CASSEL, PAULUS STEPHANUS (SELIG):
Convert to Christianity and missionary to the Jews; born Feb. 27, 1821, in Gross-Glogau, Silesia; died Dec. 23, 1892, in Friedenau, near Berlin. His father was a sculptor, and his brother David was docent at the Berlin "Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judenthums." Cassel studied at the gymnasium at Schweidnitz and at the University of Berlin, where he followed with special attention the lectures of Leopold Ranke. In 1849 he edited in Erfurt "Die Constitutionelle Zeitung," and in 1850-56 "Die Erfurter Zeitung," in a royalist spirit. He was baptized May 28, 1855, in Buessleben, near Erfurt, and became librarian of the Royal Library and secretary of the Academy in Erfurt in the following year. He remained in Erfurt till 1859. Frederick William IV. bestowed the title of professor on Cassel in recognition of his loyal labors. In 1860 he removed to Berlin, where he was a teacher at a gymnasium for a short time, and occupied himself with literary work. In 1866-67 he was a Conservative member of the Prussian Chamber of Deputies.Becomes a Missionary.
In 1867 Cassel was appointed missionary by the London Society for Promoting Christianity Among the Jews, a position which he retained till March, 1891. At the same time (1867) Cassel was assigned to the pastorate of the Christuskirche in Berlin, remaining in service for twenty-four years. In a pamphlet published a short time before his death, he complains of the inconsiderate treatment he had received at the hands of his Christian friends (see "Sendschreiben an Freunde in Deutschland und England über die Christuskirche in Berlin und Ihr Martyrium Durch die London Society," Berlin, 1891). H. L. Strack confesses that it is not clear what induced Cassel to join the Christian Church, though he contends that Cassel's reasons were obviously not mercenary (see Herzog-Hauck, "Real-Encyc." iii. 744). Cassel combated anti-Semitism with considerable warmth (in "Wider Heinrich von Treitschke für die Juden," Berlin, 1880; "Die Antisemiten und die Evangelische Kirche," 2d ed., Berlin, 1881; "Ahasverus, die Sage vom Ewigen Juden mit einem Kritischen Protest Wider Ed. von Hartmann und Adolf Stöcker," Berlin, 1885; also "Der Judengott und Richard Wagner, eine Antwort an die Bayreuther Blätter").
In his "Emancipation und Mission" Cassel endeavored to show that the Jews would obtain permanent relief from persecution not by civil enfranchisement, but through evangelization. In later years, however, he frankly receded from this view. De le Roi, the historian of Christian propaganda among the Jews, says that Cassel was animated by "a very decided Jewish spirit." In 1860 Cassel published a "History of the Jewish People Since the Destruction of Jerusalem," issued in Berlin by the "Gesellschaft zur Beförderung des Christenthums Unter den Juden." He exerted himself in the interest of proselytism among Jews. He stated his views on missionary work among them in a pamphlet: "Wie Ich über Judenmission Denke," Berlin, 1886; (see also "Nathanael," edited by H. L. Strack, 1897). From 1875 to 1889 he edited "Sunem, ein Berliner Wochenblatt für Christliches Leben und Wissen" (16 vols.). "Hallelujah, Einhundert und Acht und Achtzig Geistliche Lieder," is a collection of hymns reprinted from this journal. In 1847 Cassel wrote an earnest though somewhat fantastic study of Hungarian archeology, "Magyarische Alterthümer," which is still of value. Of especial interest is his translation (with notes) of the reply to Chisdai b. Isaac of Joseph, king of the Chazars (pp. 183 et seq.).His History of the Jews.
His only methodic work is his history of the Jews from the destruction of Jerusalem to 1847 ("Juden [Geschichte]" in Ersch and Gruber, "Encyc." ii., part 27, pp. 1-238). This scientific treatment of Jewish history he wrote before his conversion; and it is signed "Selig Cassel." Jost, however, says of it: "It is one-sided and merely gives episodes out of the life of Jews in various countries. It is collated in a fragmentary manner, though rich in erudite notes" (see I. M. Jost, "Gesch. des Judenthums und Seiner Sekten," Section 3, p. 365, Leipsic, 1859). "Sabbathliche Erinnerungen" was also published before Cassel's conversion—the first part anonymously; the second (signed "S. C." in the preface) being put forth for the benefit of indigent veterans of 1813-15. Other publications of Cassel's are: "Wissenschaftliche Berichte, Unter Mitwirkung von Mitgliedern der Erfurter Akademie"; "Denkschrift der Königlichen Akademie Gemeinnütziger Wissenschaften in Erfurt, Herausgegeben am Sekulartage Ihrer Gründung, den 19. Juli, 1854"; "Irene, eine Sprachlich-Exegetische Skizze," Erfurt, 1855; "Der Mittler, ein Exegetischer Versuch zu Galater iii. 19, 20"; "Ausder Hagia Sophia, ein Akademisches Neujahrs-Programm"; "Ueber Thüringische Ortsnamen, Abdruck von Wissenschaftlichen Berichten der Erfurter Akademie"; "Dialoge über Wissenschaft und Christenthum." Essays with respect to Judaism, dating from this time, are the following: "Das Glaubensbekenntniss der Zenobia, Fürstin von Palmyra," in "Orient, Lit," 1841, Nos. 31 et seq.; "Der Apostat," ib. 1843, Nos. 18 et seq.; "Historische Versuche: Anmerkungen zu Benjamin von Tudela, Französische Städtenamen, Apologie," Berlin, 1847; "Die Rabbinerversammlung des Jahres 1650, eine Historische Abhandlung," Berlin, 1845. Other writings by Cassel with reference to Judaism and the Jews are the following: "Die Symbolik des Blutes und der Arme Heinrich von Hartmann von der Aue," Berlin, 1882; "Shylock, der Kaufmann von Venedig," in "Aus Literatur und Symbolik," pp. 368-386; "Caricaturnamen" in "Literatur und Geschichte, pp. 323-347; "Der Ewige Jude," in "G. S." i. 367-410; "Das Zicklein aus der Jüdischen Passahliturgie," in "Aus dem Lande des Sonnenaufgangs," pp. 1-16, Berlin, 1886; "Zur Naturgeschichte der Chuzpe," a reply to Fritz Mauthner's review of "Ahasverus," ib. pp. 89-100; an important treatise on medieval folk lore, and the contributions made thereto by Jews, is "Mischle Sindbad, Secundus Syntipas, Edirt, Emendirt und Erklärt; Einleitung und Deutung des Buches der Sieben Weisen Meister," 3d ed., Berlin, 1891.Biblical Studies.
Cassel's Biblical studies are conservative; and it is surprising that he neglected to use the fund of rabbinical lore he undoubtedly possessed. In 1865 he wrote "Das Buch der Richter und Ruth" for J. P. Lange's "Theologisch-Homiletisches Bibelwerk." A second edition appeared in 1887, which was translated into English in 1872. In 1878 appeared "Das Buch Esther, ein Beitrag zur Gesch. des Morgenlandes, aus dem Hebräischen Uebersetzt, Historisch und Theologisch Erläutert," section 1, with an appendix, a translation of the Second Targum. The original text of the Second Targum Cassel published in "Aus Litteratur und Gesch." Berlin and Leipsic, 1885: "Zweites Targum zum Buche Esther, im Vocalisierten Urtext mit Sachlichen und Sprachlichen Erläuterungen Herausgegeben." An English translation by Aaron Bernstein was published in Edinburgh in 1888. This English edition also gives translations of several of Cassel's essays; viz., "Mithra" (pp. 345-361), "The Winged Bulls of Persepolis" (pp. 362-377), and "Zoroaster" (pp. 378-400). Most of Cassel's other literary work partakes of the character of controversy. His larger work on "Weihnachten, Ursprünge, Bräuche und Aberglauben, ein Beitrag zur Gesch. der Christlichen Kirche und des Deutschen Volkes," Berlin, 1861, is a medley of ingenious but unsystematized erudition, and is pervaded by a tone of pious emotionalism.
Altogether, Cassel's versatility has secured him merely the admiration of his contemporaries. He was incapable of acquiring a position of influence in the church of his adoption. His more general works are: "Vom Wege nach Damascus, Apologetische Abhandlungen," Gotha, 1872; "Aus Guter Stunde, Betrachtungen und Erinnerungen," Gotha, 1874; "Für Ernste Stunden, Betrachtungen und Erinnerungen," 2d ed., Berlin, 1881; "Aus Literatur und Symbolik," Leipsic, 1884; "Aus Literatur und Geschichte," Berlin and Leipsic, 1885; "Vom Nil zum Ganges, Wanderungen in die Orientalische Welt," Berlin, 1880; and "Das Leben des Menschen in Gesch. und Symbol," in "G. S." (only one volume published), Berlin, 1893. Besides, Cassel wrote a large number of pamphlets on theological, ethnological, and philological subjects.