Beugnot, Auguste Arthur°

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BEUGNOT, AUGUSTE ARTHUR° (1797–1865), French lawyer, senator (1841), and delegate to the National Assembly (1848). Beugnot was keenly interested in the improvement of the situation of the Jews in France. In 1822, together with J.B. Capefigue and G.B. Depping he won a French Academy competition for a paper Juifs d'occident, ou recherches sur l'état civil, le commerce, la littérature des Juifs en France, en Espagne et en Italie, pendant la durée du moyen âge (Paris, 1824). Beugnot showed thorough knowledge of Jewish history and concluded his study with an exposition of the contributions of the Jews to the growth of European economies and culture. He asserted that whatever negative traits the Jews possess can be blamed on the Christians. In 1824 the Institute of Science, Agriculture, and Art in Strasbourg announced a competition under the patronage of an anonymous Jew, which had as its purpose to find "the most helpful ways in enabling the Jewish population of Alsace to enjoy the accomplishments of civilization." Beugnot won first prize but his submitted work never appeared in print. A resumé of his "Quels sont les moyens les plus propres à faire jouir la population israélite de l'Alsace des bienfaits de la civilisation?" appeared in Journal de la Société des Science, Agriculture et Arts du Departement du Bas Rhin (1 (1824), 114–6; 2 (1825), 297–320). He proposed that a council of Alsatian Jews be formed, under state sponsorship, to form committees for schools, publication of textbooks, experimental farms, trade, and charity. He argued that it was necessary to found a modern theological school and also proposed changing the Sabbath to Sunday.

[Noe Gruss]