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Schereschewsky, Samuel Isaac Joseph

SCHERESCHEWSKY, SAMUEL ISAAC JOSEPH

SCHERESCHEWSKY, SAMUEL ISAAC JOSEPH (1831–1906), Episcopalian bishop of China. Born of Jewish parentage at Tauroggen (see *Taurage), Lithuania, Schereschewsky went to America in 1854, where he became a Christian in 1855. In 1859 he went to China as a missionary, first in Shanghai and then in Beijing (Peking), where he lived for 13 years (1862–75), and in 1877 was appointed Episcopalian bishop of China. Inspired by a visit of three *Kaifeng Jews to Beijing in March 1867, the missionaries induced Schereschewsky to visit the Kaifeng Jewish community in the middle of that year. He found some 200 or 300 Jewish families in Kaifeng, a fair proportion of them in good circumstances. They had entirely lost their religion, intermarried with the local population, and were scarcely distinguishable from them. After a stay of about 25 days he was driven out of the city by a mob. Schereschewsky spoke 13 languages, among them Hebrew and Chinese. While in Beijing, he began to translate the Pentateuch from Hebrew into Mandarin Chinese. In 1881 he had a stroke, which semi-paralyzed his hands. Using two fingers, he completed his work. His translation is still outstanding, and because of his physical handicap the work is known as the "Two Finger Bible."

bibliography:

J.A. Muller, Apostle of China. Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky, 18311906 (1937).

[Rudolf Loewenthal]

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