what is the meaning of "any scholar of the age" and "the shoemaker's bench"? "any scholar of the age" does it mean any scholar in his age or an aged scholar? and is "the shoemaker's bench" an address?

Dr. George Bush, Professor of Hebrew in the University of New York, who was one of those present while the trance orations were being taken down, writes:

I can solemnly affirm that I have heard Davis correctly quote the Hebrew language in his lectures, and display a knowledge of geology which would have been astonishing in a person of his age, even if he had devoted years to the study. He has discussed, with the most signal ability, the profoundest questions of historical and biblical archeology, of mythology, of the origin and affinity of language, and the progress of civilization among the different nations of the globe, which would do honour to any scholar of the age, even if in reaching them he had the advantage of access to all the libraries in Christendom. Indeed, if he had acquired all the information he gives forth in these lectures, not in the two years since he left the shoemaker's bench, but in his whole life, with the most assiduous study, no prodigy of intellect of which the world has ever heard would be for a moment compared with him, yet not a single volume or page has he ever read.

1 Answer 1


Any period of time or history that can be broadly defined with a beginning and an end can be termed "an age" - for example the stone age is the period of time when man is believed to have worked primarily with stone tools; the steam age refers to the period roughly 1770 and 1914, the Edwardian age roughly 1901 to 1910 while King Edward VII was on the throne in England.

Your text appears to be by a scholar writing about a lecturer named "Davis", and then refers to "any scholar of the age". I would understand this to be other scholars from the same period of learning as 'Davis' and comparing them. This "age" may be a very loose term - it might not have a marked beginning and end but loosely refer to the period of time in which the subject studied or worked.

Without context, I can only assume that the "shoemaker's bench" mentioned here is literal and a reference to the person's former occupation? A shoemaker's bench is a bench where shoemakers work making shoes. Saying "since he left the shoemaker's bench" is like saying "since he stopped working as a shoemaker".

  • Not there is a difference between "of the age" (ie the contemporary period) and "of his age" (used earlier) which means "as young/old as he is"
    – James K
    Dec 31, 2020 at 10:57

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