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The Jewish South. (Richmond, Va.) 1893-1899, August 25, 1893, Image 1

Image and text provided by Library of Virginia; Richmond, VA

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn94051168/1893-08-25/ed-1/seq-1/

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BEN-BEOR.
A STORY OF THE ANTI- MESSIAH
IN TWO DIVISIONS.
Part I.—Lunar Intaglios, The Man in the
Moon, a counterpart Of Wallace's "Ben
Hur." Part ll.—Historical Phantasma
goria, The Wandering Gentile, a compan
ion romance to Sue's " Wandering Jew."
Here's a book for every Jew to
read ; to be passed from sire to son
, and from mother to daughter. The
critic had this book for more than
a year before reading it; he did in
deed, soon after obtaining it make
an attempt, but after going over a
chapter or two concluded that the
hallucinations of the author were
hardly worthy of a further perusal.
His attention having been recently
called to the book by a lady of
literary taste he returned to it with
a suspicion of disappointment
which, however, has not been con
firmed. The work speaks for itself
in such tones of strength that the
Jewish reader may, with confidence,!
request any of his christian breth
ren to examine its contents without
fear of the results.
By the over-zealous Jewish student
it might be objected that too much
has been conceded to the founder of
Christianity, to whom, as well as
to such followers as Luther and
Calvin, he has been extremely lib
eral in his praise; but writing from
so broad a platform as that occu
pied by the author it is probably
best that he should make as many
concessions as possible without in
jury to the cause he advocates.
The Jew is at times handled with
suspicious severity, but this treat
ment is generally based upon such
occasional acts as merit reproof;
in the end he receives ample justice
at the hands of the author. *
Balaam, the hero of the book, is
represented as the carnal personifi
cation of hatred to the Jews, against
whom he swears, in early life, un- I
dying hatred because the ideal ,
woman whom he loves is friendly
to the race and rejects his suit. After
allowing his animosity full sway
; and inventing many schemes that
shall bring misery and unhappiness
!to this gifted people, he at length
gives up life on this sphere and is
transferred to the moon; there he
follows the same tactics, but being
expelled from lunar regions by
Elijah, he is sent back to mundane
scenes where he again takes up his j
career of undying hatred to the
chosen people and is present at the
destruction of the temple, the)
methods for which are arranged by
him. Disappointed in his attempt
to annihilate the followers of Ju
daism, he follows the scattered rem
nants from place to place, with
bitterest malice inciting persecution
and employing the most hideous
methods of torture to gratify his
unnatural antipathy.
The story of the middle ages, in
cluding the inquisition and the cru-1
sades, is told in terse and instructive
style. The reader is by this time
fully prepared to find that Balaam
under an assumed name is the in
stigator of ttie* inquisition as well
as one of the main inquisitors; he
is also the author of the blood-ac
cusation for the Passover sacrifice,
and the accuser who first charges j
the Jews with having poisoned the j
wells when the black-death pesti-j
lence raged with such fierceness" J
throughout southern Europe.
While it would otherwise never ap
pear reasonable to the calm thinker
that such monstrous charges should
find credence, the author constructs
his story with such logical clever
ness that it seems quite consistent
for such a character to be able to
dominate during a period of super-,
stition and bigotry.
The author further shows how the
rise of civilization and the freedom
of the Jews, go hand in hand on
their destination and with a pen
that rivals the genius of a Raphael,
pictures to the mind scenes of blood
shed and brutality that accompany
every false accusation.
Throughout the work there are
presented leading characters of
Jewish, Christian, Moslem and pro
fane history, and by frequently quo
ting irom their writings and forci
bly introducing the best thoughts
of the greatest writers, the interest
of the reader is readily retained.
The book has many faults, some
of them quite serious, but they may
be readily forgiven by the Jewish
reader in consideration of the emi
nently worthy object the author
had in view*and for the masterly
way in which he has portrayed the
injustice of potentates, creeds and
reformers to a people who through
suffering and persecution have borne
the banner of morality and truth
out of the darkness of barbarism
into the light of civilization.

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