Archive for June, 2010

M.history p.IV – Isaac Da Costa

June 23, 2010

There are several accounts in the English language about the person Isaac Da Costa. I’ll give some resources I found.

This first one is most satisfied and covers all the others mostly:

Isaac Da Costa – Encyclopedia Reformata

Isaac da Costa – Wikipedia

Isaac da Costa — Britannica Online Encyclopedia

Isaac da Costa – NNDB

And last my former post on Da Costa

There’s more to find, but I also came around accounts with errors.

I’ll share with you something more from the Dutch resources I have. And I will try to frequently quote his own words although, of course, translated.

Da Costa’s acquaintance with Bilderdijk was in 1813 when Da Costa attended a society of Dutch Jews[i] in Amsterdam. Bilderdijk was one of the first members of the society and in that time (1795), when many Jews were improving their knowledge in gentile History and Arts, he sought to teach them about the false doctrines of the French Revolution and on the other side of the advance of the Torah given to the Jews.[ii] Da Costa: “Did he [Bilderdijk] succeed? So much is sure that although for one heart, for one life, for one son from the people of Israel which our great Poet had so much love for because of their Fathers but most of all because of their crucified גואל (deliverer), for one it caused an eternal blessing.”[iii] As Da Costa said about himself in his biography of Bilderdijk, De Mensch en Dichter Willem Bilderdijk. The following is also extracted from this book.

Da Costa at his writing table with a sculpture of Bilderdijk

Da Costa at his writing table with a sculpture of Bilderdijk

As a 15 years old boy he gave his Hebrew teacher (Moses Lemans) a poet hewrote, and so it came before the eyes of Willem Bilderdijk. And by an arrangement of the teacher he met Bilderdijk. At that time Da Costa had many questions himself. Had the God of Israel been really revealed? To his fathers? Were there indeed Godly man who did miracles and signs and received Godly words? Did the Tenach really exists because of Divine inspiration? In these circumstances he met Bilderdijk.

Da Costa was a very brilliant student and he very frequently visited Bilderdijk. Bilderdijk became his personal teacher and a great friendship was developing.

In the year 1817 Bilderdijk for the first time recited his tremendous but not finished poet (De Ondergang der Eerste Wareld) from a manuscript to Da Costa. Just one sentence remained in the heart of the young Da Costa: Neen, Régol, neen, dit zijn geen aardsche zangen! (No, Regol, no, this aren’t earthly songs!) Da Costa’s own account on this: “But more than poetry, even the highest, the most above dust and earth reached sort and tone of poetry, was the element that from the beginning all dialogs gave life and teachings a higher purpose, it was that life’s-element of knowledge of God, it was the Divine truth.”[iv]

Bilderdijk didn’t advocate Christianity to his Jewish friend but according to Da Costa: “He devoted himself only to show his honor to the Law of Moses for me and where it fits he also would awake other ones for it. He rightly understood Israel and showed it to the foreground with an expectation of a glorious Messiah, but not omitting the suffering aspect. Many things worked forwards to the following opinion in my heart: For a suffering people a suffering Messiah!”

But at that time his soul didn’t have the personal need, and the “power and meaning of the passion wasn’t revealed yet. It was long before it came into my mind that Jesus from Nazarene could be the Messiah. Until an unforgettable day in October 1820, the veil before my eyes was gone and I faithfully might fallen down before this Jesus from Nazarene, King of the Jews, as also my Lord and my God!”[v]

To be continued.

[i] Israelitisch Genootschap Tot Nut en Beschaving

[ii] De Mensch en Dichter Willem Bilderdijk, Mr. Isaac Da Costa, 1859, p.275

[iii] Ibid, p.276

[iv] Ibid, p.281

[v] Ibid, p.283


M.history p.III – Missionaries

June 2, 2010

Bilderdijk didn’t advocate missionary among the Jews and Da Costa was mostly reserved. The reason was that they were aware of practices of the enlightened Christianity of their days. Bilderdijk rather saw a good Jew than half a Christian. According to his view an honest true Jew must see the Messiah Jesus. The poorness of Christianity at that time  couldn’t draw the Messiah as he is to be seen.

Capadose however pleased to work among his brothers and participated much in missionaries especially the Evangelical Alliance of the Free Scottisch Church.

In 1795, the time of the French Revolution, the London Missionary Society was founded in London. It was the beginning of a rapidly growing missionary which was doing much good work all over the world. In 1806 The London Society for promoting Christianity amongst the Jews was founded. Lewis Way became the leader in 1809. The first foreign station of the (often called) London Jews Society was founded in the Netherlands in 1818.[i] The rabbi Benjamin Nehemiah Solomon from Galicia (Poland) was the first missionary in the big Jewish community in Amsterdam. Before he attended the synagogue for thirty years with a secret conviction that Jesus was the Messiah.[ii]

In that time a growing attitude towards the Jews was being born. Among the English Puritans some discovered biblical promises for the Jews and even their land Israel. There came an encouragement to pray for them and to bring them to Christ. By doing this great blessings were expected. This was not quite new, it’s good I think to mention here Thomas Boston who argued before in one of his sermons: Encouragement to pray for the conversion of the Jews in the year 1716. “Have you any love to our Lord Jesus Christ, to the advancing of his kingdom and glory in the world? Then pray, yea, pray ear­nestly for the conversion of the Jews.” “Are you longing for a revival to the churches, now lying like dry bones, would you fain have the Spirit of life enter into them? Then pray for the Jews.“ Many like this could be quoted from this sermon. But it was until the beginning of the 19th century that a broad interest came into the conversion of the Jews.

Many societies developed as a result of the revivals of the 19th century and in Scotland the Evangelical Alliance was founded by Thomas Chalmers in 1848.[iii] Many Jews worked in this missionary e.g. Abraham Capadose and Carl Schwartz. Isaac Da Costa however didn’t feel the call to participate in this missionairy. [iv]

Abraham Capadose developed a good relationship with his Scottish friends of Israel.  He was very attracted to them in participating missionary to his Jewish brothers in Europe.[v] More on that later.

It was with the 19th century that mainly from England and Scotland missionaries brought the Christian faith to many countries. Because of the Britain colonies it was spread around the world. Probably because of that the English language became the world standard. That’s why I write English now. :-)

[i] Abraham Capadose, David Kalmijn, 1955, p.175

[ii] The origin, progress, & existing circumstances, of the London society for …, Henry Handley Norris, p.173

[iii] Now: World Evangelical Alliance (WEA)

[iv] Abraham Capadose, David Kalmijn, 1955, p.204

[v] Abraham Capadose, David Kalmijn, 1955, p.167