Mormons and Jews
by Steven Epperson
Through Gentile Eyes: Judaism in Early Nineteenth-century America and England
[p.1] Mormon positions on social and religious issues were both congruent with and distinct from those of other contemporary religious groups. The challenge is determining how, when, and why Mormons diverged from traditional Christian views of Jewish covenant and destiny.
To begin to understand this, it is necessary to examine popular attitudes and religious beliefs held by Christians toward Jews and Judaism at the time of the emergence of the Mormon church. Only then can we begin to understand the independence of Smith’s vision.
Carlos Baker has written that the Bible provided European colonizers and settlers with such a compelling parallel that they saw themselves in the image of the “Chosen People.” Not only did they call America the promised land but “grew to regard themselves as so like the Jews that every anecdote of [Jewish] tribal history seemed like a part of their own recollection.”1 If gentile Americans came to look upon themselves as a “Chosen People,” how did they express themselves about the living sons and daughters of Abraham in America?
Historians of the 1950s and early 1960s depicted American gentile-Jewish relations in the early nineteenth [p.2] century as more positive than those which blighted the European historical record—2 Indeed one American minister proudly claimed that the United States was “the only Christian nation which has never persecuted the descendants of Israel.”3 Thomas Jefferson worked to eliminate discrimination against Jews along with other religious minorities. George Washington’s “Address to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island,” delivered in 1790, demonstrated support for a Jewish presence in the fledgling nation.4 Certainly attitudes between gentiles and Jews were not always favorable. Still historians suggested that good relations predominated from colonization well into the 1870s.
A contrasting picture of widespread anti-Jewish expressions in public media has been brought into focus by more recent historical scholarship.5 Michael Dobkowski faults earlier historians for “de-emphasizing the importance of literary and social stereotyping as indices of prejudice. This is unfortunate, for, conceivably, ideology drove a wedge between Jews and gentiles simply by sharpening negative stereotypes.”6 European immigrants brought impressions derived from anti-Jewish theology, Christian passion pageants, legends of Wandering Jews and Shylocks, and anti-Jewish legislation.
Louis Harap has shown that American playwrights followed the conventions of the British stage. “Without exception,” he writes, Jewish characters are Shylocks: “none of the Jewish characters has a wife or a mother. Their milieu is not human but strictly financial.”7 John J. Appel points to the caricatures of Jews in American editorial cartoons, which began appearing as early as 1854: “the caricaturist’s vocabulary, invented in an unsympathetic or hostile Christian European milieu, had already endowed the long nosed Jew of American humor with features that easily were turned to anti-Semitic uses … His ‘evocative image’ relied on several centuries of Christian, European images, motifs and symbols, all [p.3] unsympathetic or hostile to the Jew as outsider, Christ killer, or representative of the new, capitalist order.”8 A reporter for the New York German Correspondent in 1820 noted to readers that ‘”Jew’ is an epithet which is frequently uttered in a tone bordering on contempt. Say what you will, prejudices against the Jews exist here, and subject them to inconveniences from which other citizens of the United States are exempt.”9
Isaac Meyer Wise began publishing the American Israelite in 1854 in part to counteract the abuse to which Jews were subject in antebellum America. “A rascally Jew figures in every cheap novel,” wrote Wise; “every newspaper printed some stale jokes about Jews to fill up space, and every backwoodsman had a few jokes on hand to use in public addresses; [and] all this called forth not one word of protest from any source.”10
Historians who have made Puritans into “benevolent Hebraists” and the founding fathers into “magniloquent philosemites” tend to overlook the degree to which Christians from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries—Jeffersonian rationalists, liberals, and transcendentalists included—were variously committed to a theology which represented the Jew “as a villain in the drama and mystery of salvation,”11 as a “rebel against God’s purpose,”12 and as a practitioner of a retrograde, depraved religion. In this prevailing view, Jews and their religion were “artifacts, unwilling witnesses to a divine purpose which had raised up Christianity and Christians in their stead as the Lord’s precious possession,” his covenant people and “new Israel.” The fate reserved for Jewish people was conversion and integration within the body of Christ. Sermons, diary entries, private correspondence, biblical commentaries, theologies, and ecclesiastical histories composed in America during these centuries are virtually univocal in their articulation of the basic anti-Jewish prejudice [p.4] which informs so much Christian theology and culture.13
Even Ezra Stiles (1727-95), Congregationalist minister, hebraist, president of Yale, and one of the least prejudiced Christians of his time, wrote in his diary, “How melancholy to behold an Assembly of Worshippers of Jehovah, open and professed enemies to a crucified Jesus.”14 Later he would press for a constitution for the new republic which would openly own Christianity as the religion of the land.15 Stiles’s successor at Yale, Timothy Dwight (1752-1817), in a sermon before the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions at its fourth annual meeting on 16 September 1813 singled out the refusal of the Jewish people to submit to the Christian gospel as an obstacle to God’s kingdom: ‘”Crucify him … His blood be upon us and on our children.’ To this day, the same spirit is retained by their descendants … The very curse, which their ancestors invoke, appears still to rest upon them … ‘If ye believe not … ye shall die in your sins.’ It cannot be doubted, that this declaration extends its terrible efficacy, with equal certainty, to every subsequent generation [of Jews].”16
Congregationalist presidents of Yale were not alone in their appraisal of Jewish people. Liberal Protestant and transcendentalist theologians and historians bent on rediscovering the essentials of the Christian faith criticized “judaizing” tendencies and teachings as a plague on the church.17 Theodore Parker (1810-60) wrote in May 1841: “The theological doctrines derived from our fathers seem to have come from Judaism, Heathenism and the caprice of philosophers, far more than they have come from the principles and sentiments of Christianity. Many tenets that pass current in our theology seem to be the refuse of idol temples and off-scourings of Jewish and heathen cities.” “Forsaken Israel, wandering alone,” had at one time served its [p.5] purpose, but lacking the essentials for it to be “a complete religion,” it has been replaced by the “religion of Jesus.”18
The treatment of Judaism in the works of other prominent American religious figures, including James Freeman Clarke, Lyman Abbott, and Crawford Toy, is cut essentially from the same cloth. Christian universality is contrasted with Jewish particularism. The “new” Israel of grace had replaced the “old” Israel of ritual and law. The rederuptive role of the Jewish people and its covenant ended with the coming of Jesus.
The “Ecclesiastical Histories” of John Mosheim (1790), Joseph Milner (1827), John Marsh (1827), and Philip Schaff (1858) underscored the conclusions of liberal Protestant theologians and their more conservative peers. Mosheim, writing of first-century Jews, concluded, “They were … sunk in the most deplorable ignorance of God, and of divine things and had no notion of any other way of rendering themselves acceptable to the Supreme Being, than by sacrifices.”19
Milner proposed an oft-repeated charge that the provisionally correct worship of “the true God” instituted during the period of the Mosaic economy had been thoroughly “obscured and corrupted with Pharisaic traditions and Sadducean profaneness.” As a result the religious state of a “destitute” Jewish nation was essentially no “better than the rest of the world.” Indeed “scarcely in any age had ignorance and wickedness a more general prevalence.”20 Although Philip Schaff conceded as Milner would not that “their morals were outwardly far better than those of the heathen,” still “underneath the garb of strict obedience to their law, they concealed great corruption. They are pictured in the New Testament as a stiff necked, ungrateful, and impenitent race, the seed of the serpent, a generation of vipers.”21 [p.6]
Yet Schaff describes a living, struggling Jewish community which he encounters in Jerusalem with genuine sympathy and human understanding. Such passages about the Jewish people in Through Bible Lands: Notes of Travel in Egypt, the Desert and Palestine highlight the ambivalence in gentile attitudes towards Jews and Judaism and make clear the recurring dissonance between inherited and perceived impressions of religious and ethnic difference. As long as “the Jew” as an abstraction or the Judaism of “the Mosaic economy” was the subject of inquiry, the theologian, historian, preacher, or journalist repeated familiar antitheses—old/new, law/grace, carnal/spiritual, tribal/universal, ritualistic/ethical and so on—by which Christianity’s superiority was contrasted with Israel’s abjectness and superfluity. Thus when passages from Schaff’s Creeds of Christendom, Encyclopedia, or History of the Christian Church are considered, the unguarded passages encountered in Through Bible Lands sound the chance, dissonant note which escaped the composer’s drive to harmony.
The high regard of American Puritan divines for Hebrew scriptures and the lengths to which they went to identify themselves with the covenant people have been cited by historians as manifesting the basic compatibility between Jew and Christian in the United States. A so-called identity of Jewish and Christian interests was a frequent theme of Christian theology and biblical exegesis—but one which could issue in negative appraisals.22 The figure of the Jewish nation or of Jewish parties such as the Pharisees when deployed to criticize sectarianism, laxness, or apostasy within the church reinforced distortions about Judaism. Doctrinal anti-Judaism frequently filtered down to the masses from the pulpit as preachers relentlessly sketched the Jew as the archetypical reprobate.23
Of all religious categories employed by American and British Christians to structure their relationship to [p.7] the Jewish people, none was more important in the first half of the nineteenth century than the prophetic, with its interest in events leading to and inaugurating the Millennium, the thousand-year reign of Christ on earth. Numerous historians have established that the study of biblical prophecy was a ubiquitous and respectable pursuit of both intellect and faith flourishing in the seventeenth century through the 1850s.24 When expressing prophetic and millennialist ideas during this period, biblical exegetes, preachers, prophets, Anglicans, Baptists, and radicals “employed the same body of religious ideas, spoke the same religious language, pondered the same set of biblical images.”25
The early nineteenth-century religionists lay on the far side of the historical-critical upheavals which irrevocably changed biblical scholarship and theology in the second half of the nineteenth century.26 According to the earlier reading, the Bible provided literal program notes and inspired propositions about the relationship between humanity and God in the divinely-patterned drama of history. The scriptures established the basic interpretive frame for Christians: creation, incarnation, and eschaton, along with signs for determining the end of one act and the beginning of another.27 However, the confusion resulting from multiple prophetic chronologies enabled exegetes as diverse as Joachim of Fiore, Michael Sattler, and Joseph Smith to look in fresh ways at social and political events and argue differently for God’s faithfulness, providence, and promises.
Christian exegetes confronted with the text of Hebrew Scriptures have been hard pressed to reconcile prophecies about the restoration of national Israel with confident expectations of the universal, millennial triumph of the Christian church. Traditionally church apologists denied that these prophecies had anything to do with “old” Israel, “A peculiar people that might have claimed the right hand of primogeniture of mankind.”28 [p.8] In effect, Christianity appropriated Israel’s patrimony and taught that gentile converts to Christianity constituted the new Israel. This teaching was so deeply entrenched in the Christian consciousness that even a Quaker dissenter would say to “the Jew,” “Now we the seed of Abraham, of the true Jew inwardly … we are the redeemed of the Lord, through the purchase of the blood of Immanuel.” And he excoriates “Jews and the scattered tribes of Israel” bitterly, “Oh why do ye yet in your hearts seek murther? Why say and contend ye for more blood?”29
Traditional theologians also discouraged any notion of the revival of a national Israel by denying a material, future, messianic reign. These doctors of the church insisted instead on St. Augustine’s idea of a “realized millennium” swallowing up “the whole history and life span of the Church militant on earth.”30 The teaching of a literal, future millennium was suppressed through the sixteenth century by the Roman church, and Luther and Calvin continued the Augustinian position. Indeed the Second Helvetic Confession of 1566 condemned “Jewish dreams that there will be a golden age on earth before the Day of Judgment.”31
More literalistic Christian views of the Millennium were encouraged by the influential Geneva Bible and the idea that the Bible was “inspired directly and verbally by the Holy Spirit.”32 Many Christians were then led to anticipate that the last days were imminent and that they would live to witness the inauguration of the millennial reign of Christ with his saints. Linked to these beliefs was the conviction that restoring the Jewish people to a nation in the Holy Land and converting them en masse to Christianity were necessary precursor events to the Millennium. In the words of Thomas Draxe in The Worlds Resurrection: Or the General Calling of the Jews… (1608), the “Jews shall towards the end of the world, be temporally restored into their own Country, [p.9] rebuild Jerusalem, and have a most reformed, and flourishing church and commonwealth.”33 Thomas Brightman’s A Revelation of the Revelation, which strongly influenced Puritan thinking, contended that John’s Apocalypse, a “sure survey of historie” from Jesus Christ to the end of the world, not only accurately projected the trials through which the church would pass but delineated how the “Jewish nation now Christian” would, after their conversion, be miraculously delivered from the Turks and restored to Jerusalem, which would become the “world centre of true religion.”34 It was up to scholars of prophecy such as John Napier in A Plaine Discovery of the Whole of the Revelation of St. John (1595) and Joseph Mede in Claris Apocalyptica (1627) to work out “scientific” methodologies for interpreting the complex chronologies and stratagems leading up to divine history’s parousia.35
Virtually all Christian scholars and commentators thus believed that conversion of Jews was a necessary precursor to final Christian victory. Jewish conversion would direct pious attention to the “signs of the time” leading up to the millennial new age.36 English divines, New England Puritans, new Divinity men, and interdenominational missionaries anxiously believed that gathering Jews “into one fold together with the Gentiles …shall be life from the dead to the Gentiles,” that a general Jewish conversion “would stimulate the conversion of the nations bringing on the millennium.”37 Conversion and restoration would thus validate “prophetic” Christianity and induce non-believers and members of nominal Christian churches to become truly converted.
However, until the end of the eighteenth century, missionary activity aimed at Jewish communities in England and America was almost unheard of.38 Christ’s representatives preferred to read the oracles and attend prodigious historical events and miraculous infusions of grace. In the decades of the 1790s and early 1800s, [p.10] these elements seemed to conjoin. A revolution in France threatened to topple the Roman church and heralded the end of “the Beast.”39 French troops marched toward the Levant, surely pointing, it was reasoned, to the pouring out of the “sixth vial” of the Apocalypse which would encompass “the end of the Turkish woe and the conversion of the Jews.”40 The wrenching away of the imperial crown from a pope’s hand by Napoleon seemed a sign of the ascent of the Antichrist and served to stoke the ardent fires of England’s “millennial nationalism.”41 British prophetic diviners not so secretly yearned to identify their nation, which after the naval battle at Trafalgar rode almost unchallenged upon the seas, with that maritime nation obscurely sketched in Isaiah 18, which would be God’s chosen vessel to bring about Israel’s renascence.
The ascent of prophecy’s popularity in the decades between 1790 and 1840 received further stimulus from evangelical “awakenings” in England and America. The fires of the revivals illuminated both urban and rural populations. Pre- and post-millennialists, apocalyptics and meliorists, were all quickened by heightened prophetic expectations. By 1828 W. H. Oliver spoke of “the vogue for prophecy” attaining “new heights.”42 Millennial interest began to focus on Jewish conversion. Beginning in 1809 with the London Society for Promoting Christianity Among the Jews (London Society)43 and then in 1816 and 1820 with the American Society for Evangelizing the Jews and the American Society for Meliorating the Conditions of the Jews (ASMJC),44 missionary work was vigorously prosecuted and widely published.45
Levi Parsons, a missionary called along with Pliny Fisk in 1818 by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) to undertake a mission to Palestine, spoke for the sentiments of most American Christians in a sermon delivered at the Park Street [p.11] Church in Boston on 31 October 1819. Just prior to his departure on a mission to Palestine he affirmed that “The blessed Gospel has commenced its gradual, yet irresistible progress … Encouraged by these events (mounting interest in Jewish restoration, ‘Jewish children … receiving a Christian education,’ etc.) the Christian world are awakening from their long and criminal slumbers, and are inquiring … ‘Lord, what wilt thou have us to do.'” Parsons continued in response to this inquiry: “let the Jews be subjects of your prayers … The Jews have special claims upon our charity … The millions of Jews must be furnished with the word of God, and with the instructions of Missionaries …Conversions to Christianity are rapidly increasing. A general movement is taking place. Every eye is fixed on Jerusalem.”46
During the nineteenth century hundreds of societies were formed and labored all over the world to convert the children of Abraham.47 By 1824 in America alone, Joseph Frey’s ASMCJ was established in nearly two hundred local groups.48 Israel’s Advocate, the official publication of the ASMCJ, was reportedly sent to more than two thousand homes in the United States.49 Chronicles of conversions began to appear in the religious press, including Joseph Wolff’s journal accounts of bringing “the light to the Jews of Palestine.”50 The various governing boards of the ASMCJ included such notables as Elias Boudinot, past member of the House of Representatives and director of Jew Jersey-Princeton; John Livingston, president of Queens College-Rutgers; Jeremiah Day, president of Yale; and U.S. presidents James Monroe and John Q. Adams.51
Boudinot delivered the inaugural address of the ASMCJ on 12 May 1820 and later willed four thousand acres in Pennsylvania to the society to assist in its project of establishing a colony for European Jewish converts to Christianity.52 Later a farm of four hundred acres in [p.12] Harrison, Westchester County, much closer to New York City and Jewish settlements, was leased for seven years. An agent representing the society was selected to work in Europe “to collect the dispersed of Israel.”53 Though the colony scheme was never fully realized and the society’s domestic conversion activity was a relative failure, interest in the ASMCJ and allied societies was sustained at a high level of interest and support for decades.54 Enthusiasm for reform societies, missionary work, and prophetic-millennial theology combined with an increase in Jewish immigration to keep interest in Jewish conversion on America’s evangelical agenda.55
In general American Jews perceived such attempts by Christians as a threat.56 They attempted to counter this attack on Jewish identity and values with their own forums. Solomon Jackson’s The Jew (March 1823 to March 1825) was the first American Jewish newspaper. It was inaugurated expressly as a “defensive instrument against the missionaries.”57 It included among its articles a running attack on the ASMCJ’s Israel’s Advocate and on the society’s motives and methods. It occasionally fired polemical broadsides, attacking the authenticity of the New Testament and various Christian beliefs.
S.J. Kohn has shown how Mordecai Manuel Noah’s “Ararat” project to establish a Jewish settlement on Grand Island, New York, as a means of preparing for national restoration in Palestine, was mounted in large measure to counter “the tremendous propaganda to convert Jews to Christianity by the new Evangelical movement.” A colorful political figure in municipal, state, and national politics, Noah was also an observant Jew who “dreamed of, prayed for the restoration of Israel in the Holy Land.”58 He saw Ararat as a testing ground for new Jewish political-national ideas and as a partial answer to problems of persecution and assimilation in Europe and the United States.59 The pomp of the 2 September 1825 dedication of the Ararat project obscures [p.13] the seriousness of the Jewish perception of a threat. They believed that an evangelical nation striving for a Christian culture posed a serious challenge to Jewish identity and religious autonomy. But for many millennialist Christians, it was plain that the “1,260 days” exile of the woman in Revelation 12 was coming to an end. She approached the time with maternal jealousy and would claim all her children—both gentile and Jew—as her own.
1. Carlos Baker, “The Place of the Bible in American Fiction,” in Religious Perspectives in American Culture, ed. James Ward Smith and A. Leland Jamison (Princeton, N]: Princeton University Press, 1961), 245.
2. John Higham writes that “throughout the ante-bellum period, Jews continued to enjoy almost complete social acceptance and freedom.” See “Social Discrimination Against Jews in America, 1830-1930,” Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society 42 (Sept. 1957): 5. Bertram Korn remarks that “anti-Jewish feelings did not pervade the American scene, nor was it fostered by government sanction or the traditions of the aristocracy … American society possessed no traditional history of anti-Semitism.” See “Factors Bearing Upon the Survival of Judaism in the Ante-Bellum Period,” American Jewish Historical Quarterly 53 (June 1964): 346. Oscar Handlin notes that the traditional lexicon of Jewish caricature still had not surfaced in the American press in the mid-nineteenth century. In John J. Appel, “Jews in American Caricature: 1820-1914,” American Jewish History 81 (Sept. 1981): 108, 109. And Kenneth Scott Latourette points out that “relatively little effort was made by either Roman Catholics or Protestants to win this vast body of non-Christians … they paid singularly little attention to the Jews.” See The Great Century: A.D. 1800-A.D. 1914: Europe and the United States of America. A History of the Expansion of Christianity, vol. 4 (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1941), 293.
10. Isaac Mayer Wise, Reminiscences (Cincinnati: L. Wise & Co., 1901), 272. Anti-Jewish caricatures and stereotypes had been deeply etched in the public discourse of colonial America. See Jacob R. Marcus, The Colonial American Jew: 1492-1776, vol. 3 (Detroit: Wayne State Press, 1970); also Stanley F. Chyet, “The Political Rights of the Jews in the United States: 1776-1840,” American Jewish Archives 10 (1958).Various studies have revealed the extent to which Jews in colonial America were subject to persecution and denied basic political rights. Stanley Chyet writes that “there was no fraudulent historical record; it proclaimed a capricious, vicious god; it fostered a depraved chauvinistic morality; its worship was meaningless mummery; and it practically ignored the existence of an afterlife.” Jefferson couched his criticism more delicately than James Rivington. Still the recognition of “the mark of their reprobation,” no matter how recondite in Jefferson’s case, is akin to Rivington’s crassness. Both men’s views were thoroughly informed by an inherited Christian, ideological prejudice. See Robert M. Healey, “Jefferson on Judaism and Jews,” American Jewish History 73 (June 1984): 363.
13. Though Jewish inhabitants in early New England Puritan settlements were entirely absent, still Increase Mather felt compelled in 1669 to preach, “The guilt of the bloud of the Lord of Heaven and earth lyeth upon that nation” who are perpetrators of “the most prodigious murther that ever the sun beheld … the guilt thereof lyeth upon the Jewish nation to this day”; see Robert M. Healey, “The Jew in 17th Century Protestant Thought,” Church History 46 (Mar. 1977): 74. William Penn in Advice to His Children (1726) cites the Jews as an example of reprobation and one not to be imitated; quoted in David Max Eichhorn, Evangelizing the American Jews (Middle Village, NY: Jonathan David Publishers, 1978), 8. Cotton Mather in The Faith of the Fathers (1669) found grim satisfaction as witness to the truth of Christianity in the “obstinate Aversion” of Jews “to that Holy Religion.” Yet he could also “from the dust, where I lay prostrate” pray that he would live to see the day wherein he would be the instrument in baptizing a single Jew as a crowning act to his ministry; quoted in Marcus, The Colonial American Jew, 1119.
14. Eichhorn, Evangelizing the American Jews, 17. On Stiles, see Arthur A. Chiel, “Ezra Stiles and the Jews: A Study in Ambivalence,” in A Bicentennial Festschrift for Jacob Marcus (New York: American Jewish Historical Society and KTAV, 1976).
21. Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church: Vol. 1, Apostolic Christianity A.D. 1-100 (1858; Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1960), 63-64. See also John Marsh, An Epitome of General Ecclesiastical History from the Earliest Period: with a Condensed Account of the Jews Since the Destruction of Jerusalem 16th ed. (1827; New York: A. S. Barnes & Co., 1867), 163-64.
24. Compare W. H. Oliver, Puritans, The Millennium and the Future of Israel: Puritan Eschatology, 1600-1660 (Cambridge: James Clarke & Co., 1970), 19-31; James West Davidson, The Logic of Millennial Thought: Eighteenth Century New England (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977), 43-47; Ernest Sandeen, The Roots of Fundamentalism: British and American Millenarianism, 1800-1930 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970), 4-13.
33. Cited in Carl F. Ehle, Jr., “Prologomena to Christian Zionism in America: The Views of Increase Mather and William Blackstone Concerning the Doctrine of the Restoration of Israel,” Ph.D. diss, New York University, 1977, 49.
36. See Healey, “The Jew in 17th Century Protestant Thought,” 76; Mel Scult, Millennial Expectations and Jewish Liberties: A Study of the Efforts to Convert the Jews in Britain, up to the Middle Nineteenth Century: Studies in Judaism in Modern Times (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1978), ix-xii; Davidson, Logic of Millennial Thought, 66; Oliver, Puritans, 90.
38. R. H. Martin, “United Conversionist Activities Among the Jews in Great Britain, 1795-1815: Pre-Evangelism and the London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews,” Church History 46 (December 1977): 440. Zvi Sobel cites the exception in “Jews and Christian Evangelism: The Anglo-American Approach,” American Jewish Historical Quarterly 48 (Dec. 1968). In 1728 the Callenburg Institutio Judaicaum was established at the University of Halle for the training of missionaries and the preparation and printing of Jewish tracts. From the institute many students went out on itinerant missions in Europe, America, and North Africa” (245).
59. The Ararat speech of Noah at the dedication ceremony is reprinted in Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society 21 (1913): 230-52. For an account of the Ararat project, see Jonathan D. Sarna, Jacksonian Jew: The Two Worlds of Mordecai Noah (New York: Homes and Meier, 1981), chap. 4.