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John Steinbeck's Roots in Nineteenth-Century Palestine


Article/book #: 56084
Title: John Steinbeck's Roots in Nineteenth-Century Palestine
By: Yaron Perry  
Published in: Steinbeck Studies, volume 15, issue 1, pages 46 to 72
Date of issue: Spring 2004
People/entities mentioned in this item: Place(s) mentioned in this item: Timeline event(s) mentioned in this item:
      Nov 1849: Grosssteinbeck and Thiel families leave Germany for Palestine
      Jan 1850:Grosssteinbeck and Thiel families land in Jaffa
   04 Feb 1850:Grosssteinbeck family arrives in Jerusalem
          1854:American Agricultural Mission colony in Palestine

Commentary

Abstract:

In the mid-nineteenth century, Johann Adolf Grosssteinbeck (1832-1913), the grandfather of John Ernst Steinbeck (1902-1968), arrived in the Holy Land. He wished to establish an agricultural settlement in which he would train the Jews of Palestine to engage in farming and thereby hasten the advent of the Christian Messiah. A few years later the settlement was totally wiped out in a single night of terror during which the brother of John Steinbeck's grandfather was killed, his grandmother's sister and mother were raped, and all the belongings of the settlers were pillaged.

This vile act reverberated throughout the country and caused those of foreign nationality a sense of insecurity and fateful apprehension. A handful of faithful Protestant believers had been lured to the area by their millenarian expectations of the imminent arrival of the End of Days, the Second Coming of the Christian Messiah, and the beginning of his thousand-year reign. The return of the Jews to Palestine and their conversion to Christianity was thought to be a prior condition for the realization of the millennium. Anticipating the return of Jesus Christ, the settlers saw the establishment of agricultural settlements and the involvement of Jews in farming work as a shortcut to His return.

The Christian attempts to settle Palestine under Ottoman rule were made possible by reforms introduced in the middle of the nineteenth century. ...

...

The return of the Jews to Palestine and their conversion to Christianity was ... The Consul took down the testimony of Walter Dickson, his wife, Sarah, ...










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