Bettelheim, J B
Bettelheim, J. B.
a Presbyterian minister, was born in Presburg, the capital of Hungary, in 1811. His parents were devout Jews and were anxious that he should become a rabbi. At nine years of age he could read and write Hebrew, German, and French. He attended medical lectures at Padua, and received the degree of doctor of medicine. He then travelled through various parts of Italy and Greece, practicing his profession, after which he went to Egypt and entered the navy of Mehemet All, having received the appointment of chief surgeon. While stationed at. Smyrna an Italian Bible was placed in his hands by the English Episcopal missionary, and also the New Testament in German; these he began to study, and he became so deeply interested that after five months he was impressed that it was his duty to preach the Gospel to his brethren the Jews. With this view he went to London, and in an interview with the bishop he was informed that he must study theology at least three years at Oxford or Cambridge University. Feeling the burden upon him that he must preach, he commenced as an Independent, and preached to the Jews in London with great success. In 1845 he was sent by a society of naval officers to the Loo Choo islands, where he remained seven years, acquiring the language and translating the Gospels into Japanese and Chinese. In 1850 commodore Perry found him there, and he rendered important service to that officer by acting as his interpreter. He went with the commodore to Hong Kong, China, and after remaining some time came to New York, where he spent two years in missionary work, and then removed with his family to Illinois. In 1868 he settled at Brookfield, Mo., where he died, Sept. 9, 1869. See The Presbyterian, March 12, 1870. (W. P. S.)