed, time-after-time, to raise the money to bailout the debt-ridden government.
The funny thing is the Pilgrims kept things kosher - no crabs, lobsters, etc - they almost starved (1/2 did) because they wouldn’t eat anything found on the beach.
Stamp of Approval
While everyone who has received a Yale degree has at least glanced at the University's seal impressed on the document, few know the stamp's history, especially the origins of the apparent incongruity between a college founded by Christian divines and their choice of a Hebrew inscription. Even the origin of the Latin presents a puzzle.
A Yale diploma has long been a passport to opportunity, but explaining the equivalent of the customs stamp that validates it remains something of a challenge. To unravel the mystery, one must go back to Yale's origins, and beyond.
Although Yale's early leaders had spiritual aspirations for their college and saw themselves as American successors to the ancient Israelites, why would such a group of ardently Christian ministers have placed Hebrew words at the center of their corporate logo, and why the particular Latin accompaniment?
The two Hebrew words (Urim v'Thummim) at the center of the official Yale seal appear eight times in the Hebrew Bible. Jewish sources considered them oracular gems worn by the high priest Aaron. And their presence in Leviticus 8:8the middle verse of the Pentateuchsuggests that they identify the book on the Yale seal as the Bible itself.
We have no proof yet that a seal was actually employed before 1736, when Yale's Latin diplomas began to note the college's sigillum. The 1749 master's diploma of future Yale President Ezra Stilesdonated to the University last year by his great-great-great-granddaughters Ann Prouty and Martha Munrodisplays the oldest surviving and legible Yale seal known. It is strikingly similar to the one used today. It is also similar to a Harvard seal produced in 1650. Where Harvard had then written, In Christi Gloriam, "For the Glory of Christ." Yale inscribed the familiar, Lux et Veritas"Light and Truth." Where Harvard had placed three blank books and a chevron, Yale depicted one book with two Delphic Hebrew words.
Lest Harvard partisans assume that Yale usurped Harvard's Veritas motto, adding a touch of Lux to it, they should know that although a 1643 Harvard sketch shows Veritas drawn on three books, in fact Harvard did not make Veritas its motto or use it on its regular seal until 1843, nearly a century after Yale had selected its motto. Harvard historian Samuel Eliot Morison conjectured that the common teaching of theologian William Ames at Yale and Harvard inspired both institutions in their search for appropriate language. Yet the answer for Harvard may not have been the solution for Yale, and the reasons must be sought in the theology of the day.
Clarification of the Hebrew words may reside in Yale's primary divinity text, Johannes Wollebius's The Abridgement of Christian Divinitie, which was then studied all afternoon every Friday by Yale students as part of the long preparation for the Christian Sabbath. Wollebius's book was of such importance, Samuel Johnson (Class of 1714) noted sarcastically, that it was "considered with equal or greater veneration than the Bible itself." In Wollebius's text we find an interpretation of the Hebrew words that might surprise 21st-century readers: "Urim and Thummim. did signify Christ the Word and Interpreter of the Father, our light and perfection." Harvard's 1650 In Christi Gloriam motto celebrated the glory of Christ. In their own way, Yale's Hebrew words may have done no less.
The 1726 Yale college laws, reflecting such devotion, characteristically ordained that: "Every student shall consider ye main end of his study.to know God in Jesus Christ and answerably to lead a Godly sober life." To the ancient Hebrews, the Urim and Thummim reflected the oracular will of God. To the Puritans who shaped early Yale, that oracular will was represented by Jesus. Their seal proclaimed it!
The Urim and Thummim seal may have had religio-political overtones as well. The date on which the trustees first applied for a seal, October 17, 1722, was no random one in Yale history. Meeting in New Haven, the trustees were likely preoccupied with the greatest scandal in the University's history. Rector Timothy Cutler had just publicly challenged the ordination of virtually every minister in New England, thereby attacking the foundations of New England society. Cutler's earthshaking Anglican-Arminian declaration has been compared by Yale historian Brooks M. Kelley to the 20th-century equivalent of a Yale President declaring that Russian communism was superior to American democracy.
On October 17, 1722, the Yale trustees fired Cutler and instituted a confession of faith to be required of Yale faculty. The Wollebius book, with the anti-Arminian stance that it took, would therefore have been an especially fitting source for the Yale motto. In this context the request for a seal that day had far more than decorative significance; it was likely a declaration of Yale ideals.
If we return to the Latin Lux et Veritas, a remaining question is of how the common translation from that era of Thummim as "perfection," became Veritas or "truth." By 1735 (the year before the Yale seal began to appear on Yale diplomas), under the stimulus of Jonathan Edwards, theological battles between "New Lights" and "Old Lights" were raging in Connecticut. The "New Lights" attacked the established order by questioning the value of education outside of understanding Jesus. Many "Old Lights" thought religious knowledge was central to an education, but hardly sufficient for one. The latter opinion prevailed at Yale. Mathematics and metaphysics, insisted Yale's leaders, had to go hand in hand with theology and ethics. By choosing to translate Urim V'Thummim as Lux et Veritas, it seemsin contrast to the one-dimensional approach of HarvardYale insisted that its college offered the essentials of proper learning: the "light" of a liberal education and the "truth" of an old New England religious tradition.
Lets not confuse the Puritans (think John Kerry) of Mass Bay & Salem Colony and the more liberal Pilgrims of the Plimouth Colony.>>>>>>>>>
His father was 100% Jewish which Lurch has always been in denial about and has always minimalized and covered up. He is Forbes via his mother and the Forbes go back to the China trade and earlier I suppose. Forbes have been in America for a long time