Page 204 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 42

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brew and Indian words. He added nothing fresh to a literature
that went back at least as far as the sixteenth century. Far more
interesting was Noah’s effort to link the Jews and the Indians ty-
pologically: “Fifteen hundred years after the expulsion o f the Ca-
naanites by Joshua . . . the descendants o f Joshua” — Noah
meant the North American Indians — “a
time fall on the
Canaanites on another continent, knowing them as such, and
burn their temples and destroy their gigantic towers and cities.”21
According to Noah, Jews were thus “the first people in the old
world” — the ancestors o f Christianity — and “the rightful inher­
itors o f the new.”22On this basis, Jews could both claim legitimacy
in the New World, and argue, as Noah did, that destiny would be
theirs again: “the Jews . . . will stand forth, the richest, the most
powerful [and] the most intelligent nation on the face o f the
In his “Restoration Address” Noah continued in this same vein.
Although, o f course, his subject had changed, he continued to
insist that America and its Jews had a special role to play in the
Divine scheme, and that ultimately, with America facilitating the
process, Jews would reemerge triumphant. Restoration o f Jews
to the Holy Land was a commonly discussed theme in the 1840’s,
since many associated it with the predicted imminent approach
o f the millennium. But where others foresaw Jewish conversion
before Restoration, Noah, perhaps taking his cue from some
British restorationists, argued that Jews and Christians should
“unite in efforts to promote the restoration o f Jews in their
state, relying on the fulfillment o f the prophecies and the
will o f God for attaining the objects they have in view after that
great event shall have arrived.”24Delivering his address before a
mixed audience that included Christian missionaries, Noah
preached tolerance, and exuded patriotism (“I f I am right . . .
what a glorious privilege is reserved for the free people o f the
21 Mordecai M. Noah,
Discourse on the Evidences o f the American Indians Being the
Descendants o f the Lost Tribes o f Israel
(New York, 1837), p. 9.
22 “Address o f Mordecai Noah,” p. 249.
23 Noah,
Discourse on the Evidences,
p. 40.
24 Mordecai M. Noah,
Discourse on the Restoration o f theJews
(New York, 1845), p.