Gerson, Christianus

Gerson, Christianus, a Lutheran minister of Germany, was born of Jewish parentage, August 1, 1569, at. Recklinghausen, in the then electorate of Cologne. He received his rabbinical education at the seats of learning in Fulda and Frankfort-on- the-Main. For a long time he supported himself and his family by instructing in Hebrew. While at Essen, a poor Christian woman brought her New Test. to him, which she pawned. Out of curiosity he commenced reading that book, which finally resulted in his conversion. He left his family and went to Brunswick, where he applied to the duke Heinrich Julius, begging that through his influence he might be instructed in the full truth of the Christian religion, and be baptized. He was received into the Church of St. Martin, at Ialberstadt in 1600, and took the name of Christianus. He remained a considerable time at Halberstadt, and then went to the University at Helmstadt, aided by a munificent stipend from the duke. At the university he instructed the students in Hebrew and rabbinical literature, corresponded with Buxtorf and Wagenseil, and even received a call from the king of Denmark to Copenhagen, as teacher of Hebrew and rabbinical literature at the university. In 1612 he was ordained, was appointed deacon, and. afterwards pastor at Berg, in the principality of Anhalt, and died September 25, 1627. Gerson's son, whom the Jews had concealed for five years, also became a Christian, while his wife, who resisted the truth, was divorced from him in 1605 through the consistory of Wolfenbuttei. Gerson is the author of Judischer Talmud. Der furnehmste Inhalt des Talmuds und dessen Widerlegung (Goslar, 1607; 6th ed. 1698, transl. into Danish and French): — חלק der talmudische Judenschatz (Helmstadt, 1610). See Furst, Bibl. Jud. 1:329 sq.; Wolf, Bibl. Hebraea, 1:1008; 3:976 sq.; Kalkar, Israel und die Kirche, page 94; Le Roi, Die evangelische. Christenheit und die Juden (Leipsic, 1884), 1:117 sq.; Jocher, Allgemeines Gelehrten-Lexikon, s.v. (B.P.)

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