ANTON, CARL (originally Moses Gershon Cohen):
Author; born in Mitau (Courland), of Jewish parentage; lived in the eighteenth century. He claimed descent from Ḥayyim Vital Calabrese. After studying for seven years at Prague under Jonathan Eibenschütz, Anton traveḷed in the East, and on his return became a convert to Christianity, and was baptized at Wolfenbüttel. The duke of Brunswick appointed him professor of Hebrew at Helmstedt. He was distinguished from the usual Jewish convert to Christianity by the fact that, though he occasionally reviled his former coreligionists, he also spoke well of them, even vindicating them in his book on the Jewish oath ("Einleitung in die Jüdischen und Rabbinischen Rechte, dabey Insbesonderheit von einem Judeneide," etc., Brunswick, 1756), against some of Eisenmenger's aspersions. Anton took part in the well-known dispute between Jacob Emden and Jonathan Eibenschütz, in which he warmly defended the latter—some say at Eibenschütz' request ("Kurze Nachricht von dem Falschen Messias, Shabbethai Ẓebi," etc., Wolfenbüttel, 1752; "Nachlese zu Dieser Nachricht," Brunswick, 1753). He wrote a Latin tract on the legend of "The Wandering Jew," entitled "Commentatio Historica de Judæo Immortali in qua hæc Fabula Examinatur et Confutatur," Helmstedt, 1756; translated Abraham Jagel's catechism," Leḳaḥ Ṭob" (Good Instruction), Brunswick, 1756; and gave a description of a rare copy of "Shulḥan 'Aruk Eben ha-'Ezer," to be found in manuscript in the City Library, Hamburg. He also wrote "Fabulæ Antiquitatum Ebraicarum Veterum," etc., Brunswick, 1756. His "Sammlung einiger Rabbinischer Oden nebst einer Freyen Übersetzung," Brunswick, 1753, is a curious production, as the odes are written neither in Hebrew nor in Rabbinic, and would be unintelligible but for the accompanying German translation.
- Grätz, Gesch. d. Juden, 3d ed., x. 371.