Friday, July 27, 2007

Amos Armfield; or, The Leather-Covered Bible

Amos Armfield; or, The Leather-Covered Bible was published by the American Tract Society in 1848, although an earlier edition was printed in 1846. Since the stories take place in England, one assumes that the first editions were published there.

This book contains various stories centered around the title character, including one that includes Jewish characters (although strangely enough, no conversions of Jews take place in this story).

"Amos Armfield was not only a kind man to children, and to his neighbors around him, but also a kind-hearted Christian man to strangers. One proof of this shall now be given. It happened that a Jew, with a long beard, came through the village, calling here and there to sell quills...." (p. 87).

A boy named Abel Green "called the Jew reproachful names" (p. 88), and when Amos Armfield hears of it, he rebukes Abel saying, "The Jews were God's favored people; and if we value our Bible we ought not to despise them, seeing that they are the people through whose hands we received it. Every one who fears God ought to love all mankind, for all mankind are brethren" (p. 89).

Then Amos recites a poem, which apparently contains his "Golden Rule" philosophy: "Do good to every living soul, Turk, infidel, and Jew; For he who truly loves the Lord, Will love his brother too" (p. 89).

Amos tells the children: "Perhaps I can tell you something about a Jew that will make you feel more kindly towards Jews in general." Amos then proceeds to tell Abel and his two friends the biblical story of Mordecai and Esther, although he talks about it without using their names and he tells the story as though it were happening in contemporary England.

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