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"The Messiah promised in the Sacred Scripture came a long time ago": the Cambridge Platonists' attitudes towards the readmission of the Jews, 1655-56

Marilyn A. Lewis

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Jewish Historical Studies, volume 45, 2013 "The Messiah promised in the Sacred Scripture came a long time ago": the Cambridge Platonists' attitudes towards the readmission of the Jews, 1655-56 MARILYN A. LEWIS In November 1655, at the instigation of the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell, twenty-eight men were invited to meet the Committee of Council to consider "the proposals of Manasseh [s»V] Ben Israel for the Jews".1 Menasseh had come to England from Amsterdam at Cromwell's invitation and had pre sented the Council with a petition requesting that the Jews be given legal per mission to reside in England, under a schedule of conditions, reversing their forcible expulsion of 1290. The ensuing Whitehall Conference met four times during December but failed to achieve a consensus; in the absence of any formal recommendation on a course of action, Menasseh's petition was neither granted nor rejected. Yet Cromwell continued to favour Jewish re admission and informally protected the small community of Jewish mer chants who had been settled in the East End of London for some years. In the longer term, that community played a role at least as important as that of Menasseh's mission in the re-foundation of Anglo-Jewry, especially as the restored Stuart monarchy formalized Cromwell's protection of the London Jews.2 This story is probably well known to readers of this journal from the Mary A. E. Green, ed., Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series, 1655-6 (London: Longmans&amp; Co., 1882), 23. Lucien Wolf, Menasseh Ben Israel's Mission to Oliver Cromwell (London: Jewish Historical Society of England by Macmillan &amp; Co., 1901); Lionel Abrahams, "Menasseh ben Israel's Mission to Oliver Cromwell", Jewish Quarterly Review 14(1901): 1-25; Albert M. Hyamson,H History of the Jews in England, 2nd ed. (London: Methuen, 1928), 131-88; Cecil Roth, A Life of Menasseh ben Israel: Rabbi, Printer, and Diplomat (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1934), 190-279; Peter Toon, "The Question of Jewish Immigration", in Puritans, The Millennium and the Future of Israel: Puritan Eschatology 1600-1660, ed. Peter Toon (Cambridge and London: James Clark &amp; Co., 1970), 115-125; David S. Katz, Philo-Semitism and the Readmission of the Jews to England, 1605-1655 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982); idem ,Jews in the History of England 1485-1850 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), ch. 3; Barbara Coulton, "Cromwell and the 'Readmission' of the Jews to England, 1656" (2001),, accessed 7 March 2013. 4i</page><page sequence="2">Marilyn A. Lewis perspective of Jewish historiography, but a closer examination of the views of some of the delegates should enrich our understanding of the range of opinions represented at the Whitehall Conference. The present article focuses on the attitudes towards the Jewish question of two members of the Whitehall Conference: Benjamin Whichcote, the Provost of King's College, Cambridge, and Ralph Cud worth, the Regius Professor of Hebrew and Master of Christ's College, Cambridge. Whichcote and Cudworth were major members of the circle of philosophical theologians known as the Cambridge Platonists, and a study of their positions should enlarge our under standing of liberal Christian reactions to the establishment and growth of Anglo-Jewry. Very unfortunately, there is no extant evidence for any verbal utterance or writing specifically on the question of the readmission of the Jews by either Whichcote or Cudworth at the period of the Whitehall Conference or at any other time, making this worthwhile study problematic. Whichcote's position can be only inferred from his general philosophical/theological posi tion and from his rather unsympathetic comments on the Jews in his posthu mously published sermons. For Cudworth, there is more collateral evidence from his role as the Regius Professor and he is known to have met Menasseh ben Israel in London. It will be seen that, while retaining a firm belief in the truth of Christianity, he devoted most of his early career as an academic to Hebraic studies and encouraged younger students in that pursuit. We would expect the views of these two Cambridge Platonists on the Jewish question to have been philosophical and/or theological, in keeping with the tenor of all their writings. Michael B. Gill argues that Whichcote's and Cudworth's positions on religion and human nature, which led them to include all human beings within their circle of moral concern, probably also led them to the view that the Jews should be tolerated in England.3 While I find this argument highly attractive, this article focuses on the historical evi dence for Whichcote's and Cudworth's interest in Judaism; particularly in the case of Cudworth, his Hebraic studies provided a rich context for the par ticular issue under deliberation in late 1655. Specifically, my article addresses their rejection of the apocalypticism held by some of the Jewish and Christian advocates of Jewish readmission: the year 1655-56 was thought by many to mark the coincidence of both Jewish messianic hopes and Christian expecta tions of the Second Coming. In Menasseh ben Israel's Humble Address to Cromwell, he explained that the resettlement of the Jews in England "remains onely in my judgement, before the Messiah come and restore our Nation,"4 3 While researching this article, I discovered that Dr Gill (University of Arizona) was working on the same question, resulting in a mutually helpful email correspondence. His philosophical treat ment of the subject complements my historical approach. See his "Cambridge Platonism, the Readmission of the Jews, and a Universal Moral Circle", forthcoming. 4 Menasseh ben Israel, "A Declaration to the Commonwealth of England", in Wolf, Mettasseh ben 42</page><page sequence="3">Cambridge Platonists' attitudes towards the readmission of the Jews, 1655—56 Running concurrently with this Jewish messianism was the keenly felt con viction among many Puritans that the second coming of Christ would occur when the Jews had been converted to Christianity, which would be hastened by their readmission to England.5 As will be seen, the evidence from Whichcote's sermons and from Cudworth's published and manuscript writ ings suggests that they rejected both these forms of millenarianism. If they favoured Jewish readmission, which seems likely, this probably resulted from their joint support for rational, tolerant dialogue on religious issues and from Cudworth's commitment to Hebraic studies. Cambridge Platonists and Latitudinarians Cambridge Platonism originated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where Whichcote, as a young fellow during the 1630s, began to influence a group of undergraduates to question the prevailing Calvinist predestinarianism of the college and to consider the role of "deiformity", or Godlikeness, in the moulding of the human soul into responsible fitness for fellowship with God.6 Israel's Mission, 78-103 (79), italics in the original in all cases; Ismar Schorsch, "FromMessianism to Realpolitik: Menasseh Ben Israel and the Readmission of the Jews to England", Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research 45 (1978): 187-208; Katz, Philo-Semitism and Readmission, ch. 4; Menasseh ben Israel, The Hope of Israel, trans. Moses Wall, eds. Henry Méchoulan and Gérard Nahon (Oxford: Littman Library by Oxford University Press, 1987), 76 86; Harold Fisch, "The Messianic Politics of Menasseh ben Israel", and Rivka Schatz, "Menasseh ben Israel's Approach to Messianism in the Jewish-Christian Context", in Menasseh hen Israel and his World, eds. Yosef Kaplan, Henry Méchoulan and R. H. Popkin (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1989), 228 39 and 244-61 respectively; Richard H. Popkin, "Jewish-Christian Relations in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries: The Conception of the Messiah", Jewish History 6 (1992): 163—77; idem, "Christian Jews and Jewish Christians in the 17th Century", m Jewish Christians and Christian Jews: From the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, eds. Richard H. Popkin and Gordon M. Weiner (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1994), 57-72. Bryan W. Ball, A Great Expectation: Eschatological Thought in English Protestantism to 1660 (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1975), 146-56; Katz, Philo-Semitism and Readmission, ch. 3; Christopher Hill, "'Till the Conversion of the Jews'", in Richard H. Popkin, Millenarianism and Messianism in English Literature and Thought, 1650-1800 (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1988), 12-36; Avihu Zakai, "Thomas Brightman and the English Apocalyptic Tradition", in Kaplan et al., Menasseh ben Israel, 31-44; Ernestine G. E. van der Wall, "A Philo-Semitic Millenarian on the Reconciliation of Jews and Christians: Henry Jessey and his 'The Glory and Salvation of Jehudah and Israel' (1650)", in Sceptics, Millenarians and Jews, eds. David S. Katz and Jonathan I. Israel (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1990), 161-84; Popkin, "Christian Jews"; Avihu Zakai, "The Poetics of History and the Destiny of Israel: The Role of the Jews in English Apocalyptic Thought during the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries ", Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy 5 (1996): 313-50. 1 John Tulloch, Rational Theology and Christian Philosophy in England in the Seventeenth Century, 2 vols. (Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1872), coined the term "Cambridge Platonists", using it as the subtitle for vol. 2. The literature on Cambridge Platonism is consider able. For helpful introductions, see Gerald R. Cragg, ed., The Cambridge Platonists (New York: 43</page><page sequence="4">Marilyn A. Lewis Cudworth was an undergraduate and later a fellow at Emmanuel; he may have been Whichcote's pupil and certainly came under his influence. In addi tion to Whichcote and Cudworth, the Cambridge Platonists included John Smith of Emmanuel and Queens' Colleges, Henry More of Christ's College, the Master of Jesus College John Worthington and a number of lesser follow ers. Among the "second generation" of Cambridge Platonists, this article will notice the attitudes towards the Jews of George Rust, Henry Hallywell and William Outram, who came under the influence of Cudworth and More as students at Christ's. This loosely knit circle of philosophical theologians attempted to steer a moderate and eirenic course through the complexities of seventeenth-century English thought about God and human nature, rejecting the determinism of both Calvin and Hobbes, while affirming the intrinsic goodness of God and the inherent possibility of goodness in human beings. They drew, somewhat uncritically, on Plato, the Neoplatonists and the Renaissance Platonists, stressing the seniority of the spiritual to the material in their understanding of God's relationship with creation. The Cambridge Platonists moved away from the Puritan stress on doctrinal orthodoxy to an emphasis on God-given reason - "the Candle of the Lord" (Proverbs 20:27). They believed that ethical principles mirroring those of God himself are inscribed in the human soul, because it is made in the image of God and that image is not entirely defaced by the Fall. Whichcote called these principles "truths of the first inscription", while Cudworth referred to "eternal and immutable morality". Human free will ideally consults these internal principles of goodness in choosing a holy life of obedience to God. The Cambridge Platonists have often been identified as the ancestors of the Latitudinarian tradition in English theology.7 Among orthodox Anglicans and Dissenters this led to minimal doctrinal requirements - often only the tenets of the Apostles' Creed - combined with a great stress on morality, so that Oxford University Press, 1968); C. A. Patrides, éd., The Cambridge Platonists (London: Edward Arnold, 1969); Charles Taliaferro and Alison J. Teply, eds., Cambridge Platonist Spirituality (New York: Paulist Press, 2005); Sarah Hutton, "The Cambridge Platonists", in A Companion to Early Modem Philosophy, ed. Steven Nadler (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2008), 308-19. For Latitudinarianism, see Marjorie H. Nicolson, "Christ's College and the Latitude-Men", Modern Philology 27 (1929): 35-53; John Spurr, "'Latitudinarianism' and the Restoration Church", Historical Journal 31 (1988): 61-82; Jonathan I. Israel, "William III and Toleration", in From Persecution to Toleration: The Glorious Revolution and Religion in England, eds. Ole Peter Grell, Jonathan I. Israel and Nicholas Tyacke (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991), 129-70; Isabel Rivers, Reason, Grace, and Sentiment: A Study of the Language of Religion and Ethics in England, 1660-1780, 2 vols. (Cambridge University Press, 1991-2000), vol. 1, ch. 2; Martin I. J. Griffin, Jr., Latitudinarianism in the Seventeenth-Century Church ofEngland (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1992); W. M. Spellman, The Latitudinarians and the Church of England, 1660—1700 (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1993); James E. Bradley, [untitled review of Rivers, Griffin and Spellman], Albion 26 (1994): 153-9. 44</page><page sequence="5">Cambridge Platonists' attitudes towards the readmission of the Jews, 1655-56 they were sometimes called "mere moral preachers". More heterodox Latitudinarians tended to doubt the difficult Christian doctrines of the Incarnation and the Trinity, causing them to be associated with deism (adher ence to natural religion and rejection of revelation), Socinianism (denial of the divinity of Jesus Christ) or even atheism. While Latitudinarians of all varieties seem to have become less interested in the Platonic metaphysics and spiritu ality of the Cambridge circle, they played an important role in the develop ment of religious toleration in England. At the Glorious Revolution, a group of orthodox Latitudinarian bishops replaced the non-jurors (who thought they would be perjured by swearing fealty to William III), helping to implement the Toleration Act and thereby beginning to create a new culture of religious plurality in England, from which the Jews would eventually benefit. Whichcote and Cudworth: delegates at the Whitehall Conference Whichcote and Cudworth had good relations with both the Long Parliament and the Protectorate; their distance from the prevailing Calvinist Puritanism should remind us of the variety of theological views which flourished during the 1640s and 50s. Following the Earl of Manchester's official parliamentary visitation and purge of Cambridge University in early 1644, both men became College heads, replacing incumbents ejected for failure to subscribe to the Solemn League and Covenant, which required approval of Presbyterian church order (the abolition of episcopacy in favour of synodical governance).8 Whichcote was appointed by Parliament to succeed Samuel Collins as the Provost of King's College on 19 March 1645, although his absence from Cambridge at the time of Manchester's visitation had appar ently excused him from signing the Covenant.9 As the Provost, he success fully defended the fellows of King's from being offered the Covenant. His generosity and sense of justice were expressed in his regular sharing of a portion of his income with Collins. Whichcote was an able administrator and served as the Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University in the academic year 8 Charles H. Firth and Robert S. Rait, eds., Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660, 3 vols. (London: His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1911), vol. 1, 371-2; John D. Twigg, "The Parliamentary Visitation of the University of Cambridge, 1644-1645", English Historical Review 98 (1983): 513-28; idem, The University of Cambridge and the English Revolution (Woodbridge and Cambridge: Boydell Press and Cambridge University Library, 1990), 90-97. 9 This paragraph relies heavily on John Tillotson, A Sermon preached at the Funeral of the Reverend Benjamin Whichcot, D.D. (London: Brabazon Aylmer, 1683), 21-35; James D. Roberts, Sr, From Puritanism to Platonism in Seventeenth Century England (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1968), 1— 16; Sarah Hutton, "Whichcote, Benjamin (1609-1683)", in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, eds. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison, 60 vols. (Oxford University Press, 2004; hereafter ODNB). 45</page><page sequence="6">Marilyn A. Lewis 1650-1651, a position dependent on his having signed the Engagement to be true and faithful to the Commonwealth of England without a king or House of Lords.10 He was removed from the provostship of King's by Charles 11 in June 1660, but he conformed to the re-established Church of England in 1662. As the rector of St Lawrence Jewry in the City of London he presided over a centre of Anglican Latitudinarian preaching from 1668 until his death, in Cudworth's Cambridge home, in 1683. Cudworth replaced the ejected Thomas Paske as the Master of Clare Hall by Parliamentary order in 1645 (although he did not take up the post until 1650) and he was appointed the Master of Christ's College by the government of the Protectorate in 1654.11 He had taken the Engagement in 1650, possibly in an attempt to justify obedience to authority.12 Cudworth advised John Thurloe, the secretary to the Council of State under both Oliver and Richard Cromwell, concerning Cambridge graduates who might be recruited for service to the gov ernment of the Protectorate.13 (Thurloe was the secretary to the commission sent by Oliver Cromwell to the Netherlands in 1651; he visited the Jews of Amsterdam and later did all in his power, although unsuccessfully, to promote a positive outcome from the Whitehall Conference.14) In January 1659, in a letter to Thurloe, Cudworth considered dedicating a book to Richard Cromwell, recalling his obligations to his late father Oliver.15 At the Restoration, the heads of eleven Cambridge colleges were ejected, but Cudworth remained at Christ's, probably with the help of Gilbert Sheldon, the newly appointed Bishop of London and later the Archbishop of Canterbury.16 Cudworth 1 Firth and Rait, Acts and Ordinances, vol. 2, 325-9; Twigg, University of Cambridge and the Revolution, 155-9. Clare College, Cambridge, MS CCAC/2/1, Register of Admissions 1631-1683, s.v. Admission of Fellows, 13 May 1645; J. R. Wardale, Clare College (London: F. E. Robinson &amp; Co., 1899), 112-13; John Peile, Christ's College (London: F. E. Robinson &amp; Co., 1900), 176-7; idem, Biographical Register of Christ's College 1505-1go5 and of the Earlier Foundation, God's House 1448-1505, 2 vols. (Cambridge University Press, 1910-13), vol. 1, 464-6; this paragraph relies heavily on David A. Pailin, "Cudworth, Ralph (1617-1688)", in ODNB. Twigg, University of Cambridge and the Revolution, 160; see also J. A. Passmore, Ralph Cudworth: An Interpretation (Cambridge University Press, 1951), ch. 4. Thomas Birch, ed.,A Collection ofthe State Papers of John Thurloe, 7 vols. (London: The Executor of the Late Mr. Fletcher Gyles, 1742), vol. 1, xi-xx; vol. 3,614—15; vol. 5, 13, 522-3; vol. 7,587, 595; idem, "An Account of the Life and Writings of Ralph Cudworth, D.D.", in Ralph Cudworth, The True Intellectual System of the Universe, ed. Thomas Birch, 2 vols., 2nd ed. (London: J. Walthoe et al., 1743), vol. 1, vi-xxi (viii-x). Birch, Papers of John Thurloe, vol. 1, xii; Wolf, Menasseh ben Israel's Mission, xxxi-xxxii, xxxviii, xl, lxi; Timothy Venning, "Thurloe, John (bap. 1616, d. 1668)", in ODNB. Birch, "Life of Cudworth", x. James Crossley and Richard C. Christie, eds., The Diary and Correspondence of Dr J. Worthington (Chetham Society), 13 [vol. 1], 36 [vol. 2, part 1], 114 [vol. 2, part 2] (1844-86), vol. 1,203; Peile, Christ's College, 177; Peile, Biographical Register, vol. 1,465; Twigg, University of Cambridge and the Revolution, 239,242. 46</page><page sequence="7">Cambridge Platonists' attitudes towards the readmission of the Jews, 1655-56 conformed to the re-established Church of England in 1662, although Ralph Widdrington, a fellow of Christ's whose own desire to become Master of the college and whose perpetual criticism made life miserable for Cudworth, con tinued to accuse him of Latitudinarianism in his political and religious opinions.17 The Whitehall Conference left no official minutes but two London news books, both published by the Cromwellian supporter Marchamont Nedham and authorized by the Protector - The Publick Intelligencer on Mondays and Mercurius Politicus on Thursdays - contained brief contemporaneous notices of the conference. These were limited to reports that the conference had taken place, the points of Menasseh's petition, the fact that no conclusion had been reached, and a commendation of Cromwell's prudence in his consideration of the matter. Neither one mentioned Whichcote or Cudworth.18 Henry Jessey's Narrative ofthe late Proceeds at White-Hall, concerning the Jews (1656) offered the most complete account, reporting the main arguments presented for and against the readmission of the Jews. But while Whichcote's and Cudworth's names were listed among the "preachers", there was no specific report of their contribution to the proceedings; we can only note that Jessey did not single them (or any others) out as proponents or opponents of re admission.19 Nathaniel Crouch's "Proceedings of the Jews in England in the Year 1655" (1719 but a contemporary account) also reported arguments pre sented both for and against readmission, and he assigned names to some of the speeches, but the only reference to Whichcote and Cudworth was again their inclusion among the "preachers" invited to deliberate.20 Cambridge University Library, MS Mm.v.48.13-19, Adam Wall papers; Crossley and Christie, Correspondence ofWorthington, vol. 2, part 1, 160; Peile, Christ's College, 172-5, 180; Peile, Biographical Register, vol. 1,421-2; Nicolson, "Christ's College and Latitude-Men", 42-7, 50 51; Marjorie H. Nicolson, ed., The Conway Letters: Correspondence of Anne, Viscountess Conway, Henry More, and their Friends, 1642-1684, rev. ed. Sarah Hutton (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), 177, 236-8, 242. PublickIntelligencer, io(3-ioDec. 1655): 159; 12(17-24Dec. 1655): 191-2-,Mercurius Politicus, 287 (5-13 Dec. 1655): 5820; 289 (20-27 Dec. 1655): 5842-3; for Nedham, see Ian Atherton, "The Press and Popular Political Opinion", in A Companion to Stuart Britain, ed. Barry Coward (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2003), 88-110 (89-90); Joad Raymond, "Nedham [Needham], Marchamont (bap. 1620, d. 1678)", in ODNB. [Henry Jessey], A Narrative of the late Proceeds at White-Hall, concerning the Jews (London: L. Chapman, 1656), 9, for Whichcote and Cudworth; for Jessey- a leading philosemite - see David S. Katz, "Menasseh ben Israel's Christian Connection: Henry Jessey and the Jews", in Kaplan et al., Menasseh ben Israel, 117-38; van der Wall, "Philo-Semitic Millenarian". R. B. [= Nathaniel Crouch], "The Proceedings of the Jews in England in the Year 1655", in Two Journeys to Jerusalem (London: Nathaniel Crouch, 1719), 167-74 (168 for Whichcote and Cudworth); for Crouch, see Robert Mayer, "Nathaniel Crouch, Bookseller and Historian: Popular History and Cultural Power in Late Seventeenth-Century England", Eighteenth-Century Studies 27 (1994): 391-419; Jason McElligott, "Crouch, Nathaniel [pseud. Robert Burton] (c. 1640-1725?)", in ODNB. 47</page><page sequence="8">Marilyn A. Lewis A thorough search of other sources usually rich in contemporary material for the Cambridge Platonists has also failed to yield information about Whichcote's and Cudworth's views on the Jewish question. Whichcote was among the correspondents of the London intelligencer Samuel Hartlib, who was certainly interested in the Jewish question, but the Hartlib Papers contain no useful reference to Whichcote's and Cudworth's presence at the Whitehall Conference.21 Likewise, nothing about the Whitehall Conference can be found in The Conway Letters, the extant correspondence of Lady Anne Conway (Henry More's "heroine pupil"), Henry More and other members of the Cambridge Platonist circle.22 There is no indication of Whichcote's views on the Jewish question in his correspondence of 1651 with his former tutor Anthony Tuckney, a staunch Calvinist who was also a member of the Whitehall Conference.23 Cudworth's letters to John Thurloe are also unhelpful, with the exception of one concerning his writing on the prophecy of Daniel, as will be seen below.24 John Worthington was a close friend of both Whichcote and Cudworth, and his Diary and Correspondence includes letters from both of them and other people who knew them well, but it gives us only a tantalising hint of Whichcote's participation in the Whitehall Conference. On 12 December 1655, Samuel Hartlib wrote to Worthington that he would rather hear about the Whitehall Conference from Worthington's relations than give him an account of it. He supposed that "our friends that are members of it will write freely &amp; impartially of that business". Worthington was married to Whichcote's niece Mary and so might well have received Whichcote's own account of proceedings, but if it was contained in a letter it is no longer extant.25 Whichcote's and Cudworth's specific contributions to the Whitehall Conference seem therefore to be irrecoverable; we must attempt to construct some sense of their attitudes towards the Jewish question from their careers and writings during the 1640s and5os. 21 The Hartlib Papers, 2nd ed. (CD Rom, Sheffield: Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield, 2002); for Hartlib, see Richard H. Popkin, "The First College for Jewish Studies", Revue des Etudes Juives 143 (1984): 351-64; Mark Greengrass, "Hartlib, Samuel (c. 1600-1662)", in ODNB. 22 Nicolson, Conway Letters. 23 "Eight Letters of Dr. Antony T uckney and Dr. Benjamin Whichcote", in Benjamin Whichcote, Moral and Religious Aphorisms, ed. Samuel Salter (London: J. Payne, 1753), separately paginated i—134; Tod E.Jones, ed., The Cambridge Platonists: A Brief Introduction (Dallas: University Press of America, 2005), 51-156; for Tuckney, see Patrick Collinson, "Tuckney, Anthony (1599 1670)", in ODNB. 24 Birch, "Life of Cudworth", ix-x; Birch, ThurloePapers, vol. 7, 595. 25 Crossley and Christie, Correspondence ofWorthington, vol. 1,78; Hutton, 'Whichcote, Benjamin"; for Worthington, see John T. Young, "Worthington, John (bap. 1618, d. 1671)", in ODNB. 48</page><page sequence="9">Cambridge Platonists' attitudes towards the readmission of the Jews, 1655-56 Whichcote's lack of engagement with Jewish messianism and Puritan millenarianism The Whitehall Conference fell towards the end of Whichcote's twenty years of well-attended Sunday afternoon lectures at Trinity Church, Cambridge, but these were not published during his lifetime. Notes from these sermons, and perhaps also from his later preaching at St Lawrence Jewry, were taken down by his devoted auditors; they were written up and first published in 1698 under the editorship of the third Earl of Shaftesbury. The most com plete edition ofWhichcote's sermons appeared in 1751, followed by a collec tion of 1,200 aphorisms drawn from his sermons in 1753.26 While this material contains no reference to the Whitehall Conference or to the specific question of readmission, it does contain some scattered references to the Jews, which may aid a reconstruction of something ofWhichcote's position in 1655. A brief summary ofWhichcote's liberal philosophical theology will help to put his scattered references to the Jews in context.2' For Whichcote, truth originated in God, whose essential and absolute goodness prevented him from exercising his sovereignty arbitrarily towards humankind. "The candle of the Lord" was God-given human reason, lighting the way to "truths of the first inscription" or common notions of immutable moral principles.28 These truths informed the conscience and provided a rational basis for ethical behaviour, the continuous, habitual practice of which led a human being back to something approximating God's image; deiformity was the goal of human obedience to God. Strongly affirming the salvific role of inherent righteous ness, Whichcote rejected the Calvinist doctrine of double predestination, with its corollary of limited atonement and its stress on imputed righteous ness. Whichcote also rejected a narrow doctrine of biblical inspiration, insist ing that a rational apprehension of the divine truth found in the Scriptures was the only sure foundation of spirituality. Charity in human relationships Benjamin Whichcote, Select Sermons of Dr Whichcot, [ed. Antony Ashley Cooper] (London: Awnsham and John Churchill, 1698); Benjamin Whichcote, The Works of the Learned Benjamin Whichcote, D.D., [ed. unknown], 4 vols. (Aberdeen: Alexander Thomson, 1751); Whichcote, Moral and Religious Aphorisms', Roberts, Puritanism to Platonism, 6,11-12, 267-71. From the rich literature on Whichcote, see esp. Roberts, Puritanism to Platonism', Jerome B. Schneewind, The Invention of Autonomy: A History of Modern Moral Philosophy (Cambridge University Press, 1998), 196-9; Sarah Hutton, "Whichcote, Benjamin (1609-83)", in The Dictionary of Seventeenth-Century British Philosophers, ed. Andrew Pyle, 2 vols., (Bristol: Thoemmes, 2000), vol. 2, 872-3; Taliaferro and Teply, Cambridge Platonist Spirituality, 12-15; Hutton, "Whichcote, Benjamin"; Michael B. Gill, The British Moralists on Human Nature and the Birth of Secular Ethics (Cambridge University Press, 2006), chs 1-5. Sterling P. Lamprecht, "Innate Ideas in the Cambridge Platonists", Philosophical Review, 35 (1926): 553-73 (565); Robert A. Greene, "Whichcote, the Candle of the Lord, and Synderesis", Journal of the History of Ideas 52 (1991): 617-44(628-34). 49</page><page sequence="10">Marilyn A. Lewis and honest seeking for the truth were far more important than doctrinal orthodoxy; even belief in Christ was not strictly necessary where there was a commitment to virtue and love in a pagan's life. Beyond the agreement of all good Christians (by which he probably meant Protestants) on the fundamen tals of belief, he urged that disagreements over the inessentials should be con ducted in an "ingenuous" spirit, humbly, modestly, rationally and neither enthusiastically nor credulously.29 Perhaps ingenuousness came to him nat urally, as Shaftesbury, John Tillotson (the Latitudinarian Archbishop of Canterbury from 1691 to 1694) and Gilbert Burnet (the Latitudinarian Bishop of Salisbury following the Glorious Revolution) all commented on his "mild and obliging temper".30 Yet, for all his liberalism, Whichcote was a Christian who believed that rev elation - specifically the revelation of Jesus Christ in the New Testament - sup plemented the natural apprehension of God available to human reason. He acknowledged that the Jews were God's original chosen people, and he stressed that Jesus was a Jew, but he was saddened that the Jews had failed to recognize Jesus as the Messiah. If we look closely at what he is reported to have said about the Jews, an unsympathetic image emerges. He accuses the Jews of "gross idol atry" for having worshipped the molten calf of their own making at the time of the Exodus.31 He says that the Mosaic Law was imperfect, "that it was typical, mystical, ceremonial, symbolical; full of shadows, things that did vail and darkly represent", as opposed to the light brought by the gospel of Christ.32 He says that as God's chosen people the Jews hated "all mankind but themselves" P The Jews longed impatiently for the Messiah but they failed to recognise that he had come in Jesus because they expected "[a]n universal deliverance from the power of all nations, and that all nations must serve them".34 The Jewish high priest offered sacrifices and tributes to God on the people's behalf, but the Jews of Jesus's time failed to understand that he had made that role redundant by fulfilling it perfectly.35 The Jews refused "the righteousness of Christ, and set up a righteousness of their own: that consists of four particulars: they tell us of their good works, their repentance, their afflictions, and their sacrifices",36 29 For the Cambridge Platonist use of the term "ingenuity", see Robert A. Greene, "Whichcote, Wilkins, 'Ingenuity', and the Reasonableness of Christianity", Journal of the History of Ideas 42 (1981): 227-52 (240-44). 30 Tillotson, Sermon at the Funeral of Benjamin Whichcot, 31-4; Whichcote, Aphorisms, xxx-xxxiv; Gilbert Burnet, History of his own Time, 6 vols., 2nd ed. (Oxford University Press, 1833), vol. 1, 339 (quotation). 31 Whichcote, Works, vol. 2, 315; vol. 3, 201-2. 32 Ibid., vol. 2, 206, 208, 295, 298; vol. 3, 69-70. 33 Ibid., vol. 3, 51. 34 Ibid., vol. 2, 190, 196, 260 (quotation), 295, 332. 35 Ibid., 254-8; Roberts, Puritanism to Platonism, 135. 36 Whichcote, Works, vol. 2, 310. 50</page><page sequence="11">Cambridge Platonists' attitudes towards the readmission of the Jews, 1655—56 "[T]he doctors of the Law . .. were strict exacters of God's law[;] they were exact observers of the customs of their nation, and the traditions of their fore fathers: and for the sepulchres of the old prophets, they rebuild them, and garnish them", but Jesus had rightly rebuked them for "the malignity of their tempers, and the baseness of their spirits".37 In their reaction to Jesus, the Jews were "wilful" and "hard-hearted".38 Whichcote concluded that the Jews "did forsake their own mercies"; they had "no cause at all to be aggrieved or offended at the Gentiles entertaining the faith of the gospel, and receiving the christian religion, which they refused".39 Whichcote freely used the Old Testament as an essential part of the salva tion history of the Christian Church. His opinions on the Jews were drawn entirely from the Bible; there is no indication that he knew any contemporary Jews or had any knowledge of rabbinic literature. While he clearly believed that the Jews were culpably mistaken not to accept Jesus as the Messiah, the comments assembled above are scattered through several thousand pages of text and do not constitute a concerted attack on the Jews. Whichcote obvi ously cannot be classed with the philosemites, who half sympathized with Menasseh's expectation of the Messiah when the Jews were readmitted to England, but it would also be an error to think of him as particularly antise mitic. He was simply adopting a standard Christian argument for the proof that Jesus was the Messiah, and the comments quoted rather jar against the otherwise liberal content of his preaching. Nor was there any hint of the Puritan millenarianism which would have pressurized the Jews to convert in order to hasten the second coming of Christ; Whichcote nowhere mentioned the second Advent. His emphasis lay entirely on the inner conversion of each human being in order to restore the partially defaced image of God. On the fragmentary evidence of what Whichcote was recorded to have said about the Jews, it seems unsafe to go beyond the suggestion that he hoped that their readmission to England might lead to the conversion of at least some of them as a result of reasonable dialogue with liberal Christians. Cudworth's rejection of Jewish messianism and Puritan millenarianism Cudworth seems not to have shared the sanguine temperament of his good friend Whichcote. The historian of Christ's College, John Peile, thought that Cudworth was "a lonely man, apt to take offence even at his few intimate friends"; "in his later years he was strangely irritable even towards those with 37 Ibid., 191-2. 38 Ibid., 309,369. 35 Ibid., vol. 3, 83-4. 5i</page><page sequence="12">Marilyn A. Lewis whom sympathy and interest would naturally have bound him."40 However, his attitude towards disagreements among Protestants was at least as liberal as that of Whichcote.41 His bold sermon to a sharply divided House of Commons in 1647 condemned dogmatic strife, urging his hearers to abandon "the dead Law of outward Works" and adopt "the inward Law of the Gospel, the Law of the Spirit ofLife, than which nothing can be more free and ingen uous".42 Rather than dependence on correct doctrine, Cud worth preached holiness, obedience, deiformity and love as the path to liberty and true inward reformation. When he sent a copy of this sermon to the scholarly lawyer and Hebraist John Selden, Cud worth said that he hoped "it may availe any thing to that End to which it was chiefly intended, against that Religion that makes man Beleeve too much and Doe too little, makes them dreame only of a Righteousness without them, whilst they have none at all within them".43 He continued in the same vein in A Sermon preached to the Honourable Society of Lincolnes-Inne of 1664, urging the lawyers present to understand "[t]hat the true Object of the Christian Faith is not onely the Bloud of Christ shed upon the Cross for the Remission of Sin, but also the renewing Spirit of Christ for the inward conquering and mortifying of it, and the Quickning or Raising of us to an Heavenly Life".44 For Cudworth, a good deal of evidence for his attitude towards the Jews is available. He was an excellent Hebraist and his knowledge of Jewish antiqui ties preceded the writings on atheism, eternal and immutable morality, and free will for which he is more famous.45 Two pamphlets published in 1642, both of which he sent to Selden, showed the depth and breadth of his Jewish Peile, Christ's College, 178 (quotation), 181-3; Peile, Biographical Register, vol. 1,465 (quotation). From the rich literature on Cudworth, see esp. Passmore, Ralph Cudworth', Stephen L. Darwall, The British Moralists and the Internal "Ought 1640-1740 (Cambridge University Press, 1995), ch. 5; Sarah Hutton, "Introduction", in Ralph Cudworth, Treatise concerning Eternal and Immutable Morality, With A Treatise of Freewill, ed. Sarah Hutton (Cambridge University Press, 1996), xi-xxx; Schneewind, Invention of Autonomy, 205-10,213-14; Sarah Hutton, "Cudworth, Ralph (1617-88)", in Pyle, Seventeenth-Century British Philosophers, vol. 1,224—8; Taliaferro and Teply, Cambridge Platonist Spirituality, 19-25; Gill, British Moralists, chs 1-5; Benjamin Carter, "The Little Commonwealth ofMan The Trinitarian Origins of the Ethical and Political Philosophy of Ralph Cudworth (Leuven: Peeters, 2011). R[alph] Cudworth, A Sermon Preached before the Honourable House of Commons at Westminster (London: Roger Daniel, 1647), 73—4. Bodleian Library, Oxford (hereafter, Bod.), MS. Selden Supra 108.1, letter from Ralph Cudworth to John Selden, 13 July 1647; for Selden, see S. W. Singer, The Table Talk of John Selden, 2nd ed. (London: John Russell Smith, 1856), i-lxxxvi; Paul Christianson, "Selden, John (1584 1654)", in ODNB. R[alph] Cudworth, A Sermon preached to the Honourable Society of Lincolnes-Inne (London: R. Royston, 1664), 28. For Cudworth's manuscript and published writings, see Passmore, Ralph Cudworth, 107-18; Cudworth, Eternal and Immutable Morality, xxxii-xxxiii; Carter, Little Commonwealth of Man, 169-70. 52</page><page sequence="13">Cambridge Platonists' attitudes towards the readmission of the Jews, 1655-56 scholarship. In The Union of Christ and the Church; In a Shadow, he pursued the Pauline argument (Ephesians 5:22-33) that the monogamous union of husband and wife is the type of which the union of Christ and the church is the antitype. Writing to Selden, he said that he had written this pamphlet because he had begun to believe that "there is scarcely any thing of Jus Divinum besides the Universall and Catholick Law of Nature, excepting only the . . . The Law of ffaith". He therefore employed a battery of kabbalistic arguments in favour of monogamy. Unlike his friend Henry More, who embraced a version of the kabbala of his own devising, Cud worth's rabbinic scholarship followed his sources with great care.46 In A Discourse concerning the True Notion of the Lords Supper, Cudworth argued that the Eucharist is not properly a sacrifice but a federal meal of fellowship with God. Here, his Karaite scholarship is particularly evident.47 His letters to Selden, written in 1642 and 1643, are full of references to Karaism, an alternative tradition to that of the rabbis. In one, he says that "For my own part I confesse by reading of some Hebrew Scholiasts I am fallen into the Heresy of the . . . fifth Monarchy, and theire flourishing state yet to come under the acknowledg ment of the true Messiah", but this was probably a slightly facetious reference to his immersion in Hebrew scholarship rather than a genuine expression of messianism. The predominant subject in these letters is Old Testament chronology;48 as we shall see, chronological arguments underlay Cudworth's attempts to prove that Jesus was the Messiah. On 15 October 1645, Cudworth was elected the Regius Professor of Hebrew in the University of Cambridge and, according to his biographer Thomas Birch, "From this time he abandon'd all the functions of a Minister, and applied himself only to his academical employment and studies, especially that of the Jewish antiquities." John Worthington wrote that "Our learned friend Mr. Cudworth reads every Wednesday in the schools. His subject is Templum Hierosolymitanum [the Temple of Jerusalem]." When Cudworth was away from Cambridge, Worthington took his place at this lecture.49 It is sad that not Bod., MS. Selden Supra 109.270, letter from Ralph Cudworth to John Selden, 28 Nov. 1643; R[alph] C[udworth], The Union of Christ and the Church; in a Shadow (London: Richard Bishop, 1642); David S. Katz, "Henry More and the Jews", in Henry More (1614-1687): Tercentenary Studies, ed. Sarah Hutton (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1990), 173-88. R[alph] C[udworth], A Discourse concerning the True Notion of the Lords Supper (London: Richard Cotes, 1642); John Aikin, The Lives of John Selden, Esq. and Archbishop Usher (London: Mathews and Leigh, 1812), 131-2; Daniel J. Lasker, "Karaism and Christian Hebraism: A New Document", Renaissance Quarterly 59 (2006): 1089-116 (1101); see also Richard H. Popkin, "The Lost Tribes, the Caraites and the English Millenarians",_7o«r«a/ of Jewish Studies 37 (1986): 213-27. Bod.,MSS. Selden Supra 109.258-273, eight letters from Ralph Cudworth to John Selden, 1642 43; the letter quoted is at 109.262, dated 25 Oct. 1642; Lasker, "Karaism and Christian Hebraism", 1094, 1096 n. 36,1098, 1101, 1104, 1110 n. 106. Birch, "Life of Cudworth", vii. 53</page><page sequence="14">Marilyn A. Lewis all the Cudworth manuscripts known to Birch are extant, and one on "Hebrew Learning", which might have shed light on the content of Cudworth's early lectures as Regius Professor, seems to have disappeared after Birch wrote.50 During or shortly after the Whitehall Conference, Cudworth visited Menasseh ben Israel in his lodgings in the Strand. Menasseh showed him a Latin manuscript, "Porta Veritatis", summarizing Jewish objections to Christianity, which apparently so impressed Cudworth that he purchased it for the large sum of fio. Although Edward Millington, the bookseller who sold the bulk of Cudworth's library at auction in 1691, thought that Cudworth's rabbinic texts had been specially bequeathed in his will, exami nation of the will reveals no such bequest. However, this copy of "Porta Veritatis" came into the possession of the Hebraist Peter Allix, from whom it was later purchased by the Latitudinarian Bishop of Bath and Wells, Richard Kidder, another Hebraist and Old Testament scholar. Kidder affirmed "it to be the greatest effort against Christianity that I ever saw in any language whatsoever". The second and third parts of Kidder's A Demonstration of the Messias (1699-1700) attempted to refute some of its points. Chapter Three of Part Three, particularly, focused on disproving the manuscript's criticisms of Christian misreadings of Old Testament prophe cies concerning the Messiah and the consequent misidentification of Jesus as the Messiah.51 Cudworth's manuscript "Of the Verity of the Christian Religion against the Jews" might have been his own earlier response to "Porta Veritatis". It had apparently disappeared even before Birch's time, although a few pages in British Library Additional Manuscript 4984 outline reasons for the Ibid., xx; Ralph Cudworth, A Treatise of Freewill, ed. John Allen (London: John W. Parker, 1838), vi-viii; Passmore, Ralph Cudworth, 107, 109; Jacqueline Broad, "A Woman's Influence? John Locke and Damaris Masham on Moral Accountability", Journal ofthe History of Ideas 67 (2006): 489-510 (500-02); Carter, Little Commonwealth of Man, 161-2. National Archives, Kew, London, PROB 11/392/366, will of Ralph Cudworth, 1687, with codicil 1688; Edward Millington, Bibliotheca Cudworthiana, sive Catalogas Variorum Lihrorum . .. Rev. Doct. Dr. Cudworth, S. T.P. (London: privately, 1691), "To the Reader"; Richard Kidder, A Demonstration ofthe Messias. In which the Truth ofthe Christian Religion is proved especially again the Jews (Part 1, London: B. Aylmer, 1684; Parts 2 and 3, London: W. Rogers and M. Wotton, 1699-1700), part 2, [sig.] A4r&amp;v, 98,139,149,151,153,158,220,226,231,245; part 3, iii-v, 77 157; Roth, Life of Menasse h ben Israel, 252,321-2; Roger A. Mynors, Catalogue ofthe Manuscripts of BallioI College Oxford (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963), no. 251 (quotation), mistakenly places Kidder's refutation at part 3, ch. 8; Katz, Philo-Semitism and Readmission, 234; Katz, "Henry More and the Jews", 178, 187 n. 33. The MS. of "Porta Veritatis" purchased by Cudworth is Balliol College, Oxford, MS. 251; there is another copy, dated 1720, at British Library (henceforth, BL) MS. Harley 3427-3428. For Allix, see Vivienne Larminie, "Allix, Peter [Pierre] (1641 1717)", in ODNB\ for Kidder, see William Marshall, "Kidder, Richard (bap. 1634, d. 1703)", in ODNB. I am grateful to the librarian and library staff of Christ's College, Cambridge, for assis tance with Cudworth's will. 54</page><page sequence="15">Cambridge Platonists' attitudes towards the readmission of the Jews, 1655—56 credibility of Christianity; J. A. Passmore thought they might be a fragment of this lost manuscript. According to the British Library Manuscripts Catalogue, this is one of the manuscripts for which "the evidence of Cudworth's authorship is unconvincing, although these volumes probably originated in his circle." This fragment is certainly indicative of Cudworth's general conviction that Jesus was the Messiah and that the Jews were mis taken not to accept him as such. The arguments rehearsed in these folios concern the testimony of the apostles as witnesses to the Resurrection and do not touch on the fulfilment of prophecy, although that was another favourite theme of Cudworth's.52 In January 1659, Cudworth wrote to Secretary Thurloe that he intended to publish some Latin discourses concerning "Daniel's prophecy of the 70 Weekes", which he had read in the public schools of the University of Cambridge. This was the work which he was considering dedicating to Richard Cromwell, and its contents presumably represent Cudworth's teach ing as Regius Professor in the aftermath of the Whitehall Conference. Cudworth wrote to John Thurloe that he had "lighted on some Jewish writ ings upon the argument, as have scarecely ever been seen by any Christians, which would the better inable me fully to confute them; but also because I conceive it a worke proper and suitable to this present age. However, though I should not be able myselfe to be any way instrumental to these great trans actions of Providence (not without cause, hoped for of many) amongst the Jews; yet I perswade myselfe my pains may not be alltogether unprofitable for the setling and establishing of Christians."53 Cudworth's discourses on Daniel were never printed. In late 1667, Worthington wrote to Cudworth offering to prepare the manuscript for the press but he received no reply to his letter. British Library Additional Manuscripts 4986-4987 have usually been identified with these discourses54 but these two large folio volumes are in English, not Latin, with many quotations in Hebrew and only a few in Latin and Greek. It is possible that the manuscripts represent Cudworth's original English composition, which he translated into Latin for delivery as professorial lectures in the University of Cambridge. In the manuscripts, Cudworth refutes Jewish messianism, on the basis of careful interpretation of Old Testament prophetic chronology, in critical response to the arguments contained in "Porta Veritatis" and other writings BL, Add. MS. 4984, fols. 11V-13V; Birch, "Life of Cudworth", xx; Passmore, Ralph Cudworth, 107; British Library Manuscripts Catalogue,, following links to Add. MSS. 4978-4987, details, accessed 25 June 2013. Birch, "Life of Cudworth", x; Birch, Thurloe Papers, vol. 7, 595. Birch, "Life of Cudworth", xx; Crossley and Christie, Correspondence ofWorthington, vol. 2, part i, 140-41 n. 1; vol. 3, 288; Passmore, Ralph Cudworth, 109, wrongly gives the MSS. numbers as 4896-4897. 55</page><page sequence="16">Marilyn A. Lewis by both Jews and Christians. In both Jewish and Christian scholarship, the "seventy weeks" of Daniel 9:24 were thought to be predictive of the time when the true Messiah would appear. Cudworth's concern was to establish a correct chronology of the Old Testament period, so as to demonstrate the perfect correspondence of history with prophecy and thereby to arrive at a correct computation for the Messianic date. His manuscripts are filled with computations; he clearly believed that it was necessary to establish a chrono logical proof to refute Jewish messianism and wished to correct the errors of Christian chronologers who had failed in this task. Rejecting the calculations of the French chronologer Joseph Justus Scaliger (1540-1609) in favour of the older work of the German Johann Funck (1518-1566), Cudworth con cluded that Jesus had appeared at the proper time for the coming of the Messiah, thereby offering a proof that Christianity is true and that the Jews were mistaken in their continuing expectation of the Messiah.55 Some modern writers who have briefly mentioned British Library Additional manuscripts 4986-4987 have been dismissive of their value, although Henry More declared the discourses to be "0/as much price and worth in Theology, as either The Circulation of the Bloud in Physick, or The Motion of the Earth in natural Philosophy"A proposed edition of the manuscripts, under the editorship of Richard Popkin and David Katz, seems not to have come to fruition.57 While it lies outside the scope of this brief article, and beyond my expertise, a thorough critical examination of these manuscripts would make a substantial contribution to the study both of Cudworth as a Hebraist and of early modern biblical chronology. Cudworth's reference to "the setling and establishing of Christians" prob ably also indicates that he wished to distance himself from Puritan millenar ianism. English Puritan millenarians had linked the prophecy of Daniel with that of St John the Divine in the Book of Revelation to predict the time of 55 For Scaliger, see Anthony T. Grafton, "Joseph Scaliger and Historical Chronology: The Rise and Fall of a Discipline", History and Theory 14 (1975), 156-85; Anthony T. Grafton, Joseph Scaliger: A Study in the History of Classical Scholarship, 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993), esp. vol. 2, 298-324; for Funck, see Johann Funck, Chronologia hoc est. Omnium Temporum et annorum ah initio mundi usque ad resurrectionem domini nostrijesu Christi, computatio (Nuremberg, 1545); for a partial English trans., see John Carion, The Thre Pokes of Crómeles (London: Gwalter Lynne, 1550); Samuel M. Jackson, ed., The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, 12 vols. (New York and London: Funk and Wagnalls, 1909), vol. 4, 410-11; for the computation of the 70 weeks by the earlier millenarian fellow of Christ's College Joseph Mede, who favoured Scaliger over Funck, see The Works of the Pious and Profoundly-Learned Joseph Mede, B. D., ed. John Worthington, 3rd ed. (London: R. Royston, 1672), 697-710; for Henry More's preference for Funck over Scaliger, see Henry More, An Explanation of the Grand Mystery of Godliness {Cambridge: W. Morden, 1660), xv-xvi. 56 More, Grand Mystery of Godliness, xvi; Birch, "Life of Cudworth", x-xi; Passmore, Ralph Cudworth, 109; Pailin, "Cudworth, Ralph". 57 Popkin, "First College for Jewish Studies", 363 n. 57. 56</page><page sequence="17">Cambridge Platonists' attitudes towards the readmission of the Jews, 1655-56 Christ's second coming and the establishment of his thousand-year reign on earth with the saints.58 A generation earlier at Christ's College, the fellow Joseph Mede had been the leading English millenarian. His works had been edited for publication by Cudworth's and More's friend Worthington.59 As early as 1660, in An Explanation ofthe Grand Mystery of Godliness, More had begun to work on Revelation, a task which culminated in a series of apocalyp tic writings extending to 1685, two years before his death. More partially adopted the method of "synchronisms" in Mede's Clavis Apocalyptica of 1627, allowing him to locate most of the biblical eschatological chronology in the past or the distant future. This enabled him to dismiss what he saw as the pernicious "enthusiasm" (pretence to special revelation) which characterized most sectarian millenarianism.60 But Cudworth gave no sign of interest in even the eirenic and personal version of the millennium developed by his good friend More. Cudworth's concern was restricted to scholarly ancient chronology rather than prediction of the future, and he nowhere applied his immense erudition to Revelation. After the Restoration in 1660, Cudworth's interests turned increasingly towards the refutation of atheism and the affirmation of human free will in response to the intrinsic goodness of God.61 Yet his continuing activity as Regius Professor was evidenced by his professorial supervision of Isaac Abendana's Latin translation of the Mishna in the late 1660s,62 and a letter from Cudworth to the Dutch scholar Isaac Vossius in 1681, and another to John Pearson, the Bishop of Chester, in 1683, showed that in the last decade of his life he had not entirely lost interest in Jewish chronology.63 Most of the 58 R. G. Clouse, "The Rebirth of Millenarianism", in Toon, Puritans, Millennium and Future of Israel, 42-65; Ball, Great Expectation, 115-56; Katharine R. Firth, The Apocalyptic Tradition in Reformation Britain, 1530—1645 (Oxford University Press, 1979), ch. 5. 59 For Mede, see Works, vol. 1, [sig.] *3"—xlv; Bryan W. Ball, "Mede [Mead], Joseph (1586-1638)", in ODNB. 60 From the rich literature on More's millenarianism, see Jan van den Berg, "Continuity within a Changing Context: Henry More's Millenarianism, seen against the Background of the Millenarian Concepts of Joseph Mede", Pietismus und Neuzeit 14 (1988): 185-202; Sarah Hutton, "Henry More and the Apocalypse", in Prophecy and Eschatology, ed. Michael Wilks (Studies in Church History, subsidia 10,1994), 131-40. 61 Ralph Cudworth, The True Intellectual System of the Universe: The First Part (London: Richard Royston, 1678) was completed by 1671; BL, Add. MSS. 4978-4985 probably represent some of his working papers for the intended second and third parts; for the Cudworth MSS. which have been published, see n. 45 above. 62 David S. Katz, "The Abendana Brothers and the Christian Hebraists of Seventeenth Century England", Journal of Ecclesiastical History 40 (1989): 28-52 (40-41); Katz, "Henry More and the Jews", 175-8. 63 Bod., MS. D'Orville 471.1-2, letter from Ralph Cudworth to Isaac Vossius, 6 March 1682; BL, Add. MS. 4986.7, letter from Ralph Cudworth to John Pearson, 2 July 1683; for Vossius, see Thomas Seccombe, rev. F. F. Blok, '"Vossius, Isaac (1618-1689)", in ODNB-, for Pearson, see Hugh de Quehen, "Pearson, John (1613-1686)", in ODNB. 57</page><page sequence="18">Marilyn A. Lewis scholarly work done on Cudworth during the last century has focused on his free-will manuscripts,64 although Richard Popkin, David Katz and Daniel Lasker have noticed Cudworth's Hebraic studies.65 My discussion of Cudworth as a Hebraist has been intended to suggest the context for his invi tation to sit on the Whitehall Conference in 1655, despite the lack of specific evidence for his response to the question at issue. Did Cudworth favour the readmission of the Jews in 1655? A tentative suggestion is that he probably did, if only because it might have led to the establishment of a community of Jewish scholars working at the two universities, furthering the Hebrew studies to which he had devoted the first half of his academic career. Had that been the case, his reputation as a Hebraist might have been greater, and Hebrew studies in the English universities would not have deteriorated in the way which had become lamentably obvious by the early eighteenth century.66 Cudworth's Hebraic teaching at Christ's College The writings of some younger members of Christ's College, particularly of George Rust, Henry Hallywell and William Outram, are suggestive of Cudworth's encouragement of the study of the Hebrew language, Jewish antiquities and rabbinic writings during the 1650s. Both Rust and Outram migrated to Christ's from other Cambridge colleges, apparently in order to read for their MAs under the supervision of Henry More in the mid-1640s, but they also came under Cudworth's influence when he became the master of the college in 1654. Hallywell was Rust's pupil in the late 1650s and was responsible for the preservation and publication of the bulk of Rust's writ ings. All three men kept in close, friendly contact with More and Cudworth after leaving Christ's, and all Hallywell's writings show their influence to a considerable degree. Rust would end his career as the Bishop of Dromore in John H. Muirhead, The Platonic Tradition in Anglo-Saxon Philosophy (London: George Allen &amp; Unwin, 1931), 57-71; Passmore, Ralph Cudworth, 51-78, 107-13; Samuel I. Mintz, Hunting of Leviathan: Seventeenth-Century Reactions to the Materialism and Moral Philosophy of Thomas Hobbes (Cambridge University Press, 1962), 126-33; Darwall, British Moralists, ch. 5; Cudworth, Eternal and Immutable Morality, Jean-Louis Breteau, "Ralph Cudworth, Additional Manuscript No. 4981 (On the Nature of Liberum Arbitrium), Summary pp. 1-12", in The Cambridge Platonists in Philosophical Context: Politics, Metaphysics and Religion, eds. G. A.J. Rogers, J. M. Vienne and Y. C. Zarka (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1997), 217-31; Carter, Little Commonwealth of Man, 161-8. Katz, "Abendana Brothers", 40-41; Katz, "Henry More and the Jews", 175-8; Lasker, "Karaism and Christian Hebraism", passim. Genizah Fragments: The Newsletter of Cambridge University's Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit at Cambridge University Library 16 (1988), indicates that Richard H. Popkin "was lecturing in the University on the seventeenth-century English Hebraist, Ralph Cudworth" in October of that year, but his lectures do not appear to have been published. Katz, "Abendana Brothers", 51. 58</page><page sequence="19">Cambridge Platonists' attitudes towards the readmission of the Jews, 1655-56 Ireland, Hallywell became the incumbent of several Sussex parishes and Outram eventually served as the rector of St Margaret's, Westminster.67 In 1656, Rust delivered a Latin discourse entitled Messias in S. Scriptura promissus olim venit ( The Messiah promised in the Sacred Scripture came a long time ago) as an "Exercise" in the Divinity Schools of the University of Cambridge.68 His argument for the truth of Christianity was based on the exposure of defects in rabbinic interpretations of prophecy concerning the coming of the Messiah. While the context of a public academic disputation perhaps accounted for his display of skill as a Hebraist,69 Rust's theme was highly topical; Menasseh ben Israel remained in his lodgings in the Strand in London and was beginning to fear that Cromwell might not issue the longed for written proclamation allowing the Jews to settle in England. This dis course was presented at the time when Cudworth was giving his Latin lectures on the seventy weeks of Daniel, and it surely shows Cudworth's influence. In his insistence that Jesus perfectly fulfils Old Testament prophe cies of the Messiah, Rust reflected the views of Cudworth, More and Whichcote. We owe the preservation of Rust's "Exercise" to Hallywell, who included it in a volume of Rust's Remains in 1686. Hallywell described Rust's treatise as "a solid and rational Refutation of all the Cavils and Exceptions which the greatest and most learned Rabbins of the Jews could invent to invalidate the force of those Predictions which the Christians urge against them, to prove that the promised Messiah is long since come."10 Hallywell had long worried that the Jews had remained for 1600 years unconvinced that Jesus was the Messiah, even though some of them accepted his miracles. Three points (which were not found in Rust's discourse) Peile, Biographical Register, vol. I, 483, 486—7, 577—88; for Rust and Hallywell, see Marilyn A. Lewis, "Henry Hallywell (1641-1703): A Sussex Platonist", Sussex Archaeological Collections 151 (2013), 115-27, and "Pastoral Platonism in the Writings of Henry Hallywell (1641-1703)", The Seventeenth Century, 28 (2013), 441-63; for Outram, see Lewis, "Thomas Wadsworth (1630-76): The Making of a Platonic Dissenter", Congregational History Society Magazine 6 (2011): 171-91 (179-86). George Rust, The Remains of that Reverend and Learned Prelate, Dr George Rust, ed. Henry Hallywell (London: W. Kettilby, 1686), [sig.] [a], 47-80 (65-72 are missing but the text is con tinuous); I am currently preparing an annotated edition of Dr Davide Secci's English trans, of this discourse. For the public academic disputations at 17th-century Oxbridge, see William T. Costello, The Scholastic Curriculum at Early Seventeenth-Century Cambridge (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1958), 14-31,106-28; Harris F. Fletcher, The Intellectual Development of John Milton, 2 vols. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1956-61) vol. 2, ch. i2;Mordechai Feingold, "The Humanities", in Seventeenth-Century Oxford, ed. Nicholas Tyacke, vol. 4 of The History of the University of Oxford (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997), 222-6; J. J. Hall, Cambridge Act and Tripos Verses, 1565-1894 (Cambridge Biographical Society by Cambridge Universtiy Library, 2009), 7-8,22-31. Hallywell in Rust, Remains, [sigs] [a]r&amp;v. 59</page><page sequence="20">Marilyn A. Lewis reassured him. He considered the "Multitudes of fallen Angels" who had rebelled against God soon after their creation but continued in "open hostility" despite acknowledging ''''his Being and powerfull ProvidenceHe then observed that St Paul (Romans 11:25) called the rejection of Christ by the Jews a "Mystery, i.e. a mysterious Truth, which contains in it some farther knowl edge than at the first view it seems to offer'\ Finally, he speculated that the cap tivity of the Jews and their dispersion throughout the world might bring about the conversion of remaining "pagans". He noted that Joseph Mede had cited Zachariah 12:10, Matthew 23:39 and 1 Timothy 1:16 to the effect that "a rational Man" might "believe that some Chiefofthe Jews, the most able, most noted, and most zealous of them for the Jewish Religion may be called as Paul was."1] William Outram's reputation as a Hebraist rested on his De Sacrificiis Libri Duo (Two Dissertations on Sacrifices) of 1677, in which he explained that ancient Jewish sacrifices were the type of which the sacrifice of Christ was the antitype. His detailed description of Jewish sacrifices may well have grown out of Cudworth's teaching on the Temple of Jerusalem. His argument also had considerable similarities with Cudworth's 1642 Discourse concerning the True Notion of the Lords Supper, in which he had established the true nature of a sacrifice. Ou tram was not writing specifically against Jews and his erudi tion shows considerable respect for their ancient history, theology and litur gical practices, in which he became a noted expert. Rather, his target was the Socinians, the most liberal of Protestants, who rejected the divinity of Christ. He wanted to refute their characterization of Jesus, as a man who provided a perfect example to be imitated by Christians, by showing that only a human being who was also fully divine could provide the perfect sacrifice, as both priest and victim, to take away the sins of the whole world throughout all human history.72 This article has attempted to show that Whichcote and Cudworth accepted neither the Jewish messianism nor the Puritan millenarianism which gave religious impetus to the calling of the Whitehall Conference. We will never know exactly what Whichcote and Cudworth contributed to the discussions at Whitehall in December 1655 but perhaps we now have a better sense of why they were called to be members of the conference. In the long run, their commitment to toleration, which helped to create a climate of religious plurality in Britain, probably did more to enable the re-establishment of 71 Hallywell in Rust, Remains, [sigs] [a]"-[a4]; for Hallywclfs references to Mede, see Mede, Works, 891-2. 72 Cudworth, True Notion of Lords Supper; William Outram, De Sacrificiis Libri Duo (London: Richard Chiswell, 1677); William Outram, Two Dissertations on Sacrifices, trans. John Allen, 2nd ed. (London: Holdsworth and Ball, 1828); Lewis, "Thomas Wadsworth", 183. 6o</page><page sequence="21">Cambridge Platonists' attitudes towards the readmission of the Jews, 1655-56 Anglo-Jewry than any advocacy of formal readmission would have done in 1655. Perhaps the most important result of this study has been to highlight the academic career of Cudworth as a Hebraist, an area which surely merits further research. It is to be hoped that a scholar with the requisite expertise in both Hebrew linguistics and Renaissance chronology will undertake this valuable task. 61</page></plain_text>

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