Henry More would have liked Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, himself as well an avid follower of witches, demons, goblins, and unidentified apparitions. Co-nan Doyle also comes to mind when contemplating Henry More and the Jews, for here again his famous character provides us with some important clues, drawing our attention to ‘the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime’. But the ‘dog did nothing in the night-time’. ‘That was the curious incident’, he remarked.1 For despite More’s well-known involvement with kabbalah, mysticism, and the millenarian interpretation of Scripture, it is somewhat surprising that apart from one reported dinner with a Jew in 1672, he seems hardly to have come into contact with living Jews at all, even though by his death in 1687 a thriving community already existed in London. An examination of More’s missed Judaical opportunities is not therefore yet another historical might-have-been, but rather a means towards understanding the real nature of his celebrated philo-semitism.2


Seventeenth Century Historical Society Latin Translation Hebrew Language Bodleian Library 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Arthur Conan Doyle, ‘Silver Blaze’, in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes printed in Sherlock Holmes: the Complete Short Stories (London: John Murray, 1928), 326–7.Google Scholar
  2. 2a.
    See A. Lichtenstein, Henry More; (Princeton; Princeton University Press, 1986), 77–80.Google Scholar
  3. 2b.
    S. Hutin, Henry More; (Princeton; Princeton University Press, 1986), 77–80.Google Scholar
  4. 2c.
    F.I. McKinnon, Philosophical Writings of Henry More; (Princeton; Princeton University Press, 1986), 77–80.Google Scholar
  5. 2d.
    R.L. Colte, Light and Enlightenment; (Princeton; Princeton University Press, 1986), 77–80.Google Scholar
  6. 2e.
    B.P. Copenhaver, “Jewish Theologies of Space in the Scientific Revolution”; (Princeton; Princeton University Press, 1986), 77–80.Google Scholar
  7. 2f.
    A. Funkenstein, Theology and the Scientific Imagination (Princeton; Princeton University Press, 1986), 77–80.Google Scholar
  8. 3.
    More to Anne Conway, 5 Feb. 1671–2, Conway Letters, ed. M.H. Nicolson, p. 352.Google Scholar
  9. 4.
    Generally, see D.S. Katz, “The Abendana Brothers and the Christian Hebraists of Seventeenth-century England”, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 40 (1989): 28–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 5.
    On the translation of the Mishnah, see Katz, ‘Abendana Brothers’. Also, Richard H. Popkin, “Some Aspects of Jewish Christian Theological Interchanges in Holland and England, 1640–1700”, in Jewish-Christian Relations in the Seventeenth Century: Studies and Documents, ed. Jan van den Berg and Ernestine van der Wall (Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1988).Google Scholar
  11. 6.
    Edward Pococke, The Theological Works, ed. Leonard Twells, (London, 1740) 1:64. Curiously, Abendana was not the first Jew to be connected with Pococke. According to Twells, when the subject of depriving him was discussed in about 1650, ‘It appears from a Letter, written about this Time, by one of his Oxford Friends, that Menasseh Ben Israel had been desired to send over a learned Jew of his Acquaintance in Holland; but that Jew, being lately turn’d Christian, was more inclin’d to accept of an Offer he had from some Protestants in France, and Menasseh, being offended at his Conversion, would not concern himself any farther with him’. Ibid. 1:33.Google Scholar
  12. 7.
    Jacob Abendana, Cuzary (Amsterdam, 5423[= 1663]), esp. sig.*2. On Davidson see DNB and W.S. Samuel, “Sir William Davidson, (1616–1689) and the Jews”, Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England, 14 (1940): 39–79, where the dedication is translated, 40–1 and 65–6.Google Scholar
  13. 8.
    Pococke, Theological Works, 1:64.Google Scholar
  14. 9.
    Henry P. Stokes, Studies in Anglo-Jewish History (London: Jewish Historical Society of England, 1913), 220, from the archives of Trinity College. Cf. idem, A Short History of the Jews in England (London: S.P.C.K., 1921), 74–5. See Abendana to Johannes Jacobus Buxtorf, Basel University Library, MS A XII 19: I am grateful to Prof. Raphael Loewe for this reference and a photocopy of the MS.Google Scholar
  15. 10.
    Katz, “Abendana Brothers”, 38–40.Google Scholar
  16. 11.
    Oldenburg to Boyle, 28 Jan. & 4 Feb. 1667–8: Oldenburg, Correspondence, 4:121 & 145.Google Scholar
  17. 12.
    John Worthington to John Lightfoot, 13 Feb. 1665–6, in John Lightfoot, The Whole Works, ed. J.R. Pitman (London, 1824), 13:433–4.Google Scholar
  18. 13.
    Cf. Bodleian Library, MS Seiden, supra 109, fol. 378r: Seiden buys Hebrew books from Menasseh.Google Scholar
  19. 14.
    Stokes, Studies, 220.Google Scholar
  20. 15.
    Cambridge University Library, MS U. Ac. 1 (4), fol. 40 of 1669 sec. (13 Mar. 1668–9); ibid. fol. 41 (1 June 1669) and fol. 42 (1 Sept. 1669).Google Scholar
  21. 16.
    Isaac Abendana, ‘[Mishnah’] Cambridge University Library, MS Mm 1 4–9:i. 299, 411, 447, 511, 583. The MS itself is composed of six quarto volumes and is written almost entirely in Isaac Abendana’s hand. For more on the Mishnah, see Katz, “Abendana Brothers”.Google Scholar
  22. 17.
    More to Anne Conway, 5 February 1671–2, Conway Letters, p. 352.Google Scholar
  23. 18.
    Cambridge University Library, MS. U. Ac.1 (5), 14 Jan. 1665–6 (i.e. 1675–6), fol. 20 of sect. 1676.Google Scholar
  24. 19.
    Notes from the university archives by Anthony Wood, written in the second half of the seventeenth century, Bodleian Library, MS Wood E 5, fol. 116r.Google Scholar
  25. 20.
    Generally, see El Libro de los Acuerdos, ed. & trans. Lionel D. Barnet (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1931), p. xii; Bevis Marks Records, pt. 1, ed. idem (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1940), 9–10; Albert M. Hyamson, The Sephardim of England (London: Methuen, 1951), 59–60.Google Scholar
  26. 21a.
    London Jews to Charles II with reply by Henry Bennet (later Lord Arlington), n.d. & 22 Aug. 1664, SP. 44/18, pp. 78–9, C.S.P.D. 1663–4, p. 672. For a photograph of the original petition in the Bevis Marks Archives see Bevis Marks Records, part. 1, pp. 8–9, plate iii. Charles II, Order in Council, 11 Feb. 1673–4, photograph ibid. p. 11, plate iv. London Jews to James II, n.d., ibid. pp. 13–14, plate v. Generally, see D.S. Katz, Philo-Semitism and the Readmission of the Jews to England, 1603–1655 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982); idem, “English Redemption and Jewish Readmission in 1656”, Journal of Jewish Studies, 34 (1983): 73–91;Google Scholar
  27. 21b.
    Henry S.Q. Henriques, The Jews and the English Law (London: Oxford University Press, 1908);Google Scholar
  28. 21c.
    P.C. Webb, The Question Whether a Jew (London, 1753), 39–40.Google Scholar
  29. 22.
    W.S. Samuel, “The First London Synagogue of the Resettlement”, Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England, 10 (1924): 1–147.Google Scholar
  30. 23.
    “Memoria de la Gente que ay en la Nacion de Londres por Abraham Israel Zagache que llego a dha Ciudad en 12 de Dbre 1680 y llego a esta de Hamburgo en 8 de Abril 1684 y ay hasta dho dia lo sequiente”, in Bevis Marks Records, pt. 1. pp. 16–20, from a MS at Ets Haim Library, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  31. 24.
    “The Burial Register of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews, London, 1657–1735”, ed. L.D. Barnett, Miscellanies of the Jewish History Society of England, 6 (1962): 6. The ‘Bethahaim Velho’ is at 243 Mile End Road, London. Abendana’s later successor, David Nieto, in a letter of 1719 to Christian Theophilus Unger gives his date of death erroneously as 3 Tishri 5456 [= 1696]: reprinted in Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England, 12 (1931): 38–44, esp. p. 40.Google Scholar
  32. 25a.
    W.D. Macray, ed., A Register of the Members of St. Mary Magdalen College, Oxford (London, 1894–1915) 4:48.Google Scholar
  33. 25b.
    Abendana’s predecessor at Magdalen was the notorious Jewish professional convert Paul Isaiah: ibid. p. 11 and generally, W.S. Samuel, The Strayings of Paul Isaiah in England, 1651–1656’, Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England, 16 (1952): 77–87. Oakley to Arthur Charlett, n.d., Bodleian Library, MS Tanner 20, fol. 71r. Charlett became master of University College in 1692.Google Scholar
  34. 26a.
    For possible connections with Locke, see G. Weil, “Aus einem Briefes John Lockes”, Sonci-no Blätter 1 (1925–6): 199–208.Google Scholar
  35. 26b.
    For Newton see J.J. Petuchowski, The Theology of Haham David Nieto, 2nd. ed. (New York: Ktav, 1970), 246.Google Scholar
  36. 27a.
    Thomas Hearne, Remarks and Collections of Thomas Hearne, 3, ed. CE. Dobie, Oxford Historical Society Publications, 13 (1889): 76, entry for 4 Nov. 1710.Google Scholar
  37. 27b.
    Cf. A. Peritsol, Itinera Mundi, ed. Thomas Hyde (Oxford, 1691);Google Scholar
  38. 27c.
    Thomas Hyde, De ludis orientalibus (Oxford, 1694).Google Scholar
  39. 28.
    For Abendana and the invention of the Oxford diary, see Katz, “Abendana Brothers”. See also Isaac Abendana, Discourses of the Ecclesiastical and Civil Polity of the Jews (London, 1706), the essays printed in book form.Google Scholar
  40. 29.
    For Rawlinson, see Bodleian Library, MS Rawlinson J 4° 2, fol. 212r. For Hickes, see Bodleian Library, MS Rawlinson 15, fol. 76 (9 Apr. 1715) and fol. 77 (26 Apr. 1715), reprinted in Hearne, Remarks and Collections, vol. 5, ed. D.W. Rannie, Oxford Historical Society Publications, 42 (1910): 42, 52–3. For Bernard, see W.D. Macray, “A Letter from Isaac Abendana”, in Festschrift zum achtzigsten Geburtstage Moritz Steinschneider’s (Leipzig, 1896), 89–90.Google Scholar
  41. 30.
    Anthony Wood, The Life and Times of Anthony Wood, vol. 3, ed. A. Clark, Oxford Historical Society Publications, 26 (1894): 2 (20 Jan. 1682), 324 (4 Feb. 1689–90), 422 (10 May 1693).Google Scholar
  42. 31.
    Abendana to Covel, 5 May 1698, from Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Tanner 22, fol. 46r; idem, 9 Oct. 1696, from Oxford, British Library, Additional MS 22 1910, fol. 450r.Google Scholar
  43. 32.
    Robert Boyle, Some Motives and Incentives to the Love of God, in Boyle, Works, 1:279, and A Free Enquiry into the Vulgarly Received Notion of Nature, ibid. 5:183. Cf. James R. Jacob, Robert Boyle and the English Revolution (New York: Franklin, 1977), 109–10.Google Scholar
  44. 33.
    Richard Kidder, A Demonstration of the Messias (London, 1684–1700), 2: sigs. A3v-A4v.Google Scholar
  45. 34.
    More, Annotations upon... Lux Orientalis, 27. Professor J. van den Berg was the first to notice this meeting between them, in his “Menasseh ben Israel, Henry More and Johannes Hoornbeeck on the Pre-Existence of the Soul”. Cf. the unpublished part of Ward’s biography of More, Christ’s College, Cambridge, MS 20, p. 129. More did cite Menasseh in the same breath as Maimonides in CC, 113, 150.Google Scholar
  46. 35.
    M.R., Memoirs of the Life of Mr. Ambrose Barnes, ed. W.H.S. Longstaffe, Publications of the Surtees Society, 50 (1866): 17.Google Scholar
  47. 36.
    Ward, Life, 144.Google Scholar
  48. 37.
    More to Anne Conway, 21 Mar. 1671–2, Conway Letters, p. 355.Google Scholar
  49. 38a.
    See esp. L. Roth, “Hebraists and Non-Hebraists of the Seventeenth Century”, Journal of Semitic Studies 6 (1961): 204–21;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 38b.
    I. Herzog, “John Seiden and Jewish Law”, Publications of the Society for Jewish Jurisprudence, 3 (1931).Google Scholar
  51. 39a.
    On cabbala generally, see Gershom Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism (Jerusalem: Schocken Publishing House, 1941); idem, Kabbalah (Jerusalem: Keter, 1974). On Christian kabbalah,Google Scholar
  52. 39b.
    see J.L. Blau, The Christian Interpretation of the Cabala in the Renaissance (New York: Columbia University Press, 1944);Google Scholar
  53. 39c.
    F. Secret, Les Kabbalistes Chrétiens de la Renaissance (Paris: Durod, 1964);Google Scholar
  54. 39d.
    W.J. Bousma, “Postel and the Significance of Renaissance Cabalism”, JWCI 17 (1954): 318–32;Google Scholar
  55. 39e.
    Frances A. Yates, The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979); D.P. Walker, Ancient Theology.Google Scholar
  56. 40.
    More, CC, title page, sig. A6r-A7r.Google Scholar
  57. 41.
  58. 42.
    More to Anne Conway, 9 Aug. [1653], Conway Letters, p. 83.Google Scholar
  59. 43.
    More, CC, 84.Google Scholar
  60. 44.
    Cf. A. Coudert, “A Cambridge Platonist’s Kabbalist Nightmare”; and H. Fisch, Jerusalem and Albion (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul), 187–9.Google Scholar
  61. 45.
    See generally, A. Coudert-Gottesman, ‘Francis Mercurius Van Helmont’.Google Scholar
  62. 46.
    More to Anne Conway, 5 Feb. 1671–2, Conway Letters, pp. 350–2. Cf. More to Anne Conway, 11 Aug. 1674, ibid., p. 390.Google Scholar
  63. 47.
    More to Knorr von Rosenroth, 22 Apr. 1675, from Ragley: Knorr, Kabbala denudata, I, ii, 173–6. The original letter is in the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel, Cod-Guelf 30.4, fol. 14. (Coudert, “Van Helmont”, 524).Google Scholar
  64. 48.
  65. 49.
    Knorr, Kabbala denudata, 1.2: 179, 300–2. More to Anne Conway, 11 Aug. 1674, Conway Letters, p. 390. Coudert, art. cit. at n. 44; Ward, Life, 128–9.Google Scholar
  66. 50.
    More, Annotations upon... Lux Orientalis, 147.Google Scholar
  67. 51.
    These tracts were published in 1677 as part of the Kabbala denudata. Cf. Copenhaver, “Jewish Theories”, 526.Google Scholar
  68. 52.
    See generally, Coudert, “A Quaker-Kabbalist Controversy”. For Furly on the pre-existence and transmigration of souls, see Furly to Locke, 30 Jan./9 Feb. 1694, Bodleian Libarary, MS Locke c.9. fols. 113–14; Furly to Desmaizeux, from Rotterdam, 9/20 Dec. 1700, British Library, Additional MS 4283, fols. 264–6; Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel, Cod-Guelf 30.4, Auftrags-Nr. 5519 (including letters between George Keith, Van Helmont, Knorr, More and Furly); Coudert-Gottesman, “Van Helmont”, 640. Also Nicolson, “George Keith and the Cambridge Platonists”.Google Scholar
  69. 53.
    More to Anne Conway, 29 Dec. 1675, Conway Letters, p. 415–16. Cf. More to Anne Conway, 10 Jan. 1675–6, ibid., p. 418.Google Scholar
  70. 54.
    More, CSPW, AA, 14.Google Scholar
  71. 55.
    Anne Conway to More, 29 Nov. 1675, Conway Letters, pp. 407–9.Google Scholar
  72. 56.
    Ward, Life, 198.Google Scholar
  73. 57.
    Lord Conway to Sir George Rawdon, 28 Dec. 1677, Conway Letters, pp. 439–41.Google Scholar
  74. 58.
    For Anne Conway’s philosophical views, see her Principles, written c. 1672–3, first published anonymously in Amsterdam in 1690 and in England in 1692. See also Carolyn Merchant, The Death of Nature.Google Scholar
  75. 59.
    Knorr, “Arnica responsio”, Kabbala denudata, 1.1: 18–19. Trans. Coudert, “Van Helmont”, 407.Google Scholar
  76. 60.
    More to Knorr, 22 April 1675. See n. 49 above.Google Scholar
  77. 61.
    Knorr, Kabbala denudata, II, i, 18–19. Trans. Coudert, “Van Helmont”, 407.Google Scholar
  78. 62.
    Denis Saurat, Milton, Man and Thinker (London: Dent, 1944); R.J.Z. Werblonsky, “Milton and the Conjectura Cabbalistica”; M.H. Nicolson, “Milton and the Conjectura Cabbalistica”,Google Scholar
  79. 63.
    DNB, s.v. “Lightfoot, John”.Google Scholar
  80. 64.
    Edward Gibbon, Memoirs of My Life, ed. B. Radice (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1984), 82.Google Scholar
  81. 65.
    Izaak Walton, The Compleat Angler (London: Dent, 1906) 148–9.Google Scholar
  82. 66.
    More, MG. Cf. Katz, Philosemitism, chap. 4, “The Debate over the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel”. For More’s influence on others, especially that much-neglected figure, Emanuel Swedenborg, see Hutin, More, 185–204.Google Scholar
  83. 67.
    R.H. Popkin, “The Third Force in Seventeenth-Century Thought”, 21–50.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • David S. Katz

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations