Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky
Denomination Episcopal Church
Senior posting
See Shanghai
Title Bishop of Shanghai
Period in office 1877-1884
Predecessor Channing M. Williams
Successor William Jones Boone, Jr.
Religious career
Priestly ordination 28 October 1860
Date of birth 6 May 1831
Place of birth Tauroggen, Russian Lithuania
Date of death 15 October 1906

Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky (6 May 1831-15 October 1906) was an Anglican Bishop of Shanghai, China from 1877-1884. He founded St. John's University, Shanghai in 1879.

Early years

Schereschewsky was born in Tauroggen, Russian Lithuania May 6, 1831. He appears to have been named for his father. His mother was Rosa Salvatha. Orphaned as a young boy, it is speculated he was raised by a half-brother who was a timber merchant in good circumstance. Having shown himself to be a promising student, he was given the best education available and it was his family's intention that he become a rabbi. From the time he left his brother's house at 15, he was obliged to support himself as a tutor and as a glazier. It was at the Rabbinical School at Zhitomir that he was given a copy of the New Testament in Hebrew that had been produced by the London Society for Promoting Christianity amongst the Jews. The study of that gradually convinced him that in Jesus the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament and the age-long hopes of his people had been fulfilled. At 19 he went to Germany where he studied for a year or more at Frankfurt and for two years at the University of Breslau. To his fluency in Yiddish, Polish and Russian he added German that he spoke like a native to the end of his days.

Road to China

In the summer of 1854 he decided to emigrate to America. In New York he connected with Christian Jews but did not enter the Christian church until the spring of 1855 when he was baptized by immersion and associated with a Baptist congregation. For reasons unknown he then became a Presbyterian and went to the Western Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church at Allegheny, Pennsylvania. After more than two years he left to enter the Episcopal Church and the General Theological Seminary. His plan to complete his remaining two years of study was interrupted when he offered himself for work in China. On 3 May 1859 the Foreign Committee voted that he be appointed missionary to China as soon as he was ordained. He was ordained 17 July 1859 in St. George's Church, New York by Bishop William Jones Boone. He arrived at Wusung December 21, 1859 on the ship Golden Rule. October 28, 1860 he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Boone in the mission school chapel, later known as the Church of our Savior, Hongkew. By 1861, Schereschewsky had begun his translations, the first being that of the Psalms into the Shanghai dialect. He would serve as Bishop of Shanghai until he was so poor he could not continue. He used a wheelchair at the end of his life.

Death and legacy

Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky died October 15, 1906 and is buried in Tokyo, Japan. St. John's University, that Schereschewsky began with 39 students, taught mainly in Chinese. In 1891, it changed to English teaching, and courses began to focus on science and natural philosophy.


  • Muller, James Arthur Apostle of China: Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky (1937)
  • Eber, Irene. 1999. The Jewish Bishop and the Chinese Bible: S.I.J. Schereschewsky (1831-1906). Leiden: Brill.

External links

Religious titles
Preceded by
Channing Moore Williams
Bishop of Shanghai
1877 – 1884
Succeeded by
William Jones Boone, Jr.

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