4 May 1877 “The Great Mystery, or How can Three be One?” Author’s Death #otdimjh
Zevi Nasi Hirsch Prinz (aka Rev. Christian William Henry Pauli.) was the author of this most popular and much reprinted work demonstrating the Trinity from the Jewish mystical tradition. Just who was he? Here is Bernstein’s summary:
Pauli, Rev. C. W. H., was born in Breslau in 1800 and was named Zebi Nasi Hirsch Prince. His father who was a rabbi, gave him a thorough rabbinic education. Already at the age of 21, being then a religious teacher, he published “Sermons for Pious Israelites,” in which he emphasized the teaching of the Bible rather than that of the Talmud. Whilst thus endeavouring to teach pure Mosaism he came in contact with the L.J.S. missionary, C. G. Petri of Detmold, and received from him a New Testament, of which he began to make use in his teaching. The Jews then declared him crazy, and he resigned his office and went to Detmold. From there he was sent to Minden, where he was baptized December 21st, 1823. His sponsors were Baron Blomberg and Major Grabowski. The former, who through the influence of the L.J.S. founded the mission at Detmold, then recommended Pauli as a missionary to the Posen Society. A year later he went with Petri to England and studied at Cambridge. From there he was called to be Lecturer of Hebrew at Oxford. In this capacity he laboured there for thirteen years, during which time he wrote various books, his “Analecta Hebraica” deserving special mention. In 1840 he received a call from the L.J.S. to go as a missionary to Berlin, where, by his learning and piety and loving disposition, he made a salutary impression upon the Jews. In 1844 he was transferred to Amsterdam, and laboured there till 1874. The results of his activity there appeared from time to time in the “Jewish Intelligence.” He then retired to  Luton, where he died in 1877, with the words upon his lips: “Into Thy hands, O God, I commend my spirit. My Saviour is near.”
A contemporary obituary fills in some of the details. But is Pauli buried in Luton or Amsterdam? And where is the autobiography hinted at below?
Prayer: Thank you Lord for the life and ministry of this scholar, apologist and evangelist. Whilst his use of rabbinic and kabbalistic materials might be questionable, he arrayed a multitude of resources and displayed a formidable knowledge and understanding of the Jewish religious tradition, using them as he best thought fit. Help us today to be honest and humble students of your word, and of the Jewish religious tradition, and not to adopt polemical or self-serving methods of exegesis and interpretation. Rather give us hermeneutical integrity and theological coherence as we express the riches of faith that we have found in our Messiah Yeshua. In his name we pray. Amen.
(Breslau 11 August 1800- Amsterdam 4 May 1877)
Zebi Nasi Hirsch Prinz (Hebrew Tzvi Nassi) in German Heinrich Prinz, and later Rev.Christian William Henry Pauli (Breslau 11 August 1800 – Amsterdam 4 May 1877) was a convert to Christianity, missionary for the London Jewish mission, and Hebrew grammarian.
He was born as the youngest of six children, and orphaned at 14. Although he is referred to as “Rabbi Tzvi Nassi” in some Messianic Jewish reprints of his proof of the Trinity from the Zohar, there is no indication that he was ever a rabbi. At the age of 21 he published in German, under the name Heinrich Prinz Sermons for pious Israelites. He was converted by L. A. Petri.
In England as Rev. Christian William Henry Pauli he became a missionary for the London Society for promoting Christianity among the Jews of Joseph Frey, first in Berlin, then at Amsterdam. In 1839 as C. W. H. Pauli he published Analecta Hebraica, a Hebrew grammar. It is frequently incorrectly claimed that Pauli was a lecturer in Hebrew at Oxford University, but he was never a member of Oxford or any other university.
In 1844 as Rev. Christiaan Wilhelm Hirsch Pauli he moved to the Netherlands, Zion’s Chapel where he worked for 30 years. In 1844 he reported on an outrage committed on the Jews at Weesp, near Amsterdam.
- 1824 Heinrich Prinz Predigten für fromme Israeliten zur Erbauung und zur wahren Aufklärung in Sachen Gottes.in Jahrbücher der Theologie und theologischer Nachrichten, Volume 2 Friedrich Heinrich Christian Schwarz
- 1839 Christian William Henry Pauli Analecta HebraicaOxford 1839
- 1871 The Chaldee Paraphrase on the Prophet Isaiahof Jonathan ben Uzziel translated by C.W.H. Pauli. – Targum Isaiah.
- 1863 The Great Mystery, or How can Three be One(London, 1863) – an endeavour to prove the doctrine of the Trinity from the Zohar, in which he made further critical comments against Gesenius including that he had misunderstood the grammar and perpetuated a hoax concerning the pluralis excellentiae of Elohim.
Biography: Zebi Nasi Hirsch Prinz in German Heinrich Prinz, and later Rev. Christian William Henry Pauli was a convert to Christianity, missionary for the London Jewish mission, and Hebrew grammarian. He was born as the youngest of six children, and orphaned at 14. Although he is referred to as “Rabbi Tzvi Nassi” in some Messianic Jewish reprints of his proof of the Trinity from the Zohar, there is no indication that he was ever a rabbi. At the age of 21 he published in German, under the name Heinrich Prinz Sermons for pious Israelites. He was converted by L. A. Petri. In England as Rev. Christian William Henry Pauli he became a missionary for the London Society for promoting Christianity among the Jews of Joseph Frey, first in Berlin, then at Amsterdam. In 1839 as C. W. H. Pauli he published Analecta Hebraica, a Hebrew grammar. It is frequently incorrectly claimed that Pauli was a lecturer in Hebrew at Oxford University, but he was never a member of Oxford or any other university. In 1844 as Rev. Christiaan Wilhelm Hirsch Pauli he moved to the Netherlands, Zion’s Chapel where he worked for 30 years. In 1844 he reported on an outrage committed on the Jews at Weesp, near Amsterdam. Show Less
Born: August 11, 1800, Wrocław
Died: January 01, 1877 (age 76), Amsterdam
Pauli, Christian William Henry a minister of the Church of England, was born of Hebrew parentage; at Breslau, Silesia, August 11, 1800. He received a strict Jewish education and at the age of twenty-four, while yet in the synagogue, published a volume of sermons under the title Predigtes fur fromme Israeliten (Halle, 1824; by Hirsch Prinz, as his Jewish name originally was). When twenty- five years of age he embraced Christianity at Minden; on coming to England was for some time a student at Cambridge, and while there was invited to come to Oxford, where he was appointed lecturer in Hebrew. This post he held for thirteen years, and published, in 1839, his Analecta Hebraica. In 1840 he was ordained, and sent to Berlin by the Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews. In 1843 he was stationed at Amsterdam, but resigned his position in 1874. He then retired to Luton, Bedfordshire, England, and died May 4, 1877. He also published, The Great Mystery; or, How can Three be One? and A Translation of the Chaldee Paraphrase of Isaiah (Lond. 1871). (B.P.)
- Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar(A. E. Cowley, ed., Oxford, 1976) says on the “plural of majesty”: “Jewish grammarians call such plurals… virium or virtutum; later grammarians call them plur. excellentiae, magnitudinis, or plur. maiestaticus. This last name may have been suggested by the we used by kings when speaking of themselves (cf. already 1 Macc.10:19, 11:31); and the plural used by God in Genesis 1:26, and11:7, Isaiah 6:8 has been incorrectly explained in this way.…It is best explained as a plural of self-deliberation. The use of the plural as a form of respectful address is quite foreign to Hebrew,” p. 398.
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