Francis Bacon and the Jews: Who was the Jew in the New Atlantis?

Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis, first published in 162 7, a year after its author’s death,  was the first book by an Englishman to view science as a dominant institution in the emerg ing world. By contrast,  the Utopia of his predecessor, Thomas  More  (1478-1535),  written   more  than   a  century   earlier  as  a document of social protest on behalf of the displaced lower class, afforded no glimpse of the scientific civilization in the making. Bacon’s New  Atlantis, furthermore, stands out as an exception to the dreary anti-Jewish sentiments that pervaded the great Elizabethan writers such as Marlowe and Shakespeare. For after his first days on the Pacific island of Bensalem, the hero of the New Atlantis has the good fortune to make the acquaintance of a helpful Jew: ‘By the time six or seven days were spent, I was fallen into straight acquaintance with a merchant of that city, whose name

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