Sacy, Antoine Isaac Silvestre de°

views updated


SACY, ANTOINE ISAAC SILVESTRE DE ° (1758–1838), French Orientalist and Hebraist of the Romantic-Catholic school. In 1817, he published a pamphlet entitled Lettre à M. Le Conseiller de S.M. le Roi de Saxe… opposing the integration of the Jews within Christian society, written in criticism of C. *Bail's Des Juifs au 19e siècle (1816). In the opinion of Sacy, integration of the Jews would be equivalent to a unification of religions or abolition of the specific characteristics of the various religions. This he considered an impossibility:

The believing Jew cannot doubt that he is a member of the Chosen People of God which has been separated from all other peoples; or that its autonomy, its political existence, its ritual, and its national glory must one day be reestablished. On the other hand, the Christian knows that the Bible has taught him that this people, still awaiting a Messiah who has already come, has been preserved among the nations by Divine Providence as a living witness of heavenly retribution, but at the same time is a precious offspring of promised regeneration.

Sacy's work aroused lively polemics in France and Germany which continued until around 1825.


A.T. D'Esquirons de St. Agnon, Considérations sur l'existence civile et politique des Israélites (1817); L. Bendavid, in: Zeitschrift fuer Wissenschaft der Juden (1822), 197–230.

[Baruch Mevorah]