Finch, Sir Henry°

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FINCH, SIR HENRY ° (1558–1625), English philo-Semite and precursor of Zionism. Finch was a member of parliament and distinguished jurist whose legal writings were studied for two centuries after his death. He was also an accomplished Hebraist and profoundly interested in theology. His Explanation of the Song of Songs (London, 1615) discussed the New Jerusalem. In his anonymous The World's Great Restauration, or Calling of the Jews (London, 1621) – one of the classics of Christian pro-Zionist literature – he invited the Jews to reassert their claim to the Promised Land, and Christian monarchs to pay homage to them. Although this was to be accompanied by the conversion of the Jews to Christianity, his views aroused much criticism. James i resented the suggestion that he should pay fealty to the Jews and the work was suppressed as derogatory to royal dignity. The author and the publisher were imprisoned until they expressed contrition for this "unadvised" writing.


Kobler, in: jhset, 16 (1952), 101–20. add. bibliography: odnb online; D.S. Katz, Philo-Semitism and the Readmission of the Jews to England, 1603–1655 (1982), index; W. Prest, "The Art of Law and the Law of God: Sir Henry Finch (1558–1625)," in: D. Pennington and K. Thomas (eds.), Puritans and Revolutionaries (1978), 94–117.

[Cecil Roth]