« Prev Judaism Next »

§ 9. Judaism.


I. Sources.

1. The Canonical Books of the O. and N. Testaments.

2. The Jewish Apocrypha. Best edition by Otto Frid. Fritzsche: Libri Apocryphi Veteris Testamenti Graece. Lips. 1871. German Commentary by Fritzsche and Grimm, Leipz. 1851–’60 (in the "Exeget. Handbuch zum A. T."); English Com. by Dr. E. C. Bissell, N. York, 1880 (vol. xxv. in Schaff’s ed. of Lange’s Bible-Work).

3. Josephus (a Jewish scholar, priest, and historian, patronized by Vespasian and Titus, b. a.d. 37, d. about 103): Antiquitates Judaicae (Ἀρχαιολογία Ἰουδαική), in 20 books, written first (but not preserved) in Aramaic, and then reproduced in Greek, a.d. 94, beginning with the creation and coming down to the outbreak of the rebellion against the Romans, a.d. 66, important for the post-exilian period. Bellum Judaicum (περὶ τοῦ Ἰουδαΐκοῦ πολέμου), in 7 books, written about 75, from his own personal observation (as Jewish general in Galilee, then as Roman captive, and Roman agent), and coming down to the destruction of Jerusalem, a.d. 70. Contra. Apionem, a defence of the Jewish nation against the calumnies of the grammarian Apion. His Vita or Autobiography was written after a.d. 100.—Editions of Josephus by Hudson, Oxon. 1720, 2 vols. fol.; Havercamp, Amst. 1726, 2 fol.; Oberthür, Lips. 1785, 3 vols.; Richter, Lips. 1827, 6 vols.; Dindorf, Par. 1849, 2 vols.; Imm. Bekker, Lips. 1855, 6 vols. The editions of Havercamp and Dindorf are the best. English translations by Whiston and Traill, often edited, in London, New York, Philadelphia. German translations by Hedio, Ott, Cotta, Demme.

4. Philo of Alexandria (d. after a.d. 40) represents the learned and philosophical (Platonic) Judaism. Best ed. by Mangey, Lond. 1742, 2 fol., and Richter, Lips. 1828, 2 vols. English translation by C. D. Yonge, London, 1854, 4 vols. (in Bohn’s "Ecclesiastical Library").

5. The Talmud (תַּלְמוּד i.e. Doctrine) represents the traditional, post-exilian, and anti-Christian Judaism. It consists of the Mishna (וִשְׁנָה ,, δευτέρωσιςRepetition of the Law), from the end of the second century, and the Gemara (גְמָרָא i.e. Perfect Doctrine, from גָמַר to bring to an end). The latter exists in two forms, the Palestinian Gemara, completed at Tiberias about a.d. 350, and the Babylonian Gemara of the sixth century. Best eds. of the Talmud by Bomberg, Ven. 1520 sqq. 12 vols. fol., and Sittenfeld, Berlin, 1862–’68, 12 vols. fol. Latin version of the Mishna by G. Surenhusius, Amst. 1698–1703, 6 vols. fol.; German by J. J. Rabe, Onolzbach, 1760–’63.

6. Monumental Sources: of Egypt (see the works of Champollion, Young, Rosellini, Wilkinson, Birch, Mariette, Lepsius, Bunsen, Ebers, Brugsch, etc.); of Babylon and Assyria (see Botta, Layard, George Smith, Sayce, Schrader, etc.).

7. Greek and Roman authors: Polybius (d. b.c. 125), Diodorus Siculus (contemporary of Caesar), Strabo ((d. a.d. 24), Tacitus (d. about 117), Suetonius(d. about 130), Justinus (d. after a.d. 160). Their accounts are mostly incidental, and either simply derived from Josephus, or full of error and prejudice, and hence of very little value.

II. Histories.

(a) By Christian authors.

Prideaux (Dean of Norwich, d. 1724): The Old and New Testament Connected in the History of the Jews and neighboring nations, from the declension of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah to the time of Christ. Lond. 1715; 11th ed. 1749, 4 vols. (and later eds.). The same in French and German.

J. J. Hess (d. 1828): Geschichte der Israeliten vor den Zeiten Jesu. Zür. 1766 sqq., 12 vols.

Warburton (Bishop of Gloucester, d. 1779): The Divine Legation of Moses demonstrated. 5th ed. Lond. 1766; 10th ed. by James Nichols, Lond. 1846, 3 vols. 8vo.

Milman (Dean of St. Paul’s, d. 1868): History of the Jews. Lond. 1829, 3 vols.; revised ed. Lond. and N. York, 1865, 3 vols.

J. C. K. Hofmann (Prof. in Erlangen, d. 1878): Weissagung und Erfüllung. Nördl. 1841, 2 vols.

Archibald Alexander (d. at Princeton, 1851): A History of the Israelitish Nation. Philadelphia, 1853. (Popular.)

H. Ewald (d. 1874): Geschichte des Volkes Israel bis Christus. Gött. 1843 sqq. 3d ed. 1864–’68, 7 vols. A work of rare genius and learning, but full of bold conjectures. Engl. transl. by Russell Martineau and J. E. Carpenter. Lond. 1871–’76, 5 vols. Comp. also Ewald’s Prophets, and Poetical Books of the O. T.

E. W. Hengstenberg (d. 1869): Geschichte des Reiches Gottes unter dem Alten Bunde. Berl. 1869–’71, 2 vols. (Posthumous publication.) English transl., Edinburgh (T. & T. Clark), 1871–272, 2 vols. (Name of the translator not given.)

J. H. Kurtz: Geschichte des Alten Bundes. Berlin, 1848–’55, 2 vols. (unfinished). Engl. transl. by Edersheim, Edinb. 1859, in 3 vols. The same: Lehrbuch der heil. Geschichte. Königsb. 6th ed. 1853; also in English, by C. F. Schäffer. Phil. 1855.

P. Cassel: Israel in der Weltgeschichte. Berlin, 1865 (32 pp.).

Joseph Langen (R. C.): Das Judenthum in Palästina zur Zeit Christi. Freiburg i. B. 1866.

G. Weber and H. Holtzmann: Geschichte des Volkes Israel und der Gründung des Christenthums. Leipzig, 1867, 2 vols. (the first vol. by Weber, the second by Holtzmann).

H. Holtzmann: Die Messiasidee zur Zeit Christi, in the "Jahrbücher für Deutsche Theologie," Gotha, 1867 (vol. xii. pp. 389–411).

F. Hitzig: Geschichte des Volkes Israel von Anbeginn bis zur Eroberung Masada’s im J. 72 nach Chr. Heidelb. 1869, 2 vols.

A. Kuenen (Prof. in Leyden): De godsdienst van Israël tot den ondergang van den joodschen staat. Haarlem, 1870, 2 vols. Transl. into English. The Religion of Israel to the Fall of the Jewish State, by A. H. May. Lond. (Williams & Norgate), 1874–’75, 3 vols. Represents the advanced rationalism of Holland.

A. P. Stanley (Dean of Westminster): Lectures on the History of the Jewish Church. Lond. and N. York, 1863–76, 3 vols. Based on Ewald.

W. Wellhausen: Geschichte Israels. Berlin, 1878, 3d ed. 1886. Transl. by Black and Menzies: Prolegomena to the History of Israel. Edinb. 1885.

F. Schürer: Geschichte des jüd. Volkes im Zeitalter Christi. 1886 sq. 2 vols.

A. Edersheim: Prophecy and History in relation to the Messiah. Lond. 1885.

A. Köhler: Lehrbuch der bibl. Geschichte des A. T. Erlangen, 1875–’88.

C. A. Briggs: Messianic Prophecy. N. York and Edinb. 1886.

V. H. Stanton: The Jewish, and the Christian Messiah. Lond. 1886.

B. Stade: Gesch. des Volkes Israel. Berlin, 1888, 2 vols. Radical.

E. Renan: Hist. du peuple d’Israel. Paris, 1887 sqq., 3 vols. Engl. translation, London, 1888 sqq. Radical.

B. Kittel: Gesch. der Hebräer. Gotha, 1888 sqq. Moderate.

(b) By Jewish authors.

J. M. Jost: Geschichte der Israeliten seit der Zeit der Maccabäer bis auf unsere Tage. Leipz. 1820–’28, 9 vols. By the same: Geschichte des Judenthums und seiner Secten. 1857–159, 3 vols.

Salvador: Histoire de la domination Romaine en Judée et de la ruine de Jerusalem. Par. 1847, 2 vols.

Raphall: Post-biblical History of the Jews from the close of the 0. T. about the year 420 till the destruction of the second Temple in the year 70. Lond. 1856, 2 vols.

Abraham Geiger (a liberal Rabbi at Frankfort on the M.): Das Judenthum und seine Geschichte. Breslau; 2d ed. 1865–’71, 3 vols. With an appendix on Strauss and Renan. Comes down to the 16th century. English transl. by Maurice Mayer. N. York, 1865.

L. Herzfeld: Geschichte des Volkes Jizrael. Nordhausen, 1847–’57, 3 vols. The same work, abridged in one vol. Leipz. 1870.

H. Grätz (Prof. in Breslau): Geschichte der Juden von den ältesten Zeiten bis auf die Gegenwart. Leipz. 1854–’70, 11 vols. (to 1848).

"Salvation is of the Jews."5454    John 4:22. Comp. Luke 24:47; Rom. 9:4, 5. This wonderful people, whose fit symbol is the burning bush, was chosen by sovereign grace to stand amidst the surrounding idolatry as the bearer of the knowledge of the only true God, his holy law, and cheering promise, and thus to become the cradle of the Messiah. It arose with the calling of Abraham, and the covenant of Jehovah with him in Canaan, the land of promise; grew to a nation in Egypt, the land of bondage; was delivered and organized into a theocratic state on the basis of the law of Sinai by Moses in the wilderness; was led back into Palestine by Joshua; became, after the Judges, a monarchy, reaching the height of its glory in David and Solomon; split into two hostile kingdoms, and, in punishment for internal discord and growing apostasy to idolatry, was carried captive by heathen conquerors; was restored after seventy years’ humiliation to the land of its fathers, but fell again under the yoke of heathen foes; yet in its deepest abasement fulfilled its highest mission by giving birth to the Saviour of the world. "The history of the Hebrew people," says Ewald, "is, at the foundation, the history of the true religion growing through all the stages of progress unto its consummation; the religion which, on its narrow national territory, advances through all struggles to the highest victory, and at length reveals itself in its full glory and might, to the end that, spreading abroad by its own irresistible energy, it may never vanish away, but may become the eternal heritage and blessing of all nations. The whole ancient world had for its object to seek the true religion; but this people alone finds its being and honor on earth exclusively in the true religion, and thus it enters upon the stage of history."5555    Geschichte du Volkes Israel, Vol. I. p. 9 (3d ed.).

Judaism, in sharp contrast with the idolatrous nations of antiquity, was like an oasis in a desert, clearly defined and isolated; separated and enclosed by a rigid moral and ceremonial law. The holy land itself, though in the midst of the three Continents of the ancient world, and surrounded by the great nations of ancient culture, was separated from them by deserts south and east, by sea on the west, and by mountain on the north; thus securing to the Mosaic religion freedom to unfold itself and to fulfil its great work without disturbing influenced from abroad. But Israel carried in its bosom from the first the large promise, that in Abraham’s seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed. Abraham, the father of the faithful, Moses, the lawgiver, David, the heroic king and sacred psalmist, Isaiah, the evangelist among the prophets, Elijah the Tishbite, who reappeared with Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration to do homage to Jesus, and John the Baptist, the impersonation of the whole Old Testament, are the most conspicuous links in the golden chain of the ancient revelation.

The outward circumstances and the moral and religious condition of the Jews at the birth of Christ would indeed seem at first and on the whole to be in glaring contradiction with their divine destiny. But, in the first place, their very degeneracy proved the need of divine help. In the second place, the redemption through Christ appeared by contrast in the greater glory, as a creative act of God. And finally, amidst the mass of corruption, as a preventive of putrefaction, lived the succession of the true children of Abraham, longing for the salvation of Israel, and ready to embrace Jesus of Nazareth as the promised Messiah and Saviour of the world.

Since the conquest of Jerusalem by Pompey, b.c. 63 (the year made memorable by the consulship of Cicero. the conspiracy of Catiline, and the birth of Caesar Augustus), the Jews had been subject to the heathen Romans, who heartlessly governed them by the Idumean Herod and his sons, and afterwards by procurators. Under this hated yoke their Messianic hopes were powerfully raised, but carnally distorted. They longed chiefly for a political deliverer, who should restore the temporal dominion of David on a still more splendid scale; and they were offended with the servant form of Jesus, and with his spiritual kingdom. Their morals were outwardly far better than those of the heathen; but under the garb of strict obedience to their law, they concealed great corruption. They are pictured in the New Testament as a stiff-necked, ungrateful, and impenitent race, the seed of the serpent, a generation of vipers. Their own priest and historian, Josephus, who generally endeavored to present his countrymen to the Greeks and Romans in the most favorable light, describes them as at that time a debased and wicked people, well deserving their fearful punishment in the destruction of Jerusalem.

As to religion, the Jews, especially after the Babylonish captivity, adhered most tenaciously to the letter of the law, and to their traditions and ceremonies, but without knowing the spirit and power of the Scriptures. They cherished a bigoted horror of the heathen, and were therefore despised and hated by them as misanthropic, though by their judgment, industry, and tact, they were able to gain wealth and consideration in all the larger cities of the Roman empire.

After the time of the Maccabees (b.c. 150), they fell into three mutually hostile sects or parties, which respectively represent the three tendencies of formalism, skepticism, and mysticism; all indicating the approaching dissolution of the old religion and the dawn of the new. We may compare them to the three prevailing schools of Greek philosophy—the Stoic, the Epicurean, and the Platonic, and also to the three sects of Mohammedanism—the Sunnis, who are traditionalists, the Sheas, who adhere to the Koran, and the Sufis or mystics, who seek true religion in "internal divine sensation."

1. The Pharisees, the "separate,"5656    From שׁרַפָּ They were separated from ordinary persons and all foreign and contaminating influences by the supposed correctness of their creed and the superior holiness of their life. Ewald (IV. 482): "Pharisäer bezeichnet Gesonderteoder Besondere, nämlich Leute die vor andern durch Frömmigkeit auszgezeichnet und gleichsam mehr oder heiliger als andere sein wollen. were, so to speak, the Jewish Stoics. They represented the traditional orthodoxy and stiff formalism, the legal self-righteousness and the fanatical bigotry of Judaism. They had most influence with the people and the women, and controlled the public worship. They confounded piety with theoretical orthodoxy. They overloaded the holy Scriptures with the traditions of the elders so as to make the Scriptures "of none effect." They analyzed the Mosaic law to death, and substituted a labyrinth of casuistry for a living code. "They laid heavy burdens and grievous to be borne on men’s shoulders," and yet they themselves would "not move them with their fingers." In the New Testament they bear particularly the reproach of hypocrisy; with, of course, illustrious exceptions, like Nicodemus, Gamaliel, and his disciple, Paul.

2. The less numerous Sadducees5757    So called either from their supposed founder, Zadoc (so Ewald, IV. 358), or from קידִּצַ, "just." were skeptical, rationalistic, and worldly-minded, and held about the same position in Judaism as the Epicureans and the followers of the New Academy in Greek and Roman heathendom. They accepted the written Scriptures (especially the Pentateuch), but rejected the oral traditions, denied the resurrection of the body and the immortality of the soul, the existence of angels and spirits, and the doctrine of an all-ruling providence. They numbered their followers among the rich, and had for some time possession of the office of the high-priest. Caiaphas belonged to their party.

The difference between the Pharisees and Sadducees reappears among modern Jews, who are divided into the orthodox and the liberal or rationalistic parties.

3. The Essenes (whom we know only from Philo and Josephus) were not a party, but a mystic and ascetic order or brotherhood, and lived mostly in monkish seclusion in villages and in the desert Engedi on the Dead Sea.5858    The name is variously written (Ἐσσηνοί, Ἐσσαῖοι, Ὀσσαῖοι) and derived from proper names, or from the Greek, or from the Hebrew and Aramaic The most plausible derivations are from דיסה, ὅσιος, holy; from איבא, physician (comp. the corresponding term of Philo, θεραπευτής, which, however, means worshipper, devotee); from איזח, seer; from the rabbinical וזּח, watchman, keeper (Ewald, formerly); from חשׁא, to be silent (Jost, Lightfoot); from the Syriac chasi or chasyo, pious, which is of the same root with the Hebrew chasid, chasidim (De Sacy, Ewald, IV. 484, 3rd., and Hitzig). See Schürer, N. T. Zeitgesch. pp. 599 sqq., and Lightfoot’s instructive Excursus on the Essenes and the Colossian heresy, in Com. on Coloss. (1875), pp. 73, 114-179. Lightfoot again refutes the exploded derivation of Christianity from Essenic sources. They numbered about 4,000 members. With an arbitrary, allegorical interpretation of the Old Testament, they combined some foreign theosophic elements, which strongly resemble the tenets of the new Pythagorean and Platonic schools, but were probably derived (like the Gnostic and Manichaean theories) from eastern religions, especially from Parsism. They practised communion of goods, wore white garments, rejected animal food, bloody sacrifices, oaths, slavery, and (with few exceptions) marriage, and lived in the utmost simplicity, hoping thereby to attain a higher degree of holiness. They were the forerunners of Christian monasticism.

The sect of the Essenes came seldom or never into contact with Christianity under the Apostles, except in the shape of a heresy at Colossae. But the Pharisees and Sadducees, particularly the former, meet us everywhere in the Gospels as bitter enemies of Jesus, and hostile as they are to each other, unite in condemning him to that death of the cross, which ended in the glorious resurrection, and became the foundation of spiritual life to believing Gentiles as well as Jews.

« Prev Judaism Next »
VIEWNAME is workSection