Biblical texts in Hebrew, circa 1740s?: Ten Commandments: The Lord's prayer: The Apostles' creed

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Content Notes

One paper sheet containing a decorative red-and-black ink Hebrew manuscript of the Exodus version of the Ten Commandments bordered within two tablets, followed by the Lord's Prayer and the Apostles' Creed. The bottom margin contains a fragment of a handwritten note: "Recd of Mr. Judah Monis."

Biographical Notes

Judah Monis (1683-1764), a Jewish scholar and educator, was an instructor of Hebrew at Harvard College between 1722 and 1760. Monis was born on February 4, 1683, likely in Italy or the Barbary States. He immigrated to New York City in the early 1700s, and later moved to Massachusetts. Monis converted to Christianity and, on April 30, 1722, the Harvard Corporation appointed Monis an "instructor of the Hebrew Language." In 1723, Monis received an AM from Harvard, becoming the first Jewish person to receive an advanced degree in the colonies. In 1735, with the financial support of the Corporation, Monis published the first Hebrew textbook in America: "Dickdook leshon gnebreet, A Grammar of the Hebrew tongue." Monis taught at Harvard for almost forty years, but his teaching responsibilities waned over time, and Monis struggled with a reputation as an ineffective teacher and disciplinarian. Monis had married Abigail Marret (d. 1760) in 1724, and in 1760, Monis retired from Harvard and went to live with his brother-in-law John Martyn, minister of the second parish in Westboro, Mass. Monis died on April 25, 1764.