Herman Hedwig Bernard

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Herman Hedwig Bernard (1785–1857) was an English Hebraist, for many years Hebrew teacher in the University of Cambridge. He died on 15 November 1857, aged 72. [1]

An apostate from Judaism, Bernard was born Hirsch Ber Hurwitz and hailed from Uman, Ukraine. He is purported to have played chess with and read German stories before Rabbi Nachman of Breslov.[2] In his "Biographical Notices of Some of the Most Distinguished Jewish Rabbies (sic) and Translations of Portions of Their Commentaries, and Other Works" (New York: Stanford and Swords, 1847), Samuel H. Turner, professor of Biblical Learning and Interpretation of Scripture at the General Theological Seminary, commends the pedagogic quality of Bernard's work, writing: "The student will find this work very useful in facilitating the acquisition of Rabbinical Hebrew".[3]


He was the author of:

  • The main principles of the Creed and Ethics of the Jews exhibited in selections from the Yad Hachazakah of Maimonides, with a literal English translation, copious illustrations from the Talmud, &c., and a collection of the abbreviations commonly used in Rabbinical writings, Cambridge, 1832, 8vo,
  • The Guide of the Hebrew Student, containing an Epitome of Sacred History, London, 1839, 8vo, Cambridge Free Thoughts and Letters on Bibliolatry, translated from the German of Lessing, Cambridge, 1862, 8vo, edited by J. Bernard, and
  • The, Book of Job, as expounded to his Cambridge pupils, edited, with a translation and additional notes, by F. Chance, London, 1864, 1884, 8vo.


  1. ^ Cooper 1885.
  2. ^ Chaim Liberman "Rabbi Nakhman Bratslaver and the Maskilim of Uman," published originally in Yiddish in the Yivo Bleter 29 (1947) and also in English a few years later in the YIVO Annual
  3. ^ p. 40, ibidem.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainCooper, Thompson (1885). "Bernard, Herman Hedwig". In Stephen, Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography. 4. London: Smith, Elder & Co.