Open main menu
This page needs to be proofread.

It was taken from Fr. lourche, connected with many German forms, now only dialectical such as Lortsch, Lurtsch, Lorz, Lurz, all for some kind of game, but also meaning left-hand, wrong, which the New English Dictionary thinks is the origin of the word, it being first used as a term in gambling. In (2) “ lurch ” occurs first in the form “ lee-lurches, ” sudden rolls a ship takes to leeward in a heavy sea, which may be a corruption of “ leelatch, ” defined in Smyth's Sailor's Word Book as dropping to leeward of the course. In (3) “ lurch ” is probably another form of “ lurk, ” to lie in wait for, watch stealthily, hence to pilfer, steal.

LURGAN, a market-town of C0. "Armagh, Ireland, well situated on high ground overlooking Lough N eagh a few miles to the north; 20 m. S.W. of Belfast by the Great Northern railway. Pop. (1901) II,782. The parish church of Shankill (this parish including Lurgan) has a finely proportioned tower. Contiguous to the town is Lurgan Castle, a fine modern Elizabethan structure, the seat of Lord Lurgan. Lurgan is famed for its diapers, and the linen trade is of the first importance, but there are also tobacco factories and coach factories. It is governed by an urban district council. Lurgan was founded by William Brownlow, to whom a grant of the town was made by James I. In 1619 it consisted of forty-two houses, all inhabited by English settlers. It was burned by the insurgents in 1641, and again by the troops of James II. After its restoration in 1690 a patent for a market and fair was obtained.

LURIA, ISAAC BEN SOLOMON (1534-1572), Jewish mystic, was born in Jerusalem. From his German descent he was surnamed Ashkenazi (the German), and we find that epithet applied to him in a recently discovered document of date 1559. In that year Isaac Luria was living in Cairo and trading as a spice merchant with his headquarters in Alexandria. He had come to Egypt as a boy after his father's death, and was brought up by his wealthy maternal uncle Mordecai Francis. The boy, according to the legends which soon grew round his life, was a “ wonder-child, ” and early displayed marvellous capacity. He married as a lad of fifteen, his bride being his cousin. For some time he continued his studies; later on when engaged in business there was no break in this respect. Two years after his marriage he became possessed of a copy of the Kabbalistic “ Bible ”-the Zohar of Moses de Leon (q.'v.). In order to meditate on the mystic lore he withdrew to a hut by the Nile, returning home for the Sabbath. Luria afterwards gave to the Sabbath a mystic beauty such as it had never before possessed. Thus passed several years; he was still young, but his new mode of life produced its effects on a man of his imagination and saintly piety. He became a visionary. Elijah, who had been his godfather in his babyhood, now paid him frequent visits, initiating him into sublime truths. By night Luria's soul ascended to heaven and conversed with celestial teachers who had once been men of renown on earth.

In 1566 at earliest Luria removed to Safed. This Palestinian town was in the 16th century the headquarters of the Kabbala. A large circle of Talmudists lived there; at their head Joseph Qaro, then over eighty years of age. Qaro's son married Luria's daughter, and Qaro rejoiced at the connexion, for he had a high opinion of Luria's learning. Mysticism is often the expression of a revolt against authority, but in Luria's case mysticism was not divorced from respect for tradition. After his arrival at Safed Luria lived at most six years, and died in 1572. But these years were momentous for Judaism. He established an extraordinary reputation; his personality had a winning attractiveness; and he founded a school of mystics who powerfully affected Judaism after the master's death. The Holy Spirit, we are told, rested on him, drawn to him by the usual means of the mystics self-fiogging, ablutions and penance. He had wonderful gifts of insight, and spoke to the birds. Miracles abounded. More soberly true is the statement that he went on long walks with enthusiastic disciples, whom he taught without books. Luria himself wrote no mystical works; what we know of his doctrines and habits comes chiefly from his Boswell, Hayim Vital. There was little of originality in Luria's doctrines; the theory of emanations, the double belief in the process of the Divine Essence as it were self-concentrating (Zimzum) and on the other hand as expanding throughout creation; the philosophical “ sceptism ” which regards God as unknowable but capable of direct intuition by feeling-these were all common elements of mystical thoughtl Luria was an inspirer of saintly conduct rather than an innovator in theories. Not beliefs, he said, but believers need rebirth. As he rose in the morning he prayed: “ O God, grant that throughout this coming day I may be able to love my neighbour as myself.” Never would he retire to rest until he had fulfilled his definite engagements to those who had served him. Luria and his school altered the very look of the Jewish Prayer Book. Prayer was his main prop. By it men became controllers of the earthly world and reached God. He or his school introduced innumerable ritual customs, some of them beautiful enough. On Sabbath he dressed in white, wearing a four-fold garment to typify the four letters of the Divine Name. The Sabbath was to him an actual cult. It was a day of the most holy joy. Resuming the Talmudic idea of an Over-soul present in every Israelite on the Sabbath, Luria and his school made play with this Over-soul, fed it with spiritual and material dainties and evolved an intricate maze of mystic ceremonial, still observed by countless masses.- Another strong point with Luria was penance. The confessions of sin which he introduced descend to minute ritual details and rise to the most exalted aspects of social and spiritual life. He deprecated general confessions and demanded that the individual must lay bare the recesses of his heart. Hayim Vital reports that on his death-bed Luria said to his disciples: “ Be at peace with one another: bear with one another: and so be worthy of my coming again to reveal to you what no mortal ear has heard before." His mystic ceremonial became a guide to religious practice, and though with this there came in much meaningless and even bewildering formalism, yet the example of his life and character was a lasting inspiration to saintliness.

See S. Schecher, Studies in Judaism, second series, pp. 251 seq.; Jewish Encyclopedia, viii. 210; E. Worman in Rev/ue des Etudes Juives, lvii. 281. (I. A.)

LURISTAN, in the wider sense (as its name implies) the “ Land of the Lurs, ” namely that part of western Persia which is bounded by Turkish territory on the west and extends for about 400 m. N.W.-S.E. from Kermanshah to F ars with a breadth of 100 to 140 m. It is chiefly mountainous, being intersected by numerous ranges running N.W.-S.E. The central range has many summits which are almost within the line of perpetual snow, rising to 13,000 ft. and more, and in it are the sources of Persia's most important rivers, as the Zayendeh-rud, jarahi, Karun, Diz, Abi, Kerkheh. Between the higher ranges are many fertile plains and low hilly districts, well watered but comparatively little cultivated in consequence of inter tribal feuds. The Lurs are thought' to be aboriginal Persians with a mixture of Semitic blood. Their language is a dialect of Persian and does not differ materially from Kurdish. Outwardly they are Mussulmans of the Shiah branch, but most of them show little veneration for either Prophet or Koran, and the religion of some of them seems to be a mixture of Ali-Illahism involving a belief in successive incarnations combined with mysterious, ancient, heathen rites. The northern part of Luristan, which was formerly known as Lurikuchik (little Luristan), is inhabited by the F eili Lurs and these are divided into the Pishkuh (cis-montanel Lurs in the east and Pushtkuh (ultra-montane) Lurs in the west adjoining Turkish territory. They number about 350, oo0. Little Luristan was governed by a race of independent princes of the Khurshidi dynasty, and called atabegs, from 1155 to the beginning of the 17th century when the last atabeg, Shah Verdi Khan, was removed by Shah Abbas I. and the government of the province given to Husain Khan, the chief of a rival tribe, with the title of vali in exchange for that of atabeg. The descendants of Husain Khan have retained the title but now govern only the Pushtkuh Lurs, to whom only the denomination of F eili is at present applied. The southern part of Luristan was formerly known as Lur i Buzurg (great Luristan) and is composed of the Bakhtiari division of the Arabistan province and the districts of to Fars. The

40,000. Great

the Fazlevieh

was Idaj, now

60 m. S.E. of

the Mamasennis and Kuhgilus which belong

Bakhtiaris number about 2o0, qoo, the others Luristan was an independent state under

atabegs from 1160 until 1424, and its capital represented by mounds and ruins at Malamir


LUSATIA (Ger. Lausizfz), a name applied to two neighbouring districts in Germany, Upper and Lower Lusatia, belonging now