• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Dedication
 Preface
 Table of Contents
 Period I: From Moses (1575) to...
 Period II: From Ezra (460 B.C.)...
 Period III: From the destruction...
 Period IV: From the death of Mendelssohn...
 Conclusion
 Notes






Group Title: Judaism surveyed : : being a sketch of the rise and development of Judaism. From Moses to our days, in a series of five lectures...
Title: Judaism surveyed
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00072105/00001
 Material Information
Title: Judaism surveyed being a sketch of the rise and development of Judaism. From Moses to our days, in a series of five lectures..
Physical Description: 146 p. : ; 19 cm.
Language: Hebrew
Creator: Benisch, A ( Abraham ), 1811-1878
Publisher: Longmans, Green & Co.
Place of Publication: London
Publication Date: 1874
 Subjects
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00072105
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: The Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica
Holding Location: The Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 26824084

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Dedication
        Dedication
    Preface
        Preface
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents 1
        Table of Contents 2
    Period I: From Moses (1575) to Ezra (460 B.C.)
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
    Period II: From Ezra (460 B.C.) to the destruction of the temple (670 C.E.)
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
    Period III: From the destruction of the second temple, in the year 70, C.E., to the death of Moses Mendelson, in the year 1786 C.E.)
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
    Period IV: From the death of Mendelssohn in 1786, to our days
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
    Conclusion
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
    Notes
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
Full Text







JUDAISM SURVEYED:


BEING A SKETCH OF TIE


RISE AND' DEVELOPMENT OF JUDAISM.

FROM MOSES TO OUR DAYS,



IN A SERIES OF FIVE LECTURES,

DELIVERED IN ST. GEORGE'S HALL,




BY

DR. A.-BENISCH.






LONDON:
LONGMANS, GREEN & CO:,

1874.


































LoN)ON:
.:PRINTEDBY S. MIELuOLA
7, KING STREET, SNow HILL, CITY.





















TO THE MEMORY
OF HER WHO MADE ME WHAT I AM,
TO WHOM I WAS ALL IN ALL,
WHOSE LAST ARTICULATED WORD WAS UTTERED
TO BREATHE COMFORT TO ME;

WHOSE EYE SPOKE TO ME WHEN THE TONGUE NO LONGER COULD;
WHOSE LAST PHYSICAL POWER

WAS EXERTED IN A PRESSURE OF MY HAND,
STILL THRILLING THROUGH MY FRAME,
WHEN THE EYE, FIXED IN DEATH, WAS NO LONGER
ABLE TO FOLLOW ME.
WITH HER THE SUBJECT OF THESE LECTURES
IN HAPPIER, ALAS! BYGONE DAYS,
OFTEN FORMED THE THEME OF GRAVE CONVERSATIONS.



THOU ART GONE!
AND, WITH THEE, MY GUARDIAN ANGEL
AND THE JOY OF MY LIFE.



SOON THE ALLOTTED SPAN OF TIME WILL BE PASSED OVER,
AND THEN NO MORE SEPARATION.















PREFACE.


The lectures contained in this volume have been
published in compliance with the wish of some who
attended their delivery, and of many more who read
the notices of them in the general and Jewish press.
A number of remarks have been added under the title of
Concluding Chapter. In this the lecturer has explained
the objects for the attainment of which he engaged
in this labour. A few explanatory notes have
likewise been subjoined. They will be found at the
end of the volume.













TABLE 0F CONTENTS.



FIRST PERIOD-FrbItr pj 1 to 52..
ITiiTftocUTrois(r -ntiquity of Judaism.-Contact withl other religions.
-ITteidetU t6d citet, astention.-Its, Missionary .Character.-Exuosi-
-ttoio uf -uTdaism.-The Septicgint.-The New Testament.-Its Relation
to' "Bibli cl' Criticism;-The.i Four Stages..of Development: from
Moses tbO ra tothe destruction of.,the Second Temple,; to the.Death
of Moses Mendelssohn in 1786; to our own days.-Characterisation of
each period.-Contents of the Pentateuch.-Division into Principles and
institutions.-Attributes of the Deity.-Difference in the conception of
several of them between Judaism and Christianity.-Immortality
of..the Soul--Why not distinctly affirmed.-Equality of len.-Slavery:
its sources and why tolerated.-Creation.-Relation betyveen; God
and His Creatures.--Between Israel and the rest of mankind.

SECOND PERIOD-Fromp. 52 to 78.
Formation of the Biblical Canon.-Practical Difficulties in carrying
out the Institutions of the Law.-Origin of the Traditional Law.-
Rise of the Order of Scribes.-First contact with Grecian civilisation
and religion.-Its effect upon Judaism.-Struggle under the Maccabees.
-Its influence upon the Development of Judaism.-Establishment of the
Synhedrion.-Rise of the Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes.-Their
Contest, and its influence upon the Development of Judaism.-The
origin of the Dogma of the Resurrection traced.-The Pharisees, and
the Doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul.-The Sadducees not deniers
of this doctrine.-Rise of the Herodian dynasty.-Its influence upon
the Development of Judaism.-Rise of Christianity.-Jesus and the
Pharisees'.-Destruction of the Temple.

THIRD PERIOD-From p. 78 to 106.
Judaism apparently shatteied.-'-Its re-organisation.-The Synhedrion
re-established.-The Doctrine of the Messiah.--His appearance daily
expected.-Influence of this Doctrine upon the Development of











Judaism.-This Doctrine compared with the Christian Dogma of the
speedy Advent of the Son of Man.-Origin of the Antagonism between
Judaism and Christianity.-Insurrection of the Jews under Bar-
Cocba,-Codification of the Traditional Law.-Ascendency of Chris-
tianity.-Its pressure upon Jews and Judaism.-Extinction of the
Synhedrion.-Rise of the Academies in Babylon.-The Babylonian
Talmud.-Decay of the Babylonian Schools, and transfer of the Studies
to Europe.-Rise of Karaism.-Its influence upon Judaism and Biblical
Exegesis.-Influence of dominant Christianity upon Judaism.-Persecu-
tions during the Crusades and in consequence of the Black Death."-
Their influence upon Judaism.-The Reformation, and its influence
upon Jews and Judaism.-Consolidation of Jewish Practices.-The
relation of Judaism to the mental culture of the period.-Mendelssohn's
influence upon his people.

FOURTH PERIOD-From p. 106 to 146.
,Awakening of Judaism to its condition.-Extraordinary Intellectual
Progress of the Jews.-Its influence upon their religious views.-
Efforts made to harmonise them with the Demands of the Age.-
Desertion from the Ancestral Religion.-Rise of a new generation.-
Its religious feelings and views.--Yearning after Reform.-Proposals
for this purpose.-Concluding Chapter.-Notes.












JUDAISM SURVEYED.
BEING A SKETCH OF ITS RISE AND DEVELOPMENT FROM
MOSES TO OUR DAYS.
DIVIDED INTO FOUR PERIODS.


PERIOD I.
From Moses (1575) to Ezra (460 B.C.).


IT is admitted on all hands that Judaism is one of the
most ancient religions in existence. Its preservation
during so many millennia, amidst vicissitudes which
scores of times threatened it with destruction, is a
greater marvel than that of those stupendous monu-
ments of antiquity of which it has been said that from
their summits 4,000 years looked down upon mankind.
During this period it has, of course, passed through
many phases, has come into contact, and not rarely also
into collision, with the religions, civilisations, and ethical
codes of the most powerful and most advanced nations
of ancient and modern times; has naturally acted upon
and in its turn been influenced by them; has con-
tributed its share towards their formation; nay, has
impressed upon them some of its characteristics so
deeply that it cannot be imagined by what events or
length of time they could be effaced.
Nor was Judaism less calculated to excite attention
by its extraordinary vitality, enabling it to survive the
B







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


shocks which sufficed to overthrow the religions of nations
in possession of advantages infinitely surpassing those
enjoyed by the Jews, than by peculiarities that made
themselves acutely felt in every relation of life in which
this people stood to the rest of mankind. Indeed, so
well marked were these peculiarities that they must
have profoundly struck the reflecting among the popu-
lations with which the Jews came into contact. That
such was actually the case, and that this, moreover,
lay in the design of the author of this system, is evident
from several references in the ancient historical records
of this people. This design is clearly shown by the
fact that the Lawgiver designates Israel as a peculiar
treasure, as the Lord's select portion, and a kingdom of
priests (Exod. xix., 5 & 6). In other places the nations
of the earth are introduced as calling Israel a great
-and wise people on account of its laws (Deut. iv., 6),
and; again, as descanting upon some of its characteris-
tic institutions (Ibid li., 23). But still more clearly
expressed is this in the following address of Moses to
God (Exod. xxxiii., 16) : "For wherein then shallit be
known that I and thy people have found grace in thy
sight ? Is it not in that thou goest with us ? So shall
we be'distinct, I and thy people, from all the people that
are upon the face of the earth." That at an early
period already these peculiarities were noticed among
the surrounding nations, appears from several allusions
in the same writings. Balaam declared when called to
curse Israel: Lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall
not be reckoned among the nations," (Numb. xviii., 9).
Most remarkable in this respect is the prayer offered up
ljb Solomon at the dedication of the Temple. He







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


prayed : Moreover, concerning a stranger that is not
of thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far country
for thy name's sake; for they shall hear of thy great
name and thy strong hand, and of thy stretched-out
arm, when he shall come and pray towards this house;
hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and do accord-
ing to all that the stranger calleth to Thee for, that all
people of the earth may know thy name, to fear Thee as
do thy people Israel," (I. Kings, viii., 41, 43). Again,
upon Jonah's announcement to the ship's crew (Jonah,
i, 10), that he was a Hebrew "fearing the God who
made the sea and the land," they were seized with
terror, evidently because Israel and its peculiar worship
were not unknown to them. Equally,-if not more strik-
ing, is the effect produced upon the Ninevites by the
prophet's preaching, which can only be accounted for
on the assumption that they were not unacquainted
with- his religion. Still more distinctly are these
characteristics referred to, although malignantly exag-
gerated and distorted by Haman, when he describes
this people to King Ahasuerus as having institutions
differing from those of all other nations, (Esther, iii.,
8). Daniel's relation to Nebuchadnezzar and Darius,
and the proclamation of Cyrus to the exiles (II. Chron.,
xxxvi., 23; Ezra, i., 2-4) may likewise be referred
to as conclusive proofs that these rulers were not un-
acquainted with Israel's law. In the book of Judith
the Ammonite, Achior seems to be fully acquainted and
impressed with Israel's extraordinary history and pecu-
liar institutions, of which he gives an account to Holo-
fernes (the whole of chap. v.) Here we see all the
constituents of a missionary people intended to draw







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


attention to its tenets, not by words, but by practices
and deeds well calculated to strike the imagination
and impress the mind. And that in prophetic opinion
this object would be attained is evident from the pre-
dictions in which the nations of the earth are repre-
sented as appearing from new moon to new moon, and
sabbath to sabbath, to worship before Gcd (Isaiah,
lxvi 23). The lx. and lxi. chapters of this book are
conceived in the same missionary spirit. The pro-
phecies of Zachariah towards the end of chapter viii., in
the book called after him, are pregnant with the same
spirit, and his last prophecy in chapter xiv. is equally
explicit on this momentous subject. Several psalms, and
especially Psalm lxi., breathe a similar spirit.
In later times we meet with designed efforts to
acquaint the Pagan world with Israel's history and
institutions. To this fact evidence is borne by the
writings of Philo and Josephus, and, perhaps, also by the
Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, although
the probability is that it was originally intended only
for the use of the Alexandrian Jews, among whom a
knowledge of the Hebrew language seemed to have
become extinct.
To a certain extent, and regarded from a certain point
of view, the New Testament, in so far as it emanated
from Jews, may also be considered in the light of an
exposition of this kind. It is especially the writings
of Paul which bear this impress. They are remarkable
not only for their matter, which gives to Judaism a
novel aspect, but also for the method, until then quite
unknown beyond the pale of the synagogue. Those
familiar with the argumentation of the Rabbis, may well







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


fancy, in reading any of his epistles, that they are
perusing a translation of some portion of the Talmud.
The history of the Jewish literature makes mention at
later periods of expositions of Judaism by Jews. If these
expositions were not always intended for gentile nations,
they were at least made accessible to them, as they were
not presented in Hebrew, but in the languages of the
countries of their respective expounders.
But most of these expositions labour under a defect
which impresses upon them the stamp of incompleteness,
and they thus fail in conveying to the inquirer a cor-
rect idea of the system which he is anxious to know.
Most of these expositions to a great extent move within
the circle of the institutions set forth in the books of
Moses; frequently neglecting the consideration of the
extraordinary development of the system which it ex-
perienced in the course of long centuries, of the inter-
pretations to which it was subject at the hand of those
who had to administer these institutions, and lastly
of the expansions, contractions, modifications, and
accommodations, which they had to undergo in con-
sequence of the changes which time necessarily brings
on, but chiefly owing to the collisions into which they
came, from time to time, with the laws, habits, pre-
judices, religions, and civilisations of the nations among
which Jewish colonies had found a refuge. The most
prominent among these expositions are: that of
Maimonides, in the 12th century, originally composed in
Arabic, contained in the well known work, The Guide
of the Perplexed," the third part of which is devoted to
such an exposition; to some extent that of Benedict Spi-
noza,in the 17th century, composed in Latin, and entitled,







JUDAISMI SURVEYED.


" Tractatus Theologico-politicus," that of Moses Men-
delssohn, in the 18th century, written in German, under
the name of" Jerusalem"; in our days, that of J. Salvador,
written in French, entitled Histoire des Institutions de
Moise" ; that by the late Professor Munk, likewise
written in French, contained in his "Palestine;" that
by Rabbi Hirsch, of Frankfort-on-the-Maine, in German,
entitled, "Horeb," and, lastly, that by Dr. Philippsohn,
of Bonn, likewise in German, entitled, The Develop-
ment of the Religious Idea in Judaism, Christianity,
and Mahomedanism," an excellent English translation
of which, by Miss Goldsmid, was published in 1855.
Meritorious as some of these expositions are, the
synagogue, as such, ignored them altogether. They
were considered by her as mere theories, as philoso-
phical speculations, which may or may not represent
Judaism in its true light, to which, therefore, no in-
fluence should be allowed in the practice of the rites
enjoined. Nay, some of these expositions were re-
garded by eminent Rabbis with grave suspicion, if not
absolute hostility. Thus, the Greek translation of the
Pentateuch is deplored in the Talmud as a national
calamity. The reason assigned, is the inadequacy of
the version to convey a truthful idea of the original,
and the consequent apprehension, lest the translation
should lead its readers into error and give rise to
misunderstandings and heresies. Experience showed
that this fear was not quite unfounded; for when at a
later period Christianity arose, several of its statements
which the rabbis considered as erroneous, were defended
on the ground of certain Greek renderings, not borne
out by the original? (1) In the same way Maimonides'







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


celebrated work, referred to before, called forth a con-
troversy among the rabbis of the time, which has not
yet altogether subsided; and the anathema which was
hurled against it, not long after its appearance, is
probably, even in our days, thought justifiable by
that school of Jewish orthodoxy which dreads the
philosophical tone of the work, and the high influence
of the author's reputation.
Such, of course, is also the light in which the survey
in which I am engaged must be regarded. It is simply
an individual view, reflecting an individual mind,
although based on the study of the original sources and
discussions with kindred minds.
But if this survey is to answer its purpose, it must
steer clear of two rocks on which it might be wrecked.
These are biblical criticism and revelation. Happily
this is easy of accomplishment, since, for the object of
.my survey, it is immaterial whether the result arrived
at by modern advanced biblical critics be received or
not. Whether the Pentateuch is believed to be the work
of Moses or of some later author or authors; whether
it consists of mere fragments or is the production of one
mind; whether there are in it interpolations, discre-
pancies, or even contradictions or not; whether its
contents proceeded supernaturally from the divine mind,
or are the ideas of a finite human being, cannot affect
in the least the object of this survey. Suffice it that
the mass of the Hebrews, so far as authentic history can
go back, and their overwhelming majority, to this day,
have considered the Pentateuch, and indeed the
Hebrew Scripture in general, as inspired by the Deity;
consequently, as the production of an external super-







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


natural revelation, and the former in addition as a
direct emanation from God, Moses having only performed
the functions, as it were, of an amanuensis, simply
recording the communications from on high vouch-
safed to him (2). Judaism, as a religious system, was
evidently shaped and developed under the influence of
this belief. The effect in either case must be the same;
history, the thread of which I am following, having
pursued its course unaffected by the views of the critical
school. If its followers cannot perceive with the super-
naturalist in the Bible the work of an objective, i.e.,
external, they may yet find no difficulty in viewing it as
the production of an internal, i.e. subjective, progressive
revelation, gradually evolved, as the saying is, from the
mind's inner consciousness. By either school the sub-
ject, it is evident, is left precisely in the position in
which it is found. Without, therefore, entangling
myself in the meshes of any of these inquiries, I proceed
to the task before me.



In casting a glance over the long vista of millennia
unrolling before my eyes, I perceive distinctly four suc-
cessive stages, at each of which we may conveniently
halt, each of which being marked by characteristics
which cannot easily be overlooked. We can, therefore,
break the journey in which we are engaged on four
points. The first portion of the journey extends from
Moses the Law-giver to Ezra the scribe (460 B.c.).
It is the period commencing with the inception of the
,idea which, working its way, travelling along the course







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


of centuries, grew and grew; and in growing shaped,
developed, and modified itself until it became what we
see it is. It is the handful of snow detached by a gust
of wind, which rolls on and on, and as it rolls gathers
to itself fresh masses until at last it reaches the valley
as an immense avalanche. It is the period when every-
thing is still in motion.
The second portion of the journey extends from Ezra
to Rabbi Yochanan Ben Saccai, a contemporary of the
destruction of the second Temple (70. c.E.), the young-
est of the disciples of Hillel, the predecessor and teacher
of the Gamaliel, at whose feet the apostle Paul sat. It
is the period of consolidation and crystallization. It is
the period when the Hebrew Scripture, still in a state
of fluidity under Ezra, settled down, and having ac-
quired solidity, was ready to the hands of the rabbis,
fit to receive and retain the shape which they, in
the course of several generations, gave it, and when
the several schools of religious thought known by the
names of Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes came into
existence.
The third period of the journey extends from Rabbi
Yochanan Ben Saccai to Moses Mendelssohn, who
died at Berlin in 1786. The long period thus embraced
may be considered as that of struggle, martyrdom, and
compulsory accommodation. Not that the preceding
period was destitute of these characteristics, but that
they had now become more distinct, decided, incisive,
and overshadowing all others. When Judah's national
power was broken, and the conqueror, disregarding its
institutions and idiosyncracies, forced upon it laws
springing from views diametrically opposed to those;







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


cherished by the conquered, the absolute necessity of
choosing arose-the conquered must either yield or
perish. All means of resistance, whether of a physical
,or moral nature, having been exhausted, the latter alter-
native was preferred in the form of accommodations,
originating in a welcome unconscious self-deception,
productive of the belief that what was yielded was not
a fortress but an unimportant piece of ground, or only
,a temporary surrender which would soon be regained,
and for which, therefore, martyrdom need not be in-
curred. The principle of the survival of the fittest was
once more exemplified in this struggle. Of the three
schools of religious thought into which Judaism had
become divided in the preceding period-the Samaritans
formed a sect outside the synagogue-two now actually,
perished: Sadduceeism, on the one hand, which to use
a parliamentary phrase formed the Right, rigidly as it
interpreted certain institutions which, in the existing
-state of affairs, had become utterly untenable or mean-
ingless, now lost every inch of ground, and consequently
was for the time swallowed up by the abyss yawning
at its feet, to re-appear, as will be seen, at a later period
in a modified form under the name of Karaism, or
Scripturalism; while Essenism, on the other, which
may be considered as the Left, laying hold as it did on
the opposite side of Judaism, refining upon its spiritual
elements until losing itself in dreaminess, gradually
melted away for want of a solid kernel, ultimately
probably passing into those mystical schools which
the rise and invigoration of Christianity called forth.
Pharisaism alone, occupying the Centre, now trans-
:formed into Rabbinism, possessed enough of elasticity to







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


allow of a considerable strain without snapping asunder,
and sufficient backbone to afford the necessary points of
support.
The fourth and last portion of our journey is the
shortest. It extends from the time of Mendelssohn to
our days. But, brief as it is, it is pregnant with im-
portant phenomena. It is the period of re-awakening
and consciousness. Its philosophical breath also passed
over Judaism. Its professors, looking around, and per-
ceiving the antagonism in which the inherited religious
system stood in so many points to the majority of their
fellow citizens, and the woful consequences which it
brought on them, naturally asked themselves, For what
do we exist, and why should we struggle and suffer ?
The different answers given to this question, and the
practical solutions thereof attempted, form the religious
and intellectual history of the Judaism of our days. With
the delineation of this history, our journey will termi-
nate. Until we reach this goal, I shall have to bespeak
your patience and indulgence.



The first period, forming the subject of this lecture,
begins, I said, with Moses, and terminates with Ezra.
During this period, the chief constituents of the so-
called Old Testament came into existence, and were
*cast into their present mould. The biblical canon, it is
true, was closed at a much later period, and there is
good reason to believe that additions were made a con-
siderable time after Ezra's death (3). But there is hardly
,any doubt that the constituents substantially remained







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


unaltered. It is true that the several authors of these
writings, as well as the persons introduced therein, do
not always agree in their notions and views on some
subjects occasionally very important to the religious
world; and their ideas on these matters were as yet far
from the fixity which they attained in subsequent ages.
But this need not distract our view, and prevent our
considering these writings as a whole, since it is as a
whole that they presented themselves to the subsequent
generations, and, as such, shaped their religious system,
and gave it that form in which it has come down to us.
Regarded from this point of view, it will be perceived
that the contents of the Pentateuch, and it is this book
with which we are chiefly concerned, form three distinct
grouips-history, doctrines, and commands.
The historical portions, not coming within the scope
of the immediate object before us, must, of course, be
entirely disregarded. Nor shall I pay any attention to
the conventional division of the contents of the Pen-
tateuch, known by such names as ceremonial, dietary, or
Levitical laws, or whatever these divisions may be; for,
useful as they are to the student for the special pur-
poses he may have in view, there is not a particle of
evidence to show that the author of this volume ever
considered its contents in this light, or mentally made
any such distinction between law and law. He con-
sidered all laws equally binding, emanating as they did
from the same authority. Thus so-called moral laws
are dove-tailed with enactments regarded as purely
ceremonial, or a so-called ceremonial law is wedged in
between a number of moral precepts, and vice versa.
In fact, the order in which they are joined, and the







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


sequence in which they follow each other, show that
the connecting links by which they were held together
in the Legislator's mind were of a kind quite different
from those to which they would have attached them-
selves had they been grouped according to our western
notions; and by applying to them a standard of this
nature we run the risk of failing to assign to them their
proper value, and the true reasons for their enactment.
The only legitimate ground for dividing the contents of
the Pentateuch, after subtracting its historical and poetical
constituents, is that which separates them into doctrines
or principles, which, of course, come purely within the
province of ideas having their seat exclusively in the
domain of the spirit to which alone they appeal, and by
which alone they can be perceived and appreciated, and
the portion which is intended to embody them;
thus bringing them to the knowledge of the outer
world. This portion of the contents of the Pentateuch-
the outcome of the principles-I call, for brevity's sake,
Institutions, whether they be symbols, rites, or cere-
monies of a positive or a negative nature. This
division is founded on a distinction which it can be
shown was ever present to the mind of the Legislator,
of which he never lost sight, and which is not rarely
clearly enunciated by him.
More frequently, however, institutions are enacted
without clear intimation of the principles which they
are designed to embody. For instance, the so-called
dietary or Levitical laws. In such cases the mind, for
the discovery of the principles represented by them, has
recourse to inferences drawn from general established
views, hints, or analogies. It is a process to which the







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


mind is driven by parity of reasoning, since it cannot
admit that, while one portion of the institutions enjoined
rests upon clearly enunciated principles, another, pro-
ceeding from the same source, should consist of purely
arbitrary orders, standing in no rational relation to any
object aimed at. These principles may not show them-
selves to the inquirer at the first glance, even as the
root bearing the stem of the tree burrows deep in the
soil, or the foundation sustaining the superstructure is
laid deep in the ground, but nevertheless of the exis-
tence of which the mind has not the remotest doubt.
On the other hand, it is noteworthy that severalvery
important principles, borne testimony to by the whole of
the religious system, are not distinctly affirmed in
the Hebrew Scripture, and it is not easy to discover
any institution representing them. Of this kind are
several divine attributes, as will appear further on.
I now proceed to the consideration of these principles,
or doctrines, to be followed by the enumeration of some
of the institutions, practices, rites, or symbols, the
special relation of which to one or more of the former
will be pointed out. These principles bear on the Deity
-his attributes, Creation, his relation to his creatures in
general, and the rational ones in particular; the relation
of those to one another, the object of creation, and,
lastly, the means for its attainment. These principles
accordingly lay down: That the Deity is to be con-
ceived as self-existent, a strict unity, spiritual, most
holy, infinitely good, supremely just, omnipotent, eternal,
omniscient, most wise, spontaneous Creator of the
universe, absolute master of all his creatures, without
responsibility to any of them, who by his own free will'







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


and in conformity with his infinite goodness and
wisdom has been pleased to ordain the following relations
between himself and them. They are in every respect
in a direct manner to depend upon him, although, as a
general rule, he may employ secondary agencies in
their government; he owes them no other regard save
such as may spring from his infinite goodness and
wisdom; they are, in fact, in his hands as clay in those
of the potter, and have no right to ask, Why hast thou
shaped us into this or that vessel ?
From his rational creatures formed after his image,
into whose nostrils he blew the breath of life, and whom
he endowed with free-will, he demands in addition com-
plete obedience to his will in whatever way manifested
-love to, fear of, and full confidence in him. They are'
further to acknowledge their complete and sole depen-
dence upon him, and especially beware how they pay
homage to any other being beside him, he being a
jealous God. They are further to make themselves-
acquainted with his attributes, and imitate them as far
as lies in their power. On the other hand, he under-
takes to- reward the obedient and punish the disobedient,
reserving to himself time, place, and manner for the
execution of his behests, which are often inscrutable.
These rational creatures he placed to the rest of the
creation in the relation of stewards. They are allowed
its usufruct, but not absolute control over it. They
may subdue all living creatures in so far as their sub-
jection may benefit them; but must not abuse their
power over these irrational creatures, and must treat
them with mercy, and respect those general laws
laid down for the government of nature. Men,







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


among themselves, however, are equals, and should
therefore respect one another's rights, and no other
obedience than what is due to the laws enacted can, be
enforced. Nevertheless, in the family circle the hus-
band and father is head ; woman, in her capacity as a
wife, is man's recognized helpmate. The universe was
-created for God's glory, and, consequently, also for the
happiness of its rational inhabitants.
The means through which this can be attained is
voluntary obedience to the will of the Creator. In order
to assist man in this task, a family especially adapted for
the purpose was made the depository :of this will,
and particularly fitted for the preservation of the"
knowledge thereof throughout all generations in pros-
perity as well as adversity; and also for the performance
of the duties of custodian. This family was that of
Abraham, and, in order to fit it for the custodianship,
special institutions were enjoined on this family,
whereby it was placed in a special relation to the rest
of mankind. Such is an outline of the first period,
which, from the most prominent figure inl it, we may
call Mosaism. I now proceed to the consideration of
the component parts of this outline.
The first principle taught by Mosaism was, I said,
the self-existence and independence of a Supreme Being ;
consequently the existence of a personal God.
It is evident that without this principle the existence
of Judaism would be inconceivable. It is the foundation
upon which the whole superstructure rests. Neverthe-
less, this existence is nowhere in the Pentateuch dis-
tinctly affirmed in the way in which some of the other
attributes are. It is, of course, implied in every verse,







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


but not distinctly stated. It is proposed as a thing to
which all agree, and about which there can be no doubt.
The first passage in the Bible does not say there is a
God," but in the beginning God created heaven and
earth." The ten commandments-the most important
portion of the Bible-does not commence with a
declaration of the existence of the Deity, as might have
been expected, but with the announcement, I am the
Lord, thy God, who brought thee out of the land of
Egypt." We shall meet with similar instances further
on, and they will be duly commented upon.
Nevertheless, this defect, if defect it be, is fully
compensated for by a distinct announcement which may
be considered as equivalent to such a solemn declaration,
and which is of frequent occurrence in the Hebrew
Scripture. This declaration is contained in the name by
which the Supreme Being announces himself in the
Hebrew Scripture, and by which he is usually called in
it. This name is Jehovah, or as modern Biblical critics
will have it, Jahveh. This name is derived from a verb
meaning, to be, or to exist, and in the verbal form
in which it occurs it takes to itself the additional mean-
ing-the being whose existence is continuous. It is,
therefore, expressive-of pure existence, without begin-
ning, and without end, without the admixture of any
other idea which might in any other way qualify its
signification. Whenever, therefore, we meet with a.
passage in Scripture where God speaks of himself as
Jehovah, it is tantamount to the announcement of His
existence, and whether this name belongs exclusively to
Scripture, or is imported from another people or language
whether it is radically connected with the Latin, Jovis(4)







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


or the name of some other foreign deity is immaterial
to our purpose. For us it suffices to know that by the
Jews this name was believed to have been exclusively
revealed to them and to their minds, at least from the
commencement of the second period, it fully conveyed the
ideas which I have endeavoured to adumbrate, and as
such contributed its share towards the formation of
Judaism such as we now find it.
For the same reason we may entirely disregard the
various opinions of theologians, as to whether Jehovah
was not originally the name of a family, tribal, or
national deity, who gradually, as the popular mind
became enlarged, expanded his domain, shook off all
purely material characteristics, assuming spiritually,
intellectually, and morally, a higher and higher position,
until he at last rose to that of the God of the universe.
We might for argument's sake concede all this, and even
allow that this name did not convey to all Biblical per-
sonages an equally exalted notion; that at different
periods and to different persons the notion varied while
the name remained; that, in this respect, we meet in the
Hebrew Scripture with fluctuations,that in the mouths of
some this name shone forth with extraordinary efful-
gence, and was endowed with every perfection, while
presenting itself in the speech of others as restricted
and obscured as though under a cloud : and yet maintain
with truth that the statement in question is not in the
least affected thereby, since there can be no doubt that
at the period referred to before, the name of Jehovah
presented itself to the popular mind, vested with an awe,
sublimity and mysteriousness which could only have
proceeded from the people's full comprehension of the







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


exalted conception with which this name impressed
their imaginations (5).
I have now to inquire whether there is any special
institution in the Mosaic code designed by the Lawgiver
to externise, if you will allow me to coin this expression,
and to bring this conception to the general consciousness.
Of these I discover two. One of them I do not hesi-
tate to refer to this principle. But about the other I
am not free from doubt. I allude to the golden plate
which the high-priest had to wear on his forehead, and
on which was written, "Holiness to the Lord" (Exod.
xxviii., 36).
This inscription on an ornament worn by the highest
representative of Jewish worship over a most prominent
part of his body, the reputed seat of the highest and
noblest mental faculties, was the public, constant, na-
tional confession of the independent, personal, self-
existence of the Being whose highest servant he was.
By this I do not mean to say that this inscription
served no other purpose in addition. It did do so, as
the context shows; and it may here be the place to
observe that such is the case with a number of other
Mosaic institutions which serve two or more purposes,
and in addition subserve one, and even several others.
The other institution, which may with great proba-
bility, yet not with absolute certainty, be referred to
this principle, is the he-goat (Levit. xvi. 7-10), which
on .the great day of atonement, the acme of the
Jewish religious system on which God promised
on certain conditions to manifest His highest prero-
gative-that of pardoning sin-was to be chosen by
lot cast with great solemnity. On one of the two lots








JUDAISM SURVEYED.


was written "unto Jehovah," in contradistinction to
that destined for Azazel, or for a "scapegoat" as rendered
in the Anglican Version. The parallel between the
two institutions is evident in both cases. The highest
personage in the hierarchy acts the principal part, and in
both cases the name Jehovah, and not some other name
of the Deity, such as Elohim or.Shaddai appears empha-
tically. My hesitation in referring this institution to the
principle under discussion arises from the contrast in
which Moses places in this passage Jehovah to Azazel,
the meaning and significance of this mysterious word not
yet being satisfactory elucidated. Sufficient, however,
is known to the Biblical critic to induce him to reject
the rendering-scapegoat.
I now come to the consideration of the next principle
-unity. This is a principle to which Judaism attaches
the utmost importance. It takes unity in so strict a
sense that there are theologians (see Maimonides'
Moreh Nebuchim, part I., chapters 50 and 53) who will
not admit of any enumeration of divine attributes; God
and his attributes being identical, since any division
between them, even if only made for the sake of con-
venience in discussion, must be considered as bordering
upon the province of Polytheism (6).
Of the numerous passages in the Hebrew Scripture
which bear on this principle, I content myself with
quoting one which the Jew to this day regards as the
sheet anchor of his religion, which he repeatedly recites
in his daily prayers, and which is the last sound striking
his ears or escaping his lips on his death-bed, even as it
forms part and parcel of the devotional exercises which
his infantile tongue is taught to utter. This passage







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


runs thus, Hear, 0 Israel, the Lord our God the
Lord is one." Important as this principle is, I can yet
only trace one or two institutions, or rather symbols,
which appear to me to have been designed to typify it.
The establishment by direct divine sanction of only one
sanctuary, and the strict prohibition of any other.
In the wilderness the Israelites had only one taber-
nacle, and, when in their own land, only one temple.
The denunciation by the Biblical writers of the high
places, or any other place for the performance of reli-
gious rites, save the divinely appointed sanctuary, are
well known. The sanctuary of God was to be one, even
as God was one.
I consider as another symbol of this'unity the election
of one single people-Israel-as the custodian of the
divine code and its witness. This opinion, however, is
not so much derived from an explicit Biblical statement
as it is inferential. It had no direct influence on the
formation of actual Judaism. On the other hand, the
consciousness of this people that it, alone among the
nations of the earth,was entrusted by the Deity with a
special mission of the utmost importance to the human
race, greatly contributed towards shaping the character
of this nation into what it is, and gave rise to features
which powerfully influenced its fate, and thus, indirectly,
also its religion.
These features are a certain feeling of independence
on the part of Israel in its bearing towards God, in
consequence of which He, not rarely in the prayers
offered up by Israel in the darkest hours of trouble, is
reminded that His glory was bound up with its, pre-
servation, and that He could not allow it to succumb







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


without at the same time marring his 'own design;
extraordinary fortitude in the endurance of calamities,
threatening it with national extinction, which arose from
the profound conviction that the Most High, for
His own sake could not permit its entire destruction;
and, lastly, a certain pride emanating from the consider-
ation of the eminence to which it had been raised by
God's special favour, and the contrast between the
sublimity of its own theological notions and the mean-
ness of those entertained even by the most advanced
and most powerful populations surrounding it. This
feeling was still more strengthened by the contrast
between the purity of the code of morals enjoined on it,
and the low ethical standard followed by even
the most enlightened nations. This feeling has found
its most explicit utterance in Biblical passages and in
prayers, such as Blessed art thou, Israel, who is like
thee, a people saved by the Lord? (Deut. xxxiii., 29),
or, Thou art one, and thy name is one, and who is
like thy people Israel, an only nation on earth,"
(II. Sam. vii., 23).
While the first of these features raised Israel in self-
respect, and helped to bring on the result which was the
object of its prayers, the latter was the fertile source of
great and abiding misfortunes to it; for it gave by this
pride mortal offence to the other nations, which in
number, wealth, civilisation, art, and even science, were
superior to Israel; and, being unable to appreciate the
source of this pride, they considered Israel as haughty,
presumptuous, vain, silly, and repulsive, and therefore
made it feel the full weight of their hatred. The conduct
of these nations when Israel was in trouble, as well as the






JUDAIS3I SURVEYED.


writings of the ancients still extant, show, whenever they
refer to Jews and Judaism, how little these were under-
stood, and how great, widely-spread, and deeply-seated
were prejudice and ill-feeling against the Jews (7).
The sad consequence was that when, in process of time,
Christianity was carried from the east and south to
the west and north, the Teutonic and Sclavonian tribes-
which it can be shown were originally free from any
feeling of enmity towards the Jews had implanted in
their hearts by the missionaries of the new faith,
together with it the seed of that hatred to the Jew
which gradually ripened into the persecutions, of
which he has been the victim ever since the establish-
ment of clerical dominion over the minds of the
converts (8).
I now proceed to the consideration of the next prin-
ciple-God's spirituality. It is true God nowhere
announces himself as a pure spirit; but that he con-
sidered himself as such is clear, for, speaking of man's
wickedness which led to the deluge, he was referred to
as saying, My spirit shall not strive in man for ever "
(Gen. iii., 3). Again, the history of the creation
informs us that the. spirit of God moved on the face
of the water" (Ibid i., 2); and although the word
rendered spirit may also mean air or wind, yet the
verb connected with it shows that what the historian
had in his mind was the other signification, viz.,
spirit. Further, Moses is introduced as addressing the
Deity, God, the God of the spirits of all flesh (Numb.
xvi., 22, xxvii., 16). This clearly shows that the Hebrew
mind was capable of distinguishing between matter (here
applied in a narrower sense to flesh) and spirit. There







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


are also numerous other passages implying a con-
sciousness of this distinction in the Hebrew mind (9).
But by this I do not mean to say that the line of
distinction between the two was always in the Hebrew
mind of old so clearly drawn as it is in modern times.
It may be that the epithets and actions ascribed to the
Deity in the Bible, which are now explained as figures
of speech and anthropomorphisms, were taken at
different periods by some who employed them in their
primary materialistic sense. It is admissible that until
the appearance of the writings of Maimonides in the 12th
century, who emphatically and laboriously impressed
upon the Jewish mind the vital distinction between the two
(Moreh Nebuch. part I., chap. xxxi.), there were con-
siderable fluctuations on the subject in the Jewish mind,
and even a large amount of haziness ; since an eminent
rabbi and critic, a contemporary of Maimonides (10), cen-
sures the latter in strong language for the vehemence with
which he condemned the view which allowed material
epithets to be ascribed to the Deity ; while the cabalis-
tical school, passing for orthodox, explains the act of
creation to have consisted in a voluntary contraction of
the Deity, thus leaving space for the universe and an
emanation from His Being ultimately metamorphosed
into our material world. But here again applies with
great propriety what I said before when discussing the
divine existence. This difference of view does not
affect the question at all, since it is a fact that at the time
when Judaism was being consolidated at the commence-
ment of the second period, those who performed this
task held notions on the spirituality of God as pure as.
those of the modern Rabbis.






JUDAISM SURVEYED.


I cannot discover any positive institution referring to
this principle; but there is a negative one so solemnly,
so emphatically, and so frequently enjoined, that the im-
portance attached to it by the Lawgiver becomes-
evident. The second commandment, which forbids the-
production of any image for the purpose of worship,
especially if taken in connection with v.v. 12 and 15 of
Deut. ii., in which Israel is given to understand that no
form or shape is to be ascribed to God, can only rest
upon the assumption of the divine incorporeity. Indeed,.
the horror of idolatry which the whole of the Pentateuch,.
and the Scriptures in general, breathe, as well as the
strict injunctions given for the destruction of all images.
representing deities, can only have their root in the-
apprehension lest Israel be by their toleration accus-
tomed to form a material conception of God, invest him
with human passions, and then indulge in the-
gratification of them in the idea, that that cannot be-
displeasing to him of which He himself set the example..
The discussion of the dimensions which this institution
in process of time assumed, what special antagonism it
created between Judaism and Christianity, and what
influence it exercised upon the sesthetical feelings of the
former would lead me too far away from the immediate-
subject before us. Suffice it that, while Jews have
excelled as musicians, composers, actors, and painters,
comparatively few of this race have devoted themselves.
to the plastic art; and, of these few, hardly any have
as yet attained a very high degree of eminence.
I now come to the consideration of the next princi-
ple-God's holiness. This is repeatedly proclaimed by
the Deity in a direct manner. To several command-







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


ments enjoined in the Pentateuch is appended as a reason,
"for I am holy," (Lev. xi, 44, 45 ; xix., 2; xx., 26).
This holiness must evidently be taken in a sense much
wider than that to which this term now applies. Its
scope clearly includes conditions, actions, and objects,
which, according to our ethical view, do not come
within its range. In fact, some of these declared by
the Lawgiver as clean or unclean, pure or impure, come
within its province. Holiness, in this sense, not only
includes the preference essential to the divine nature for
ideas of a moral order, for everything calculated to raise,
foster, and sustain ideas of this order, but also inherent
displeasure at everything capable of disturbing that
mental harmony, that equanimity and placidity of
temper necessary for the unclouded perception of what
is moral, and the strength requisite for following the
line of conduct to which it might point. If, therefore,
man wishes to be holy because his Maker is holy, it is
not enough for him strictly to obey the law of morality;
but he must, in addition, shun everything the con-
tact with which might create disgust, and thereby
disturb the evenness of temper necessary to enjoy con-
templation of the ideal perfection to be aimed at. He
must, moreover, eschew everything that might weaken
if not endanger bodily health so necessary for success-
fully striving after the ideal, and thereby through the
mysterious yet intimate connexion between body and
soul, taint and mar, and perhaps derange, also,
that fine organisation requisite for duly perceiving,
appreciating and carrying out what is morally good and
right. Much of what comes under the so-called dietary
laws and Levitical purity seems to me to belong to this







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


province; for these injunctions are not rarely introduced
or concluded with the phrase, Ye shall be holy"; or
the command to be holy is assigned as a reason for the
injunction.
I need not point out what wide scope this principle
has, and how many institutions refer to it. The ethical
laws naturally come pre-eminently within its province.
SThe next divine attribute is infinite goodness. This
principle is in a direct manner announced by God
himself, in response to the wish of Moses to be favoured
with the sight of the divine glory. We read : "And the
Lord passed by before him and proclaimed; the Lord,
the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering and
abundant in goodness and truth-keeping mercy for
thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin-
and that will by no means clear the guilty-visiting the
iniquity of the fathers upon the children and upon the
children's children unto the third and the fourth genera-
tion" (Levit. xxxii. 6-9). There are several other
passages in the Hebrew Scripture of a similar tenor;
But it is remarkable that all of them describe God as
full of mercy; yet none of them represent it as bound-
less. Its limit is reached where the province of justice
begins. Upon this mercy does not encroach. The
Lawgiver never ceases to warn us against the fatal error,
that divine goodness will ever be stretched so far as
altogether to free the guilty from penalty, the just
and unavoidable consequence of sin. He may, under
certain conditions, receive the repentant sinner again
into favour;but it would be against the attribute of justice
were sin: to be effaced without previous expiation.
Mercy only so far preponderates over justice in that







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


the consequences of goodness are to extend infinitely'
wider than those of wickedness.
If those of the former are to reach the thousandth
generation, those of the latter are to stop at the fourth.
Nor can this penalty be paid by another save the
transgressor. The idea of a vicarious atonement was
abhorrent to the mind of the Lawgiver (11). There are
numerous institutions which attach themselves directly to
this principle. I will mention one by way of exempli-
fication. "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he
treadeth out the corn." These institutions have received
a very large elaboration during the second period, and
the special application of the principle underlying them,
so far as they affect the relations of man to dumb
animals, has been carried to a great length under the
name of Infliction of pain on living creatures." The
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has thus
in the rules laid down for the purpose, been anticipated,
thousands of years ago ; and it is somewhat remarkable
that, while the Rabbis-contemporaries of the authors of
the New Testament-had so much to say in behalf of the
brute creation, not an allusion to this subject is to be
found in the writings referred to. Institutions of this
kind, in conjunction with the preceding attribute, had a
powerful influence in shaping Judaism and the Jewish
character, notoriously averse to the shedding of blood,
and cruelty in general. The Jews among themselves,
with justice, characterise themselves as the merciful
children of merciful men."
The next principle is God's supreme justice. It is
true He nowhere declares that he is supremely just, even
as He makes the announcement that He is gracious or







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


holy; but it is clearly inferred from the repeated
injunctions to practise justice, and from the special laws
laid down for this purpose. Indeed, so essential a
divine attribute is it considered by the Lawgiver, that
the judge, in his capacity as a representative of the
Deity, is called God, and, in Deut., xxxii. 4, we read "He
is the rock, His work is perfect, for all his ways are
judgment; a God of truth, and without iniquity ; just
and right is he." To this principle may be referred all
laws laid down for the government of the common-
wealth, and regulating the relations between man and
man. So momentous was the practice of justice con-
sidered by the Lawgiver, that when we compare the
degree of importance attached to the several virtues
which form the basis of the Jewish polity, and shape
the relation of man to man, we are driven to the con-
clusion that justice or righteousness, as the Anglican
version calls it, outweighed every other. It is enjoined,
" righteousness, righteousness shalt thou pursue"
(Deut. xvi., 20). The repetition of the noun, as well as
the deliberate selection of the verb, "pursue," clearly
show how high the Lawgiver placed this virtue above
every other; a similar phraseology never being employed
when any other virtue is enjoined. The manner in which
divine mercy controls and balances divine justice, and vice
versa, is, of course, a mystery. But there are numerous
texts to show that the doctrine of predestination neither
offers a solution of this problem nor is supported by any
dictum in the Hebrew Scripture. The correectness of
the rendering in Exod. xxxiii., 19, and I will be
gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will show
mercy to whom I will show mercy," so often quoted in







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


justification of this doctrine, is more than doubtful.
It may be translated "And I shall be gracious, to
whom I shall be gracious, and I shall show mercy, to
whom I shall show mercy," which removes all arbitrari-
ness from God's conduct towards man.
Here we discover another feature distinguishing
between Judaism and Christianity. While both
religions agree in ascribing to the Deity the two
attributes referred to, the elder religion subordinates
mercy to justice, while the younger seems to lay more
stress upon the former. Christian charity is constantly
appealed to by the professors of the daughter
religion ; but we never hear of Christian justice ;
while on the other hand, the Jew, in order to
point out the importance of charity, calls it by the
name of Justice. When he is recommended by a co-
religionist to give alms, he is addressed with the words,
C" give justice ; and this is quite in conformity and in
the spirit of the two religious systems, for the Gospels
cannot find language strong enough to enjoin charity
on its followers even at the very cost of justice. Every-
body will recollect the sermon on the Mount. No special
importance is attached in the New Testament to the
practice of justice, while, as has been shown, the Hebrew
Scripture lays the greatest stress upon the exercise of
this virtue.
The institutions betokening this principle are very
numerous. I confine myself to the mention of one,
" Ye shall have one ordinance, both for the stranger and
for him that was born in the land (Levit. xxiv., 22,
Numb. ix., 14).
As the other divine attributes, whether distinctly







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


mentioned in the Hebrew Scripture or inferentially
arrived at, have, with the exception of one, not been
betokened by any special institution, there is no
.occasion to comment upon them. The exception to
which I refer is the divine creative energy manifested
in the universe called by Him into existence. His
divine energy is clearly described in the first chapter of
Genesis.
The same book also mentions the most important
institution established in commemoration of this fact,
and reiterated in the ten commandments, which is the
Sabbath. To this institution Judaism attaches extra-
ordinary importance, its disregard being viewed in the
light of unbelief in the creation as the direct work of
the Deity ; for whether it was produced by six distinct
successive exertions of the divine creative energy, as
narrated in Genesis, or, after the fiat had gone forth,
was the gradual result of the law of development and
evolution-in either case the work must be ascribed
direct to the divine agency, and must have been
accomplished long anterior to historical times. The
completion of the divine conception was therefore worth
commemorating, and the commemoration to be cele-
brated by its chief work, natural lord and master of the
creation-man. Judaism therefore cannot but regret
that the Apostle Paul should have ranked the Sabbath
among the beggarly elements which he deemed himself
justified in abolishing. Nor can its resuscitation in a
subsequent age in the shape of the Lord's day diminish
this regret, since neither in form nor in substance can
it be considered an equivalent for the Sabbath of
the Decalogue. The abolition of the Sabbath, and its







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


subsequent re-enactment for another day, has placed
an abyss between the two religions, and I cannot see
how it can be bridged over, since any concession in this
respect on the part of the Jew would be tantamount to
the renunciation of a principle which would shake the
very foundation of his religion.
At the same time it is but right to mention that in
the time of Paul, and by the Rabbis to this day, the
Sabbath was considered as one of the institutions never
intended to be binding upon the Gentiles. The apostle
therefore, as a Pharisee of the Pharisees, may have been
of opinion that by abolishing the Sabbath-at least so
far as Gentile converts are concerned-he did not trans-
gress the Decalogue.
I have now completed the picture which Judaism
presents of its conception of the Deity, and come to
the consideration of the several relations established by
Him.
I have said that, as absolute and irresponsible master
.of the creation, He demands from his rational creatures,
in virtue of their free will, acknowledgment of
their absolute dependence on and their trust in,
their awe, and their love of Him. This involves the
duty of worship. We are thus led at once into the
province of sacrificial service. According to the notions
of the age, the offering of sacrifices, whether from the
animal or vegetable kingdom, or both, was then deemed
by the nations surrounding Israel as the most appropriate
expression of worship. An elaborate system of sacri-
fices therefore, suited to the several occasions, and
changing situations in life, was laid down. The offering
of prayers, either accompanying that of sacrifices or







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


without them, was left to the instincts of human nature,
or rather the impulses of the heart (12). How prayer was
detached from sacrifice and was ultimately received by the
synagogue as its legitimate substitute, will be shown in
the sequel. For the present, suffice it to say that this
institution does not originally seem to have formed part
and parcel of the Mosaic system of religious worship ;
that, having been once admitted, it consistently led to the
introduction of another institution-that of the so-called
priesthood ; that in the opinion of some of the later
prophets and psalmists, it was rather tolerated than
approved of by the Deity; that according, to the views of
some eminent rabbis in subsequent ages, and of many
Jews in our days, it did not form an essential con-
stituent of Judaism; and that these would regard as a
retrogression any attempt at its restoration. This
subject will be more fully discussed in the third period.
From this an easy reply may be deduced to be given
to those who, in our days, appeal to this institution as
a support to their sacrificial proclivities or, assumption
of a sacrificial instinct in human nature.
That the law of Moses enjoins on man the imitation
of the divine attributes cannot be doubted for a moment.
Such phrases as Noah walked with God (Gen. vi., 9),
or the command to Abraham, "Walk before me" (Ibid
xvii., 3), or the general phrase, walking in the way of
the Lord," can rationally only be resolved into such
phrases, as Noah observed and followed the way in
which God dealt with his creatures," i.e., he had for his
ideal the imitation of the divine attributes. More
distinctly this is enunciated in the passage in which the
Deity is quoted, as saying with respect to Abraham, for
D







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


I have known him that he may command his children
and house after him, that they may keep (or observe) the
way of the Lord to do righteousness and justice (Ibid
xviii., 19). The repeated injunction diligently to study
the law, greatly amplified and made emphatic by
the rabbis had no other object than the imposition of
the duty on men to make themselves thoroughly
acquainted with the divine will as manifested in nature
and in His will, so that they might know how to obey
Him. To these injunctions we are mainly indebted for
the preservation of this code, while the literature of
other contemporary nations greater and mightier than
Israel altogether perished. In What way the rabbis
sought to impress this injunction upon the people, and
to carry it out, and how it transformed Israel into a
literary people to this day, cannot be discussed here.
It is a corollary flowing from the attribute of divine
justice that the obedient should be rewarded and the
disobedient punished. Indeed, rewards and punish-
ments are frequently set forth in the law, both in
general terms and detail. It has, however, often been
asked how it is that all of them are of a temporary nature,
and why has no reference been made to either to take
place in after life ? Some have thought that this silence
justifies the conclusion that a future life was either not
known, or not believed in by the Jewish Lawgiver, since,
as they reason, it is impossible that he should have
intentionally renounced the powerful hold on human
conscience which belief in rewards and punishment
in an invisible world affords to the moralist. They,
moreover, say that they cannot discover any insti-
tution indicative of such belief, and therefore have







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


claimed the reception of this belief for another faith.
As Judaism holds fast by this belief-as the rabbis regard
it as one of the sheet-anchors of their religious system,
have largely expatiated upon it, and introduced several
rites expressive of this belief-it may not be out of place
to dwell on it for a few moments.
I cannot admit the conclusions referred to. For the
very existence of divine justice, from which follows the
.corollary that there must exist reward and punishment,
*cannotbut be carried still further : since, as the experience
of every day shows, they do not always follow the
conduct of man while the opportunity of observing him
or his descendants is enjoyed; these necessary con-
sequences must overtake him at a time when he is
withdrawn from the sight of every living being, i.e.
.hereafter, or what we call the world to come. The
soul, therefore, must survive the body which has decayed
in death. But were Moses, and the generation to which
he gave the laws which go by his name, really
strangers to the doctrine of the continued existence of
the soul after its separation from the body through
death, i.e. the immortality of the soul ?
In the first place, it is now established beyond all doubt
that the doctrine was a fundamental principle in the
religion of the Egyptians at least as early as the time
of Moses, and could, therefore, not have been unknown
to Israel after a sojourn of four centuries among them ;
.and still less to Moses-brought up as he was at the
:royal court (13). Then, again, is it true that there are in
the Pentateuch no references to the immortality of the
soul ? Without dwelling upon any of the allusions and
figures of speech which can only have a sense when we







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


consider them in connexion with this doctrine, I will
confine myself to those passages which as plainly pre-
suppose a belief in this principle as though it had been
proclaimed by Moses in as many distinct words (14). It
must further be borne in mind that besides this there
are other important principles of Judaism, as shown
before, which are nowhere clearly enunciated, but rest
entirely on inferences, which, forming a kind of unde-
signed evidence, carry in the eyes of enlightened critics
at least as much weight as direct testimony.
The first of these passages is that in which the
Israelites are forbidden to enquire of the dead (Deut.
xviii. xi.). Now, whatever the Lawgiver himself may
have thought of necromancy, it is clear there would have
been no occasion for this prohibition had there not been
among the people the belief that something which does
not become extinct at the death of a person may be
communicated with. Indeed, the severe laws enacted
against necromancers show how widely diffused and
how deeply rooted this belief must have been in the
public mind. Balaam, the magician, being against his
will constrained to bless the people which he had been
called to curse, expresses the wish : "Oh that my latter
end (or rather my hereafter), should be like his," i.e.,
"Israel's" (Numb. xxvii., 11). This, if it means any-
thing, means that Balaam, seeing the special divine pro-
tection enjoyed by this people, expresses the wish that
hereafter he might be allowed to share the happiness in
'store for God's favourites. Lastly, when in Gen. ix. the
shedding of human blood is forbidden, God said to Noah
" your blood I will require of your souls (v. 5). Here
the soul is made responsible for the shedding of blood







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


as something quite distinct from the temporal punish-
ment decreed against the shedder of blood, and
announced in the following verse. I need hardly add
that several of the other books of the Hebrew Scrip-
ture contain passages which in distinct language express
belief in the immortality of the soul.
Nor are there institutions wanting betokening this
doctrine. When we read, ye are children of the Lord
your God, ye shall not cut yourselves, nor make any
baldness between your eyes for the dead (Deut. xiv.,
1), what else can this mean but since the Israelites
standing to God in the close relation of children to a
parent, consequently partake of his nature, and therefore
cannot perish like the beast of the field. Those savage
marks of mourning, therefore, after the loss of a member
of the family, to which others resort in their despair,
do not become those who are sure that the separation
by death is not a separation for ever. Either this is
the logical connexion between the first part of the
phrase (protasis), and the last (apodosis), or there is
none whatever.
But then the question still remains, why was the
doctrine of reward and punishment hereafter not laid
down as one of the -leading principles by Moses, as was
done by the authors of the daughter religions, viz.,
Christianity and Mahometanism, and by other creeds
both of ancient and modern times ? The reply to this
question I find in the sad effects which this doctrine
produced among the Egyptians, and which could not
have escaped the observant eye of so clear-sighted a
Lawgiver as Moses was. It is well known that this
doctrine was one of the principal tenets, if not the leading







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


tenet of the religion of the ancient Egyptians of the time.
The practice of embalming the dead, and thus preserving
the bodies from decay, had its origin in the expectation
that the surviving soul would in due time return to
tenant the body-its former seat. The belief in a court of
justice, to which, in the opinion of the same Egyptians,
the souls of the departed had to submit, and which gave
rise to a similar fable among the Greeks of old, shows
what powerful hold this tenet had laid on their minds,
and to what degree of development it had attained. It
is but natural that those believing in this tenet should
have striven with all their might to render these dread
judges propitious to them, should have made every
sacrifice to conciliate their favour, and thus afforded
opportunities to the priests, the sole interpreters of the
will of the gods, the powerful intercessors between them
and man for multiplying superstitious practices, obtain-
ing full dominion over the general population, and, thus
working upon its fears; should have extorted from indi-
viduals-especially when on their death-bed, and conse-
quently no longer capable of enjoying any worldly good
-such gifts and such dispositions of property as enriched
the caste of the mediators, but robbed the families of the
departed and impoverished the State. Egyptologists
have discovered in their researches abundant traces of
such practices, and everybody has heard of the
privileges, wealth, power and influence enjoyed by the
priestly caste in ancient Egypt (15). Moreover, had
Moses established his system upon the principles of
rewards and punishments hereafter, great pre-eminence
must have been thereby given to the spiritual over the
secular interests. The consequence must have been







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


that the priesthood charged with watching over man's
spiritual concerns would have claimed pre-eminence over
the secular authorities, inasmuch as the spirit ranks
infinitely higher than matter, and the soul is intended
to live for ever, while the body is doomed to a speedy
decay.
Something analogous took place at a later period,
when the Christian clergy, laying hold of the
same doctrine made so prominent in the new
religion, fostered, expanded, and developed it until in
its hands it became one of the most powerful instru-
ments for ruling the faithful. To this doctrine Chris-
tianity in a great measure owes the transformation of
Hades into purgatory, with all the consequences flowing
from the belief in the power of the priest to abridge or
mitigate its tortures, if not to release from them alto-
gether. It is well known that in several countries laws
had to be passed to protect the survivors as well as the
State, from the rapacity of the priests. In our own
country the law of mortmain exists to this day. The
fierce struggle between the Ultramontanes and the
Government in Germany could never have arisen had the
belief not been fostered that it is in the power of the
priest to loosen and to bind for ever.
A priesthood having been instituted in Israel, had this
doctrine been made too conspicuous, the same evils
would have sprung up which -the Lawgiver must
have witnessed in Egypt, and which we in our own
days witness in Roman Catholicism. But Israel's
priests were to be the servants, not the masters of the
people; and were to inculcate the law of God, not super-
stitious practices. This doctrine, therefore, although







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


acknowledged, was not to be made too prominent.
Instead of this, rewards and punishments of a temporal
nature were announced, and, as the consequences of a
man's conduct do not always manifest themselves in his
lifetime, they were extended to his posterity; limited, if
presenting themselves in the shape of punishment, to
the fourth generation, but if in that of reward extended
to the thousandth generation ; thus at the same time
exemplifying the infinite preponderance of God's for-
bearance over his anger. It is possible that by the clause,
"unto those that hate me," appended to the threat of
punishment, and by that, "to those that love me and
observe my commandments," added to the promise of
reward, reference is made to that extraordinary physical
and physiological phenomenon designated by the name
of atavism.
After this somewhat lengthy digression, I return to
the subject before us. In what relation did the Deity
place man to the brute and inanimate creation? Here
applies a remark which I have made repeatedly. This
relation is nowhere clearly enunciated; but we, never-
theless, have a distinct knowledge thereof. It is
abundantly supplied by inferences, and by incidental
testimony, and therefore carries with it all the weight
of undesigned evidence.
Man was clearly intended to be the steward, but not
the absolute master of the creation. He was to be
allowed its usufruct, but not to have absolute do-
minion. He has, therefore, to respect the nature of his
subjects, and avoid doing violence to the instincts
implanted in them, and the laws governing them. Man,
therefore, should not mix two different kinds of seed







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


:and sow them in this condition; for as each in its
growth and development follows different laws, these
must necessarily come into conflict, check each other,
and one of the plants, if not both, must be stunted,
and be deprived of a portion of the nourishment due to
it. This prohibition was even extended to the use of
.any fabric composed of animal and vegetable products,
intended to express the divine horror of mixtures of
this kind (Levit. xix, 19). After this it is scarcely
necessary to dwell upon the law forbidding the muti-
lation of animals, thus preventing the exercise of
.certain natural functions; for this reason also, the
killing of animals in order to use their flesh as food,
required a special divine license (Gen. ix, 3). There
the attribute of divine goodness meets and blends with
the relation under discussion. Man was not to
muzzle the mouth of the beast while treading out the
,corn (Deut. xxv, 4); was to assist in unloading it
when seeing it crouching under its burden (Exod. xxiii,
.5), and give it complete rest on the Sabbath day (Ibid.
xx, 10). Judaism, therefore, is decidedly opposed to
those fashionable sports and pastimes, which, inflicting
.tortures upon an animal, do not in any way materially
,benefit either the torturer or any other human being.
But among themselves all men, of whatever race and
-creed, were to be equal, loving one another (Levit. lxx,
18), the law being common to them all. For this there
is a distinct declaration. Moses, in the name of the
Deity, solemnly declared," One law and one manner shall
be for youand the stranger that sojourneth with you"
i(Numbers 'xv, 16). Judaism, therefore, politically and
,civilly, with one exception, knows of no alien law(16).







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


This exception is the prohibition to elect a foreigner as-.
a King (Deut. xvii, 15). But where a whole alien
population had placed itself by its conduct beyond the
application of this law, and given occasion for war,.
no greater amount of coercion was to be employed than
was necessary for the attainment of the desired object..
A city to be beseiged, had previously to be summoned
to surrender. The wanton destruction of fruit trees
(Deut. xx, 19), the consequence of which would have
been felt long after the war was over, was strictly for-
bidden; and although the opposing warriors-then co--
extensive with the adult population-might, in accordance
with the usages of the age, be put to death, yet the women
and children had to be spared, and it was especially
over the former that the law threw its mantle of pro-
tection ; for no brutal violence was to be offered to a
female captive (Ibid. xxi, 10-14). No doubt certain
populations were excepted from the application of these-
laws of mercy for reasons repeatedly stated by Moses,
evidently by way of apology (Ibid. xx, 18); but in the
war with these, the Israelites considered themselves as
blind instruments carrying out the distinct behests of'
Him to whom they were taught they owed implicit
obedience, whose orders they had no right to question,
and who owed no responsibility and no duty to any of
his creatures, in whose hands they were as the clay in that
of the potter ; and which was quite exceptional, and,
therefore, could never be appealed to as a precedent (17).
To this perfect equality there were only two excep-
tions. The first was formed by the slaves. The abolition
of slavery in the existing social state could not have-
been accomplished without giving rise to evils much







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


greater than itself. The legitimate sources of slavery,
then, were three : physical misery, crime, and war.
In the loose state of social organisation then pre-
vailing, when an individual fell into distress through
unforseen circumstances beyond his control, such, for
instance, as famine, flood, or war, he very often had no
other means of preserving his life, the lives of his
children, or obtaining the necessary protection, than to
enter the service of some wealthy person who could
give him food and aid ; and if this person was unwilling
to accept his services, or maintain his young children
on any terms save slavery, the petitioner had no choice
but to submit (Deut. xv, 12). For the law to interfere
would have been to render his and their fate still worse,
since they would thereby have been deprived, without
compensation, of what he must have considered a boon.
The second source of slavery was crime (Exod. xxii,
2). If an individual committed a theft, or otherwise
caused his neighbour a pecuniary loss, such, for instance,
as the contracting of a debt which was not repaid, the
courts of law had the right to sell the criminal into
slavery, in order to indemnify with the proceeds the
injured person for the loss inflicted. Of course this
process was only resorted to when the thief or debtor
did not possess sufficient to make good the loss, and, in
addition, in the case of a thief, to pay the penalty im-
posed by the law.
But the most fertile source of slavery undoubtedly
was war. When a country, perhaps after a protracted
and sanguinary war, was subdued, the question naturally
arose among the victors how the new conquest was to
be preserved. It may be easily conceded that while







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


the fury excited by the battle lasted, the massacre of the
whole adult male population, which in those days consti-
tuted the army, was resorted to. But, if time were
allowed for reflection, and as humanity dawned upon
mankind, aversion to such a measure must have been
felt. But, as the fruits of the victory could not be
relinquished, ingenuity was set at work, and other ex-
pedients for attaining the object were contrived. The
captives were either transported to another region, which
did not offer the means for renewed resistance, or they
were carried into slavery. The first expedient was not
always practicable; in order to be available, the con-
queror must have waste lands for the exiles to settle
upon. Lengthy preparations must be made for their
reception, and they must be enabled to provide them-
selves with all the necessaries for their tedious and
arduous tramp (Ezekiel xii, 3 and 7). Such an enforced
emigration, moreover, must have entailed hardships
upon the exiles to which large numbers must have fallen
victims, and could, after all, for a long time not have
been of much use to their conquerors. We know, from
the history of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, that
such was the fate of their inhabitants after they had
succumbed to the armies of the Assyrians and the
Chaldeans. Reduction into slavery, however, was a
much simpler and a much more expeditious mode of
insuring the submission of the new conquest. Deprived
of the adult male population, or, at least, of those who
carry arms, the defenceless remnant was naturally
unable to offer any further resistance. This expedient,
had, moreover, the advantage for the conquerors that
the enforced labour of the slaves became at once an







JUDAISM. SURVEYED.


abundant source of profit and enjoyment to the masters.
The reduction of the prisoners into slavery, therefore,
instead of massacring them, must be considered as a
large stride in advance in the path of humanity, de-
serving the encouragement of the philanthropists of the
age. Had, therefore, slavery been prohibited before a
better state of organisation and a higher civilisation
offered other means to the conqueror for the at-
tainment of his object, there was ground to fear that
the former cruel practice would have been revived.
Slavery, therefore, as an institution, had to be tolerated.
But it could be mitigated, and a certain amount of
protection given to the slave's life and limbs. This is
what the law did. The Sabbath rest was secured to the
slaves; his murderer, even if his master, was to be
punished with death (Exod. xxi, 20), and if hurt in
any of his limbs, liberty was to repay him for the injury
sustained (Ibid. 26). Nor was a slave who escaped
from the cruelty of his master to be delivered over to
the vengeance,of his owner (Deut. xxiii, 16). Kid-
napping, which in our days is such a fertile source of
slavery, was forbidden under the severest penalties.
Death was the doom of the kidnapper (Exod. xxi, 16).
The second exception was woman. Politically,
civilly, and socially, woman was man's equal; at least
we find no legal disability attaching to woman. But
in the domestic circle, since it was absolutely necessary
that in the case of a difference of opinion between
husband and wife, the power finally to decide must
have been vested in one of the two, man was appointed
to be the head of the family. In marriage, too, the
power of dissolving the tie was vested in the man







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


(Deut. xxii, 1) (18). This, however, did not disturb the
equality between the two ; for as a breach of the mar-
riage vow, according to the interpretation given to the
law, was the only sufficient reason for its dissolution, the
few exceptions do not affect the question. There was
little chance of a husband being found guilty of this crime
in a state of society which considered polygamy as legal.
Nor could the inability of a daughter to share in the
paternal inheritance with the sons be regarded as a
disturbance of this equality. For this participation
could not have been allowed by the law without bringing
on, from time to time, a collision with a fundamental
principle of the Commonwealth which forbade the
alienation of landed property from the family to which
it belonged, or restricting women to marriages within
the circle of their own kindred. The first was an incon-
venience which could, and was, in practice, remedied.
The second would, in every respect, have been an
unmitigated evil. The remedy, in practice, applied was
the duty of the father, or, in the case of his death, of
the brothers, to support the single daughter and sister,
and, if she were married, of the husband to provide for
her (19). The solicitude of the law for a married woman
went in this respect so far as to transfer this duty to
the eldest surviving brother if the husband should have
died childless (Deut. xxi, 8). Marriage portions at
the time, as a rule, were not given; on the contrary, it
was the bridegroom who had to give to the father a sum
of money, probably as a compensation for the loss of
the services of the daughter.
That the object of creation is God's glory, and con-
sequently man's happiness, is nowhere distinctly stated







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


in the Pentateuch. The former, however, is referred to
by one of the prophets (Isaiah, xliii., 7), and the latter
may be deduced from the subjection of the brute crea-
tion to man, which cannot be accounted for on any
other ground; and passages such as, "do this or that,
that it may be well with thee (Deut. iv, 40), are not
rare in the Pentateuch.
That this object can be attained only through man's
voluntary submission to the divine will is, however,
,distinctly declared; for in Deut. xxx, 15-19, we read of
the blessings and curses, good and evil, laid before
Israel, followed by the injunction, "and thou shalt
choose the good," &c. But how was the divine will to
be ascertained ? This could only have been accom-
plished by so shaping the human mind that it should
have instinctively and unerringly perceived the divine
attributes, and the principles which I have endeavoured
to develop from the Pentateuch. But such a constitu-
tion of the mind would clearly have been incompatible
-with those general laws which divine wisdom saw fit
to lay down for the regulation of man's intellectual
nature. Or it might have been effected by a distinct
*communication of His will to every generation-nay, to
every individual of the generation ; in fact, by a con-
tinual external revelation. But this would undoubtedly
have required an order and harmony of the laws of
nature quite different from those established. True,
this revelation might have been internal; a gradual
development in the human mind of our knowledge oi
the divine will. But this process must from its nature
have been exceedingly slow, fluctuating and uncertain,
little satisfying the mighty yearnings of the heart, in







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


this matter, above all, longing for certainty; and it
would hardly have been reconcilable with divine good-
ness to leave man in this respect to scanty and faint
rays to guide him in the utter darkness around. There
only, therefore, remained a tertium medium, and this
divine wisdom resorted to. A family suitable for the pur-
pose was selected, and especially fitted by a concurrence
of providentially arranged circumstances, vicissitudes
and events for the task it was to fulfil. The name and his-
tory of this family, which in time grew into a people, is
well known. To this people the divine will was com-
municated once and for all. This people was constituted
custodian of the deposit entrusted to it.
But if it was to be enabled to discharge the special
duties of a custodian, and to resist the several powerful
influences, the natural tendency of which was to efface,
or at least to obscure, in his mind the consciousness of
this task, weaken his will to discharge it, and to
disintegrate and decompose his mental constituents,
special provisions had to be made, and special
precautions to be taken. Additional duties respecting the
knowledge of the divine will had, therefore, to be imposed
on him in his capacity as custodian. This gave rise to
a series of enactments only binding upon Israel, some
of them closely connected with the providential events
which were intended to fit him for his special vocation;
others were designed to ward off the danger of disinte-
gration; and others, again, the object of which was
profoundly to impress this people with the sense of its
special destiny. By way of exemplification of the first
class, I name the Passover, with all its concomitant rites ;
of the second, many of the so-called dietary laws ; and







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


of the third, the wearing of fringes on the four corners
of the garment, the sight of which was to call to mind
the divine code (Numbers xv, 38-40). From this
special charge there sprang special relations between
this people and the rest of mankind, and between the
several individuals composing this people.
The problem, if I am allowed to say so, which divine
wisdom in this respect had to solve was, on the one
hhnd, to endow the people with an organisation compact
enough to obstruct the insinuation of the corruption
and superstitions of the surrounding masses, which yet,
on the other, should be sufficiently loose and elastic to
admit of the invigorating contact with strangers, to
whom thus an opportunity should be afforded of
becoming acquainted with the special deposit entrusted
to Israel's custody for the common welfare ; further, to
give this nation, on the one hand, stability and strength
enough to resist any violent attack on its possessions
and constitution, and, on the other, to entail upon it such
a degree of disability as to prevent its using its
strength for spreading its tenets by violence. For this
purpose a special territory was assigned to it, as it were,
on the highway between the most powerful and civilised
nations of antiquity-Egypt and Assyria-and easily
accessible to others, such as Greece and Rome. At
the same time Israel was to be kept clear of the
seductive examples of vice, crime, and even error, by
which the original possessors of the land, had they been
allowed to remain, would have endangeredit; while the
foreigner was to be attracted by the extension of the
equality of law to him. Again, while the people was
thus enabled to defend its native mountains, holding its







U0 JUDAISM SURVEYED.

own against invaders, its rulers were forbidden either
to keep a large number of horses, or to accumulate a vast
treasure, and thus effectually prevented from keeping a
standing army, or sweeping over the plains of the
neighboring countries in large masses of cavalry.
Lastly, the peculiarity of the national institutions must
have served powerfully to excite the attention of other
nations, and thus enabled it to discharge its missionary
office much more efficiently than by going forth and
preaching to them.
As children and servants of God, in a much stricter
sense than the rest of mankind, and knitted more
closely together by their special duties, the equality
before the law was, so far as practicable, also to be
extended to their external relations with one another.
The landed property of the single families-and among
a purely agricultural people land forms the principal
possession-was not to be alienated for good (Levit.
xxv. 10). Individuals thereof were not to enslave one
another (Exod. xxi. 2), and loans were to be granted to
one another, as becomes brethren, without interest (Deut.
xxii. 20, 21), not usury, as erroneously rendered in the
Anglican version. These principles, among others, are
betokened by the institutions of the release year (Deut.
xv. 2) and jubilee (Lev. xxv. 11), with their con-
comitant ordinances.
It will be observed that, although an external objec-
tive revelation is assumed all throughout the Hebrew
Scripture, and that, indeed, the Deity is repeatedly in-
troduced as addressing Biblical personages, yet the
limits of revelation are nowhere traced, and no-
where is, it stated what elements in the Bible are







'JUDAISM SURVEYED.


divine and which are human, and that there is not a
single institution of which it can be said that it was
established for the purpose of betokening this stupend-
ous event. This gap, if gap it be, has at later periods
been filled by the rabbis ; the Feast of Weeks having
been by them especially connected with the giving of
the decalogue on Mount Sinai (20).
The special relation in which Israel was thereby
placed to the rest of mankind has been incidentally
referred to in the course of the preceding remarks.
It may, however, be useful to group them together, so
that they may be conveniently taken in by the mind.
The stranger, when coming to sojourn in the
land of Israel, was to enjoy all the civil and political
rights of the native. He was, however, while
,staying there, to abstain, in public, from idolatry,
and from outraging any of those moral laws, known
.as the Noachida laws, which will be enumerated here-
after. His obedience was to be quite of a negative
character. No test, and no oath of abjuration was
forced on him, and no promise was extorted from him.
He had simply to obey the law of the land in return
for the rights and protection which this law secured to
him in common with the native. Beyond his native
land, the Israelite was not bound to seek to extend his
religious influence. The slight hint given by Moses
about Israel's missionary duties was, however, taken
up by the prophets, especially Isaiah and Zachariah,
and some of the psalmists ; and, expanded by them.
Israel was, morally and religiously, to become a model
people, and thus attract the attention of the other
nations, and convert them, not by violence or decep-







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


tion, but by the force of example and the sublimity and
purity of its doctrines.
I have now brought the first part of my task to a
close, and proceed to the consideration of the second
period.

PERIOD II.
From Ezra (460 B.C.) to the Destruction of the Temple (670 C.E.)
The period just discussed has exhibited to us the
Mosaic religious system still in the condition of fluidity.
The principles, it is true, were fully developed at the
close of the period. But the institutions betokening
them, if already in existence, had been practised only
partially on rare occasions, and some of them not at
all. We stood, as it were, at their cradle, and their
growth and maturity falls within this period. The
five books of Moses began to be considered as the
-national palladium, and gradually the other relics of
the national literature, saved from the wreck after the
destruction of the first temple, were added and illumined
by the halo which popular veneration shed over the
ancestral inheritance. Although the canon was not
closed till long after Ezra (Zunz Gottesdienst. Voi'traeg.
chap. ii., p. 34), yet the greater part of the Hebrew
Scripture was in all probability then already in exist-
ence, and generations must have passed before they
were arranged, and had risen so high in popular esti-
mation, in consequence of the idea of a peculiar
sacredness attaching to them, as not to allow of a fresh
addition. Indeed, it can be shown that formal exclu-
sions of any-part from the canon would have met with
less popular resistance, if at all, than the attempt at







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


enlarging it (21). It may be assumed that up to the time
of the Maccabees, the religious zeal of the successors of
the prophets, and of the restorers of the new Jewish
polity, popularly termed the men of the great synagogue"
(see Buxtorfs' Tiberias), expended itself in searching for
those relics, emendating and arranging them. Stock,
as it were, had to be taken before an estimate could be
formed of the spiritual wealth possessed. Simul-
taneously with this labour a beginning was made with
the carrying out of the institutions of the law.
This beginning was, as it necessarily must have
been for a time, quite tentative, since experience of the
manner of executing many of them was wanting.
This will become clear when it is considered that the
Babylonian exile formed a break in the continuity of
the national existence, during which none of the laws
connected with the possession of Canaan and the temple-
worship could be carried out; and these were the most
numerous even as they comprised the most important
institutions. But, even while the temple stood, gaps in
this respect occurred. Thus, of the high festivals we
know for certain that they were not generally kept
(Nehem. vii. 17 ; 2 Kings, xxiii. 22). Of the obser-
vance of the great day of Atonement or of the
Feast of Weeks during the first period, there is
not a trace. The Sabbath could not have been kept
with the rigour prescribed in the decalogue, as may be
inferred from 2 Kings, iv. 23. There is evidence to
show that the law commanding the liberation of the
Hebrew slaves, in the seventh year, was observed very
imperfectly, and only exceptionally (Jeremiah, xxxiv.,
8-16). Nor can it be shown that either the Sabbatical







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


year or the jubilee was kept during this period (Lev.
xxvi. 34-35). Nay, King David, so justly extolled for
his piety, had an officer at his court- Uriah the Hittite
-(II. Sam. xi. 3-6) of Canaanitish origin, despite the
express command of Moses not to tolerate any of the
aboriginal inhabitants in the country (Deut. xx. 16-17).
The same monarch, disregarding the laws for the
transmission of landed property prescribed in the law,
deprived the lawful owner of a portion of his possessions
and gave them to a stranger (II. Sam. xix. 30); and, on
another occasion, decreed the penalty of death against
an individual who, according to the Pentateuch, was not
guilty thereof (II. Sam., xii. 5). Nor do we find that he
incurred for such conduct the censure of any of the
prophets at his court. Of his sons, we read that they
were cohanim (II. Sam. viii., 18), which, literally and
generally, means priests, although, as is contended by
some commentators in the passage referred to, the word
cohanim should be rendered officers." Samuel, a
Levite, not a priest, offered a sacrifice in person
(I. Sam. vii. 9). The line of high priests was shifted
from the elder to the younger, and again back to the
elder branch (I. Sam. xxii., 21; I. Kings ii., 35).
Elijah offered sacrifices out of the temple (I. Kings,,
xviii., 33, 38) against the prescription of the law (Deut.
xii., 13, 14). Jeremiah was of opinion that God had
not enjoined the sacrificial service (Jerem. vii., 22), and
Ezekiel seems to have understood certain laws of the
Pentateuch different from the sense in which they are
now received (xlvii., 22 ; xliv., 21, 22). These references
will suffice to show that, although the Pentateuch may
have been known, and even generally read, yet it had







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


not acquired, during the first period, such a firm hold on
the popular mind as to create a restraining public
opinion. When, therefore-in conformity with the new
religious spirit aroused among the people during the
Babylonian captivity-the desire awoke to carry out in
their entirety the institutions prescribed in the law,,
difficulties arose, and doubts were awakened in the
execution of the details which, for the reasons stated,
it was not easy to remove. What if the first day of
Passover fell on a Sabbath ? were the operations neces-
sary for the preparation of the paschal lamb, which
had to be performed on the evening of Friday, to be
considered as a desecration of the Sabbath (Bab. and
Jerus. Talmud treat. Pesach. f. 66, A) ? What kind of
labour performed on the Sabbath rendered the worker
liable to the penalty of death? (Mishnah Sabbath, the
whole of chapter VII). A calendar not having been fixed
by Moses, what was the right time for the celebration
of the festivals as enjoined in the law (Lev. xxiii., 4)?
Another instance: What was to be done if circum-
cision on the eighth day would have endangered the
life of an infant ? Questions of this nature must have
presented themselves to the observant at the execution
of every law, since the details are but rarely added,
while the necessity of their being strictly carried out in
all particulars is emphatically enjoined.
Some of these details might, no doubt, be ascertained
from tradition. Tradition, therefore, had to be searched
for, collected, and sifted (22). Others might be inferred
with tolerable certainty from a careful analysis of the
passages treating of the institution, and from their
proper collation. This labour, therefore, had to be







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


performed. In other cases, where no aid could be
derived from these sources, recourse had to be had to
analogies and conjectures, or rules laid down for the
interpretation of unexplained prescriptions (Middoth)
(23)-satisfied if an allusion, however remote, or an in-
terpretation, however forced, could be pressed into the
service. Here was work enough for the zeal, learning,
and ingenuity of the devout ; and here we perceive the
germs of those regulations which, systematised and
recorded after having received in the course of ages
many accretions, became known as the traditional or
second law (deuterosis), and, in process of time, was
ranked side by side with the original-called written law
by way of distinction. All this necessitated the forma-
tion of the order of scribes, which acted such a
prominent part in the history of their people, and
which, properly speaking, had already commenced with
Ezra, surnamed the Scribe (Ezra, vii., 6).
An event now occurred which gave a special impetus
to the development of this traditional law, and greatly
endeared it to the people; while, at the same time,
enabling the nation to carry out the institutions of the
law, without let or hindrance, to the widest extent
possible. This event was the rising of the people
against the Syro-Grecian power which, under Antiochus
Epiphanes, sought to coerce the subject Jewish nation
into religious conformity with the surrounding heathen
populations. In this attempt the pagan Prince was not
unsupported by an influential party among the govern-
ing classes of the people.
While Judea was under the dominion of Persia there
were between the two peoples more points of agreement







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


than of difference. There is no reason to suppose that
in civilisation the latter was in advance of the former,
while in religion there were several points of friendly
contact. The established religion of Persia then was a
species of monotheism. It could not be any material
difference to the two nations whether the supreme
being was called Ormuzd or Jehovah ; while Ahrimon,
or the principle of Evil, in constant antagonism to
the principle of good (DSllinger's "The Gentile and the
Jew, &c." vol. I, II Persia, etc., p. 389), might among
the Jews well be personified by Satan, whose character
was so vividly depicted in the introductory chapter to
the book of Job, now part of the canon; moreover, the
Devs and Izeds might, in the popular imagination, easily
coincide with the demons, or evil-or, rather, lying-
:spirits (I. Kings xxi., 22), and the angels. Persian influ-
ence, therefore, although not entirely lost upon the
Jewish religious system, as will be shown further on,
did not necessarily clash with the religion of the sub-
ject nation. But when the Persian power had been
overthrown by the Macedonian hero, and Judea passed
alternately under the dominion of the Syro-Grecians
and Egypto-Grecians, the relations of the Jews to
the new masters altogether changed.
For the first time the Jews came into abiding contact
with a superior civilisation, a state of refinement and
luxury, a legislation, a religion, and morals hitherto
unknown to them, and in many points antagonistic.
They thus became exposed to influences most incisive
and disintegrating in their nature. Their mettle was as
it were for the first time proved in the furnace of an
extraordinary temptation. Will they pass through it







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


unscathed? Will they be able to stand the crucial
test? It would have been a miracle had this contact
remained without effect. It produced its effect. A
section of the people belonging to the aristocracy was
powerfully attracted by the new vista of life unrolled
before their dazzled eyes, and the sensual enjoyment
presented to them. They longed to be at one with their
masters, and to step out from what appeared to them as
the narrow circle of ancestral ideas-the close atmos-
phere of obsolete and uncouth habits and customs-into
the boundless realm of spiritual freedom and physical
license; and, with the impetuosity of new converts,
endeavoured to drag the nation along with them. It
was this party which, led on by some members of the
family of the high-priest, abetted and assisted the
Syrian masters in the attempt to overturn the altar of
Jehovah and to replace it by that of Zeus, as narrated
by Josephus and others. But this violence produced
its natural reaction. It roused the indignation of the
conservatives to an extraordinary degree, fanning the
flame of zeal into an enthusiasm, the ardour of which
has rarely been equalled in history. And when the-
national party at last conquered and extorted the recog-
nition of national independence from the enemy, and
seated upon the newly erected throne the dynasty
whose sacrifices, devotion, and heroism had principally
contributed towards the achievement of this triumph, a
process of religious purification and rigourism set in
which, more than any other event, helped on that con-
solidation of the ancestral institutions which mainly
gave them their present shape and consistency. We
are distinctly told .that all those rites, the practice of







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


which the persecutors punished with a special ferocity,
were those to which the liberated people clung with the
greatest affection and tenacity. These rites became a
religious shibboleth, and were as such doubly endeared
to the people, and consequently a prominence was given
them in the religious system which they would not have
obtained but for this persecution. These rites were
naturally such as characterized Jewish outward appear-
ance, i.e. ceremonies, and thus had an extraordinary
importance allotted to them. It may be assumed that,
ever since, these ceremonies have received an amount of
attention and minute elaboration which have extended
throughout all generations to our own days (24).
About this time we meet with a high court, regularly
constituted supreme in religious and civil matters, to
whose verdicts even the kings had to bow, thus opening
a new and important epoch in Jewish history. This
high court-Synhedrion was its name-became the seat
and guardian of all ancient traditions, interpretations,
and decisions, to which it imparted coherence, system
and authority. To it was applied the passage in Deut.
xvii., from 8 to 13, in which Israel was enjoined to refer
every matter in dispute, too hard for the inferior courts,
to the priest or judge for the time being, and to abide
by his decision whatever it might be. The Mosaic
institutions had now for their full development their legal
basis. This court, animated by the spirit of the Law-
giver, did not hesitate to modify, and even to set aside for
the time being, institutions which no longer answered
their purpose, and it may be said that, in this respect,
the court trod in the footsteps of the Lawgiver.
For we know that Moses did not hesitate to sub-







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


stitute the tribe of Levi for the first-born sons who were
in the enjoyment of certain traditional privileges,
vesting -them with priestly functions, as soon as
taught by experience that the institution abolished,
although ancient and sanctioned by him, in the new
circumstances in which the nation was placed no longer
worked beneficially (Numb. iii., 12, 13).
It may not be here out of place to consider the de-
velopment given to some of these institutions, which will,
at the same time, show the freedom with which this court
handled them, and its anxiety not to allow the letter of
the law to override the spirit. The rabbis specify a num-
ber of laws and institutions which they attribute to the
" Scribes." But as these personally had no authority
to make any enactments, but could only do so as a body
in their corporate capacity, these institutions must
be considered as having originated with this court.
Among these enactments there are seven named by way
of eminence, The seven commandments of the Rabbis."
They are scattered in different parts of the Talmud, but
will be found enumerated in Sepher, Mitsvoth Hashem"
(from p. 81 to 83). Three of these, which can be easily
explained, I will mention.
The Synhedrion enacted the public reading of the
scroll of Esther or Purim, and the celebration of the
festival of the re-dedication of the temple after its
restoration for divine service, consequent upon the
defeat of the generals of Antiochus Epiphanes by the
Maccabees. The celebration of both these festivals is
ushered in by a benediction in which these institutions
are ascribed not to the rabbis but to God, clearly in
virtue of the power delegated to them in the Biblical







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


passage commented upon. Still more remarkable is
the third institution-that of washing the hands before
meals. It is likewise preceded or accompanied by a
benediction by which the enactment is ascribed to God.
The object of this institution, although differently
explained by the rabbis, may be assumed to be this : The
Jews of old were as little acquainted with the use of knife
and fork at meals as are the oriental nations to this day.
Instead of these convenient instruments the hands
were used. Considerations of cleanliness and health,
therefore, made it most desirable that the hands, pre-
vious to using them at meals, should undergo an
ablution. But how was the unthinking mass to be
induced to submit to this operation? The simplest
-way was to enjoin it as a divine commandment. The
Synhedrion had the authority to do so, and it unhesi-
tatingly exercised the authority for the benefit of the
people.
Again, of the high priest Yochanan (King Hyrcanus),
we read (Mishnah, Maase Shenee, Cap. v., 15) that he
by his own authority ordered that the formulas
prescribed by the law (Deut. xxvi., 5-10, 13-15) should
no longer be recited by a Hebrew when offering the
tithes to the priest. Further, the procedure in criminal
cases was ordered, and this in so liberal, humane, and
enlightened a spirit that even modern legislators might
still learn something from it. The law of retaliation
was, in practice, so tempered that it was deprived of all
its apparent harshness (25); methods were fixed for the
harmonisation of the lunar with the solar year, thus
enabling the nation to keep the festivals in their right
seasons; the manner in which these festivals were to







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


be promulgated was arranged, and the preparations for
facilitating the journey for their celebration to the holy
city, and the accommodation of the multitude, were
made. The rigour of some Biblical regulations (Deut.
xxii., 17), repugnant to the advanced popular refinement,
was mitigated by an interpretation which, if it seemed
to do violence to the plain sense of the text, had yet
the merit of satisfying the feeling of propriety ; and of
such a law as is enacted in Deut. xiii., from 13 to 18,
we learn that it absolutely remained a dead letter
(Tosephta Sanhedrin, chap. 14). Above all, it was the
doctrine of the immortality of the soul and of future
reward and punishment, which was now placed in the
foreground and made a chief lever for the control of
the popular emotional nature.
A new tenet, probably owing its introduction to
intimate intercourse with the followers of the religion
of Zoroaster, although traces thereof may already be
described in the Scriptures, received the tacit sanction of
the Court and open currency and acceptance among the
people, upon whose imagination it had a powerful hold,
taking its place side by side with that of the immortality
of the soul: This tenet is the resurrection of the dead
(Doellinger the Jew and Gentile, etc., vol. i., b. 4., pp.
390 and 410) on the Day of Judgment. The doctrine,
too, of good and evil spirits, probably flowing from the
same source, found likewise admission and credence
among the people. without, however, ever receiving the
sanction of the highest religious authorities. But
neither the expectation nor the wish for a saviour sub-
sequently elaborated into that of the Messiah or Christ
as yet existed, as the people enjoyed prosperity and had






JUDAISM SURVEYED.


'only lately triumphed over its enemies, and therefore
naturally felt no such want. The Messianic idea, as will
be seen further on, was the slowly growing fruit which
.sprang from the troubles and disasters of the subse-
quent ages. It was the star which lighted up the
gloom of the night, which, in later days, settled upon
the nation. The study of secular knowledge was held
in honour, and the qualifications for a seat in the
Synhedrion were very high. Every member was, in
the hyperbolical language of the Rabbis, to be
.acquainted with most of the existing languages,
believed then to be 70 in number, agreeing with the
.number of the immediate descendants of Noah; he was
even to be conversant with the magic art. Schools for
the diffusion of elementary knowledge were established
throughout the country as early as Simon Ben Shetach,
.about ninety years before Christ. School boards were
thus anticipated in Israel by nearly two thousand years.
But these liberal tendencies, although meeting with' the
approbation of the people, soon encountered opposition.
An energetic minority, among whom there were not
.a few persons of high position, animated by what they
considered conservative views, taking no account of the
exigencies of the times, and the new wants and cravings
of the age, saw with apprehension what they regarded
as a deviation from the old paths and as dangerous
innovations. This party, which we may call institu-
tionalists, and which was for a time only a new school
,of religious thought, refused to admit the validity of
the interpretations of the Law by its opponents. It con-
tended that in the execution of the Law, regard should
be paid to the letter only. About its spirit it did not







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


trouble itself. In its opinion, the narrowest techni-
calities were to be adhered to. It openly rejected the
doctrine of a bodily resurrection, and maintained that
"that of the immortality of the soul and the other so
closely connected with it future reward and punish-
ment should, in imitation of the precedent set by
Moses, not receive any prominence ; and that, con-
sequently, every individual should be allowed to form
and declare his opinion on the subject. This view was
interpreted by its opponents as tantamount to a
denial of this doctrine. It is, however, impossible to
believe that this school should have formulated such a
denial. There might have been individuals belonging
to this school who had formed only vague ideas on this
subject, or had not at all made it a subject of their
reflections. They simply wished to leave the question
where Moses left it. The analogy with a certain school
of thinkers in our days will not escape my hearers.
But a definite denial would have placed the party in
flagrant contradiction with the law, which they professed
to follow as their only guide; for, as shown before, a
hereafter, in some shape or another, must have been
and was, believed in by Moses and Israel in general.
Moreover, belief in a future reward and punishment
can be lo gically deduced from the divine attribute of
supreme justice. The erroneous conception was the
more easily formed in the popular mind since the
doctrines of the immortality of the soul and of a bodily
resurrection were not always kept asunder in it ; and
the two being confounded, the conclusion lay near that
a denial of the latter also involved that of the former.
The popular instinct, however, as is often the case, did







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


not mislead the mass ; although, as is still more
frequently the case, it did not hit the right direction.
With the narrow-mindedness which not rarely charac-
terises sectarianism, the school in question failed to
perceive that, owing to a change in the situation,
Judaism could no longer be sustained on the basis on
which the Lawgiver had placed it (26).
When Moses promulgated his institutions, he could
point, as a proof of their divine origin, to the close
connection between obedience to them and its imme-
diate happy consequences. The nation was, for instance,
assured that the deficiency of the seventh year-the
year of release-when all fields were to remain fallow,
would be amply compensated for by the abundance of
the harvest of the preceding year (Levit. xxv., 20-22) ;
or that, so long as the divine commandments were car-
ried out, the clouds would yield the early and latter
rains in due time, and in proper quantity (Deut. xi.,
13-16) ; and that neither famine nor pestilence would
desolate the country (Exod. xv., 26). But this ocular
evidence could now no longer be pointed to. We know
from history that the year of release was not always
preceded or followed by one of abundance (1 Maccab.
vi., 49, 53, 54), and that the most scrupulous and
minute attention paid to the several religious rites was
no longer a safeguard against individual or national
calamities. The providential special protection promised
to obedient Israel seemed to have been withdrawn.
What proof, therefore, had the mass of the divine
origin of its code ; and what inducement could be held
out to it to submit to laws which exacted so many
sacrifices? The Pharisees, with the clear-sightedness







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


which distinguished them, did not hesitate to draw
forth from the obscurity in which it had been shrouded
the only principle capable of sustaining the structure
now so elaborately developed by them.
They adopted this measure with the greater confi-
dence the more clearly they perceived that the reasons
for which the Lawgiver seemed to have kept this
doctrine in the background no longer existed, since time
had dissipated the apprehensions which had caused this
reticence. The priestly caste in Judea no longer occupied
the position which it held in the days of Moses, and
there was no longer any analogy between it and the
priestly caste in Egypt. While the latter steadily
maintained, if it did not increase, its influence with the
people, that of the former as steadily declined (27).
Limited to the performance of sacrificial rites, and
superseded in the popular veneration by the prophets,
whose functions were not restricted like those
of the priest to one single spot, it had now to
give way to the scribes, the scholars of the nation, and
the interpreters, teachers, and magistrates of the
people; and these scribes, allowed as they were to
marry, and living, as they did, with and among the
people, had naturally no interest apart from it-no
ambition or other motive to work for the benefit of a
special order, and no object to promote in their own
circles. Moreover, they had never to appear as
exactors of tithes, or any other legal perquisite, and
therefore were much more likely to be popular with
the mass than the priests.
Unable to perceive this, the elder institutionalists,
mechanically clinging to the letter, from which life,







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


once pulsating in it, had fled, persisted in serving a
corpse. Like every school of religious thought when
it has proceeded to a certain length, having singled out
various points to which it attached an exaggerated
importance, and become passionately excited, it ended
by becoming a religious sect contending, under the name
of Sadducees, with the Pharisees for mastery ; and, as
no idea remains in a state of isolation, but attaches
itself to, or is productive of, others of an analogous
nature in other spheres of thought, the views of this
sect on religious matters soon became complicated with
notions of its own on civil and political affairs. The
sect became a political party, and, in time, drew the
governing classes into the contest; Church and State
being, in a theocracy, necessarily identical. It did not
struggle unsuccessfully for the helm of affairs. From
time to time the helm passed into its hands, although
only for short periods. This contest was not without
effect on the consolidation of Judaism.
Exposed to the severe criticism of the Sadducees, the
Pharisees were compelled, in the administration of the
law, to keep more closely to the letter. A portion of
the freedom with which the Mosaic institutions were
before handled apparently had now to be renounced.
This was a retrogression forced upon them, which was
unavoidable, setting precedents which exercised an
injurious influence upon the further development of the
law. One or two instances will exemplify this.
During the struggle of the Maccabees it was noticed
that the enemy, turning to account the scrupulous-
ness with which the Jews observed the Sabbath,
attacked them on that day ; great disasters were the








JUDAISM[ SURVEYED.


consequence of these tactics. When this was perceived
by the religious authorities, they, without consulting
the letter of the law, simply obeying the exigencies of
the moment and the high interests at stake, at once
permitted defensive warfare on the Sabbath day (I
Maccab., ii, 41, II Maccab., vi, 11). No recourse was had
to any forced interpretation of the law, and no refuge
taken behind any technicality. The law had given the
court the power of deciding any question of a religious
nature, and it exercised its authority with firmness and
discretion (28). But when, a few generations afterwards,
the right of a man to .divorce his wife was discussed,
the Academy of the illustrious Hillel, the head of the
Synhedrion, one of the most noble-minded and large-
hearted rabbis, disregarding the feeling of justice,
refined and rendered more sensitive in the course of
time, and taking its stand upon a too literal interpre-
tation of a certain text (Deut. xxiv, 1), claimed for the
husband the power of repudiating his partner in life on
the most frivolous pretences (Talm. Treat. Ghittin, f. 90).
Happily the holders of this view were this time defeated,
the opposite opinion prevailing. Further, this illustrious
chief saw fit to have recourse to an expedient which
certainly has all the appearance of disingenuousness in
order to remedy a crying evil, rather than openly exer-
cise the authority vested in the court, and, like his
predecessors, openly to set aside the injurious practice.
Experience had taught that the law which ordered
the remission of debts, in the release year, far from
benefiting the distressed, as was its original intention
now, in the altered circumstances, operated to the injury
of the poor ; for the rich refused to make advances to







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


those requiring pecuniary assistance, because they were
afraid of the effect of the release year. The change
in the conduct of the former towards the latter had been
brought about by circumstances over which neither had
control. As long as the people were purely agricultural,
the commercial intercourse with other nations insig-
nificant, and the fortunes pretty equal by reason of the
inalienability of landed property, distress could only be
the consequence of some unforseen calamity which
could be easily mitigated, if not remedied, by the loan
of provisions or seed corn until the next harvest. The
loss of the loan when not repaid was not greatly felt;
but when the people had been brought into unavoidable
and permanent contact with nations governed by
different laws, when landed property changed hands for
good, taxation increased and trade became the means of
large numbers for 'earning a livelihood; the value of
capital was recognized, and capitalists whose living
depended upon its possession durst not expose them-
selves to the risk of losing it by lending it out. The
evil was manifest; how was it to be remedied? The
straightforward course would have been to declare that
since by adherence to 'the letter of the law its spirit
would be killed, the letter must be set aside ; and such
undoubtedly would have been the line of proceedings
in the days of the elder Maccabees, had the evil then
shown itself. Not so in the days of Hillel. The bon-
dage to the letter of which the Sadducees set the
example, and no doubt their severe criticism on any
step taken in a liberal direction, for which no justifica-
tion, however remote, could be found in some text,
exercised their pernicious influence. A device was







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


contrived under the name of prosbul, by means of
which the letter of the law was saved, while its spirit
was evaded. It was authoritatively declared that
creditors who made over their claims to the Court
would not lose them, as this would obtain payment, and
then hand over the amount to the owner. By this
arrangement the creditor did not violate the letter of
the law, since he could not remit what was no longer
owing to him. But he had no objection to accept pay-
ment from the Court, which acted as his deputy (Talmud
Treat. Ghittin, f. 36; Mishnah Shebeeth, chapter 10).
The contest between the Sadducees and the Pharisees
also operated injuriously in another way. When
the Pharisees ultimately obtained the victory they,
as was the ,case after the triumph of the Macca-
bees, and precisely for the same reason, began to attach
an exaggerated importance to all those ceremonies and
badges which had formed the shibboleth in their days of
humiliation. Formulas were added to the prayers, dis-
tinctly affirming the doctrine of immortality, that of the
resurrection (29) having long before found expression
in the daily prayers. The counting of the fifty days for
the celebration of the feast of weeks had to commence
on the second day of Passover, and rot on the Sunday
following it (Lev. xxiii., 15), as the literal meaning of
the text in dispute seems to imply. Henceforth the
spiritual decay of Pharisaism became quite perceptible.
The school of Shammati, contemporary and opponent of
that of Hillel, became prominent for its rigorism and
the tenacity with which it clung in its scriptural
interpretation to a narrow literalism; in fact, the
numerous differences between the two schools, often







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


referring to mere minuti.a, are complained of in the
Talmud itself (see Talmud, Treat. Sanh., f. 10).
There was yet another circumstance which accelerated
still more this downward. career. The disturbances
which had arisen under the later kings of the Macca-
bean dynasty led, as is known, to its overthrow, and
the occupation of the throne by the Idumean Herod.
This upstart prince, whose sympathies apparently were
more with Rome than Jerusalem, seemed only to have
one object during his long reign-that of currying
favour with his patrons and lords paramount. To the
C.csars he looked up as to superior beings. To them he
burnt incense. Them he aped. Anti-national institu-
tions were cherished ; foreign customs fostered, and the
views of the stranger befriended. The consequence
was that feelings were excited among the patriots some-
what akin to those which in the mournful days of
Antiochus Epiphanes had brought on such calamities.
If the power of the usurper, supported as he was by
Rome, was too firmly established to be shaken by the
rage of his enemies, they could at least show their
horror of those innovations, and their profound attach-
ment to the ancestral religion, by observing with the
greatest strictness all its minutim, by expatiating on
their importance, enjoining them most emphatically,
and setting as prominently as possible the example of
the most careful observance of every detail of the rites.
The more widely-spread and deeply-seated the aversion
to these innovations was, the more general was the
acceptance of this rigorism as a protest against royal
latitudinarianism.
It was during this period of spiritual decadence that







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


he, from whose epithet Christianity derives its name,
made his appearance. No wonder that his spiritual
nature revolted against such narrow technicalities and
devices for evading the spirit of the law, while seem-
ingly fulfilling its letter. His fierce denunciations of
the Pharisees are on record ; but impartial history will
rather perceive in them the momentary ebullitions of an
over-sensitive, ardent preacher, than the coolly-weighed
utterances of a philosophical moralist. The Talmud
informs us that there were seven distinct shades of
Pharisaism, the one extreme bordering and touching
upon the loftiness and saintly character of the Essenes,
while the other wore the mask of the rankest hypocrisy.
Between the two there was ranged the mass of the
Pharisees of all colours and shades of religious opinion.
There were Pharisees, we are informed, who were
distinguished by every virtue which can adorn a
scholar, patriot, and saint; and, again, others vain,
superstitious, and ostentatious, paraded in the market-
place the outward marks of religious zeal (30). It
must have been the lot of Jesus to have fallen in with
some of those lower-grade Pharisees. Unfortunately,
this historical distinction is but little known, and his
condemnation is thus extended to the righteous as well
as to the wicked.
The death of Jesus, as known, was not followed
immediately by the rise of a new religion, but rather
by a new school of religious thought. Peter, its head,
seems to have had no wish to break loose from his
people and its tenets. It required a special vision to
induce him to discard the dietary laws. There is no
evidence that he went beyond this. Had this school







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


remained for a sufficiently long time in this condition,
or even in the form of a new Jewish sect, it is probable
it would have exercised a great and beneficial influence
on the mother religion. It might have arrested the
spiritual decay, and brought back the liberty of happier
bygone days. But it was not to be. The preaching of
Paul was so subversive of some of the leading prin-
ciples of Judaism, that its incompatibility with the
mother religion must have been evident to the meanest
capacity ; and so successful was his ministration among
the Gentiles, that the crowds of converts soon by far
outnumbered and overbalanced the handful of followers
of the other leading apostle. The Jewish-Christians
soon had no other choice than either to allow them-
selves to be absorbed by the surrounding mass of
Gentile converts, or to revert to the body, an offshoot
of which they would have fain remained. The Jewish
Christians vanished comparatively soon (as will be
shown hereafter), and with them all prospect of
exercising any perceptible influence upon the mother
religion. The influence which Christianity exerted
upon Judaism was not that arising either from amicable
contact and friendly rivalry, or from wrangling
within a defined area, such as those between sects
standing on common ground, but that springing from
fierce antagonism and from the coercion exercised by
the stronger upon the weaker, as will be seen further on.
The antagonism between Pauline-Christianity and
Judaism soon afterwards became still more embittered
by a political element, which the unfortunate events of
the day brought out with great prominence, and which
thereby placed the daughter at a still greater distance







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


from the mother religion, even before Pauline-
Christianity had finally prevailed.
When the last war between Judea and Rome broke out,
which led to the well-known national catastrophe, it was
naturally expected that every secondary consideration
would be set aside, and that all would patriotically
unite for the defence of the threatened country. So
imminent and pressing was the danger that not a
particle of the national resources could be spared. The
whole nation, with the exception of the followers of
Agrippa, flew to arms. Even the conservatives, as a
party-there, no doubt, were individual exceptions-
and the more thoughtful, who had opposed the insur-
rection with all their might, cast in their lot with their
other countrymen when they saw that war was unavoid-
able (31). There was only one section which, in this
fearful crisis, stood aloof. The members of the new
sect withdrew from the danger, leaving it to its country-
men to conquer or perish, unhelped, and, perhaps,
uncheered, on the plea of a certain prophecy of its
founder (Eusebius's Eccles. Hist. iii., 1). After a pro-
tracted struggle, the country at last lay gasping and
bleeding at every pore at the feet of the conqueror. A
million corpses covered her face, and a hundred thou-
sand captives, among them some of her noblest and
fairest sons and daughters, thronged the slave markets
of the world. But no battle-field was stained by the
gore of any of the adherents of the new faith, nor did
the fetters of the bondman press upon the limbs of any
of its members. It may be easily imagined that in the
mind of the prostrate patriot, if not in his utterance,
the name of traitor was often joined to that of apostate,







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


and what reception he would have given to the approach
of the deserter. All kindred feeling between the two
was thus crushed out; and, although in subsequent
.ages repeated attempts were made by the Jews to
recover their country, in no one were they joined by
'their kinsmen, the Jewish Christians (32).
Here is the place to speak of that other doctrine
which, although not quite new, was only now fully
awakened to a vigorous life, and acquired that powerful
hold on the national mind which it has never since
relaxed. I refer to the doctrine of the Messiah. Some
of the prophets of old already, from time to time, in
their addresses to the people, more or less distinctly
hinted at a glorious period which should realise the
most ardent hopes of the devout and patriots, which the
past had failed to fulfil, and of which the gloomy present
disappointed them. Some of the prophets connected this
mysterious future with the God-chosen dynasty of
David, while others again were contented with predic-
tions of a less precise nature, discoursing merely, as it
were, of a golden age hidden in the womb of the future,
without bringing it in connection with any individual.
These discourses, which partook as much of the nature
of ardent wishes as of positive promises, stepped into
the foreground and gained in vividness in proportion
as the horizon became overcast. It was but natural
that in this state the distressed mind should seek solace
in a more or less distant cheerful future turning its
glance away from the gloom confronting it, and fixing
it on the bright vision not far off. Thus we read of the
:starving, that they feast in their dreams on the fatness
of the earth. On the other hand, these expectations







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


receded into the background, and melted away in pro-
portion as the soul longed 'less for them, by reason of
the present prosperity enjoyed. These hopes were,
naturally much dwelt upon during the Babylonian
captivity, but became weakened in the national memory
during the happy repose enjoyed for a considerable time
by the returned settlers in Judea, under the mild sway
of the Persians. At least after the prophets Haggai,
Zachariah, and Malachi, we hear of no such expectations.
until the calamities, especially the persecutions under
Antiochus Epiphanes, commenced. The longing of the
nation for a deliverer once more awoke. This longing
was soon translated into a distinct promise of speedy
fulfilment. A deliverer was promised-a deliverer was
wanted-the deliverer must be near at hand. It is the-
book of Daniel which made itself the organ of this
hope. The deliverer came in the persons of Judas the-
Maccabee and his brothers. Israel once more sat in safety
-each man under his vine and fig tree-at least for a
time. The idea of the deliverer, or saviour, receded.
Soon new troubles arose. Judea fell into the hands of
the Romans. Calamity now followed calamity. Again,
the longing for a national deliverer awoke with great
vehemence. At last the national disasters were con-
summated by the destruction of the temple under Titus..
Could there be any doubt but that this national deliverer
would soon make his appearance?
The extraordinary spectacle was thus presented to the-
world of two religions closely allied being in hourly
expectation of a supernatural guide-the Jews of a
worldly hero leading them on to the reconquest of their
beloved country, and the Christians of the Son of Man







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


in the clouds, in order to judge the quick and the dead.
But both were disappointed in their expectations. Now
showed itself a distinguishing feature in the character
.of the two. While the expectation of the speedy
advent of the Son of Man, which had given such a
powerful impetus to the formation of Christianity, was
allowed by the Christian world to recede more and more
into the background, or, at least, was overtopped by
other dogmas not so prominent in the, New Testa-
ment; the doctrine of the Messiah now became, as it
were, the first in Judaism recast, and has ever since
occupied a foremost place in the array of Jewish
articles of faith, has wonderfully shaped and moulded
the fresh views, rites, and practices which have since
sprung up among this people. Scores of times disap-
pointed in their expectations, the hope of the advent of
the Messiah has remained evergreen in their hearts,
with the difference that while one portion of the nation,
and precisely that which groans under physical oppres-
sion, expects him in the person of a mighty hero that
will bring them deliverance, and restore them to their
country ; another section, and this precisely that from
whose limbs the galling fetters of bondage have been
struck off, looks for the advent of that golden age, or
.rather Messianic period, in which virtue will conquer
vice, crime will not be thought of, every man will re-
gard his fellow as his brother, and strive after the
happiness of his neighbour as after his own. The cycle
of Jewish doctrines is now complete. No new one has
.since been added, and no new one is ever likely to be
added. I have now brought the consideration of the
.second period to a close, and proceed to that of the third.







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


THIRD PERIOD.
(From the destruction of the second temple, in the year 70, C.E., to
the death of Moses Mendelsohn, in the year 1786 C.E.)

The temple had done burning, the corpses were
buried, and the slaves disposed of. The fury of the
conqueror was assuaged, and the fugitives, consequently,
began to emerge from their hiding places, and as many
of the survivors as had escaped into foreign countries
began to repair to their own. But how different
was now this country. The centre of worship, in
which alone it was lawful to offer sacrifices, had
vanished, and even had the courage and means for
rebuilding it existed, nobody would have dared to ask
permission for the undertaking. Those allowed to
remain in the country were cowed and weighed down
with imposts (33). No regard was any longer paid to
their habits and peculiar institutions. Dispossessed, and
intermingled with the heathen, some of the ancestral
laws could no longer be kept at all, and others only
very imperfectly. Chaos reigned everywhere in reli-
gious matters. Who was to bring order into this mass
of confusion ? and whence was the-ray to come capable
of lighting up this darkness ? It is true the position,.
to some limited extent, was not without an analogy.
During the Babylonian captivity, sacrifices-had not been
offered. But then the mass of the people had been alto-
gether removed from their country. It was, therefore,
clear that none of the commands, presupposing tenancy







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


of their own land, could be carried out. But such was
not now the case. The remnant, if it did not exactly
possess the land of their fathers, at least, breathed the
air of the ancestral inheritance. From which of the
obligations connected with this land was the remnant
exempt, and which was still binding ? Again, while in
Babylon, the captives occupied settlements of their
own, were allowed to follow the ancestral customs and
obey the ancestral laws. The enemy of yesterday had
become the friend of to-day. Further, there were
prophets who could be consulted, could comfort in distress
and raise up the drooping spirits in despondency. The
elders of the people were allowed to hold their sway the
same as though they were in their own country. But
where were now the prophets? where the elders? The
anxiously looked-for Messiah did not show himself.
But yet the people did not quite remain without
guidance.. If there was not a ray, there was a streak
of light. The guidance now came from one who, like
a brand, had been plucked out of the fire. This brand
was Rabbi Yochanan Ben Saccai, one of the most
eminent Jewish teachers of the time, who succeeded in
escaping from besieged Jerusalem, and having found
favour in the eyes of the Roman general, Prince Titus,
obtained from him permission to establish a college at
Yamnia, where the Rabbi took up his quarters, gathered
around him as many of his disciples as could reach this
place of refuge, and thus formed a centre for all those
who had escaped destruction (Talm. Treat. Ghittin,
f. 86.)
Rabbi Yochanan was no ordinary man. Brought
up in the school of Hillel the elder, one of the noblest







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


and most amiable of men, Yochanan reflected all the
virtues, worldly wisdom, and learning, which distin-
guished the generation of rabbis that adorned the ages
of the elder Maccabees (34). Being then advanced in
years, he had had time to acquire a thorough knowledge
of all the ancestral lore, traditions, and judicial deci-
sions of the .high courts of justice. While these
qualities gathered around him, all those who instinct-
ively felt that in him they had found the man capable
of saving the remnant from religious ruin, they were
also drawn to him, and kept at his side by the con-
sciousness that, in consequence of the favour enjoyed
by him with the victorious general, he was also enabled
to extend to them efficient protection. At Yamnia,
therefore, the rabbi opened a college which, under his
presidency, was constituted a Synhedrion, and became
the centre of a new organisation. Rabbi Yochanan, on
this occasion, showed how thoroughly he was imbued
with the spirit of the elder chiefs of these courts, and
how well he understood the wants of his age. By his
own authority, and against precedent and distinct
understanding, he vested this court with all the
privileges and rights possessed by the Synhedrion when
in session in the hall assigned for its meetings in the
temple, it having been held, up to this time, that no
legal functions could be discharged by this tribunal
beyond these precincts (Talm. Sanhedrin, f. xiv. b.)
At Yamnia, now, the perplexed received guidance, the
doubtful instruction, the waverers advice, the distressed
relief, the mourner comfort, and the desponding hope.
Only one mistake was committed, natural enough in
the time in which the rabbi lived, considering the







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


general conviction, shared by him, then prevailing, but
which greatly marred the important work undertaken
by him. The principle which guided him and his
immediate successors was that the calamity was only
temporary, that the deliverer would soon come and
restore everything to its former position (35). Temporary
arrangements, therefore, were only necessary in order
to tide over the evil hour, and patience to bear the
misfortunes of the day. Remedies were applied as
opportunity served or occasion required. The* prac-
tices of Judaism were, therefore, placed as it were
in a provisional state. This was an evil; for as
decennium after decennium passed without fulfilling
this expectation, the arrangements made, which had
been borne because it was thought that they were'only
temporary, became more and more grievous, especially
as time had brought on changes still less suited for
them than they had been before. But, as length of
years had now rendered them venerable, new expedients
were resorted to in order to bring about an accommo-
dation-a modus vivendi as it were-which, in its turn,
after some years became antiquated and called again
for other devices, which, of course, could only be
palliatives. The kernel of Judaism thus became
tarnished more and more. And all this because narrow
institutionalism took the place of those broad views of
prophetism, I am inclined to call them, which guided
the presiding spirits at the period that called Phari-
saism into existence.
It may not be out of place to sketch here one or two
of those accommodations which have made their mark
in the history of Judaism, and have since remained







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


permanent and prominent institutions, although the
foundation for them had been laid long before. As
chronological order in this enumeration is immaterial, I
shall pay no attention to it.
I alluded to the institution of regular set prayers. In
the Pelitateuch prayer was not prescribed. It did not
form part of the regular worship ; it'was left entirely
to the impulse of the heart. The Biblical personages
prayed as they were moved by the spirit, and as op-
portunity served. They, no doubt, set the example of
prayer, and left us magnificent models thereof. But,
for all this, prayer was not enjoined as a duty. The
only exceptions are the form of benediction recited by
the priest when blessing the people on certain solemn
occasions (Numbers vi, 24-27), the confession of sin
which the transgressor was to make while sacrificing a
sin-offering (Levit. v, 5), and the formulas to be recited
by the offerers of the firstlings and the prescribed tithes
(Deut. xxvi, 3-10, 13-15).
But the idea of prayer is so natural to man that, as
soon as the sacrificial service had been regularly estab-
lished in the temple, and the priests and Levites under-
gone a regular course of training, prayers were added
to the sacrifices, especially to the daily burnt offerings.
Traces of these are found in the Psalms; more clearly
developed in later rabbinical writings. In the Baby-
lonian captivity-when sacrifices, of course, could not
be offered-the idea seems already to have risen in the
minds of the devout that, if sacrifices could not be
regularly brought, prayers at least might be offered up
at the hours prescribed for the offering of the sacrifices.
Of Daniel we read that he prayed three times a day, this







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


act being presumably mentally connected with the
morning, afternoon, and evening daily offerings (Daniel
vi, 11). In the regular worship of the second temple,
we find already established a fully-developed system of
prayers accompanying the offering of sacrifices. Now
that sacrifices, owing to the destruction of the temple,
had ceased, the duty of prayer which was to take the
place of the sacrifices was more strictly enjoined ; in
fact, made obligatory (36). Certain forms, preserved to
this day but somewhat modified and much enlarged,
were composed, and it was prescribed that they should
be offered up in those hours during which the sacrifices
had to be offered while the temple yet stood. These
prayers were to take the place of the sacrifices until the
latter could again be offered. The synagogues, which
previously had only been houses of meeting for mutual
instruction and edification, and to which prayers were
only incidental, now became real temples, and received
their legal sanction (37). Of course in some of these
prayers repeated and emphatic expression is given to
the hopes that the sacrificial service would speedily
be restored. These prayers remain to this day,
although in Western and Central Europe it may be
assumed that there are few educated Jews who really
feel a longing for the restoration of a worship in which
the slaying of beasts would form a leading feature.
Around this simple institution of prayers there grouped
themselves layer upon layer, in the course of time,
numberless rites and observances, each of which
was elaborated into details filling volumes.
Another institution, commenced from necessity while
the temple yet stood, was afterwards perpetuated to







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


the great inconvenience of the people, and in direct oppo-
sition to the plain letter of the law, as generally
understood, simply from that narrow veneration for
antiquity which, as age succeeded age, became more
and more conspicuous. I refer to the day added to
each of the festivals. While the Synhedrion existed,
the periods for the celebration of the festivals were
appointed by this authority, in accordance with certain
traditions based upon the letter of the law. As it was
not always practicable to acquaint in time distant com-
munities with the dates fixed for this purpose, it was
ordained that an additional day should be celebrated, as
thereby the contingency of violating the festival was
prevented, since one of the two days celebrated was
sure to be the right one. In process of time, however,
it became necessary to substitute astronomical calcula-
tions for the fixing of the festivals in the place of the
previous traditional procedure. This calculation could,
of course, be made by every individual possessing the
requisite astronomical knowledge. Uniformity as to
the date of the festival was thus insured. The celebra-
tion of an additional day, therefore, became unnecessary.
Here was an opportunity for taking off a burden from
the shoulders of the people, and the text, "Ye shall
neither add nor take away aught from it" (the law)
(Deut. xiii, 1), would no longer have been violated; for,
in order to get rid of this inconvenient text, it was
explained to forbid the omission or addition of any
detail in. the practice of existing rites, but that it was
by no means intended to take from the religious authori-
tibs that be the power of enacting new laws, so long as
they were enacted in the name of the rabbis; and yet







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


what this text really seems to mean is, that there should
exist no authority for either annulling any of the prin-
ciples laid down, or adding a new one, such as is, for
instance, claimed by the Roman Catholic Church when
she is pleased to promulgate a new dogma. And rather
than give in to the unanswerable arguments urged
against the retention of rites when the reasons for their
introduction had ceased to operate, a new principle was
devised, that Jewish custom was Jewish law, and that
custom overrides a legal decision (38).
It lay, however, in. the temper of the times that,
despite the most earnest efforts of the rabbis to preserve
the institutions in their integrity and full vigour, and
despite the minuteness with which every detail was
elaborated, many more fell into desuetude, or had to be
explained away, than were introduced. They had, in
fact, to yield to force majeure. One of the first which
ushered in all others, and gave them its sanction, was the
compilation and authentic publication of the mass of
traditions accumulated ever since the days of Ezra,
handed down from master to disciple, and from Court to
Court under what was named in subsequent ages the oral
law, but which it was considered unlawful to place on
record for public teaching. Apparently, the rabbis had
three reasons for withholding their sanction from such an
undertaking. They probably were in the first place afraid
lest the publication of such an authentic collection might
diminish their importance in popular opinion, since, in
case of need, recourse might be had to the book for inform-
ation instead of deriving it from their verbal instruction.
Then, again, the book student lacking the instruction of
the word of mouth and the help which it supplies by







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


gesture, tone, and, above all, by the opportunity which it
affords for questioning, and thereby preventing mis-
understandings and removing doubts, there was ground
to fear that he might fall into error, and pronounce a
wrongjudgment. Lastly, owing to the veneration in which
these traditions were held, they might, when authorita-
tively published, have been placed side by side with the
written law, and be held in equal estimation as though
they were another revelation, or might, perhaps, even
have been confounded with it, and, being fixed in
writing, would necessarily have lost the elasticity
requisite if they were to be able to accommodate them-
selves to varying circumstances. But when, after the
repeated insurrections against Rome, especially that
under Bar Kocba against the Emperor Hadrian,
.thousands of Jews had perished-and among them
also many of the most eminent rabbis, the chief
depositories of these traditions, the study of the law
and the practice of all distinguishing rites were strictly
prohibited, and the survivors scattered over still wider
areas than before-it became evident that the former
policy could no longer be adhered to without exposing
traditional Judaism to the risk of obliteration. A dis-
tinguished rabbi, therefore, the head of the Synhedrion,
revered by his people for his piety and learning, high
in the favour of one of the Antonines-which of them
is not yet fully ascertained-undertook the innovation
of compiling, systematically expounding, and publishing
these traditions under the name of Mishnah or
Deuterosis, i.e. the double, viz., of the written law, upon
which it formed a commentary and became its com-
panion book (39). There was now a basis for the oral







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


law upon which all religious Jewish learning was
founded, from which it proceeded as though from a centre,
and around which it revolved as its true spiritual
pivot. It is this work, as will be shown further
on, and the two most ponderous super-commentaries
to which it gave rise in its turn under the title
of Ghemara, or rather Ghemaras-as there are two, one
composed in Palestine and the other in Babylonia-
from which all the information bearing on the past
Biblical development of Judaism is derived. The
Mishnah and Ghemara together are called the Talmud ;
and, as a very lucid and graphic account of it has only
a few years ago been published in the Quarterly Review,
and, is probably still fresh in the memory of the public,
it would be supererogatory to say anything further on
its contents, although a few remarks on their genesis
will be made further on.
Although in this case the right thing was perceived
and done, yet the narrow technical spirit which dared
not follow the broad common sense view of former ages
showed itself again. Instead of being content with
justifying the change by pointing to the altered
circumstances without endeavouring to press into the
service some text and extorting from it a meaning
favourable to the change, but which it never bore, recourse
was again had to a stale device redolent of disengenu-
ousness. The verse (Psalms cxxi., 126) It is time
for the Lord to work, for they have made void the law,"
was rendered as though it meant that it was lawful to
act as had been done in order that the people might not
be compelled to make the law void (see also Mishnah
Beracoth, the 'end.) Distortions of this kind which







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


now, unfortunately, became more and more frequent,
evidently required that phrases, and even single words,
should be wrenched from their context and applied in an
unwarranted manner. This procedure-whatever may
be said in its defence, and it, no doubt, admits of a
different explanation (40), vested, as it came before
the people, with the high sanction of the most venerated
religious authorities-had an unfortunate effect, for it
contracted the intellect of the studious youth, and gave
it quite a bent, causing it to relish dazzling yet often
false analogies, ingenuities, witticisms and leaps to conclu-
sions, in preference to patient research, sound sense, and
strict logical argument, based upon grammar and
ascertained premisses. This characteristic of Jewish
intellect has impressed its stamp upon Jewish mental
productions, and marks them to this day wherever
the Talmud is the chief study of the Jewish youth,
But the institutions which chiefly experienced the stress
of the changed position of the Jews now that they were
scattered all over the globe, and frequently among
nations antagonistic to them in every respect, were those
which concerned their outward appearance.
The peculiarities of the dress which distinguished
the Jews and marked them out for the sneers and
ill-usage of their enemies had to be laid aside. Accord-
ing to the rabbinical interpretation of the texts, and
they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes, and they
shall be as a sign on thy hand" (Deut. vi., 9), every
Jew had to wear a certain head-gear minutely described
by the rabbis, and a certain bandage on his left arm,
known by the name of phylacteries. That there was
a foundation for this interpretation is clear from the







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


peculiar kind of fillet noticed on the heads of a group
of captives sculptured on one of the walls of an ancient
temple-underneath which the words King of Judah"
were deciphered by Champollion and other Egyptologists
-represented in the triumphal march of king
Sheshank returning from his successful campaign
against King Rehoboam. In Ezekiel, too, there seems
,to be an allusion to this head-dress, where it is called
an ornament (Ezekiel xxiv., 17). In the New
Testament the Pharisees are reproached, not for
wearing, but for making their phylacteries broad.
The rabbis attached to them a very high degree of
sanctity, yet by degrees, and this for the reasons
stated, they fell out of practice, and at last were
only worn during prayers. The same was the case
with the fringes prescribed to be worn on the four corners
of the outer garment referred to in a previous lecture
(Numb. xv., 37); and only at prayers the religious
Jew, in commemoration of this command, wraps himself
in his praying scarf, to the four corners of which are
attached four fringes. If he no longer dared to parade
in public the badges of his vocation, as a member of the
family enstrusted with the custodianship of the great
principles given into his charge for the benefit of
mankind, he at least displayed them for his own
edification, and that of his fellow believers in the
seclusion of his place of worship (41).
The next institution to be disregarded was connected
with a law most closely bound up with a state of affairs
hardly a vestige of which had remained. I have referred
before to the law which forbade a Jew to take interest
from a Jew. I have pointed out that obedience to this







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


law was only practicable among a purely agricultural
people, whose landed property was inalienable. But
the Jews were now scattered far beyond the
boundaries of the Roman empire. Agriculture had
ceased to be their chief occupation, partly because,
after the destruction of the temple, they for some
generations were in daily expectation of a restoration
to their own country, and, therefore, had no wish for
a permanent settlement out of it; partly because in
many countries difficulties were raised to their acquiring
landed property, and partly also because this occupa-
tion could no longer be carried on by them profitably,
owing to the necessity which had arisen for them to
interrupt their labours for many more days in the
year than their neighbours, as they had to rest on their
own sabbaths and festivals out of religious scruples, and,
in addition, on those of their masters from compulsion,
or at least from regard for their religious scruples.
Trading, and especially international trading, now
became their chief occupation, but trade cannot be carried
on without capital, and capital cannot be allowed to be
used without interest. Interest, therefore, had to be
taken, and interest accordingly was offered and accepted
from a brother Jew, either under some thin disguise,
or, openly without it.
Nor did the marriage laws escape the new influences.
Polygamy, as is known, is allowed by the law of Moses.
In a state of society which tolerates slavery the tolera-
tion of polygamy is the minor evil. But when a
:section of the Jews became scattered among mono-
gamous Christian nations, the marriage law of the for-
mer naturally came into collision with that of the latter.






JUDAISM SURVEYED.


The marriage law, therefore, had to be altered. Poly-
gamy was forbidden by a rabbinical synod (42). In
this no violence was done to the spirit of Judaism, which
certainly was as little favourable to polygamy as it was
to slavery-the two, as I have shown, being most closely
connected. But, then, how was it to be in the case of
the death of a man who had left behind a childless
widow? According to the law of Moses, the brother
of the deceased was to marry the widow. To this there
was no obstacle as long as polygamy was allowed. But
monogamy having been once established, a married man
might have been obliged to disregard this new institu-
tution by taking in marriage, in addition to the wife of
his youth, the widow of his brother. To avoid the
*contingency of such a collision, it was enacted that
under no circumstances whatever should a marriage of
this kind be allowed, but the alternative prescribed by
Moses in the event of the brother-in-law refusing to
fulfil this duty to the widow must be resorted to.
This alternative is described in Deut. xxv., 9, and re-
sorting to it was blamed by the lawgiver, a certain
stigma being attached to the family of the repudiator.
The rabbinical enactment therefore avowedly abrogated
-an institution established by Moses. A proof that it was
,only the necessity of avoiding a possible collision with
the law of the land which led to this alteration of the
marriage law, is the circumstance that in Mahomedan
countries, in which polygamy still exists, a brother-in-
law is still allowed to marry his deceased brother's
(childless widow.
One more instance shall bring these exemplifications
*to a close. Everyone is acquainted with the laws of







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


Levitical purity, as minutely described in the third
book of Moses (xv., 16). That they were observed may
be seen from I. Samuel, xx., 26, and Mishnah
Beracoth, c. iii. 4-6. To this day the sect of
the Karaites, who affect to keep the law of Moses,
literally observe these injunctions. In their synagogues
may be seen during worship a number of individuals
remaining in the vestibule, simply because they con-
sider themselves as unclean, waiting to undergo the
process of purification as prescribed. Yet all these
laws were allowed to fall into desuetude, not because
they could not be practised, but because their practice
in the altered circumstances would have proved most
burdensome.
A most minute rigorism in the practice of all these
enactments and fragments of law, still upheld, was
resorted to by the rabbis-recommended and enjoined
by them in compensation, as it were, for the voluntary
or compulsory disregard of those which were no longer
observed. The predecessors of these rabbis, indeed, had
set them the example and shown how scriptural supports
and analogies might be found, be it for innovations or
in defence of practices no longer answering their
original purpose. The multiplication of Biblical com-
mands was excused by the assumed necessity for making
fences round the law (Ethics of the Fathers, 1., 1), and
accounted for by the declaration of a rabbi of old,
"The Holy One, blessed be He! wished to give
Israel an opportunity for acquiring merits, therefore
He has given them numerous directions and command-
ments." One of the ancient rabbis laid down seven
rules amplified into thirteen, and by another into thirty-







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


two, in accordance with which the law was to be
explained, not all of them being able to stand the test of
logic. (See Tosefta Sanhedrin, Sifra, col. 71, Aboth
of Rabbi Nathan, c. 37.)
The argument was this. If the law was verbally
inspired by God, it must bear the impress of his wis-
dom. There cannot be in it a superfluous letter, nay,
not even a superfluous tittle or dot, and there must be
good reasons for the sequence of the several laws.
When, therefore, a law was repeated, or a word, or a
letter, or even a dot seemed unnecessary,- or the con-
nexion between two consecutive texts not clear, it was
allowable, nay, meritorious to search for the reasons of
this apparent anomaly (43).
Three times it was enjoined, Thou shalt not seethe
a kid in the milk of its mother." In consequence of this
reiteration an extraordinary extension was given to
this prohibition, and an application made of it which, to
this day, exercises a vast influence in the household of
every observant Jew. In consequence of this rabbinical
interpretation there is found in the household of every
observant Jew a double set of kitchen utensils-one set
to be used in the preparation and consumption of flesh
meats, and the other in those of milk food; and the
observant Jew himself abstains for several hours from
partaking of milk food after having eaten flesh meat
-nay, even a third set of kitchen utensils were cus-
tomary to be used for food which did not partake of
either flesh or milk.
In other instances, however, this mode of interpreta-
tion has led to more satisfactory results. Thus, in the
text, Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God," an eminent







JUDAISM SURVEYED.


rabbi of old thought he discovered a word which,
in the original language, seemed to him superfluous.
He therefore inferred that the text means to say that,
in addition to God, man should also fear the disciples of
the sages who teach man to fear God.
Re-action, however, set in. As in the time of the
later Maccabees, the liberty taken with the text called
forth Sadduceeism; so now this process, carried still
farther than then, gave rise to the formation of a sect
which, by way of protest, clung as much as pos-
sible to the literal meaning of the law. The Karaites,
or Scripturalists, or Textualists, made their appearance,
under the leadership of one Anan about the year 750,
at the very seat of the academies in which the national
traditions, or oral law were studied by way of pre-
ference, and whose authority at the time was acknow-
ledged throughout the dispersions of Israel, as the
saying was. Like Sadduceeism, it at first was rather a
new school of religious thought than a sect. A similar
revolt in the same regions, which may not have re-
mained without influence upon Judaism, took place in
Islam. In this religious system, too, the number of
traditions received as binding had, soon after Mohammed,
accumulated to an extraordinary degree. As a re-
action, the Shiites, or heretics, broke loose from the
Sunnites, the orthodox followers of the Koran, supple-
mented by a kind of Talmud, called the Sunnah.
Ultimately, however, this Jewish school became a sect,
just as was the case with the Sadducees, which, from
controversy, proceeded to fierce antagonism to rabbinism.
For a while the contest seemed to be equal; but after
some time victory decided in favour of rabbinism. At




University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs