Joshua ben Abraham Herschel (aka Friedrich Albrecht Augusti), was born in the middle of the seventeenth century and died at Prostnitz at the beginning of the eighteenth century. He was baptized in 1674 at Strassburg, having formerly been the Chazzan (Cantor/Precentor) at Bruchsal. After having occupied for twenty years the chair of Semitics at the university of Leipzig, he retired to Prostnitz. [Bernstein]
Augusti, Friedrich Albrech (originally Joshua ben-Abraham Herschel), a Lutheran minister of Germany , was born June 30,1691, at Frankfort-on-the-Oder. His Jewish parents educated him according to their custom. While yet a boy, he expressed a desire to go to Jerusalem.
At that time a man by the name of Jecuthiel had come to Frankfort with a view of collecting money for his coreligionists in the Holy Land, who urged the boy’s parents not to oppose his wishes. Permission having been granted, they both started for the Holy Land, but on the way our young traveller was attacked by a gang of Tartar robbers and made a slave.
A coreligionist from Podolia redeemed him and set him free. From Smyrna he went to Poland, and continued his studies at Cracow and Prague. He returned to Frankfort before he undertook a journey to Italy; but in Sandershausen, on. the night of Nov. 25, 1720, he was maltreated by a gang of robbers who had broken into the house in which he resided. On the following morning he was found, to all appearance, lifeless. He recovered, however, and during his continued stay at Sandershausen, he became acquainted with the superintendent of that place, the. Rev. Dr. Reinhard, who finally became the instrument of leading Joshua to Christ.
On Christmas day, 1732, he was baptized under his new Christian name, his sponsors being the reigning princess and the prince Augustus of Schwartzburg-Sondershausen, the duke of Saxe-Gotha, the duchess of Brunswick-Wonlfenbuttel, and the princess palatine Charlotte Christina. After his baptism, he decided on the study of divinity. He entered the gymnasium at Gotha, and in 1727 he commenced his theological studies at Jena and Leipsig. In 1729 he was appointed collaborator at the gymnasium in Gotha, and in 1734 minister of the parish of Eschberge, in the duchy of Saxe-Gotha, where he preached until his death, May 13,1782. The famous theologian Johann Christian Wilhelm Augusti was his grandson.
Prayer: Thank you for this much travelled and learned Jewish believer in Yeshua, whose adventures and writings are fascinating to us today. May our lives be as significant in your purposes for your people Israel and all nations. In Yeshua’s name we pray. Amen.
Auguhsti, Friedrich ( Dt.-Jewish theologian;. student of Jewish Theology in Cracow.. 1719 Lecturer in Prague; 1720 rabbi in Sondershausen, baptized in 1722 there Evangel;. students at the high school Gotha; student in Jena and Leipzig; 1730 high school teacher in Gotha, 1734 Vicar and Pastor in 1739 Eschenbergen; 1754 Dr. phil hc. ).
Christiani’s works comprise the following, all published at Leipzig.
(1) “Zebah Pesah” (The sacrifice of Easter), an account of the Jewish celebration of Easter in the time of Jesus, and at the present.
(2) “Seudath Purim” (The meal of Purim), 1677, a description of Jewish fasting and feasting.
(3) “Zahakan Melumad Umethareth” (The Scholarly Gambler repenting) 1683, a German translation of the work of Leon of Modena on gambling. (4) “Abravanel’s Commentary on the first prophets, with a Latin index,” 1686.
(5) “The text of Jonah with the Targum Massorah and the commentaries of Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Kimchi and Abravanel, and a Hebrew Latin Vocabulary,” 1683.
(6) “Iggereth” (Letter) 1676, The Epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews, translated from the Greek into Hebrew.
(7) “Traktat von dem Glauben und Unglauben der Juden,” 1713.
Aungusti wrote Diss. de Adventus Christi Necessitate (Lips. 1794): — Aphorismi de Studiis Juda orum Modiernis (Goth. 1731):-Das Geheimniss des Sambuthion (Erfut, 1748): — Nachrichte der Karaiten (ibid. 1752): — Dissertationes Historicophilosoph.’ (ibid. 1753). His grandson was the famous theologian Johann Christian Wilhelm Augusti.- The Life of Augusti has repeatedly been written by several writers and published in the form of a tract. See Delitzsch, Saat auf Hoofnung (1866); Axenfeld, Leben von den Todten (Barmen, 1874) ; The Life of Friedrich Albrecht Augusti (transl. by Macintosh, Lond. 1867); Barber, Redemption in Israel (ibid. 1844), p. 78 sq. (B. P.)
Augusti published several works in Latin and German, of which “Das Geheimniss des Sambathian” (The Mystery of the Sambathian), the fabulous river mentioned in Talmudic literature, which casts stones during six days of the week and rests on Saturday, is probably the most curious. His work on the Karaites, mentioned by Fürst in his “Geschichte des Karäerthums,” vol. iii. 66, 67, of which the full title is “Gründliche Nachrichten von den Karaiten, Ihre Glaubens-Lehren, Sitten und Kirchen-Gebräuche” (Erfurt, 1752), is full of inaccuracies and extravagant statements. Baumgarten, in his “Nachrichten von MerkwürdigenBüchern,” vol. i. 341-351, exposes many of these, and justly refuses to believe Augusti’s claim that his sources were rare manuscripts which, after he had used them, were partly burned and partly stolen, and of which no duplicates remained. The best proof of his negligence or ignorance of the subject is that he wholly ignores the (Dod Mordecai), the full description of the Karaites and Karaism which was written by the Karaite Mordecai ben Nissim, at the end of the seventeenth century for Prof. Jacob Trigland of Leyden, and published with a Latin translation with Trigland’s “De Karæis” by Johann Christian Wolf in 1714. Augusti also confuses Judah ben Tabbai, who lived at least a century before the common era, with Judah ha-Nasi, who flourished about three hundred years later.
The “Life of Augusti,” by an anonymous author, published in 1751 by Weber, is also reviewed and severely criticized by Baumgarten in the volume cited above (pp. 337-340). The Christian critic displays sufficient familiarity with Jewish affairs and customs to disprove the biographer’s claim that Augusti, before his conversion, was a rabbi at Sondershausen, and proves that in reality he was a school-master and possibly a slaughterer of animals or “shoḥet.” Several other biographies of Augusti were written, mostly for missionary purposes, one translated into English by Macintosh, London, 1867.
- Delitzsch, in Saat auf Hoffnung, 1866;
- McClintock and Strong, Cyc. Supplement.