Historical Reprints History Jew, The Gypsy, and El Islam, The

Jew, The Gypsy, and El Islam, The

Jew, The Gypsy, and El Islam, The
Catalog # SKU1271
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.50 lbs
Author Name Sir Richard F. Burton


The Jew, The Gypsy,
and El Islam

Sir Richard F. Burton

The first part-The Jew-has a somewhat curious history. Burton collected most of the materials for writing it from 1869 to 1871, when he was Consul at Damascus. His intimate knowledge of Eastern races and languages, and his sympathy with Oriental habits and lines of thought, gave him exceptional facilities for ethnological studies of this kind. Disguised as a native, and unknown to any living soul except his wife, the British Consul mingled freely with the motley populations of Damascus, and inspected every quarter of the city-Muslim, Christian, and Jewish. His inquiries bore fruit in material, not only for this general essay on the Jew, but for an Appendix dealing with the alleged rite of Human Sacrifice among the Sephardím or Eastern Jews.


The ethnologist and the student of general history are urgently invited to consider the annals and the physical and intellectual aspects of the children of Israel, perhaps the most interesting subject that can occupy their attention. The Jew, like the Gypsy, stands alone, isolated by character, if not by blessing. Traditionally, or rather according to its own tradition, the oldest family on earth, it is at the same time that which possesses the most abundant vitality. Its indestructible and irrepressible life power enables this nation without a country to maintain an undying nationality and to nourish a sentiment of caste with a strength and a pertinacity unparalleled in the annals of patriotism.

The people that drove the Jews from Judæa, the empires which effaced the kingdoms of Israel and Judah from the map of the world, have utterly perished. The descendants of the conquering Romans are undistinguishable from the rest of mankind. But eighteen hundred years after the Fall of Jerusalem, the dispersed Jewish people have a distinct existence, are a power in every European capital, conduct the financial operations of nations and governments, and are to be found wherever civilization has extended and commerce has penetrated; in fact, it has made all the world its home.

One obstacle to a matured and detailed ethnological study of the Jew is the difficulty of becoming familiar with a people scattered over the two hemispheres. Though the race is one, the two great factors blood and climate have shown it to be anything but immutable, either in physique or in character. Compare, for instance, the two extremes-the Tatar faced Karaïte of the Crimea with the Semitic features of Morocco, the blond lovelocks of Aden and the fiery ringlets of Germany with the greasy, black hair of Houndsditch. And as bodily form differs greatly, there is perhaps a still greater distinction in mental characteristics: we can hardly believe the peaceful and industrious Dutch Jew a brother of the fanatic and ferocious Hebrew who haunts the rugged Highlands of Safed in the Holy Land. Yet though these differences constitute almost a series of sub races, there is one essentially great quality which cements and combines the whole house of Israel.

The vigour, the vital force, and the mental capacity of other peoples are found to improve by intermixture; the more composite their character, the greater their strength and energy. But for generation after generation the Jews have preserved, in marriage at least, the purity of their blood. In countries where they form but a small percentage of population the range of choice must necessarily be very limited, and from the very beginning of history the Jew, like his half brother the Arab, always married, or was expected to marry, his first cousin. A well known traveller of the present day has proved that this can be done with impunity only by unmixed races of men, and that the larger the amount of mixture in blood the greater will be the amount of deformity in physique and morale to be expected from the offspring. Consanguineous marriages are dangerous in England, and far more dangerous, as De Hone has proved, in Massachusetts. Yet the kings of Persia intermarried with their sisters, and the Samaritan branch of the Jews is so closely connected that first cousins are almost sisters.

370 + pages - 8 x 5 inches SoftCover


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