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Emanuel Deutsch of 'The Talmud' Fame

Mrs. Beth-Zion Lask Abrahams

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Emanuel Deutsch of The Talmud Fame* BETH-ZION LASK ABRAHAMS It is given to few to change ingrained beliefs and by so doing reverse attitudes to what has been vilified and traduced for hundreds of years. It is of few men in the Anglo-Jewish community that it can be said that they altered by their writing the position of Judaism in the English world of thought, so that what was before an embarrassment to be explained away apolo? getically became a proud admission. And it was a rare achievement to influence by intellectual contact and learning a great writer, and so implant in her the idea of the resurrection of Jewish Statehood twenty years before Herzlian Zionism. Emanuel Deutsch, the subject of my paper, achieved all these. SEVERE EDUCATION Emanuel Deutsch (his full name was Emanuel Oscar Menachem Deutsch) was born in Silesia on 28 October 1829 and came of strictly Orthodox parentage. His father was one of four brothers, three of whom were Rabbis, all noted for their opposition to the Reform movement then agitating German Jewry. At the age of eight, EmanuePs educa? tion was entrusted to the most brilliant of the brothers, Rabbi David Deutsch,1 of Mislovitz, author of various notable Rabbinical works. The young lad's education was of the severe, exacting kind then usual in Eastern Europe, being wholly devoted to Talmudic study, with little time for play. 'Before I knew how to read and write the language of the land wherein I was born', he wrote long afterwards in an autobiographical fragment,2 'my lips were taught to stammer the Aleph-Beth, and to re? cite my prayers in the tongue of David ... It was deemed well to steep my soul for a time absolutely in the ocean called the Talmud'. His uncle grounded him well in Jewish studies. His influence shaped Emanuel's future so that even when he attended the local gym? nasium, and later the Berlin University, he con? tinued his Talmud studies. From the age of 16 he supported himself by giving lessons and writing occasional articles in the press, in the meantime employing his spare time in studying languages and the Greek and Roman classics. Few other particulars are available of the years between, but it is clear that he was known in Berlin Jewish circles, for when early in 1855 the British Museum's Ber? lin agents, Asher and Co., were asked to recom? mend an assistant, someone who knew Hebrew, for their library department, Emanuel Deutsch was the person suggested. His own letter of application, still to be seen in the Museum's archives, was very carefully written in German, and was accompanied by a letter signed by Albert Cohn, the Berlin bookdealer, intro? ducing him as 'a young man of 23 (and a Jew) . . . endowed with natural cleverness . . . He understands Latin, Greek, and Hebrew per? fectly . . . English and French, he understands both languages . . . though he does not speak English fluently ... he will soon become a master of it'. Cohn goes on reassuringly, 'His moral conduct has hitherto been faultless and his character thoroughly respectable'. So in 1855 Emanuel Deutsch came to Lon? don to take up his appointment in a minor capacity at the British Museum. EXPERT LINGUIST Little is known of his early years in London, though from accounts written by various friends after his death, one gathers a picture of widen? ing social contacts in literary and art circles. At the British Museum his position was that of an all-round assistant helping in the cataloguing of books, in which his knowledge of languages was put to practical use, as well as in the archaeo? logical and antiquity departments. In his spare * Paper delivered before the Jewish Historical Society of England, 7 January 1970. 1 Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. IV, p. 546. 2 Introductory Memoir, p. viii, Literary Remains of Emanuel Deutsch, ed. Lady Strangford (John Murray, London, 1874). E 53</page><page sequence="2">54 Beth-?ion Lask Abrahams time he studied ancient languages, such as Chaldaic, Aramaic, Sanskrit, and Amharic, not to mention Phoenician. His name began to be noticed when certain reviews on the subjects in which he was soon a recognised expert began to appear in the learned journals which abounded in the mid-Victorian era. Deutsch also studied Arabic and Islamic sub? jects; and in 1865 two reviews, one on 'Early Arabic Poetry' and the other on 'Egypt Ancient and Modern', appeared in the Saturday Review. His work also became known in the small circle of Biblical scholars. Many of his early contribu? tions appeared anonymously, but it is known that more than 190 essays and articles from his pen were published in Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, as well as in Chambers''s Encyclopaedia and Kitto's Cyclopaedia of Biblical Literature. THE SYDENHAM CIRCLE About this time Deutsch lived in Sydenham, south London, one of a group described as the Sydenham Circle in the biography of Sir George Grove,3 a founder and Secretary of the Palestine Exploration Fund, as well as editor of the Dictionary of Music and Musicians and of Macmillan's Magazine. Many of the members of the Sydenham Circle later became eminent, among them being Arthur Sullivan, Holman Hunt, Edmund Yates, the Lehmanns, Mos cheles, Shirley Brookes, editor of Punch, and George Du Maurier. The most important of Deutsch's friendships of this period was with the Leweses?George Henry Lewes and Mary Ann Evans, best known as George Eliot the novelist, whom he met through the Lehmanns. This was for George Eliot at least a momentous friendship, for it was to Emanuel Deutsch that she was indebted for the Jewish content of Daniel Deronda, the novel in which, with a seer's vision, she writes of the restoration of Jews to the Land of Israel two decades before the advent of Theodor Herzl and political Zionism. Deutsch is first mentioned in the list of the famous Sunday afternoon gatherings at the Lewes home in July 1866. Up to this time George Eliot had not evinced any sympathetic interest in Jews or things Jewish. On the con? trary, in an early letter, she had written, 1848: 'My gentile nature kicks most resolutely against any assumption of superiority in the Jews, and is almost ready to echo Voltaire's vituperation. I bow to the supremacy of Hebrew poetry, but much of their early mythology, and almost all their history, is utterly revolting. Their stock has produced a Moses and a Jesus; but Moses was impregnated with Egyptian philosophy, and Jesus is venerated and adored by us only for that wherein He transcended or resisted Judaism . . . Everything specifically Jewish is of a low grade'. Emanuel Deutsch was to work the remark? able change in her attitude which resulted in her novel Daniel Deronda and her essay, 'The Modern Hep! Hep! Hep!', an appreciation and understanding of Jewish history remarkable in a non-Jew. The friendship was close, Deutsch being a frequent visitor, 'the brightest German they ever saw'. After reading his article in the Pall Mall Gazette* in which he deplored the general ignorance prevailing on Islam, George Eliot wrote to him, 'Of course, no one else but you could write it and unless with the treasure of knowledge within you, you do a great deal more of the same sort, you will deserve the anathemas of men to come, who will lack some? thing you might have given them. Especially, pray, return often to that note of reproach for unashamed ignorance, and insist that con? scientious efforts to know is part of religion. See how I take it on me to tell you your duty!.. .'5 In August of the same year, while on holiday in Germany, George Eliot directs Deutsch where to send what she refers to as his 'precious, packet'?the proofs of his article which was to be published in October, evidence that he valued her opinion, for he asked for her criti? cism, writing in a light vein, 'this young mani? festo of the Deutsch party (consisting at present of myself) that desires to explain the historic possibility . . . [and] to bridge over one of the ghastliest gulfs in History, to restore to Human? ity one of its finest and oldest vantage grounds, 3 D.N.B. (1820-1900). 4 7 Aug. 1867, pp. 512-13. 5 27 Aug. 1876. The George Eliot letters are in Yale University (collected letters, 6 vols. Ed., Prof. Haight).</page><page sequence="3">Emanuel Deutsch of The Talmud Fame 55 and to shame shrieking fanaticism and ig? norance out of its existence by a few simple facts and adages'. GEORGE ELIOT'S HEBREW The friendship was based on mutual interest and in proof of this Emanuel Deutsch under? took to give George Eliot lessons in Hebrew one evening a week. About this time George du Maurier, the Punch artist and later author of the ever-popular Trilby and other novels, went with Deutsch for a holiday to Paris. An amusing account of this is to be found in his granddaughter Daphne du Maurier's The Young George Du Maurier. Theirs was an easy friendship, due in a large measure to Deutsch's good nature and sparkle, as his friends all testify. 'His amiability is irresistible', writes Du Maurier to his wife, 'but funnily enough we didn't get to talk with anything like geniality until we got into an argument about Jesus Christ . . . and that we could have done just as comfortably in Great Russell Street. . .'6 Deutsch's social circle was wide, somewhat Bohemian; and he was a popular figure. Robust at that time, he was very short and, according to Sir Charles D?ke, the Victorian politician, 'he was met everywhere with his little yellow gloves, his smile and all that running about London. He was the best talker I ever knew. The only fault was, that as he was the only man on his particular subject, no one could contra? dict him'.7 DESCRIBING DEUTSCH Lady Strangford,? herself a traveller and example of the Victorian woman very different from today's popular conception of the meek stay-at-home wife, knew Deutsch and describes him: 'He was the oriental type of Jew: eyes and hair of the darkest, with flexible, ever varying expressive mouth of the Israelite; a face the reverse of handsome but one that lighted up under the glow of an enthusiastic nature . . . There was a certain loneliness of heart about him that frequently hangs around the transplanted Jew'.9 A different picture is presented by James Finn, who, it will be remembered, was Her Britannic Majesty's Consul at Jerusalem from 1846 to 1863. Living in retirement in Hammer? smith, he writes in his journal, 16 October 1867: 'Evening visit from Mr. Deutsch of the British Museum?highly intellectual conversa? tion about the East?the Phoenicians, palaeology in general?and we gradually warmed him up with Jewish music, though he is one of those persons who try to conceal their Jewish origin. He promised to show us the most recondite curiosities of the British Museum ... It is not impossible that he may be sent by the Museum to Abyssinia together with the military expedi? tion to look after MSS. and such matters'. Here there is a contradiction to the charac? ter we know of Deutsch. It is possible that in this instance he did not wish to be drawn into any argument, knowing that Finn was the son in-law of the Rev. Dr. Alexander McCaul,10 the Poor. In 1876 she helped to organise relief for the Bulgarian peasants and established a hospital for wounded Turkish soldiers in the Russo-Turkish War. She founded the Cairo Victorian Hospital and a medical school in Beirut. In 1887 she died while on her way to open a hospital for British seamen in Port Said. She was the sole beneficiary in Emanuel Deutsch's will. 9 Literary Remains, Lady Strangford's Intro., p. xiv. 6 The Toung George du Maurier?a Selection of his Letters 1860-67, ed. Daphne du Maurier (Peter Davies, London, 1951). i See Arbiter of Elegance, by Bea Howe (London, 1967), p. 106. s Emily Anne, Viscountess Strangford, travelled in the Near East and visited the Holy Land and published (1861) Egyptian Sepulchres and Syrian Shrines. After the death of her husband, who was said to be the original of Benjamin Disraeli's 'Coningsby' in the novel of that name, Lady Strang? ford underwent training as a nurse, and founded the National Society for Providing Trained Nurses for io Alexander McCaul (1799-1863) was born in Dublin and sent by the London Society for Pro? moting Christianity among the Jews to Poland as a missionary to the Jews. Here he studied Hebrew and Rabbinics. He published in 1836, on his return to London, The Old Paths, an attack on the Talmud and Rabbinical Judaism (see 'Stanislaus Hoga, Apo? state and Penitent', in Transactions XV, J.H.S.E., pp. 121-149, 191-196). McCaul took a leading part in confuting the Damascus Blood Libel in 1840. He was offered the office of first Protestant Bishop in Jerusalem, but refused it in favour of Michael Samuel Alexander, a converted Jew and Anglican priest. McCaul dedicated his life to trying to bring about the conversion of Jews to Christianity.</page><page sequence="4">56 Betk-?ion Lash Abrahams the well-known missionary; and that Finn, like the former, had the conversion of the Jews to Christianity very much at heart. He had come to obtain letters of introduction to certain eminent leaders of the Ethiopian Church whom Finn had met during the course of his consular period in Jerusalem. Regarding the Abyssinian project men? tioned by Finn, the Trustees of the British Museum had selected Deutsch to accompany the British Army expedition as archaeologist and to examine available MSS.; the Treasury had agreed to finance the expenses incurred, but, in the event, Deutsch himself asked to be released from the mission. The time was now at hand for the spectacu? lar publicity of Deutsch's essay simply entitled 'The Talmud'?a work with which his name is essentially associated and upon which his fame rests. In October 1867 it appeared anony? mously in the Quarterly Review. Deutsch himself explains the title: '. . . It is for a very good reason that we have placed nothing but the name of the Talmud itself at the head of our paper. We have sought far and near for some special book on the subject ... a book which should not merely be a garbled translation . . . interspersed with vituperation and supple? mented with blunders, but which from the platform of modern culture should pronounce impartially . . . We have not found such a book, nor anything approaching it'. THE TALMUD The essay begins with the stark question: 'What is the Talmud?' followed by an exposi? tion clearly, brilliantly written, which at once established itself as an Anglo-Jewish classic. It was an extraordinary achievement on a theme which had been ridiculed and falsified by haters of Jews and Judaism, as well as traduced by missionaries dedicated to the con? version of Jews to Christianity. The Talmud, though known to Jews brought up as Deutsch had been in the old tradition of Hebrew scholarship, was scarcely known except by name to most English Jews, and certainly, in England at least, it was a work which they ashamedly considered out of date in the light of the ? then secular knowledge and scientific 'enlightenment'. In particular it had been viciously attacked by Alexander McCaul in Old Paths, an anti Talmud work which, first appearing in 1837, had not received any adequate Jewish answer. In its second edition, 1846, appeared the state? ment that the West London Reform Synagogue and its liturgy had renounced what Old Paths had pronounced as objectionable in the Tal? mud : and further suggested that the work had influenced the German Reform Rabbis. McCaul himself, according to James Finn,11 had been privately consulted by Prof. D. W. Marks, first Minister of the West London Synagogue, regarding certain anti-Talmud aspects of Jewish religious reform. McCaul contended that though the Jews were a great and noble people, they were the victims of a system, namely, the Talmud, by which they were bound and misrepresented. The perni? cious Old Paths had been quoted in Parliament against Jewish emancipation. MISSIONARIES' MANUAL This then was the atmosphere thirty years after the first appearance of Old Paths, which, in the meantime, had been translated into several languages and become the handbook of missionaries and Jewish converts to Christianity in their attack against Rabbinical Judaism. A reply by Judah Middleman, in 1847, named New Paths, had little if any impact. Deutsch's essay came as a bombshell and its effect was phenomenal. It brought the Talmud into popular knowledge out of its cocoon of mystery, out of the studies of scholars into pub? lic notice, presenting it in a style which for directness and simplicity could scarcely be bettered, and one which appealed alike to the scholar and the lay person. Very soon people were speaking of the essay; it was in demand; and in a very short time the October number of the Quarterly Review went into seven reprints! An unprecedented event; never before had such a thing happened to any journal, let alone a learned journal. 'The Talmud' essay became a best-seller! Emanuel Deutsch's name was now 11 Unpublished papers of James Finn.</page><page sequence="5">Emanuel Deutsch of The Talmud Fame 57 attached to his essay and he became the literary lion of the season. The press wrote about the essay. The very name Talmud became a house? hold word. 'The author of the glorious article on the Talmud', wrote George Eliot12 en? thusiastically to a friend, 'is that bright little man, Mr. Deutsch, a very dear, delightful creature'. Soon it was translated into several languages, among them Swedish and Ice? landic.13 It had clearly come to fulfil an interest to the lay and religious reading public, Jewish and non-Jewish, educated as people then were in the Bible and Scriptural history. To Chris? tians, his essay demonstrated that the key to the life and sayings of the founder of their faith was to be found in the Talmud itself. ENTHUSIASTIC WELCOME The effect on the Jewish community was dramatic. The essay was jubilantly acclaimed by the Jewish press; and extracts were pub? lished running over several issues. The Jewish Record declared14: 'Not very many months separate us from the time when even a Jewish journal must have prefaced an article having "The Talmud" as title with something re? sembling an apology. Now the title is a magic password that wins admission, nay, even wel? come, into columns of review, magazine and even newspaper. Wondrous change!' 'How strange', wrote Haim Guedalla in the Jewish Chronicle,15 'on one side we have a celebrated descendant of Jews, Disraeli . . . and the other, we have a champion of Israel glorifying our long and vilified religion and literature'. Per? haps the writer had in mind that Disraeli's father, Isaac D'Israeli, had himself in his Genius of Judaism (published 1832) attacked the Tal? mud?not from personal acquaintance with the venerable Hebrew tomes, but one suspects from a desire to find a scapegoat for his own quarrel with his people in having his children baptised into the dominant faith. The Jewish Chronicle was enthusiastic and wrote an editorial on 8 November 1867, im? mediately, hastily, because 'we wished', stated the editor, 'to draw attention ... to the most remarkable paper which we believe offers the long waited reconciliation between the old and the new faiths'?and expresses gratitude to the Quarterly Review for having brought, as it puts it, 'the much maligned Talmud under the notice of the British public'. What effect did the unexpected and im? mediate success and publicity have on Emanuel Deutsch himself? Without personal documents and letters?he himself, it seems, destroyed his papers?it is difficult to say, but he continued as formerly attending to his subordinate duties at the British Museum, contributing articles and reviews to the press, and seeing his friends as before. He was now, however, in the public eye; people coming to the Museum asked to see him, and things were made no easier for him as a result. It is clear from a letter dated 16 December 1867, from George Eliot, just two months after the appearance of his essay, that he was disturbed by the envy of some who resented his success. She writes: 'We have been thinking of you much since you parted from us yesterday, and have made ourselves all the more indignant at the buzzing and stinging which is tormenting you. I beseech you not to battle with it . . . Get rid of it all by a huge effort of will, and don't run the risk of being maddened by insect stings. Let your articles be what they please?are you account? able to the world for the fuss they have made about it ? If wiseacres say it has been overrated ?was it by a conspiracy of yours that the Quarterly went into six editions ? Let the quar? rel fight itself out, but resolve that no editorial or other influence will drag you into it. MEETING ACCUSATIONS 'Only when a definite accusation is made, meet it with a definite answer. The ill-nature and nonsense you are suffering from can have no permanent influence against you except by your allowing it to'. The London Society for the Promotion of Christianity among the Jews was, from the very beginning, alert to the effect that Deutsch's 12 1 Dec. 1867. 13 In more recent years it has been reprinted on several occasions by the Jewish Publication Society of America. 14 Vol. 1, No. 1, 5 June 1868, and following numbers. is 22 Nov. 1867.</page><page sequence="6">58 Beth-?ion Lask Abrahams article was exerting. This is clearly put in their journal, the Jewish Intelligence, which, though published in July 1871, is apposite here. Headed 'The Talmud versus the Bible', it reads: 'Not very long ago, Dr. Deutsch wrote an Essay in favour of the Talmud, and a consider? able portion of the Christian public, both here and abroad, were so taken with his new theory, as to favour him with applause, and his theory with a considerable amount of credulity. 'A number of celebrated Christian scholars and divines, apprehensive that this essay might possibly have a mischievous effect on some minds, at once wrote with great ability against it; but, alas! not with all the hoped-for result; for those that were so bewitched with the Ger? man Judaizing novelty, heeded not what had been so justly and so ably advanced against it; they still hold fast to it . . . The mischief al? ready done by that essay on the Talmud is per? haps greater than we are aware, and if it is not speedily and thoroughly counteracted, no one can tell how far many, perhaps very many more, might not gradually be led astray respecting their faith in the divine authenticity of the New Testament. Do not some of the leading papers insinuate, and do not many in Christian private circles repeat the same, that some of the sublime moral sayings and teachings of the New Testament owe their origin to the Talmud? If true, what follows? Many Christians will, if they do not do so already, infer that the Talmud must be prior and superior to the New Testa? ment. What blasphemy! Oh, if Christians were but aware of the baneful influence of the Judaizing tendencies of some of the learned, they would then at once recognise the danger to which many of the unlearned are exposed. To borrow a Rabbinical simile . . . the case is urgent. WARNING CHRISTIANS 'If the flame has fallen among the cedars, what can the hyssop on the wall do ? If levia? than is drawn up with an hook, what can the small fry do? Christians, there is danger! Let us be on our guard! . . . 'From the above short statement respecting The Talmud v. the Bible, may clearly be seen that the case is urgent . . .'16 Still, nothing could diminish Deutsch's suc? cess and popularity. Mrs. Walford, in her Memories of Victorian London (1912), gives a pleasant chatty account of being taken round the British Museum, and states that Deutsch 'turned out to be quite "a little dear"; very small, very natty in his dress, and very unlike the dry-as-dust antiquity' she had expected. Mrs. Andrew Grosse, in Red-Letter Days of My Life (1892), also has pleasant recollections of Deutsch, who never flaunted his learning, but even easily adapted himself, if the occasion arose, to playing with children, of whom he was very fond. She gives a charming account of some such incident.17 DEVOTION TO STUDY In the biography of Sir George Grove (1903) a romance is hinted at?but there is no clue to follow.18 The Rev. H. R. Haweis, a popular preacher of the period, in his long and moving obituary notice published in the Contemporary Review19 after Deutsch's death, stresses Deutsch's devotion to study, to the exclusion of the usual human frailties; and says he planned to write 16 A picture to boost the sale of The Pentateuch according to the Talmud, by P. I. Hershon, a Jewish convert to Christianity, was published with the title: 'The Talmud as presented by E. Deutsch, P. I. Hershon and J. A. Eisenmenger', with Hebrew quotations under each name. Above this, three identical young women (!) represent the three writers?each in white and with a veil. The first, for Deutsch, has the veil draped over the right eye; Hershon, in the centre, has a black patch over the right eye and carries, as the centre-piece, several volumes of books; while the figure on the right, Eisenmenger, not only has the veil draped over the left eye but a black patch also over the right eye. An explanation on the obverse states that the picture is intended to symbolise the opposite of Partiality, the middle course of Impartiality. The verse from the Bible added for Deutsch is from the Song of Songs, iv, 7, 9. i7 Vol. 2, pp. 342-348. is Mr. Stephen Haweis, son of the Rev. H. R. Haweis, an artist then living in Dominica, British West Indies, in a letter (1959) stated that 'his friends regarded it as exceedingly unlikely that he would ever have married anybody but a Jewess as his sense of race was very strong.' 19 April 1874.</page><page sequence="7">Emanuel Deutsch of The Talmud Fame 59 an all-embracing work on the Talmud, his essay being an introduction to this?but this was not to be. Instead, in the two years im? mediately following the publication of his essay, he was busily engaged not only in the British Museum but also in lecturing up and down the country. Letters from his pen on archaeological and Near Eastern antiquities, such as the Moabite Stone, appeared in the press and learned journals. So well known was he that he was consulted by many eminent scholars and political figures; and was invited by the Egyptian Government to be present at the official opening of the Suez Canal, but leave to attend this event was refused by his employers. Early in 1869 Mr. Gladstone con? sulted him about an article he was writing on Greek culture, and sent Deutsch the proofs for his comment and opinion. Honoured by the great statesman's request, he answered, in a ten-page letter, that one of the burning ques? tions of contemporary science concerned the relation between ancient Greece and Phoenicia, or, as he put it, the dominating influence of Semitic upon Indo-European and so on Greek culture. He enlarges on this, declaring that from different ends he and Gladstone had ar? rived at the same conclusion. As yet, he adds, there had been no real excavations in proof. 'What has been done', he writes, 'is a mere scratching of the surface: who knows what revelations there may be hidden in submarine Tyre and Eastwards in the Syrian desolations bursting to tell us their lost tale ?'20 A query and foreseeing which the Qumran Scrolls and Massada discoveries have come to answer in our own day. He would be proud, he asserted, to assist Gladstone in any way. Before a reply came to this letter Deutsch was on his way to Palestine, on commission from the British Museum to examine and deci? pher certain stone inscriptions. Along the route he sought Semitic antiquities?in Paris, in Marseilles, Cyprus, Cairo, and Alexandria, Arabic as well as Hebrew inscriptions were of like interest. Reaching the shores of the Holy Land, he wrote, 'The East: all my wild yearn? ings fulfilled at last!'21 He went up to Jerusalem and there among his fellow-Jews at the Western Wall, remnant and reminder of Israel's sacred Temple, he was so overcome with emotion that afterwards he could seldom bring himself to speak of the experience without tears. He was asked as an expert by the Palestine Exploration Fund to identify certain marks on some stones, and was lowered down the shaft of a well, a taper and magnesium his sole means of il? lumination. His account is to be found in the Fund's very first volume.22 At Nablus he was able to inspect the ancient Samaritan Scrolls, thanks to a letter of introduction from James Finn to the High Priest of the Samaritans. MUSEUM TRIBUTE Attached to the report he presented to the Museum Trustees on his return was the official comment: 'Considering the shortness of the time in which the tour was accomplished ... he observed many things which less instructed travellers have overlooked . . . and succeeded in obtaining sight of certain secluded treasures where a less enterprising and persevering traveller would have failed to overcome local difficulties'. Though the comment is extant, Deutsch's report of this important mission is missing. And if the account above presents a scholar immersed solely in serious academic investiga? tion, to the exclusion of all else, to counteract this sombre impression, in Mrs. Walford's pre? viously mentioned reminiscences there is an anecdote related by Deutsch himself which illustrates that light-hearted, humorous side of his character which endeared him to his friends. After Charles Reade, the novelist, at a social gathering, had told of a personal episode in the Near East, Deutsch related an incident of his tour of 1869. At Alexandria he found the Customs officials disagreeable and very rude. 'They are fierce fellows when their blood is up', he related, and was determined to end the obnoxious conduct of one official in particular. He went up to him, and whispered in his ear. The effect was magical?and on inquiry from his listeners, Deutsch confessed that he had 20 Gladstone Papers, British Museum, 2/2/1869. 21 Lady Strangford, op. cit. 22 Palestine Exploration Fund Report, VoL I, 1870.</page><page sequence="8">60 Beth-Zion Lask Abrahams said to him in the Arabic vernacular, 'Thou son of a pig!'?an insult which had the desired effect. NO RELAXATION On his return from Palestine he enjoyed no respite from work. There was no relaxation, and he chafed at the restrictions imposed by his subordinate position and thought of applying for the post of librarian at Windsor Castle, then becoming vacant. He wrote to Gladstone to sponsor his application, which the latter was willing to do. But in the event Deutsch himself, finding he could not comply with certain requirements, withdrew it. About this time the first symptoms of his fatal illness became apparent. After his death his friends23 ascribed his illness to the treatment he suffered at the hands of British Museum officials, whose envy, they said, kept him from the promotion his abilities and service merited. But surely it was a difficult position his superiors found themselves in, to have under their authority a man the learned societies and scholars deferred to; a subordinate commis? sioned by The Times (1869) to write three articles on the Ecumenical Council being held in Rome. There was no denying the variety and breadth of Emanual Deutsch's knowledge, not only on matters of Jewish interest but also on the Church and Islam as well as ancient languages and archaeology. The promotion he did receive was strictly routine and based on length of service, not on his achievements out? side his duties. The strain was telling on the once robust Emanuel Deutsch. He obtained sick leave and received medical attention, but his condition began to deteriorate. He withdrew from the society of his friends, but by a fortunate chance the Rev. H. R. Haweis met him one day and, shocked by his appearance, brought him to stay at his home in Welbeck Street. Here he was tended by both Haweis and his wife. Despite his illness, he dragged himself to the British Museum, buoyed up while there by sheer will-power and determination not to give in. But there were terrible nights of suffering, 23 Including Haweis and Grove, in their Memoirs, and Stefan Poles also. although he was sedated by the drugs then used. When George Eliot first heard of his ill health, she wrote scolding him for not taking more care of himself, adding '. . . I hope you intend henceforth to dine and sleep like a stupid Christian'.24 Later, on 7 July 1871, she wrote, 'My dear Rabbi . . . Remember, it has happened to many to be glad they did not commit suicide, that they once ran for the final leap. . . ' A sign, indeed, that he must have revealed his despair to her, and that he had contemplated an end to his suffering by self destruction. PHYSICAL SUFFERING The account Haweis gives in his 'Memoir'25 of Deutsch of this time makes harrowing read? ing ; and one can only pity his terrible physical sufferings while wondering at the amazing fortitude displayed. In the biography by Bea Howe of Mary Eliza Haweis,26 wife of Mr. Haweis, Arbiter of Elegance, published as recently as 1967,27 further glimpses are revealed of these months Deutsch spent in Welbeck Street. There is also shown the attachment which grew between Deutsch and Mrs. Haweis, herself a writer and sensitive artist as well as a designer and indoor decorator; and the grati? tude which turned into love. In the biography based in part on her journal, we see the humour and wit, Heinesque in its bite, of the man, so that one can only echo Mary Eliza Haweis, 'How I wish there had been some Boswell to chronicle some of the things he said to us!' But there was no hope for Deutsch?he suffered from a particularly aggravated form of internal cancer. He was granted six months' sick leave from the Museum, but would not pay his biannual visit to his aged parents in 24 George Eliot's collected letters, Yale. 25 Contemporary Review, April 1874. 26 Mary Eliza Haweis (1848-1898), the daughter of Thomas Musgrove Joy, a Victorian portrait painter, married the Rev. Hugh Reginald Haweis, a popular preacher and writer. She was a talented designer of clothes, as well as one of the first interior decorators, and published popular works on the subject. Her private Thought Book has, according to her biographer, many intimate and sympathetic references to Emanuel Deutsch. 27 The Harvill Press, London.</page><page sequence="9">Emanuel Deutsch of The Talmud Fame 61 Germany, to spare them the shock of his appearance. Apart from his physical suffering, he was tortured mentally, for he now knew he could never complete his projected work on the Talmud, of which his essay had been but the prelude. He agonises in a letter28:' .. . I work on my metaphysical Talmud-developments, and see how wasted all that grace, and keenness, and catholicity of the minority has been wasted on the majority, and what things of it all have become the heirlooms of Humanity. . .' And as he contemplated further the kind of things that make mankind happiest, he felt, as others before him, the futility of his own self-sacrifice. In the end, he came to the conclusion of Kohe leth: 'all is vanity!' On another occasion29 he declares, '. . . there is a frightful curse?a nameless curse? laid on the man who touches or divulges certain sanctities in the Talmud, and I, the first man for hundreds of years who could read the secrets, have done it, and the curse is come upon me'. DEATH IN EGYPT Towards the end of December 1872 Deutsch left for Palestine, hoping that here he would regain his health. He got as far as Alexandria, but died there on 12 May 1873. His one anxiety when he lay on his death-bed was that he should receive Jewish burial, a wish that was granted; and he was buried in the Alex? andria Jewish cemetery. His tombstone bore inscriptions in Hebrew, English, German, and Arabic. Rabbi Dr. Hermann Adler, later Chief Rabbi, wrote the Hebrew inscription, feelingly, for he knew him personally, to 'The well-beloved, whose heart was burning with good things, whose pen was the pen of a ready writer?Menachem, son of Abraham Deutsch . . . who departed from this world on Monday, the 9th of Iyar, in the year, "Arise, shine, for thy light is come" '. His death at the early age of 44 did not end his distinction. When, some months later, December 1873, in a review of certain theo logical works in the Edinburgh Review, reference was made to Deutsch's Talmud essay as merely superficial, George Grove, his friend of Sydenham days, wrote a spirited article in MacmillarCs Magazine, objecting strongly to the aspersion cast. He throws interesting light on the composition of the Talmud essay, writing: 'My friend did me the honour to take me in his confidence and I urged on him again and again that he should give some account of the outside of the book?of the numbers and contents of the various tractates. . . I now see how far superior his instinct was to mine. ... In writing his article Mr. Deutsch had two alter? natives: first to give. . . a mere account of the Talmud, an easy superficial catalogue of its contents, well stuffed with names and refer? ences; and secondly, as a Jew, a profound scholar in Jewish, Pagan and Christian lore, a poet and a genius, to give such an exposition of the spirit and intention of the subject as should show how faithful a reflection it was of the mind and temper of his nation. . . . He threw himself, adds Grove, 'with all the force, variety, freshness, affection, poetry and genius, which made him so remarkable to all who knew him, into his writing?and the essay was a glorious overture to an entire opera which, alas, Emanuel Deutsch did not live to complete'. A year after his death, in 1874, a collection of his essays and reviews appeared under the title The Literary Remains of Emanuel Deutsch, edited by Lady Strangford. The introductory memoir is a feeling tribute and personal appre? ciation of a devoted friend; and in its composi? tion Lady Strangford consulted George Eliot. Asked to review the Literary Remains for the Contemporary Review, the Rev. H. R. Haweis wrote a 20-page obituary in the April 1874 number, a tribute which one cannot read unmoved, as well as an attack on those who sought to belittle Deutsch's achievements. PUBLIC ACCLAIM Writing from personal knowledge, Haweis notes that as a result of Deutsch's famous essay, a public banquet had been given him at Edinburgh; that flattering invitations to lec? ture had come from the United States; one of 28 Literary Remains, Lady Strangford's Intro., p. xiii. 29 See Haweis, Contemporary Review, April 1874.</page><page sequence="10">62 Beth-Zion Lask Abrahams the Royal Princesses considered herself fortunate in securing the first page of his essay written in his own hand; that he was an honoured guest at the table of the Prime Minister; even a stock subject of public comment at popular enter? tainments?fame indeed!?and that letters of eulogy reached him from all parts of the world.30 There had been a project to petition Parliament to appoint Deutsch Keeper of Semitic Antiquities at the British Museum, but owing to some trifling technical mistake in the Petition's terminology, this was shelved. Haweis did not mince words in his charges against the treatment Deutsch received at the hands of the officials of the British Museum. Another and scurrilous attack on the Museum authorities was published by a certain Stefan Poles in 1875 under the title: The Actual Condi? tion of the British Museum: A Literary Expostula? tion. This pamphlet declares that Deutsch was 'slowly murdered by the studied and petty jealousy of officials who were his superiors in rank only and who chafed at the knowledge that they were in every other respect immeasur? ably below him'. Poles31 names officials and 30 At a lecture on the Talmud given in December 1890 at the Princes Hall, London, by the Rev. Isidore Myers, who had returned from a position in Australia, Sir Philip Magnus, the Chairman, in his introductory remarks, said: '. . . .In 1867, the well-known scholar, Deutsch, wrote an article in the Quarterly Review which electrified the British public. Edition after edition was sold, and the author, previously known among Jewish savants only, awoke one morning to find himself famous. He was for a time the lion of English society. He gave a lecture to a crowded and fashionable audi? ence at the Royal Institution, and such was the eagerness of all sorts of people to learn something more about this great work, that I am told that ladies drove in their carriages to Mudie's library to ask for a copy of the Talmud, and anxiously enquired whether they could have any one of the three volumes in which, they supposed, this work of 2,947 folio pages was published. . .' [I am indebted to Mr. J. M. Shaftesley for this reference, reported in the: Jewish Chronicle of 12 Dec. 1890.] 31 Stefan Poles, or Pohles, a converted Jew and Russian spy, a son of Rabbi Tugenholdt, of Warsaw, had taken part in the 1848 political up? heavals in Europe, was one of the earliest literary agents in London, and gained notoriety by win? ning a libel action against The Times. See James Hepburn, The Author's Empty Purse (O.U.P., 1968), pp. 48-49. gives a terrible account of the then prevailing conditions at the Museum, with a picture of Deutsch, already a sick man, shivering in the draughty basement, not allowed a hot drink, and declaring, 'When I die, something may yet be done'. BURTON'S FALSE CHARGE The next reference to Deutsch is by Richard F. Burton, the traveller and translator of the Arabian Nights?no lover of Jews, as one can see from his book The Jew, the Gypsy, and El Islam?1, in which he expresses his belief in the false charge that Jews commit ritual murder. In a footnote to one of the Arabian Nights tales, Burton has: 'The stricter kind of Eastern Jew prefers to die on the floor, not in bed, as was the case with the late Mr. Emanuel Deutsch, who in his well-known article on the Talmud had the courage to speak of "our Saviour" \33 This statement was refuted in a review of that particular volume, and Burton writes in the last volume of his Arabian Nights:34 'The Review . . . corrects me in the matter of the late Mr. Emanuel Deutsch, who excised "our Saviour" from the article on the Talmud re? printed amongst his literary remains. The Reviewer, ... let me own, knew more of Mr. Deutsch than I, a simple acquaintance, could know; but perhaps he does not know all, and if he did, he probably would not publish his knowledge. The truth is that Mr. Deutsch was, during his younger years, a liberal, nay a latitudinarian in religion, differing little from the so-styled "Christian Unitarian". But when failing health drove him to Egypt and his hour drew nigh he became (and all honour to him!) the scrupulous and even fanatical Hebrew of the Hebrews; he consorted mainly with the followers and divines of his own faith; and it is said that he ordered himself when dying to be taken out of his bed and placed upon the bare floor. . . The "Saviour" of the article was perhaps written in his earlier phase of religious 32 Ed., W. H. Wilkins, London, 1898. 33 Tale: 'The Angel of Death and the Proud King', vol. V, p. 248. 34 Burton's rejoinder to Edinburgh Review notice is on p. 359 of Vol. 12 of his The Book of The Thou? sand Mights and a Night (1897).</page><page sequence="11">Emanuel Deutsch of The Talmud Fame 63 thought, and it was excised as the end drew in sight'. But G. R. Meade, editor of Hibbert''s Journal, in his work Did Jesus Live 100 B.C.?, published in 1903, in chapter V, headed 'The Talmud in History', writes: ' "Deutsch himself was a Jew converted to Christianity when he wrote his famous article in 1867, yet how marvellously does he differ from his predecessors of the Middle Ages, who led the onslaught on the Talmud. . . Deutsch passes them by with scarcely a notice, and seems never to have realised that they were the main cause of all the trouble, and we have the new and pleasant spectacle of a converted Jew pen? ning the most brilliant defence of the Talmud which has ever been written outside the circles of orthodox Jewry." NOT A CONVERT 'So I wrote when this chapter appeared as an article in the Theosophical Review (Oct. 1902). I had then no doubt on the subject, because of the frequent use of the words "our Lord" throughout the famous defence. What, then, was my surprise to find that an old friend of Deutsch's denied absolutely that he was a convert, and asserted that the Editor of the Quarterly, much to Deutsch's annoyance, had deliberately changed "Jesus" into "our Lord" throughout the article. The Jewish Chronicle (21 Nov. 1902) also pointed out that I was mistaken in describing Deutsch as a convert to Christianity. Whereupon I wrote to the Chief Rabbi, Dr. Hermann Adler, who courteously replied as follows: "I was very intimate with the late Immanuel Deutsch, and can state un? hesitatingly that he was deeply annoyed that in the first edition of the Quarterly Review Jesus was spoken of as 'our Lord'. This was changed in the subsequent seven or eight editions of that number of the Quarterly.' It scarcely need be added that no one read? ing Deutsch's writings can doubt that he was a man with a passionate love for his people and with pride in their past history and faith in their future, and no apostate. But more important than Burton, or Mead, or those others who wrote about Deutsch, is George Eliot. His was the dominating inspiration and influence in her writing of Daniel Deronda; and on him she based the character of Mordecai. Others have been claimed as the original of Mordecai, but all conjecture is set aside by George Grove, who on first reading Daniel Deronda when it was published in 1876, wrote35 enthusiastically to George Eliot that it made him think of 'our dear Deutsch'; and further, that she 'makes Mordecai?like Deutsch?a great scholar, a man. . . weakened by disease, consciously within the shadow of advancing death, but living an intense life in an invisible past and future, careless of his personal lot, except for its possibly making some obstruction to a con? ceived good which he would never share except as a brief inward vision'. AN ENTHUSIAST In summing up the character of Mordecai in Daniel Deronda, George Eliot depicts Emanuel Deutsch better than I can when she writes: 'He is not what I should call fanatical. . . Mordecai is an enthusiast: I should like to keep that word for the highest order of minds?those who care supremely for grand and general benefits for mankind. He is not a strictly ortho? dox Jew, and is full of allowances for others; his conformity in many things is an allowance for the condition of other Jews. . .' I can end my paper no better than by quot? ing the obituary tribute of an Anglo-Jewish journal which itself had valiantly fought the battle of Judaism against heavy odds:36 'We unhesitatingly say that from the publication of that article [ The Talmud'] we date the altered position of Judaism in the English world of thought. . . Men in the public arena win honours and distinction and thus achieve a great position for their community in the politi? cal and social world, the world of action; but Deutsch achieved a position for his community in the world of thought and intellect. Action is the body: Thought is the Soul!' 35 George Eliot letters at Yale. 36 Jewish Chronicle, 16 May 1873.</page></plain_text>

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