By Michael Marten
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Additional info for Attempting to Bring the Gospel Home: Scottish Missions to Palestine, 1839-1917 (International Library of Colonial History)
As a preacher he was intensely ... evangelical, while to the interpretation of Scripture he brought ... a scholarship which enabled him to weigh the original text, a spiritual insight which opened up meanings to him which were hidden from others, and a sanctified genius which made many passages brighten as under an almost heavenly light ... What moves the Jewish Committee specially to cherish his memory is the circumstance that he was the author of that ‘Narrative of a Mission to the Jews’ which describes the beginning of the enterprise which it is now its business to superintend.
The group met British consular officials and Europeans already working with Jews. 13 They had frequent contact with John Nicolayson, a Dane who had originally come to Jerusalem in 1826,14 and although he appears to have had difficulty settling at first,15 not least due to having to leave for Malta in 1828 on the advice of the British Consul for fear of war, he returned to the Levant in 1831 travelling between Jerusalem, Beirut and Constantinople, albeit with no apparent successes in terms of converts.
116 The image of ‘the Jews’ was intrinsically connected to their image of themselves as Christians, and existed and was imbued with meaning only when viewed from this perspective. If Europe’s image of other lands at this time can be described as ‘an amplifier, or a long shadow, making their own sensations more audible or visible to them ... [with] room for all kinds of fantasy, credulity, deception and self-deception, and the development of stock responses’,117 then the image Scottish missionaries had of ‘the Jews’ can be seen as part of this kind of imperialistic discourse – self-definition by ‘the Jews’ (individually and collectively) was not seen as necessary (or desirable).