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The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah Vol.1

Written by: Edersheim, Alfred    Posted on: 03/13/2003

Category: Biographies

Source: CCN

Etext of Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah by Alfred Edersheim 1883

              Volume 1

INTRODUCTORY. THE PREPARATION FOR THE GOSPEL: THE JEWISH WORLD IN THE DAYS OF CHRIST

THE JEWISH WORLD IN THE DAYS OF CHRIST, THE JEWISH DISPERSION IN THE EAST.

CHAPTER I

Among the outward means by which the religion of Israel was preserved, one of the most important was the centralisationand localisation of its worship in Jerusalem. If to some theordinances of the Old Testament may in this respect seemnarrow and exclusive, it is at least doubtful, whetherwithout such a provision Monothsiem itself could havecontinued as a creed or a worship. In view of the state ofthe ancient world, and of the tendencies of Israel during theearlier stages of their history, the strictest isolation wasnecessary in order to preserve the religion of the OldTestament from that mixture with foreign elements which wouldspeedily have proved fatal to its existence. And if onesource of that danger had ceased after the seventy years'exile in babylonia, the dispersion of the greater part of thenation among those manners and civilisation would necessarilyinfluence them, rendered the continuance of this separationof as great importance as before. In this respect, eventraditionalism had its mission and use, as a hedge around theLaw to render its infringement or modification impossible.

Wherever a Roman, a Greek, or an Asiatic might wander, hecould take his gods with him, or find rites kindred to hisown. It was far otherwise with the Jew. He had only oneTemple, that in Jerusalem; only one God, Him Who had oncethroned there between the Cherubim, and Who was still Kingover Zion. That Temple was the only place where aGod-appointed, pure priesthood could offer acceptablesacrifices, whether for forgiveness of sin, or for fellowshipwith God. Here, in the impenetrable gloom of the innermostsanctuary, which the High-Priest alone might enter once ayear for most solemn expiation, had stood the Ark, the leaderof the people into the Land of Promise, and the footstool onwhich the Schechinah had rested. From that golden altar rosethe cloud in incense, symbol of Israel's accepted prayers;that seven-branched candlestick shed its perpetual light,indicative of the brightness of God's Covenant Presence; onthat table, as it were before the face of Jehovah, was laid,week by week, 'the Bread of the Face,' [1 Such is the literalmeaning of what is translated by 'shewbread.'] a constantsacrificial meal which Israel offered unto God, and wherewithGod in turn fed His chosen priesthood. On the greatblood-sprinkled altar of sacrifice smoked the daily andfestive burnt-offerings, brought by all Israel, and for allIsrael, wherever scattered; while the vast courts of theTemple were thronged not only by native Palestinians, butliterally by 'Jews out of every nation under heaven.' Aroundthis Temple gathered the sacred memories of the past; to itclung the yet brighter hopes of the future. The history ofIsrael and all their prospects were intertwined with theirreligion; so that it may be said that without their religionthey had no history, and without their history no religion.Thus, history, patriotism, religion, and hope alike pointedto Jerusalem and the Temple as the centre of Israel's unity.

Nor could the depressed state of the nation alter theirviews or shake their confidence. What mattered it, that theIdumaean, Herod, had unsurped the throne of David, expect sofar as his own guilt and their present subjection wereconcerned? Israel had passed through deeper waters, and stoodtriumphant on the other shore. For centuries seeminglyhopeless bondsmen in Egypt, they had not only been delivered,but had raised the God-inspired morning-song of jubilee, asthey looked back upon the sea cleft for them, and which hadburied their oppressors in their might and pride. Again, forweary years had their captives hung Zion's harps by therivers of that city and empire whose colossal grandeur,wherever they turned, must have carried to the scatteredstrangers the desolate feeling of utter hopelessness. And yetthat empire had crumbled into dust, while Israel had againtaken root and sprung up. And now little more than a centuryand a half had passed, since a danger greater even than anyof these had threatened the faith and the very existence ofIsrael. In his daring madness, the Syrian king, Antiochus IV.(Epiphanes) had forbidden their religion, sought to destroytheir sacred books, with unsparing ferocity forced on themconformity to heathen rites, desecrated the Temple bydedicating it to Zeus Olympios, what is translated by'shewbread.' a constant sacrificial and even reared a heathenaltar upon that of burnt-offering. [2 Macc. i. 54, 59; Jos.Ant. xii. 5. 4.] Worst of all, his wicked schemes had beenaided by two apostate High-Priests, who had outvied eachother in buying and then prostituting the sacred office ofGod's anointed. [1 After the deposition of Onias III. throughthe bribery of his own brother Jason, the latter and Menelausoutvied each other in bribery for, and prostitution of, theholy office.] Yet far away in the mountains of Ephraim [2Modin, the birthplace of the Maccabees, has been identifiedwith the modern El-Medyeh, about sixteen miles northwest ofJerusalem, in the ancient territory of Ephraim. Comp.Conder's Handbook of the Bible, p. 291; and for a fullreference to the whole literature of the subject, see Schurer(Neutest. Zeitgesch. p. 78, note 1).] God had raised for themmost unlooked-for and unlikely help. Only three years later,and, after a series of brilliant victories by undisciplinedmen over the flower of the Syrian army, Judas the Maccabee,truly God's Hammer [3 On the meaning of the name Maccabee,comp. Grimm's Kurzgef. Exeget. Handb. z. d. Apokr. Lief.iii., pp. ix. x. We adopt the derivation from Maqqabha, ahammer, like Charles Martel.] had purified the Temple, andrestored its altar on the very same day [4 1 Macc. 1. 54.] onwhich the 'abomination of desolation' [5 1 Macc. iv. 52-54:]Megill. Taan. 23. had been set up in its place. In all theirhistory the darkest hour of their night had ever preceded thedawn of a morning brighter than any that had yet broken. Itwas thus that with one voice all their prophets had biddenthem wait and hope. Their sayings had been more thanfulfilled as regarded the past. Would they not equally becometrue in reference to that far more glorious future for Zionand for Israel, which was to be ushered in by the coming ofthe Messiah?

Nor were such the feelings of the Palestinian Jews only.These indeed were now a minority. The majority of the nationconstituted what was known as the dispersion; a term which,however, no longer expressed its original meaning ofbanishment by the judgment of God, [6 Alike the verb inHebrew, and in Greek, with their derivatives, are used in theOld Testament, and in the rendering of the LXX., withreference to punitive banishment. See, for example, Judg.xviii. 30; 1 Sam. iv. 21; and in the LXX. Deut. xxx. 4; Ps.cxlvii. 2; Is. xlix. 6, and other passages.] since absencefrom Palestine was now entirely voluntary. But all the morethat it referred not to outward suffering, [7 There is sometruth, although greatly exaggerated, in the bitter remarks ofHausrath (Neutest. Zeitgesch. ii. p. 93), as to thesensitiveness of the Jews in the, and the loud outcry of allits members at any interference with them, however trivial.But events unfortunately too often proved how real and nearwas their danger, and how necessary the caution 'Obstaprincipiis.'] did its continued use indicate a deep feelingof religious sorrow, of social isolation, and of politicalstrangership [8 St. Peter seems to have used it in thatsense, 1 Pet. i. 1.] in the midst of a heathen world. Foralthough, as Josephus reminded his countrymen, [Jew. W ii.16. 4.] there was 'no nation inthe world which had not amongthem part of the Jewish people,' since it was 'widelydispersed over all the world among its inhabitants,' [b vii.3.3.] yet they had nowhere found a real home. A century and ahalf before our era comes to us from Egypt [1 Comp. theremarks of Schneckenburger (Vorles u. Neutest. Zeitg. p.95).] ,where the Jews possessed exceptional privileges,professedly from the heathen, but really fdrom the Jewish [2Comp. Friedlieb, D. Sibyll. Weissag. xxii. 39.] Sibyl, thislament of Israel:, Crowding with thy numbers every ocean andcountry, Yet an offense to all around thy presence andcustoms! [3 Orac Sibyll. iii. 271,272, apud Friedlieb, p.62.] Sixty years later the Greek geographer and historianStrabo bears the like witness to their presence in everyland, but in language that shows how true had been thecomplaint of the Sibyl. [4 Strabo apud Jos. Ant. xiv. 7.2:'It is not easy to find a place in the world that has notadmitted this race, and is not mastered by it.'] The reasonsfor this state of feeling will by-and-by appear. Suffice itfor the present that, all unconsciously, Philo tells itsdeepest ground, and that of Israel's loneliness in theheathen world, when speaking, like the others, of hiscountrymen as in 'all the cities of Europe, in the provincesof Asia and in the islands,' he describes them as, whereversojourning, having but one metropolis, not Alexandria,Antioch, or Rome, but 'the Holy City with its Temple,dedicateda to the Most High God.' [5 Philo in Flaccum (ed.Francf.), p. 971.] A nation, the vast majority of which wasdispersed over the whole inhabited earth, had ceased to be aspecial, and become a world-nation. [6 Comp. Jos. Ant. xii.3; xiii. 10. 4; 13. 1; xiv. 6. 2; 8. 1; 10. 8; Sueton. Caes.85.] Yet its heart beat in Jerasulem, and thence thelife-blood passed to its most distant members. And this,indeed, if we rightly understand it, was the grand object ofthe 'Jewish dispersion' throughout the world.

What has been said applies, perhaps, in a special manner, tothe Western, rather than to the Eastern 'dispersion.' Theconnection of the latter with Palestine was so close asalmost to seem one of continuity. In the account of the trulyrepresentative gathering in Jerusalem on that ever-memorableFeast of Weeks, [a Acts ii. 9-11] the division of the'dispersion' into two grand sections, the Eastern orTrans-Euphratic, and the Western or Hellenist, seems clearlymarked. [7 Grimm (Clavis N.T. p. 113) quotes two passagesfrom Philo, in one of which he contradistinguishes 'us,' theHellenist Jews, from 'the Hebrews,' and speaks of the Greekas 'our language.'] In this arrangement the former wouldinclude 'the Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and dwellers inMesopotamia,' Judaea standing, so to speak, in the middle,while 'the Bretes and Arabians' would typically represent thefarthest outrunners respectively of the Western and theEastern Diaspora. The former, as we know from the NewTestament, commonly bore in Palestine the name of the'dispersion of the Greeks," [a St. John vii. 35.] and of'Hellenists' or 'Grecians." [b Acts vi. 1;ix. 29; xi. 20.] Onthe other hand, the Trans-Euphratic Jews, who 'inhabitedBabylon and many of the other satrapies,'[c Philo ad Cajum,p. 1023; Jos. Ant. xv. 3.1.] were included with thePalestinians and the Syrians under the term 'Hebrews,' fromthe common language which they spoke.

But the difference between the 'Grecians' and the 'Hebrews'was far deeper than merely of language, and extended to thewhole direction of thought. There were mental influences atwork in the Greek world from which, in the nature of things,it was impossible even for Jews to withdraw themselves, andwhich, indeed, were as necessary for the fulfillment of theirmission as their isolation from heathenism, and theirconnection with Jerusalem. At the same time it was onlynatural that the Hellenists, placed as they were in the midstof such hostile elements, should intensely wish to be Jews,equal to their Eastern brethren. On the other hand,Pharisaism, in its pride of legal purity and of thepossession of traditional lore, with all that it involved,made no secret of its contempt for the Hellenists, and openlydeclared the Grecian far inferior to the Babylonian'dispersion.' [1 Similarly we have (in Men. 110a) thiscurious explanation of Is. xliii. 6: 'My sons from afar',these are the exiles in Babylon, whose minds were settled,like men, 'and my daughters from the ends of the earth',these are the exiles in other lands, whose minds were notsettled, like women.] That such feelings, and the suspicionswhich they engendered, had struck deep into the popular mind,appears from the fact, that even in the Apostolic Church, andthat in her earliest days, disputes could break out betweenthe Hellenists and the Hebrews, arising from suspicion ofunkind and unfair dealings grounded on these sectionalprejudices. [d Acts vi. 1.]

Far other was the estimate in which the Babylonians wereheld by the leaders of Judaism. Indeed, according to one viewof it, Babylonia, as well as 'Syria' as far north as Antioch,was regarded as forming part of the land of Israel. [Ber. R.17.] Every other country was considered outside 'the land,'as Palestine was called, witht the exception of Babylonia,which was reckoned as part of it. [e Erub. 21 a Gritt. 6 a.]For Syria and Mesopotamia, eastwards to the banks of theTigris, were supposed to have been in the territory whichKing David had conquered, and this made them ideally for everlike the land of Israel. But it was just between theEuphrates and the Tigris that the largest and wealthiestsettlements of the Jews were, to such extent that a laterwriter actually designated them 'the land of Israel.' HereNehardaa, on the Nahar Malka, or royal canal, which passedfrom the Euphrates to the Tigris, was the oldest Jewishsettlement. It boasted of a Synagogue, said to have beenbuilt by King Jechoniah with stones that had been broughtfrom the Temple. [1 Comp. Furst, Kult. u. Literaturgesch d.Jud. in Asien, vol. i. p. 8.] In this fortified city the vastcontributions intended for the Temple were deposited by theEastern Jews, and thence conveyed to their destination underescort of thousands of armed men. Another of these Jewishtreasure-cities was Nisibis, in northern Mesopotamia. Eventhe fact that wealth, which must have sorely tempted thecupidity of the heathen, could be safely stored in thesecities and transported to Palestine, shows how large theJewish population must have been, and how great their generalinfluence.

In general, it is of the greatest importance to remember inregard to this Eastern dispersion, that only a minority ofthe Jews, consisting in all of about 50,000, originallyreturned from Babylon, first under Zerubbabel and afterwardsunder Ezra. [a 537 B.C., and 459-'8 B.C.] Nor was theirinferiority confined to numbers. The wealthiest and mostinfluential of the Jews remained behind. According toJosephus, [b Ant. xi. 5. 2; xv. 2. 2; xviii. 9.] with whomPhilo substantially agrees, vast numbers, estimated atmillions, inhabited the Trans-Euphratic provinces. To judgeeven by the number of those slain in popular risings (50,000in Seleucia alone [2 Jos. Ant. xviii. 9. 9.] ),these figuresdo not seem greatly exaggerated. A later tradition had it,that so dense was the Jewish population in the PersianEmpire, that Cyrus forbade the further return of the exiles,lest the country should be depopulated. [3 Midrash on Cant.v. 5, ed. Warsh. p. 26 a.] So large and compact a body soonbecame a political power. Kindly treated under the Persianmonarchy, they were, after the fall of that empire, [c 330 B.C.] favoured by the successors of Alexander. When in turn theMacedono-Syrian rule gave place to the Parthian Empire, [d 63B.C.] the Jews formed, from their national opposition toRome, an important element in the East. Such was theirinfluence that, as late as the year 40 A.D., the Roman legateshrank from provoking their hostility. [4 Philo ad Caj.] Atthesame time it must not be thought that, even in thesefavoured regions, they were wholly without persecution. Herealso history records more than one tale of bloody strife onthe part of those among whom they dwelt. [5 The following arethe chief passages in Josephus relating to that part ofJewish history: Ant. xi. 5. 2; xiv. 13. 5; xv. 2. 7; 3. 1;xvii. 2. 1-3; xviii. 9. 1, &c.; xx. 4. Jew. W. i. 13. 3.]

To the Palestinians, their brethren of the East and ofSyria, to which they had wandered under the fostering rule ofthe Macedono-Syrian monarchs (the Seleucidae), were indeedpre-eminently the Golah, or 'dispersion.' To them theSanhedrin in Jerusalem intimated by fire-signals frommountain-top to mountain-top the commencement of each monthfor the regulation of the festive calendar, [1 Rosh. haSh.ii. 4; comp. the Jer. Gemara on it, and in the Bab. Talmud 23b.] even as they afterwards despatched messengers into Syriafor the same purpose. [2 Rosh. haSh. i. 4.] In some respectsthe Eastern dispersion was placed on the same footing; inothers, on even a higher level than the mothercountry. Tithesand Terumoth, or first-fruits in a prepared condition, [3Shev. vi. passim; Gitt. 8 a.] were due from them, while theBikkurim, or first-fruits in a fresh state, were to bebrought from Syria to Jerusalem. Unlike the heathencountries, whose very dust defiled, the soil of Syria wasdeclared clean, like that of Palestine itself. [a Ohol.xxiii. 7.] So far as purity of descent was concerned, theBabylonians, indeed, considered themselves superior to theirPalestinian brethren. They had it, that when Ezra took withhim those who went to Palestine, he had left the land behindhim as pure as fine flour. [b Kidd. 69.] To express it intheir own fashion: In regard to the genealogical purity oftheir Jewish inhabitants, all other countries were, comparedto Palestine, like dough mixed with leaven; but Palestineitself was such by the side of Babylonia. [4 Cheth. 111 a.]It was evemaintained, that the exact boundaries could betraced in a district, within which the Jewish population hadpreserved itself unmixed. Great merit was in this respectalso ascribed to Ezra. In the usual mode of exaggeration, itwas asserted, that, if all the genealogical studies andresearches [5 As comments upon the genealogies from 'Azel' in1 Chr. viii. 37 to 'Azel' in ix. 44. Pes. 62 b.] had been puttogether, they would have amounted to many hundredcamel-loads. There was for it, however, at least thisfoundation in truth, that great care and labour were bestowedon preserving full and accurate records so as to establishpurity of descent. What importance attached to it, we knowfrom the action on Ezra [c Chs. ix. x.] in that respect, andfrom the stress which Josephus layson this point. [d Life i.;Ag Apion i. 7.] Official records of descent as regarded thepriesthood were kept in the Temple. Besides, the Jewishauthorities seem to have possessed a general officialregister, which Herod afterwards ordered to be burnt, fromreasons which it is not difficult to infer. But from thatday, laments a Rabbi, the glory of the Jews decreased! [6Pes. 62 b; Sachs,Beitr. vol. ii. p. 157.]

Nor was it merely purity of descent of which the Easterndispersion could boast. In truth, Palestine owed everythingto Ezra, the Babylonian, [1 According to tradition hereturned to Babylon, and died there. Josephus says that hedied in Jerusalem (Anti. xi. 5. 5).] a man so distinguishedthat, according to tradition, the Law would have been givenby him, if Moses had not previously obtained that honor.Putting aside the various traditional ordinances which theTalmud ascribes to him, [2 Herzfeld has given a very clearhistorical arrangement of the order in which, and the personsby whom, the various legal determinations were supposed tohave been given. See Gesch. d. V. Isr. vol. iii. pp. 240 &c.]we know from the Scriptures what his activity for good hadbeen. Altered circumstances had brought many changes to thenew Jewish State. Even the language, spoken and written, wasother than formerly. Instead of the characters ancientlyemployed, the exiles brought with them, on their return,those now common, the so-called square Hebrew letters, whichgradually came into general use. [a Sanh. 21 b.] [3 Althoughthus introduced under Ezra, the ancient Hebrew characters,which resemble the Samaritan, only very gradually gave way.They are found on monuments and coins.] The language spokenby the Jews was no longer Hebrew, but Aramaean, both inPalestine and in Babylonia; [4 Herzfeld (u. s. vol. iii. p.46) happily designates the Palestinian as theHebraeo-Aramaic, from its Hebraistic tinge. The Hebrew, aswell as the Aramaean, belongs to the Semitic group oflanguages, which has thus been arranged: 1. North Semitic:Punico-Phoenician, Hebrew, and Aramaic (Western and Easterndialects). 2. South Semitic: Arabic, Himyaritic, andEthipian. 3. East Semitic: The Assyro-Baylonian cuneiform.When we speak of the dialect used in Palestine, we do not, ofcourse, forget the great influence of Syria, exerted longbefore and after the Exile. Of these three branches theAramaic is the most closely connected with the Hebrew. Hebrewoccupies an intermediate position between the Aramaic and theArabic, and may be said to be the oldest, certainly from aliterary point of view. Together with the introduction of thenew dialect into Palestine, we mark that of the new, orsquare, characters of writing. The Mishnah and all thekindred literature up to the fourth century are in Hebrew, orrather in a modern development and adaptation of thatlanguage; the Talmud is in Aramaean. Comp. on this subject:DeWette-Schrader, Lehrb. d. hist. kr. Eink. (8 ed.) pp.71-88; Herzog's Real-Encykl. vol. i. 466, 468; v. 614 &c.,710; Zunz, Gottesd. Vortr. d. Jud. pp. 7-9; Herzfeld, u.s.pp. 44 &c., 58&c.] in the former the Western, in the latterthe Eastern dialect. In fact, the common people were ignorantof pure Hebrew, which henceforth became the language ofstudents and of the Synagogue. Even there a Methurgeman, orinterpreter, had to be employed to translate into thevernacular the portions of Scripture read in the publicservices, [5 Could St. Paul have had this in mind when, inreferring to the miraculous gift of speaking in otherlanguages, he directs that one shall always interpret (1 Cor.xiv. 27)? At any rate, the word targum in Ezra iv. 7 isrendered in the LXX. by The following from the Talmud (Ber. 8a and b) affords a curious illustration of 1 Cor. xiv. 27:'Let a man always finish his Parashah (the daily lesson fromthe Law) with the congregation (at the same time), twice thetext, and once targum.']. and the address delivered by theRabbis. This was the origin of the so-called Targumim, orparaphrases of Scripture. In earliest times, indeed, it wasforbidden to the Methurgeman to read his translation or towrite down a Targum, lest the paraphrase should be regardedas of equal authority with the original. It was said that,when Jonathan brought out his Targum on the Prophets, a voicefrom heaven was heard to utter: 'Who is this that hasrevealed My secrets to men?' [a Megill. 3.] Still, suchTargumim seem to have existed from a very early period, and,amid the varying and often incorrect renderings, theirnecessity must have made itself increasingly felt.Accordingly, their use was authoritatively sanctioned beforethe end of the second century after Christ. This is theorigin of our two oldest extant Targumim: that of Onkelos (asit is called), on the Pentateuch; and that on the Prophets,attributed to Jonathan the son of Uzziel. These names do not,indeed, accurately represent the authorship of the oldestTargumim, which may more correctly be regarded as later andauthoritative recensions of what, in some form, had existedbefore. But although these works had their origin inPalestine, it is noteworthy that, in the form in which atpresent we possess them, they are the outcome of the schoolsof Babylon.

But Palestine owed, if possible, a still greater debt toBabylonia. The new circumstances in which the Jews wereplaced on their return seemed to render necessary anadaptation of the Mosaic Law, if not new legislation.Besides, piety and zeal now attached themselves to theoutward observance and study of the letter of the Law. Thisis the origin of the Mishnah, or Second Law, which wasintended to explain and supplement the first. Thisconstituted the only Jewish dogmatics, in the real sense, inthe study of which the sage, Rabbi , scholar, scribe, andCarshan, [1 From darash, to search out, literally, to treadout. The preacher was afterwards called the Darshan.] wereengaged. The result of it was the Midrash, or investigation,a term which afterwards was popularly applied to commentariesont he Scriptures and preaching. From the outset, Jewishtheology divided into two branches: the Halakhah and theHaggadah. The former (from halakh, to go) was, so to speak,the Rule of the Spiritual Road, and, when fixed, had evengreater authority than the Scriptures of the Old Testament,since it explained and applied them. On the other hand, thesince it explained and applied them. On the other hand, theHaggadah [2 The Halakhah might be described as the apocryphalPentateuch, the personal saying of the teacher, more or lessvaluable according to his learning and popularity, or theauthorities which he could quote in his support. Unlike theHalakhah, the Haggadah had no absolute authority, either asto doctrine practice, or exegesis. But all the greater wouldbe its popular influence, [1 We may here remind ourselves of1 Tim. v. 17. St. Paul, as always, writes with the familiarJewish phrases ever recurring to his mind. The expressionseems to be equivalent to Halakhic teaching. Comp. Grimm,Clavis N. T. pp. 98, 99.] and all the more dangerous thedoctrinal license which it allowed. In fact, strange as itmay sound, almost all the doctrinal teaching of the Synagogueis to be derived from the Haggadah and this also ischaracteristic of Jewish traditionalism. But, alike inHalakhah and Haggadah, Palestine was under the deepestobligation to Babylonia. For the father of Halakhic study wasHillel, the Babylonian, and among the popular Haggadiststhere is not a name better known than that of Eleazar theMede, who flourished in the first century of our era.

After this, it seems almost idle to inquire whether, duringthe first period after the return of the exiles from Babylon,there were regular theological academies in Babylon. Althoughit is, of course, impossible to furnish historical proof, wecan scarely doubt that a community so large and so intenselyHebrew would not have been indifferent to that study, whichconstituted the main thought and engagement of their brethrenin Palestine. We can understand that, since the greatSanhedrin in Palestine exercised supreme spiritual authority,and in that capacity ultimately settled all religiousquestions, at least for a time, the study and discussion ofthese subjects should also have been chiefly carried on inthe schools of Palestine; and that even the great Hillelhimself, when still a poor and unknown student, should havewandered thither to acquire the learning and authority, whichat that period he could not have found in his own country.But even this circumstance implies, that such studies were atleast carried on and encouraged in Babylonia. How rapidlysoon afterwards the authority of the Babylonian schoolsincreased, till they not only overshadowed those ofPalestine, but finally inherited their prerogatives, is wellknown. However, therefore, the Palestinians in their pride orjealousy might sneer, [2 In Moed Q. 25 a. sojourn in Babylonis mentioned as a reason why the Shekhinah could not restupon a certain Rabbi.] that the Babylonians were stupid,proud, and poor ('they ate bread upon bread'), [3 Pes. 34 b;Men. 52 a; Sanh. 24 a; Bets. 16 a, apud Neubauer, Geog. duTalmud, p. 323. In Keth. 75 a, they are styled the 'sillyBabylonians.' See also Jer. Pes. 32 a.] even they had toacknowledge that, 'when the Law had fallen into oblivion, itwas restored by Ezra of Babylon; when it was a second timeforgotten, Hillel the Babylonian came and recovered it; andwhen yet a third time it fell into oblivion, Rabbi Chija camefrom Babylon and gave it back once more.' [4 Sukk. 20 a. R.Chija, one of the teachers of the second century, is amongthe most.celebrated Rabbinical authorities, around whosememory legend has thrown a special halo.] Such then was thatHebrew dispersion which, from the first, constituted Suchthen was that Hebrew dispersion which, from the first,constituted really the chief part and the strength of theJewish nation, and with which its religious future was alsoto lie. For it is one of those strangely significant, almostsymbolical, facts in history, that after the destruction ofJerusalem the spiritual supremacy of Palestine passed toBabylonia, and that Rabbinical Judaism, under the stress ofpolitical adversity, voluntarily transferred itself to theseats of Israel's ancient dispersion, as if to ratify by itsown act what the judgment of God had formerly executed. Butlong before that time the Babylonian 'dispersion' had alreadystretched out its hands in every direction. Northwards, ithad spread through Armenia, the Caucasus, and to the shoresof the Black Sea, and through Media to those of the Caspian.Southwards, it had extended to the Persian Gulf and throughthe vast extent of Arabia, although Arabia Felix and the landof the Homerites may have received their first Jewishcolonies from the opposite shores of Ethiopia. Eastwards ithad passed as far as India. [1 In this, as in so manyrespects, Dr. Neubauer has collated very interestinginformation, to which we refer. See his Geogr. du Talm. pp.369-399.] Everywhere we have distinct notices of thesewanderers, and everywhere they appear as in closestconnection with the Rabbinical hierarchy of Palestine. Thusthe Mishnah, in an extremely curious section, [2 The wholesection gives a most curious glimpse of the dress andornaments worn by the jews at that time. The readerinterested in the subject will find special information inthe three little volumes of Hartmann (Die Hebraerin amPutztische), in N. G. Schroder's some-what heavy work: DeVestitu Mulier. Hebr., and especially in that interestingtractate, Trachten d. Juden, by Dr. A. Brull, of which,unfortunately, only one part has appeared.] tells us how onSabbaths the Jewesses of Arabia might wear their long veils,and those of India the kerchief round the head, customary inthose countries, without incurring the guilt of desecratingthe holy day by needlessly carrying what, in the eyes of thelaw, would be a burden; [a Shabb. vi. 6.] while in the rubricfor the Day of Atonement we haveit noted that the dress whichthe High-Priest wore 'between the evenings' of the greatfast, that is, as afternoon darkened into evening, was ofmost costly 'Indian' stuff. [b Yoma iii. 7.]

That among such a vast community there should have beenpoverty, and that at one time, as the Palestinians sneered,learning may have been left to pine in want, we can readilybelieve. For, as one of the Rabbis had it in explanation ofDeut. xxx. 13: 'Wisdom is not "beyond the sea", that is, itwill not be found among traders or merchants,' [c Er. 55 a.]whose mind must be engrossed by gain. And it was trade andcommerce which procured to the Babylonians their wealth andinfluence, although agriculture was not neglected. Theircaravans, of whose camel drivers, by the way, no veryflattering account is given [a Kidd. iv.], carried the richcarpets and wov

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