1 August 1567 Birth of Christian ben Meir Biberbach Gerson #otdimjh
Gerson, Christian ben Meir Biberbach, born at Reeklichhausen, August 1, 1567, received the usual Talmudical education, and was a teacher in several places. [ Bernstein: Some Jewish Witnesses ]
A neighbour, who was a Christian woman, borrowed from him ten pence, giving him as security a Lutheran New Testament. Curious to know the source of the Christian errors, he and his two brothers-in-law read it with much amusement. Yet finding there quotations from the Old Testament, he continued reading it more earnestly, comparing Scripture with Scripture, until his conscience was awakened and felt the need of salvation through Christ. He wrote afterwards—”I found such light, for which I have to thank the Lord God all my life.”
He was baptized by Pastor Silberschlag at Halberstadt, October 19, 1600. Gerson’s son Stephen was baptized years later, but his wife got a divorce from him. He then taught Hebrew at Copenhagen, and eventually, after being persuaded by friends, he became a preacher of the Gospel. Testimony is given him that he heartily loved his people, and defended them against blood accusations.
His works are: “Des Jüdischer Talmud fürnehmster Inhalt und Widerlegung,” Gislav, 1707, Gera, 1613. A German translation of the eleventh chapter of Tract Sanhedrin. Gerson died on October 22, 1642, only 47 years old, as a preacher of the Gospel, in poverty. He was pastor of two parishes, receiving a stipend of six gulden, and had to work as a farm labourer for his living. In the Jewish Encyclopædia it is stated that Gerson was drowned at Roelheim, September 25, 1627. Here is  a specimen of the contradictory statements of historians.
Reflection: Gerson’s Life and Times were difficult, and his works display a justification of his new faith that takes on a polemical and adversarial stance against his fellow Jews and Judaism itself. Such a position which not uncommon, and is still present today, as Jews who believe in Yeshua find it difficult to situate Themselves comfortably between the two religious communities that have viewed each other with so much distrust and mutual suspicion over the centuries.
Lord, give us a new generosity of spirit, sense of commitment to one another, and deeper understanding of your purposes of with both Church and Israel, so that we may accept of one another with the love Yeshua has for His People, His World and all creation. In his name we pray. Amen.
- Martin Friedrich: Between Defence and conversion. The position of the German Protestant theology to Judaism in the 17th century. Tübingen 1988
- Nathanja Hüttemeister : A Jewish family in the tense relationship between Judaism and Christianity, the Christian convert Gerson in conflict with his Jewish family. In: Vestische Journal , 99 (2002), pp 47-59.
- Rotraud Ries: individualization in the tension to differing cultures: location measurement and experimental redefinitions in the Jewish minority. In: Kaspar von Greyerz (Hg.): Self-Narratives in the Early Modern Period: individualization ways in an interdisciplinary perspective. , Munich 2007, pp 79-112.
- FA de le Roi: Christian Gerson, the first Protestant preacher from the converted Jews. In: Dibre Emeth or voices of truth to Israelites and friends of Israel , 35 (1879), pp 97-110 ( digitized ), pp 129-140 ( digitized ).