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Title: History of the Jews, Vol. II (of 6)
Author: Graetz, Heinrich
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of the Jews, Vol. II (of 6)" ***

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    VOL. II






    Copyright, 1893, by

    _All rights reserved. No part of this book may be
    reproduced in any form without permission in
    writing from the publisher: except by a reviewer
    who may quote brief passages in a review to be
    printed in a magazine or newspaper._





  The Crowning Point of the Period--War with Antiochus Sidetes
  --Siege of Jerusalem--Treaty of Peace--The Parthian War--
  Hyrcanus joins Antiochus--Successful campaigns of Hyrcanus
  against the Samaritans and Idumæans--The Idumæans forced
  to embrace Judaism--Destruction of the Samaritan Temple at
  Gerizim and of the Capital, Samaria--Internal Affairs--
  The Parties: Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes--Their Rise
  and Constitution--Their Doctrines and their Relations to
  one another--The Synhedrion--Strained Relations between
  Hyrcanus and the Pharisees--Death of Hyrcanus             _page_ 1

  135-106 B. C. E.



  Character of Aristobulus--Antigonus--Mythical Account of
  his Death--Alexander Jannæus: his Character and Enterprises
  --His Support of the Pharisees--Simon ben Shetach--
  Alexander's Breach with the Pharisees, and its Consequences--
  His last Wars and Death--Salome Alexandra's Relations to the
  Opposing Parties--The Synhedrion--Judah ben Tabba and Simon
  ben Shetach--Institutions against the Sadducees--Party
  Hatred--Diogenes--Persecution of the Sadducees--Death of
  Alexandra                                                _page_ 35

  106-69 B. C. E.



  Brothers contend for the throne--Arrangement between the
  Brothers--The Idumæan Antipater--Hyrcanus's weakness--
  Aretas besieges Jerusalem--Interference of Rome--Pompey
  at Jerusalem--The Judæan colony in Rome--Flaccus in Asia
  Minor--Cicero's oration against the Judæans--Weakening of
  the power of the Synhedrion--Shemaya and Abtalion--Violent
  death of Aristobulus and his son Alexander--Julius Cæsar
  and the Judæans--Antipater's sons Phasael and Herod--Herod
  before the Synhedrion--Operations of Cassius in Judæa--
  Malich--Antigonus as King--Herod escapes to Rome         _page_ 57

  69-40 B. C. E.



  Weakness of Antigonus and Herod's Strength of Character--
  Contest for the Throne--Herod becomes King--Proscriptions
  and Confiscations--Herod's Policy--Abolition of the
  Hereditary Tenure of the High Priesthood--Death of the High
  Priest Aristobulus--War with the Arabians--The Earth-quake
  --Death of the last of the Hasmonæans--Hillel becomes the
  Head of the Synhedrion--His System of Tradition--Menahem
  the Essene--Shammai and his School--Mariamne--Herod's
  Magnificence and Passion for Building--Herod rebuilds the
  Temple--Herod executes his Sons Alexander and Aristobulus--
  Antipater and his Intrigues--The Pharisees under Herod--The
  Destruction of the Roman Eagle--Execution of Antipater and
  Death of Herod                                           _page_ 84

  40-3 B. C. E.



  The Family of Herod--Partition of the Kingdom of Judæa
  --Revolt against Archelaus--Sabinus and Varus--The
  Adventurer-Chief Judas the Galilæan--Confirmation of
  Herod's Will--Archelaus as Ruler--His brief Reign and his
  Banishment--Judæa becomes a Roman Province--The Revolt
  against the Census--The Schools of Hillel and Shammai--
  Judas Founder of the Party of Zealots--Onerous Taxation--
  Fresh Hostility of the Samaritans--Expulsion of the Judæans
  from Rome by Tiberias--Pontius Pilate                   _page_ 118

  3 B. C. E.-37 C. E.



  The Messianic Hope--Various Conceptions of the Expected
  Messiah--The Essene Idea of the Kingdom of Heaven--
  John the Baptist, his Work and Imprisonment--Jesus of
  Nazareth continues John's Labors--Story of his Birth--His
  Success--His Relations to Judaism and the Sects--His
  Miraculous Healing of the Sick and Exorcism of Demons--His
  Secret Appearance as the Messiah--His Journey to Judæa--
  Accusations against him, and his Condemnation--The First
  Christian Community and its Chiefs--The Ebionites--Removal
  of Pilate from Judæa--Vitellius, Governor of Syria, favors
  the Judæans                                             _page_ 141

  28-37 C. E.



  Character of Agrippa--Envy of the Alexandrian Greeks towards
  the Judæans--Anti-Judæan Literature--Apion--Measures
  against the Judæans in Alexandria--Flaccus--Judæan
  Embassy to Rome--Philo--Caligula's Decision against the
  Judæan Embassy--Caligula orders his Statue to be placed in
  the Temple--The Death of Caligula relieves the Judæans--
  Agrippa's Advance under Claudius--His Reign--Gamaliel the
  Elder and his Administration--Death of Agrippa--Herod II--
  The False Messiah, Theudas--Death of Herod II           _page_ 174

  37-49 C. E.



  Distribution of the Judæans in the Roman Empire and in Parthia
  --Relations of the various Judæan Colonies to the Synhedrion
  --Judæan Bandits in Naarda--Heathen Attacks upon Judaism
  --Counter Attacks upon Heathenism by Judæan Writers--The
  Judæan Sibyls--The Anti-heathen Literature--The Book of
  Wisdom--The Allegorists--Philo's Aims and Philosophical
  System--Proselytes--The Royal House of Adiabene--The
  Proselyte Queen Helen--The Apostle Paul--His Character--
  Change in his Attitude towards the Pharisees--His Activity
  as a Conversionist--His Treatment of the Law of Moses--The
  Doctrines of Peter--Judaic-Christians and Heathen Christians
                                                          _page_ 200

  40-49 C. E.



  Position of Affairs in Judæa--Roman Oppression--Character
  of Agrippa II--The last High Priest--The Zealots and the
  Sicarii--Eleazar ben Dinai--Quarrel with the Samaritans
  --Violence in Cæsarea--The Procurators--Florus--
  Insurrection in Cæsarea--Bloodshed in Jerusalem--The
  Peace and War Parties--The Leader of the Zealots, Eleazar
  ben Ananias--Menahem, chief of the Zealots--Massacres of
  Heathens and Judæans--Defeat of the Romans--The Synhedrion
  and its President, Simon ben Gamaliel--Position of the
  Synhedrion                                              _page_ 233

  49-66 C. E.



  Description of Galilee--Its Population and Importance--The
  Rising in Galilee--John of Gischala--Flavius Josephus, his
  Education and Character--His Conduct as Governor of Galilee
  --Commencement of the War--Overthrow of Gabara--Siege and
  Capture of Jotapata--Surrender of Josephus to the Romans--
  Cruelty of Vespasian---Siege and Capture of Gamala and Mount
  Tabor--Surrender of Gischala--Escape of John of Gischala to
  Jerusalem                                               _page_ 272

  66-67 C. E.



  Galilæan Fugitives in Jerusalem--Condition of the Capital--
  Internal Contests--The Idumæans--Eleazar ben Simon, John of
  Gischala, and Simon Bar-Giora--Progress of the War--Affairs
  in Rome--Vespasian created Emperor--Siege of Jerusalem
  by Titus--Heroic Defense--Famine--Fall of the Fortress
  Antonia--Burning of the Temple--Destruction of the City--
  Number of the Slain                                     _page_ 291

  67-70 C. E.



  Sufferings of the Prisoners--The Arena--Cruelty of Titus
  --Enmity of the Antiochians--Triumph of the Emperor on the
  occasion of the Conquest of Judæa--End of Simon Bar-Giora
  and John of Gischala--Coins to Commemorate the Roman Triumph
  --Fall of the last Fortresses: Herodium, Masada, and Machærus
  --Resistance of the Zealots in Alexandria and Cyrene--End
  of the Temple of Onias--The Last of the Zealots--Death
  of Berenice and Agrippa--Flavius Josephus and his Writings
                                                          _page_ 311

  70-73 C. E.



  Foundation of the School at Jabne--Jochanan ben Zakkai
  --The Last of the Herodians--Judæa and Rome--The
  Tanaites--Gamaliel II. appointed Patriarch--The Power of
  Excommunication--Deposition and Restoration of the Patriarch
  --Steps towards Collecting the Mishna--Eliezer ben Hyrcanus
  --Joshua ben Chananya--Akiba and his System--Ishmael--
  Condition of the Synhedrion                             _page_ 321

  70-117 C. E.



  Inner Life of the Jews--Sphere of Action of the Synhedrion
  and the Patriarch--The Order of Members and Moral Condition
  of the Common People--Relation of Christianity towards
  Judaism--Sects--Jewish Christians--Pagan Christians
  --Ebionites--Nazarenes--The Gnostics--Regulations of
  the Synhedrion against Christianity--Proselytes at Rome--
  Aquilas and his translation of the Bible--Berenice and Titus
  --Domitian--Josephus and the Romans                     _page_ 360



  Trajan and Asia--Revolt of the Jews--Hadrian--The Jewish
  Sibylline Books--The Attempted Rebuilding of the Temple--
  The Ordinances of Usha--Bar-Cochba--Akiba's Part in the War
  --Bar-Cochba's Victories--Suppression of the Revolt--Siege
  and Fall of Bethar                                      _page_ 393

  96-138 C. E.



  Turnus Rufus persecutes the Jews--The Ten Martyrs--The Book
  of Tobit--Relations between Judaism and Christianity--The
  Return of the Schools to Palestine--The Synod at Usha--Meïr
  --Simon ben Jochai--The Babylonian Synhedrion--Antonius
  Pius and Aurelius Verus--The Revolt against Rome--The
  Patriarchate of Simon                                   _page_ 421

  135-170 C. E.



  The Patriarch Judah I.--His Authority and Reputation--
  Completion of the Mishna--The Last Generation of Tanaites
  --Condition of the Jews under Marcus Aurelius, Commodus,
  Septimius Severus, and Antonius Caracalla--Character and
  contents of the Mishna--Death of Judah                  _page_ 450

  175-219 C. E.



  Judah II.--Friendliness of Alexander Severus towards the Jews
  --Joshua ben Levi--Hillel instructs Origen in Hebrew--The
  _Hexapla_--The Palestinean Amoraïm--Chanina--Jochanan
  --Simon ben Lakish--Joshua, the Hero of Fable--Simlai,
  the Philosophical Agadist--Porphyry comments on the Book of
  Daniel                                                  _page_ 479

  219-280 C. E.



  Increasing importance of the Jewish Community in Babylonia--
  The Prince of the Captivity--The Babylonian Amoraim--Abba
  Areka (Rab) and his royal friend Artaban--Samuel and King
  Shabur--Important Political Changes under the Neo-Persians--
  Anarchy in Rome--Zenobia and the Jews                   _page_ 503

  219-279 C. E.



  The Amoraim in Palestine--Ami and Assi--The Brothers Chiya
  and Simon Bar Abba in Tiberias--Abbahu in Cæsarea--The
  Emperor Diocletian--Complete Separation from the Samaritans
  --Character and Political Position of Abbahu--Huna in
  Babylonia--Chama's Generosity--Huna's Contemporaries and
  Successors--Judah ben Ezekiel--Chasda of Cafri--Mar
  Sheshet--Nachman bar Jacob--Zeïra                       _page_ 531

  279-320 C. E.



  Hillel II.--His Calendar--Heads of Judæan Schools:
  Jonah, José, and Jeremiah--The Expansion of Christianity
  --Constantine--The Decadence of the Jewish Schools in
  Babylonia--The Pumbeditha School--Development of Talmudical
  Dialectics--The Persian Queen Ifra and her son Shabur II.--
  The Emperor Julian--Favor shown towards the Jews--Proposed
  Rebuilding of the Temple--Roman Tolerance               _page_ 559

  320-375 C. E.



  Decline of the Roman Empire--Ashi and the Redaction of the
  Talmud--Jezdijird II--The Jews under the Emperor Theodosius
  I and his successors--The extinction of the Patriarchate
  --Chrysostom and Ambrosius--Fanaticism of the Clergy--
  Jerome and his Jewish Teachers--Mar Zutra--Fifth and Sixth
  Generations of Amoraïm--The Jews under Firuz--Jewish
  Colonies in India--Completion of the Babylonian Talmud--Its
  Spirit and Contents                                     _page_ 604

  375-500 C. E.




    The Crowning Point of the Period--War with Antiochus
    Sidetes--Siege of Jerusalem--Treaty of Peace--The Parthian
    War--Hyrcanus joins Antiochus--Successful campaigns of Hyrcanus
    against the Samaritans and Idumæans--The Idumæans forced
    to embrace Judaism--Destruction of the Samaritan Temple at
    Gerizim and of the Capital, Samaria--Internal Affairs--The
    Parties: Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes, their Rise and
    Constitution--Their Doctrines and their Relations to one
    another--The Synhedrion--Strained Relations between Hyrcanus
    and the Pharisees--Death of Hyrcanus.

    135.106 B. C. E.

The reign of Hyrcanus is at once the pinnacle and the turning-point of
this period. He not only carried on his father's work, but completed
it. Under his predecessors Judæa was confined to a narrow space, and
even within these bounds there were territories in the possession of
foreign foes. Hyrcanus enlarged the boundaries to the north and to the
south, and thus released the State from the external pressure that had
been restricting its growth. His genius for war was aided by fortunate
circumstances in bringing about these happy results.

If the reign of Hyrcanus corresponds in brilliancy to that of Solomon,
it resembles it also in another respect: both reigns commenced and
ended amid disturbance, sadness and gloom, while the middle of each
reign was happy and prosperous. When Solomon first came to the throne
he was opposed by Adonijah, the pretender to the crown, whom he
had to subdue; and upon Hyrcanus a similar but more difficult task
devolved--that of carrying on a struggle with several opponents. One
of these opponents was his brother-in-law, Ptolemy ben Habub, the
murderer of his father, who had also sought after Hyrcanus's own
life. It was only the support of the Syrian army, however, which
could make Ptolemy dangerous, the inhabitants of Jerusalem having
instantly declared themselves in favor of Hyrcanus as the successor of
the murdered Simon. Still, both his safety and his duty called upon
him to punish this unscrupulous enemy, and to avenge his father's
death. Hyrcanus hastened, therefore, to attack him in his fortress
before Antiochus could bring his troops to his relief. There is some
uncertainty as to the progress of this siege and its result; according
to one account, evidently somewhat embellished, Hyrcanus could not put
his whole strength against the fortress, because his mother (by some
it is said, together with his brothers) had been placed on the walls
by Ptolemy, and was there horribly tortured. Like a true Hasmonæan,
the heroic woman is said to have encouraged her son to continue the
siege, without heeding her sufferings, and to persevere in his efforts
until the murderer of her family should receive the chastisement due
to his crimes. Hyrcanus's heart was torn by conflicting feelings;
revenge towards his reckless foe urged him on, whilst tender pity for
his mother held him back. The fact is, however, that Hyrcanus withdrew
without accomplishing his purpose. It may have been the Sabbatical year
which prevented him from proceeding with the siege, or, as is much
more likely, his operations may have been interrupted by the approach
of the Syrian king, who was advancing with his army to glean some
advantage for himself from the troubles and the confusion in Judæa.
After the withdrawal of Hyrcanus's troops, it is said that his mother
and brothers were put to death by Ptolemy, who fled to Philadelphia,
the former Ammonite capital (Rabbath Ammon), where he was favorably
received by the governor, Zeno Cotylas. The name of Ptolemy is no more
mentioned, and he disappears altogether from the page of history.

A far greater danger now threatened Hyrcanus from Antiochus Sidetes,
who was eager to avenge the recent defeat sustained by the Syrians
(autumn 135). He marched forth with a large army, devastated the
country round about, and approached the capital. Hyrcanus, doubtless
feeling himself unable to cope with his enemy in the open field,
shut himself up behind the strong walls of Jerusalem. Antiochus laid
regular siege to the city and encircled it with elaborate preparations
for its conquest. Seven camps were stationed around the city; on the
north side, where the country is flat, a hundred three-storied towers
were erected from which the walls could be stormed. A broad double
trench was likewise made to prevent the sallies of the Judæans, who
contrived nevertheless to come forth, thus bravely impeding the work of
the enemy, and obstructing the progress of the siege. The Syrian army
suffered much from the want of water and from sickness, the natural
consequence of that deficiency. The besieged were well supplied with
water, but food became scarce, and Hyrcanus found himself compelled to
commit an act of cruelty. In order to husband the failing provisions,
the inhabitants who could not bear arms were sent out of the city.
Perhaps the hope was entertained that the enemy would take pity on
them. But to the defenseless, foes are seldom generous. They were not
allowed to pass the lines of the besieging army, and were thus exposed
to death from both sides. In the meantime the summer passed, and still
no prospect of storming the walls offered itself to the Syrians,
whilst the Judæans, on account of the scarcity of provisions and the
approaching holidays, were anxious for a truce. Hyrcanus made the first
overtures, and asked for a cessation of arms during the seven days of
the Feast of Tabernacles. Antiochus not only granted that request,
but sent him presents of animals with gilded horns for sacrificial
purposes, and golden vessels filled with incense. Negotiations for
peace followed upon this truce. Antiochus was urged by his advisers
to show the greatest severity in his demands upon the Judæans. They
reminded him of the policy of Antiochus Epiphanes, who knew no other
way of crushing out the hatred of mankind felt by the Judæans than that
of obliging them to renounce their peculiar laws. If Antiochus Sidetes
had listened to these prejudiced counselors, who saw, according to the
biased views of that time, nothing but cynical exclusiveness in the
singular customs of the Judæans, the cruel wars in which the people
had fought for their faith would have been repeated. Happily for them,
Antiochus had neither the harshness nor the strength to venture upon
so dangerous a game. Antiochus contented himself with destroying the
battlements of Jerusalem (autumn 134). With that act the dark cloud
which had menaced the independence of Judæa passed away.

No great injury had been inflicted upon the State, and even the traces
of disaster that had been left were soon obliterated. For Hyrcanus now
sent an embassy to Rome consisting of three delegates: Simon, the son
of Dositheus, Apollonius, the son of Alexander, and Diodorus, the son
of Jason, to entreat the Senate to renew, with the Jewish commonwealth,
the friendly treaties, which Rome lavishly accorded to the smallest
nations. At the same time they were to complain that Antiochus Sidetes
had taken possession of several places in Judæa, and among them the
important fortresses of Joppa and Gazara. Rome always sided with
the weak against the strong, not from a sense of justice but from
self-interested calculation. She desired especially to humble the royal
house of the Seleucidæ, which had occasionally shown her a defiant,
or at least a haughty mien. The Judæan ambassadors were consequently
most favorably received, their requests listened to with attention,
and a decree issued by which Antiochus was called upon to restore the
fortresses he had taken, and to forbid his troops to march through
Judæa; nor was he to treat its inhabitants as his subjects (about 133).
Antiochus appears to have acquiesced in this decision.

He was, moreover, obliged to assume a friendly demeanor towards
Hyrcanus; for at that moment he was meditating an attack against
Parthia, which had formerly belonged to, but had since separated itself
from the kingdom of his ancestors. His brother, Demetrius Nicator,
had likewise undertaken an expedition against the Parthians, but had
sustained a defeat, and was kept in imprisonment for nearly ten years.
Antiochus believed that he would be more fortunate than his brother. In
addition to the army of 80,000 which he had assembled, he requested the
aid of Judæan troops and of the forces of other surrounding nations,
and Hyrcanus consented to join with his army in the expedition. The
Syrian king treated his Judæan allies with the greatest regard. After
a victory gained on the banks of the river Zab (Lycus), he ordered,
according to the desire of Hyrcanus, that a two days' respite should
take place, so that the Judæans might celebrate their Sabbath and the
festival of the Feast of Weeks which followed it (129).

Fortune, however, had changed sides since the time of Antiochus the
Great, and no longer favored the Seleucidæan dynasty. Antiochus lost
his life in this campaign, and his brother Demetrius, who had been
set at liberty by the king of Parthia at the time of the invasion of
Antiochus, to be opposed to him as a rival monarch, now reigned in
his brother's stead (from 128-125). Hated by the Syrians on account
of his long imprisonment in Parthia, Demetrius was opposed by a
rival, Alexander Zabina, whom Ptolemy Physcon had set up against him.
Demetrius was obliged to flee before Zabina, and could not even find
a refuge in Accho, where his wife Cleopatra resided. Syria fell into
a state of still greater confusion under his successors, when Zabina
disputed the throne with the legitimate heir, Antiochus VIII, the
latter finding likewise a competitor in his brother on the mother's
side, Antiochus IX. The last pages of the history of Syria are stained
with crimes caused by the deadly hatred of the various members of
the Seleucidæan house against each other, and with the murders they
committed. Soon after the death of her husband Demetrius, Cleopatra had
one of her sons, Seleucus, killed, and mixed the poisoned cup for the
other one, Antiochus Grypus, who forced her to drink it herself.

Hyrcanus took advantage of this state of anarchy and weakness in
Syria, which lasted several years, to enlarge the boundaries of Judæa,
until his country attained its former limits. Soon after the death of
Antiochus Sidetes, the last traces of vassalage to which the siege of
Jerusalem had reduced Judæa were completely wiped out, and even the
bonds of alliance were canceled, whilst Alexander Zabina was grateful
to be acknowledged by Hyrcanus as king of Syria. It was at this period
(124) that the inhabitants of Jerusalem, particularly those included
in the great council, made an appeal to the Egyptian community and to
the priest, Judas Aristobulus, teacher to the king, and of priestly
lineage, to allow the anniversaries of the consecration of the Temple
and of the victory over the sinners to be numbered among the memorial
holidays of the nation. To strengthen their request they referred to
the unexpected help which God had given His people in the evil days of
Antiochus, enabling them to restore the sanctuary to its former purity.
This appeal from Judæa was at the same time a hint to the Alexandrian
community to acknowledge the new conditions that had arisen.

John Hyrcanus, who until then had acted only in self-defense, was now,
after the fall of Alexander Zabina (123), ready to strike energetically
at Syria. Judæa at that time was encompassed on three sides by foreign
tribes: on the south by the Idumæans, on the north by the hated
Samaritans, and beyond the Jordan by the Greeks, who had never been
friendly to the Judæans. Hyrcanus therefore considered it his mission
to reconquer all those lands, and either to expel their inhabitants
or to incorporate them with the Judæans; for so long as foreign and
hostile tribes existed in the very heart of the country, its political
independence and religious stability would be in constant danger.
Not only were these hostile peoples ever ready to join surrounding
nations, and assist them in their greed for conquest, but they also
often interfered with the religious worship of the Judæans, thus
frequently giving rise to acts of violence and bloodshed. Hyrcanus was
consequently impelled by religious as well as by political motives to
tear up these hotbeds of constant disturbance and hostility.

To accomplish so great a task Hyrcanus required all the strength
he could muster, and, in order not to tax too heavily the military
resources of the nation, he employed mercenaries, whom, it is said,
he paid out of the treasures he had found in David's sepulcher. The
first place he attacked was Medaba, in the Jordan district. That city
was taken after a six months' siege. Then the army moved on towards
Samega, which, situated on the southern end of the Sea of Tiberias,
must have been a place of great importance to the Judæans. Next in turn
came the towns of Samaria; its capital, Shechem, as well as the temple
erected on Mount Gerizim, which had always been a thorn in the side of
the Judæans, were destroyed (21 Kislev, about 120). The anniversary of
the destruction of this temple (Yom har Gerizim) was to be kept with
great rejoicing, as the commemoration of a peculiarly happy event, and
no fasting or mourning was ever to mar the brightness of the festival.
From this time forth the glory of the Samaritans waned; for, although
centuries to come still found them a peculiar people, and, at the
present day even, they continue to exist and to offer sacrifice on
Mount Gerizim, still, from the want of a central rallying point, they
gradually decreased in numbers and prosperity.

After his victory over the Samaritans, Hyrcanus marched against
the Idumæans. This people, although fallen very low during the
many vicissitudes of fortune attending the constant changes of the
Macedonian and Asiatic dynasties, and forced by the Nabathæans to leave
their dwellings, had alone, among all the tribes related by blood to
the Judæans, been able to maintain themselves, and had preserved their
ancient bitter animosity against them undiminished. Hyrcanus laid
siege to their two fortresses, Adora and Marissa, and after having
demolished them, gave the Idumæans the choice between acceptance of
Judaism and exile. They chose the former alternative, and became,
outwardly, followers of that faith. The temples of the Idumæan idols
were, of course, destroyed, but the priests secretly adhered to their
worship. Thus, after more than a thousand years of enmity, Jacob and
Esau were again united--the elder serving the younger brother. For the
first time Judaism, in the person of its head, John Hyrcanus, practised
intolerance against other faiths, but it soon found out with deep pain
how highly injurious it is to allow religious zeal for the preservation
of the faith to degenerate into the desire to effect violent conversion
of others. The enforced union of the sons of Edom with the sons of
Jacob was fraught only with disaster to the latter. It was through the
Idumæans and the Romans that the Hasmonæan dynasty was overthrown and
the Judæan state destroyed.

The first result of the conquest of the Idumæans and of their
adoption of Judaism was a new contest with the city of Samaria, now
chiefly inhabited by Macedonians and Syrians. A colony of Idumæans
had been transplanted from Marissa to the vicinity of Samaria. They
were attacked and ill-treated by their neighbors, who were urged
on to their acts of aggression by the Syrian kings, Grypus and
Cyzicenus. The latter, who resembled Antiochus Epiphanes in his folly
and extravagance, manifested in particular a fierce hatred against
Hyrcanus. His generals invaded Judæa, took several fortresses near
the sea-coast, and placed a garrison in Joppa. Hyrcanus thereupon
complained to the Roman Senate, which had guaranteed to Judæa the
possession of this seaport, and sent five ambassadors to plead the
justice of his cause at Rome. Among these was Apollonius, the son of
Alexander, who had appeared before the Senate in a former embassy. Rome
replied in fair words to the petition of Hyrcanus, and promulgated a
decree forbidding Antiochus Cyzicenus to molest the Judæans, who were
the allies of Rome, and commanding him to restore all the fortresses,
seaports and territories which he had seized. It was further ordered
that the Judæans should be allowed to ship their goods duty free
from their ports, a favor not granted to any other allied nation or
king, excepting the king of Egypt, who was regarded as the peculiar
friend of Rome, and finally that the Syrian garrison should evacuate
Joppa. Whether the sentence pronounced by Rome had any great effect
upon Antiochus Cyzicenus or not, the fact that it was not adverse to
Hyrcanus was so far a boon that it strengthened his cause. It appears
to have restrained Cyzicenus within certain bounds.

When, however, Hyrcanus, bent upon punishing Samaria for its enmity
to the people of Marissa, besieged that city, causing famine within
its walls by closely surrounding it with trenches and ramparts, and
thus cutting off every possibility of exit, Cyzicenus came to its
assistance. In an engagement with Aristobulus, the eldest son of
Hyrcanus, who was conducting the siege conjointly with his younger
brother Antigonus, Cyzicenus was defeated and forced to flee to
Bethshean (Scythopolis). Too weak to confront the Judæans alone, he
called to his help the co-regent of Egypt, Ptolemy VIII (Lathurus),
who, inspired by the hatred entertained by the Egyptians against the
Judæans, readily complied with that request. His mother Cleopatra,
with whom the people had obliged him to share the government, was
secretly in league against him, befriending, like her parents, the
cause of Judæa. Two sons of Onias IV, Helkias and Ananias, sided with
her. It was doubtless on that account that her son took an aversion
to the Judæans, and gladly came forth at the call of Cyzicenus to
compel Hyrcanus to withdraw from the siege of Samaria. Despite the
wishes of his mother, Lathurus sent an army of six thousand men to
support Cyzicenus against Judæa. Too weak to venture on meeting the
Judæan troops in the open field, the operations were confined to laying
waste the country around, in the hope of thus impeding the work of the
besiegers. The Judæan princes, however, instead of being forced to
abandon the siege, contrived by various manœuvres to compel the king
of Syria to leave the scene of action and to withdraw to Tripolis.
During one of the battles in which Cyzicenus was beaten, it is said
that a voice from the Holy of Holies was heard announcing to Hyrcanus,
at the very moment in which it took place, the victory achieved by
his sons. He is said to have heard the following words pronounced
in Aramaic: "The young princes have defeated Antiochus." The two
generals, Callimandrus and Epicrates, whom Lathurus had left behind to
continue the hostilities, were not more fortunate than himself, for
the first lost his life in some engagement, the second succumbed to
bribery, and delivered into the hands of the Judæan princes the town
of Bethshean, as well as other places in the plain of Jezreel, as far
as Mount Carmel, which had been held by the Greeks or the Syrians. The
heathen inhabitants were instantly expelled from the newly conquered
cities, and the anniversaries of the recovery of Bethshean and of
the Plain (Bekaata), 15-16 Sivan (June, 109), were added henceforth
to the days of victory. Samaria, no longer able to rely upon foreign
help, was obliged to capitulate, and after a year's siege was given
up to the conqueror. Actuated either by revenge or prudence, Hyrcanus
caused Samaria to be utterly destroyed, and ditches and canals to be
dug through the place, so that not a trace should remain of the once
flourishing city. The day of its surrender was added to the number of
days of thanksgiving (25th Marcheshvan, November, 109).

Thus Hyrcanus had carried out the comprehensive plans of the Hasmonæans
and crowned them with success. The independence of Judæa was assured,
and the country raised to the level of the neighboring states. The
enemies who had menaced it from every side, Syrians, Idumæans,
Samaritans, were nearly all conquered, and the land was delivered from
the bonds which had hitherto prevented its development. The glorious
era of David and Solomon seemed to have returned, foreign tribes were
obliged to do homage to the ruler of Judæa, the old hatred between the
latter and Idumæa was blotted out, and Jacob and Esau again became
twin brothers. Moabitis, the daughter of Arnon, again sent presents to
the mountain of the daughter of Zion. The banks of the Jordan, the
sea-coast, the caravan tracks that passed from Egypt through Syria,
were all under the dominion of Judæa. She saw also the humiliation of
her enemy, Ptolemy Lathurus. The latter was living in constant discord
with his mother, the co-regent, who at last aroused the anger of the
people against him to such a degree that he was obliged to flee from
Alexandria (108). He took refuge in the island of Cyprus, whither
Cleopatra despatched an army in pursuit of him. But the troops sent to
destroy him went over to his side. The Judæan soldiers who came from
the province of Onion, commanded by the generals Helkias and Ananias,
the sons of Onias, alone remained faithful to the Queen, and vigorously
attacked Ptolemy to force him to leave the island. In Alexandria as
in Judæa, at that time, the Judæans played a leading role, and worked
together in a common cause for mutual advantage. They fought against
common foes, against Lathurus and his ally, Antiochus Cyzicenus.

After all he had achieved for his country, it was only natural that
Hyrcanus should cause Judæan coins to be struck, and should inscribe
them in old Hebrew characters, but he abandoned the modest example of
his father and allowed his own name to appear on them, "Jochanan, High
Priest." Upon some of the coins we find, next his name, the inscription
"and the Commonwealth of the Judæans" (Cheber ha-Jehudim), as though
he felt it necessary to indicate that it was in the name of the people
that he had exercised the right of coinage. Upon other coins, however,
we find the following words inscribed: "Jochanan, High Priest, and head
of the Commonwealth of the Judæans" (Rosch Cheber ha-Jehudim). Instead
of the lily which was graven on his father's coins, he chose an emblem
similar to that of the Macedonian conquerors--the horn of plenty.
Towards the end of his reign Hyrcanus assumed more the character of
a worldly potentate, and became more and more ambitious. His constant
aim was to enlarge his country and to increase his own power. Hyrcanus
appears to have cast a wistful eye upon the widely-extended territory
which commanded the route to Damascus. The conquest of Ituræa, a tract
of country lying to the east of Mount Hermon, which his successors
completed, appears to have been planned by him. But a formidable
disturbance in the land, which he was unable to suppress, speedily
followed by his own death, prevented him from carrying out this
undertaking. And this disturbance, apparently insignificant in its
beginning, took so unfortunate a turn that the great Hasmonæan edifice,
built up with so much labor and care, was completely destroyed. For the
second time the Judæan State, having reached its highest pinnacle of
prosperity, ascertained that it was not to maintain itself in external

The high tide of political development, which swept over Judæa
whilst that country was under the dominion of John Hyrcanus and his
predecessors, could not fail to permeate the life of the people, and
in particular to stimulate all their spiritual powers. With only short
interruptions they had, during half a century, been continually engaged
in a warfare in which they were alternately victorious and defeated,
and in which, being brought into contact with various nations, now
as friends, now as foes, they attained a greater maturity, and their
former simple existence rose to a more complex and a higher life. The
hard struggles by which they had achieved independence caused them to
examine more curiously into their own condition, and to hold fast to
their national traits; but it led them also to adopt those foreign
views and practices which appeared to blend harmoniously with their
own. If the pious Judæans had formerly opposed with all their might
everything that bore the Hellenic impress, many of them were now
convinced that among the customs of Greece there might occasionally be
something which they could adopt without prejudice or injury to their
own faith. The Hasmonæans had not only learnt from their neighbors the
arts of war, how to fashion arms and construct fortresses, but also
the peaceful arts of coining money with artistic ornamentation, and
the rules of Greek architecture. A magnificent palace, evidently built
in the Grecian style, arose in Jerusalem. In front of the Hasmonæan
Palace, near the valley-like hollow which divided the higher town from
the Temple, there was a wide covered colonnade, called the "Xystum,"
where the people assembled. A bridge led across from the Xystum to
the west gate of the furthest court of the Temple. There was likewise
a building erected in the higher town, devoted to judicial meetings,
constructed according to Grecian art; with it was combined a Record
Office, where important archives were kept. John Hyrcanus also erected,
in the Grecian style, a family mausoleum in Modin, the birthplace of
the Hasmonæans. It consisted of a lofty building of white polished
marble. Around it was a colonnade, and on the columns were beautiful
carvings of various weapons and figureheads of ships. Seven pyramids
crowned the edifice, in memory of the progenitors of the Hasmonæans
and their five heroic sons. The Hasmonæan mausoleum was of so great a
height that it was visible from the sea.

The tendency of the Judæans of that period, however, was more
especially directed to the maintenance and development of all that
belonged peculiarly to themselves than to the acquiring of the arts
of foreign civilization. The Hebrew language, which, since the close
contact of the people with Asiatic nations, had been almost superseded
by the Aramaic, appeared now to be celebrating to a certain extent
its renaissance; it was rejuvenated and became, for the second time,
though in an altered form, the language of the people. It was rendered
precious to them through the Holy Scriptural records which they had
preserved from destruction, and which had ever been the source of their
zeal and enthusiasm. Their coins were, as mentioned before, stamped in
Hebrew, public records were written in Hebrew, and the songs of the
people were sung in the same language. Though some prevalent Aramaic
names were still retained, and Grecian numbers were adopted, the Hebrew
language showed its strong vitality by enriching its vocabulary with
new forms of words, and stamping the foreign elements it admitted with
its own mark. The form that Hebrew assumed from this time forth is
called the "New Hebrew." It was distinguished from the old Hebrew by
greater clearness and facility, even though it lacked the depth and
poetical fervor of the latter. At the same time Greek was understood
by all the leaders and statesmen of the community. It was the language
made use of in their intercourse with the Syrian kings, and was
likewise spoken by their ambassadors to the Roman Senate. Along with
Jewish names, Greek names appeared now more frequently than before.
The character of the literature was also marked by the change which
took place in the spirit of the people at this period of its revival.
The sweet note of song was mute; not a trace of poetical creation has
come down to us from this and the next epoch. The nation called no
longer for the fiery inspiration which flows through the lyric songs
of the Psalms, and it could not furnish matter for mournful elegies.
What it required to promote religious sentiment and fervor was already
provided by the poetry of the Temple, and in the rich stores of the
Scriptures the people found knowledge and instruction. Sober history
now took the place of triumphant hymns, and related facts and deeds
for the use of posterity. History was the only branch of literature
which was cultivated, and the recent past and the immediate present
furnished the historian's pen with ample subjects. That Hebrew was used
in historical writings is shown by the fragments which have come down
to us. The so-called first book of the Maccabees, which was written in
Hebrew, (but is now extant only in a Greek translation) is a proof of
the inherent power of rejuvenescence belonging to the language.

The change in the current of life, caused by political events, showed
itself even more in the sphere of religion than in the literature
and habits of the people in general. The victory over the Syrians,
the expulsion of the Hellenists, the subjection of the Idumæans, the
humiliation of the Samaritans, culminating in the destruction of the
Temple of Gerizim, were so many triumphs of Judaism over its enemies,
and were sanctioned as such by the champions of the religious party.
In order to stamp them indelibly on the memory of future generations,
their anniversaries were to be kept like the days of the consecration
of the Temple. Religion was still the great underlying impulse in all
movements, and showed its strength even in the abuse to which it gave
rise when it forced Judaism upon the heathens. In the meantime the
religious consciousness of the people shone with a clearer light in
consequence of the wider field upon which it had entered; the wider
view which had been gained into the various relations of life, the
advance out of the narrow circle of tradition and inherited customs,
produced schism and separation amongst the Judæans themselves. The
strict religious party of Assidæans withdrew from the scene of passing
events, and, in order to avoid mixing in public life, they sought a
secluded retreat where they could give themselves up to undisturbed
meditation. In this solitude they formed themselves into a distinct
order, with strange customs and new views, and received the name of
Essenes. Their example, however, of giving up all active share in
the public weal was not followed by all the strictly devout Judæans,
the majority of whom, on the contrary, whilst firmly adhering to the
precepts of their faith, considered it a religious duty to further
the independence of their country. Thus there arose a division among
the pious, and a national party separated itself from the Assidæans
or Essenes, which did not avoid public life, but, according to its
strength and ability, took an active part in public affairs. The
members of this numerous sect began at this time to bear the name of
Pharisees (Perushim). But this sect, the very center, as it were,
of the nation, having above all things at heart the preservation
of Judaism in the exact form in which it had been handed down,
insisted upon all political undertakings, all public transactions,
every national act being tried by the standard of religion. To these
demands, however, those who stood at the head of military or diplomatic
affairs, and who saw how difficult it was always to deal with political
matters according to the strict claims of their faith, would not or
could not reconcile themselves. Thus a third party was formed--that
of the Sadducees (Zadukim)--the members of which, without forsaking
the religion, yet made the interests of the nation their chief care
and object. Of these sects--the Assidæan-Essenes, the Pharisees, and
the Sadducees--only the last two exerted a powerful influence upon
the course of events. At what precise period opposition began to show
itself among these several parties cannot be determined, as indeed the
birth of new spiritual tendencies must ever remain shrouded from view.
According to one account, the adverse parties first appeared at the
time of Jonathan.

The Pharisees (Perushim) can only be called a party figuratively and
by way of distinction from the other two, for the mass of the nation
was inclined to Phariseeism, and it was only in the national leaders
that its peculiarities became marked. The Pharisees received their
name from the fact of their _explaining_ the Scriptures in a peculiar
manner, and of deriving new laws from this new interpretation. As
expounders of the law the Pharisees formed the learned body of the
nation. Their opinions were framed, their actions governed by one
cardinal principle--the necessity of preserving Judaism. The individual
and the State were to be ruled alike by the laws and customs of their
fathers. Every deviation from this principle appeared to the Pharisees
as treason to all that was most precious and holy. To their opponents,
the Sadducees, who argued that, unless other measures were used for
political purposes, weighty national interests would be often wrecked
by religious scruples, the Pharisees replied that the fate of the
State, like that of the individual, depended not upon man but upon
God. It was not human strength, nor human wisdom, nor the warrior's
prowess that could determine the weal or the woe of the Judæan people,
but Divine Providence alone. Everything happened according to the
eternal decrees of the Divine will. Man was responsible only for his
moral conduct and the individual path he trod. The results of all human
endeavors lay outside the range of human calculation. From this, the
Pharisees' view of life, the rival opinion of the Sadducees diverged;
whilst the Essenes, on the contrary, exaggerated it. Another view of
the Pharisees was probably directed against the following objection
urged by the Sadducees: If the fate of the individual or of the State
did not depend upon the actions of the one or the policy of the other,
there would be an end to Divine justice; misfortune might then assail
the righteous man, whilst the sun of happiness smiled upon the sinner.
This reproach the Pharisees set aside by the doctrine, borrowed from
another source, which taught that Divine justice would manifest itself
not during life but after death. God will rouse the dead out of the
sleep of the grave; He will reward the righteous according to their
works, and punish the wicked for their evil deeds. "Those will rise up
to everlasting life, and these to everlasting shame."

These views, however, precisely because they concerned only the inner
convictions of men, did not mark the opposition between the parties
so clearly as did the third dogma of the Pharisees, establishing the
importance and all-embracing influence of religious injunctions. In a
nation whose breath of life was religion, many customs whose origin
was lost in the dim twilight of the past had taken their place by the
side of the written Law. If these customs were not found in the books
of the Law they were ascribed to the great teachers (the Sopherim and
the great assembly--Keneseth hagedolah), which, at the time of the
return of the Captivity, had given form and new vigor to the religious
sentiment, and at the head of which stands the illustrious expounder
of Scripture, Ezra. Such religious customs were called the legacies
of the teachers of the Law (Dibre Sopherim). All these unwritten
customs, which lived in the heart of the nation and, as it were, grew
with its growth, gained an extraordinary degree of importance from the
dangers that Judaism had encountered and the victories that it had
achieved. The people had risked, in behalf of these very customs, their
property and their life; and the martyrdom that many of the faithful
had undergone, and the antagonism they felt towards the renegade and
frivolous Hellenists, had much increased the reverence and attachment
with which these customs were regarded. The Temple, especially, which
had been so ruthlessly defiled and afterwards been reconsecrated
in so marvelous a manner, had become doubly precious to the whole
people, who were determined to keep it free from the faintest breath
of desecration. The Levitical rules of purity, so far as they related
to the Temple, were therefore observed with peculiar care and rigorous

But this devotion to outward forms and ceremonies by no means excluded
the religion of the heart. The Pharisees were acknowledged to be moral,
chaste, temperate and benevolent. In their administration of justice
they allowed mercy to prevail, and judged the accused not from the
point of view of moral depravity but from that of human weakness. The
following maxim was given by Joshua, the son of Perachia, one of the
leaders of the sect, who, with his companion, Matthai of Arbela, lived
in the time of Hyrcanus: "Take a teacher, win a friend, and judge every
man from the presumption of innocence." His high moral temperament
is indicated by this maxim. Their rigid adherence to the Law, and
their lenient mildness and indulgence in other matters, gained for
the Pharisees the deep veneration of the whole people. Of this sect
were the pious priests, the teachers of the Law, and, above all, the
magistrates, civil and religious, who at that time often combined both
offices in one. The whole inner direction of the State and the Temple
was in their hands. But the Pharisees owed their influence chiefly to
their knowledge of the Law and to the application they made of it to
the affairs of daily life, and they alone were called the interpreters
and teachers of the Law. The degrading charge of hypocrisy, which was
applied to them by their enemies in later times, they by no means
merited, and, indeed, it is altogether preposterous to stigmatize a
whole class of men as dissemblers. They were rather, in their origin,
the noblest guardians and representatives of Judaism and strict
morality. Even their rivals, the Sadducees, could not but bear witness
to the fact that "they denied themselves in this world, but would
hardly receive a reward in a future world."

This party of the Sadducees, so sharply opposed to the Pharisees,
pursued a national-political policy. It was composed of the Judæan
aristocracy, the brave soldiers, the generals and the statesmen who
had acquired wealth and authority at home, or who had returned from
foreign embassies, all having gained, from closer intercourse with
the outer world and other lands, freer thought and more worldly
views. They formed the kernel of the Hasmonæan following, which in
peace or war faithfully served their leaders. This sect doubtless
included also some Hellenists, who, shrinking from the desertion of
their faith, had returned to Judaism. The Sadducees probably derived
their name from one of their leaders, Zadok. The national interests
of the Judæan community were placed by the Sadducees above the Law.
Burning patriotism was their ruling sentiment, and piety occupied but
the second place in their hearts. As experienced men of the world,
they felt that the independence of the State could not be upheld by
the strictest observance of the laws of religion alone, nor by mere
reliance upon Divine protection. They proceeded from this fundamental
principle: man must exert his bodily strength and his spiritual powers;
he must not allow himself to be kept back by religious scruples from
forming political alliances, or from taking part in wars, although
by so doing he must inevitably infringe some of the injunctions of
religion. According to the Sadducæan views, it was for that purpose
that God bestowed free will upon man so that he himself should work
out his own well-being; he is master of his fate, and human concerns
are not at all swayed by Divine interposition. Reward and punishment
are the natural consequences of our actions, and are therefore quite
independent of resurrection. Without exactly denying the immortality
of the soul, the Sadducees completely repudiated the idea of judgment
_after_ death. Oppressed by the abundance of religious ordinances,
they would not admit their general applicability nor the obligation
of keeping them. Pressed to give some standard by which the really
important decrees might be recognized, they laid down the following
rule: that only the ordinances which appeared clearly expressed in the
Pentateuch were binding. Those which rested upon oral tradition, or had
sprung up at various times, had a subordinate value and could not claim
to be inviolable. Still they could not help occasionally recognizing
the value of traditional interpretations.

From a number of individual instances in which the Sadducees separated
themselves from their rivals, one can mark the extent of their
opposition to the latter. This appeared in their judiciary and penal
laws and in the ritual they adopted, their worship in the Temple
being in particular a subject of angry controversy. The Sadducees
thought that the punishment ordered by the Pentateuch for the
infliction of any bodily injury--"an eye for an eye, a tooth for a
tooth"--should be literally interpreted and followed out, and obtained
in consequence the reputation of being cruel administrators of justice;
whilst the Pharisees, appealing to traditional interpretations of
the Scriptures, allowed mercy to preponderate, and only required a
pecuniary compensation from the offender. The Sadducees, on the other
hand, were more lenient in their judgment of those false witnesses
whose evidence might have occasioned a judicial murder, as they only
inflicted punishment if the execution of the defendant had actually
taken place. There were many points relating to the ritual which were
warmly disputed by the two parties; for instance, the date of the Feast
of Weeks, which, according to the Sadducees, should always fall upon
a Sunday, fifty days from the Sabbath after the Passover; so also the
pouring of water on the altar and the processions round it with willow
branches during the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles, which the
Pharisees advocated and the Sadducees rejected. The latter objected
to the providing of the national offerings out of the treasury of the
Temple, and insisted that the required sacrifices should be left to
the care and zeal of individuals. The manner in which the frankincense
should be kindled on the Day of Atonement, whether before or after the
entrance of the high priest into the Holy of Holies, was also the cause
of bitter strife. On these and other points of dispute the Sadducees
invariably followed the exact letter of the Law, which resulted in
their occasionally enforcing stricter rules than the Pharisees, who
have been so much abused for their rigid austerity. To one Levitical
injunction, however, they paid but little attention--that of carefully
avoiding the touch of any person or thing considered unclean--and when
their rivals purified the vessels of the Temple after they had been
subject to any contact of the sort, they ridiculed them, saying, "It
wants but little, and the Pharisees will try and cleanse the sun."

In spite of the relief which these less stringent views gave the
people, the Sadducees were not popular; the feeling of the time was
against laxity and in favor of strict religious observance. Besides,
the Sadducees repelled their countrymen by their proud, haughty
demeanor and their severe judicial sentences. They never gained the
heart of the public, and it was only by force and authority that
they were able to make their principles prevail. At that period the
religious sentiment was so active that it gave birth to a religious
order which far surpassed even the Pharisees in strictness and painful
scrupulousness, and which became the basis of a movement that, mixing
with new elements, produced a revolution in the history of the world.
This order, which, from a small and apparently insignificant origin,
grew into a mighty power, destined to exert an irresistible influence,
was that of the Essenes.

The origin of this remarkable Essene order, which called forth the
admiration even of the Greeks and the Romans, can be dated from
the period of great religious enthusiasm excited by the tyranny
and persecutions of the Syrians. The Essenes had never formed a
political party, but, on the contrary, avoided the glare and tumult
of public life. They did not place themselves in harsh antagonism
to the Pharisees, but rather assumed the position of a higher grade
of Pharisaism, to which party they originally belonged. They sprang
without doubt from the Assidæans, whom they resembled in their strict
observance of the Sabbath. In their eyes the mere act of moving a
vessel from one place to another would count as a desecration of that
holy day. Even the calls of nature were not attended to on that day.
They lived in all respects like the Nazarites, whose ideal it was to
attain the highest sanctity of priestly consecration. It was their
constant endeavor, not only to observe all the outward Levitical laws,
but to attain through them to inward sanctity and consecration, to
deaden their passions and to lead a holy life. The Levitical laws of
cleanliness had, through custom and tradition, developed to such a
pitch that their austere observers must have been in constant danger
of being defiled by contact with persons and objects; and bathing and
sacrifices were prescribed, through which they might recover a state of
purity. A life-long Nazarite, or, what is the same thing, an Essene,
was consequently obliged to avoid any intercourse with those who were
less strict than himself, lest he should be contaminated by their
proximity. Such considerations compelled him to frequent the society
of, and to unite himself with, those only who shared his views. To
keep their purity unspotted, the Essenes were thus induced to form
themselves into a separate order, the first rule of which commanded
implicit obedience to the laws of scrupulous cleanliness. It was only
those whose views coincided with their own who could be allowed to cook
food for them, and from such likewise had to be procured their clothes,
tools, implements of trade and other things, in order to ensure that,
in their manufacture, the laws of cleanliness had been duly carried
out. They were thus completely set apart by themselves; and, in order
to keep clear of any less strictly rigid observers, they thought it
advisable to have their meals in common. Thus the Passover supper,
which could be partaken of only in a circle of fellow-worshipers, must
have been their ideal repast. It was almost impossible for Essenes
to mix with women, as by the slightest contact with them they risked
coming under the Levitical condemnation of uncleanliness, and, led on
from one deduction to another, they began to avoid, if not to despise,
the married state. How was it possible for the Essenes to maintain
their excessive rigidity, especially in those warlike times? Not only
the pagan enemy, but even the Judæan warriors returning from the
battle-field, defiled by the touch of a corpse, might bring all their
precautions to naught. These fears may have induced the Essenes to seek
seclusion in some retired place, where they could remain unvexed by
the sounds of war and undisturbed in their mode of life by any of its
necessary incidents. They chose for their residence the desert to the
west of the Dead Sea, and settled in the oasis of Engadi. The fruit
of palm trees, which abound in this district, partly furnished their
simple fare. All the Assidæans did not join in the asceticism of the
Essenes, nor did all the Essenes betake themselves to the desert. Some
continued to live in their own family circles and did not renounce
marriage; but, in consequence of their rigid scruples, they were met
by many difficulties.

Thus it was that celibacy and repasts held in common came to be
considered as the general and most important characteristics of the
Essenes. This mode of living led the Essenes to divest themselves
of all their private possessions. To a member of their sect private
property could be of no use; each one placed his fortune in the common
treasury, out of which the wants of the various members of the order
were supplied. Hence the proverb, "A Chassid says, 'Mine and thine
belong to thee'" (not to me). There were consequently neither rich nor
poor among them, and this lack of all concern about material matters
naturally led them to abstract their attention from everything mundane
and to concentrate it upon religious matters. They thus avoided more
and more all that pertained merely to the world, and followed with the
enthusiasm of recluses a visionary, ideal tendency. The Essenes were
distinguished also by other peculiarities. They were always clothed
in white linen. Each of them carried a small shovel, with which, like
the Israelites during their wanderings in the desert, they would cover
their excrements with earth and thus hide impurity from sight. They
also wore a sort of apron or handkerchief (knaphaim), with which to
dry themselves after their frequent ablutions. In order to remove even
unperceived impurities, they, like the priests before officiating in
the Temple, bathed every morning in fresh spring water; and from these
daily baths they were called "Morning Baptists" (_Toble Shacharith_).
The name Essene appears likewise to have been derived from this
peculiarity, as in the Chaldaic language it means a bather (_Aschai_,
pronounced _Assai_).

These outward forms were, however, only the steps that were to lead
to inward purity and righteousness--the symbols of their close
communion with God; to which, according to the opinion of antiquity,
man could only attain by fleeing from the world, and devoting himself
to an ascetic mode of life. The utmost simplicity in food and dress,
abstinence, and the practice of morality and self-sacrifice were
certainly virtues which adorned the Essenes, but were not peculiar
to their sect, as they belonged equally to the Pharisees. The
distinguishing traits of the Essenes, however, were their frequent
prayers, their aversion to taking an oath, and their devoted pursuit
of a kind of mystic doctrine. Before saying their prayers no profane
word was permitted, and at the first dawn of day, after the _Shema_ had
been read, they assembled for quiet meditation, preparatory to what
was considered their real prayer, which was always to be a spontaneous
effusion of the heart. To the Essenes their repasts were a kind of
divine service, the table on which their food was spread, an altar,
and the fare which they partook of, a holy sacrifice, which they ate
in deep and pious meditation. No language of a worldly nature passed
their lips during their meals, and these were generally partaken of
in complete silence. This strange silence doubtless produced a great
impression upon those who did not belong to the order; the more so,
because the real nature of this exclusive sect was not known to its
contemporaries, and everything concerning it assumed a mysterious and
awful aspect.

It was not, perhaps, at first the object of the Essenes to become
absorbed in mystic lore; but their asceticism, their intensely quiet
life, which gave them so much opportunity for meditation, their freedom
from family cares, and, lastly, their religious visionariness, made
them seek for other truths in Judaism than appear to less subtle
minds. The name of God was to them a subject of deep contemplation,
justified in some degree by the dread which existed among the Judæans
of pronouncing the name of the Almighty, formed of the four letters
J h w h. If the name of God be thus holy, surely something mysterious
must belong to the letters themselves. Thus reasoned the Essenes, whose
seclusion from the world gave them abundant leisure to ponder over
this sacred enigma. So holy was the name of God in their estimation
that they refused to take any oath which called for its use, and their
statements were attested by a simple "yes" or "no." In close connection
with the mystery attaching to the name of God was that which they
applied to the names of angels. The Essenes faithfully handed down
in their theosophic system the names, as well as the importance and
position of the various angels. When they endeavored to explain the
meaning of Holy Writ by their fantastic and newly discovered ideas,
what fresh phases must have presented themselves to their distorted
vision! Every word, every expression must have revealed a hitherto
unsuspected meaning; the most difficult questions as to the being of
God, and His relations to the heavenly powers and the lower creatures,
were explained. Through their indifference to all that concerned the
State, as well as the affairs of daily life, they gradually led Judaism
(dependent as it was on the establishment of national prosperity) into
the darkness and exaggerations of Mysticism. Their deep and mystic
reverence for the Prophet and Lawgiver Moses carried them to the
greatest excesses. His memory and name were endeared to all the Judæans
within and beyond Palestine. They took oaths in the name of Moses,
and bestowed that name on no other man. But the Essenes carried their
devotion to such an extreme that he who spoke against the name of Moses
was treated as one who blasphemed God.

The final aim of the Essenes was, without doubt, the attainment to
prophetic ecstasy so that they might become worthy of the Divine Spirit
(_Ruach ha-Kodesh_). The Essenes believed that through an ascetic life
they might re-awaken the long-silent echo of the Heavenly voice, and
this end gained, prophecy would be renewed, men and youths would again
behold Divine visions, once more see the uplifting of the veil which
hides the future, and the great Messianic kingdom would be revealed.
The kingdom of Heaven (_Malchuth Shamaim_) would commence, and all the
pain and trouble of the times would, at one stroke, be at an end.

The Essenes were considered not only holy men (on account of their
peculiar mode of life and visionary views), but they were also admired
as workers of miracles. People hung upon their words and hoped for
the removal of impending evils through their means. Some of the
Essenes bore the reputation of being able to reveal the future and
interpret dreams; they were reverenced yet more by the ignorant, on
account of their miraculous cures of so-called "possessed" persons.
The intercourse of the Judæans with the Persians had brought with it,
together with a belief in the existence of angels, a superstitious
belief in malicious demons (_Shedim_, _Mazikin_). Imbeciles were
thought to be possessed by evil demons, who could only be exorcised by
a magic formula; and all extraordinary illnesses were attributed to
such demons, for which the advice of the wonder-worker, and not that
of the doctor, was sought. The Essenes occupied themselves with cures,
exorcisms, etc., and sought their remedies in a book (_Sefer Refuoth_)
which was attributed to King Solomon, whom the nation considered as the
master of evil spirits. Their curative remedies consisted partly in
softly-spoken incantations and verses (_Lechis'ha_), and partly in the
use of certain roots and stones supposed to possess magic power. Thus
the Essenes united the highest and the lowest aims,--the endeavor to
lead a pious life and the most vulgar superstitions. Their exaggerated
asceticism and fear of contact with others of a different mode of life
caused a morbidly unhealthy development among them.

The more rationally-minded Pharisees paid them but little attention;
they made sport of the "foolish Chassid." Although sprung from a
common root, the more the Pharisees and Essenes developed, the more
widely they diverged. The one party saw in marriage a holy institution
appointed for the good of mankind, and the other an obstacle to a
thoroughly religious life. The Pharisees recognized man's free will in
thought and action, and consequently deemed him responsible for his
moral conduct. The Essenes, on the contrary, confined to the narrow
circle of their self-same, daily-repeated duties, came to believe in
a sort of divine fatalism, which not only governed the destiny of
mankind but also ruled the acts of each individual. The Essenes avoided
the Temple, the worship practised there being framed according to the
doctrines of the Pharisees and unable to satisfy their ideals. They
sent their offerings to the Temple, and thus fulfilled the duty of
sacrificing without being themselves present at the ceremony. With
them, patriotism became more and more subordinate to the devotion
they felt towards their own order, and thus by degrees they loosed
themselves from the strong bands of nationality. There lay concealed in
Essenism an element antagonistic to existing Judaism, unsuspected by
friends or foes.

The Essenes had no influence whatever upon political events. Their
number was small, and even at the time of their greatest prosperity the
order consisted only of about four thousand members. Consequent upon
the life of celibacy which they adopted, the losses made by death in
their ranks could not naturally be replaced. To avoid dwindling away
entirely, they had recourse to the expedient of enrolling novices and
making proselytes. The new member was admitted with great solemnity,
and presented with the white garment, the apron, and the shovel, the
symbols of Essenism. The novice was not allowed, however, to enter
immediately into the community, but was subjected by degrees to an ever
stricter observance of the laws of abstinence and purity. There were
three probationary degrees to be passed through before a new member was
received into complete brotherhood. At his admission the novice swore
to follow the mode of life of the Essenes, to keep conscientiously and
to deliver faithfully the secret teachings of their order. He who was
found to be unworthy was expelled.

The unfriendly relationship between the Pharisees and Sadducees did not
exist in the time of Hyrcanus. He made use of both parties according
to their capabilities--the Sadducees as soldiers or diplomatists, and
the Pharisees as teachers of the Law, judges, and functionaries in
civil affairs. The one honored Hyrcanus as the head of the State, the
other as the pious high priest. In fact, Hyrcanus personally favored
the Pharisees, but as prince he could not quarrel with the Sadducees,
among whom he found his soldiers, his generals and his counselors.
Their leader Jonathan was his devoted friend. Until old age crept on
him, Hyrcanus managed to solve the difficult problem of keeping in a
state of amity two parties that were always on the verge of quarreling.
He understood how to prevent either party from gaining the upper hand
and persecuting its rival. But (as too often happens in such difficult
situations) a word, a breath can upset the best-arranged plans,
bringing to naught the most skilful calculations, and the slowly,
carefully built edifice falls and crumbles in a day. A heedless word
of this kind turned the zealous follower of Pharisaism into its bitter
opponent. In the last years of his life Hyrcanus went quite over to the

The cause of this change, which brought such unspeakable misery to
the Judæan nation, was trivial in comparison with its results; but
the antagonism of the two parties, which could only with the utmost
difficulty be kept from breaking out into open discord, gave it a
terrible and far-reaching importance. Hyrcanus had just returned from
a glorious victory over one of the many nations in the northeast of
Peræa (Kochalit?). Rejoicing in the happy result of his arms and in
the flourishing state of his country, he ordered a feast to be held,
to which he invited without distinction the leaders of the Sadducees
and Pharisees. Around golden dishes laden with food were placed various
plants that grew in the desert, to remind the guests of the hardships
they had endured under the Syrian yoke, when the nobles of the land
were obliged to hide themselves in the wilderness. Whilst the guests
were feasting, Hyrcanus asked if the Pharisees could reproach him for
any transgression of the Law? If so, he desired to be told in what
he had failed. Was this apparent humility only a cunningly-devised
plan to discover the real disposition of the Pharisees towards him?
Had the Sadducees inspired him with suspicion against the Pharisees,
and advised him to find some way of proving the sincerity of their
attachment? In reply to the challenge thus thrown out, a certain
Eleazer ben Poira arose and bluntly answered, "Hyrcanus should content
himself with the crown of royalty, and should place on a worthier head
the high priest's diadem. During an attack on Modin by the Syrians his
mother, before his birth, was taken prisoner, and it is not fitting
for the son of a prisoner to be a priest--much less the High Priest!"
Although inwardly wounded by so outspoken an insult to his pride,
Hyrcanus had sufficient self-possession to appear to agree with the
bold speaker and ordered the matter to be examined. It was, however,
proved to be an empty report; in fact, without the slightest foundation.

Hyrcanus's anger was doubly roused against the Pharisees through the
care taken by the Sadducees and his devoted friend Jonathan to persuade
him that the former had invented the story purposely to lower him in
the eyes of the people. Anxious to find out if the aspersion cast on
his fitness for the high-priesthood was the act of the whole party
or only the slander of an individual, he demanded that their leading
men should punish the calumniator, and expected that the chastisement
inflicted would be in proportion to his own exalted rank. But the
Pharisees knew of no special penalty for the slanderer of royalty, and
their judges only awarded him the lawful punishment of thirty-nine
lashes. Jonathan, the leader of the Sadducees, failed not to use this
circumstance as a means to rake up the fire in Hyrcanus's breast.
He led him to see in this mild judgment of the court a deep-rooted
aversion entertained by the Pharisees against him, thus estranging him
completely from his former friends, and binding him heart and soul to
the Sadducees. There is probably some exaggeration in the account of
Hyrcanus's persecution of the adherents of the Pharisees, and of his
setting aside all the decrees of the latter. There is, however, more
truth in another report, from which we learn that Hyrcanus had deposed
the Pharisees from the various high posts they had filled. The offices
belonging to the Temple, to the courts of law and to the high council
were given to the followers of the Sadducees. But this stroke of policy
produced the saddest results. Naturally enough it awakened in the
hearts of the Pharisees, and of the people who sided with them, a deep
hatred against the house of the Hasmonæans, which bore civil war in its
train and hastened the nation's decline. One act had been sufficient to
cast a cloud over the brilliant days of the Hasmonæans.

Hyrcanus lived but a short time after these events. He died in the
thirty-first year of his reign, the sixtieth year of his age (106),
leaving five sons, Aristobulus, Antigonus, Alexander, Absalom, and
one other, whose name has not come down to us. Hyrcanus bore some
resemblance to his prototype Solomon, inasmuch as that, after the
death of both, dissensions broke out and the country became a prey to
constant strife and discord.



    Character of Aristobulus--Antigonus--Mythical Account of his
    Death--Alexander Jannæus: his Character and Enterprises--His
    Support of the Pharisees--Simon ben Shetach--Alexander's
    Breach with the Pharisees, and its Consequences--His
    last Wars and Death--Salome Alexandra's Relations to the
    Opposing Parties--The Synhedrion--Judah ben Tabbai and Simon
    ben Shetach--Institutions against the Sadducees--Party
    Hatred--Diogenes--Persecution of the Sadducees--Death of

    106.69 B. C. E.

John Hyrcanus had proclaimed his wife queen, and his eldest son, Judah,
high priest. The latter is better known by his Greek name Aristobulus,
for he, like his brothers and successors, bore a Greek as well as a
Hebrew name. But it was soon evident that the Greek custom of placing a
female ruler at the head of the State was not looked upon with favor in
Judæa. Thus Aristobulus was able to remove his mother from her official
position without creating any disturbance, and he then united in his
own person the two dignities of ruler and high priest. It is said that
he was the first of the Hasmonæans to assume the royal title; but this
title did not add in any way to his power or his importance. His coins,
indeed, which have since been discovered, bear only the following
inscription, "The High Priest Judah, and the Commonwealth of the
Judæans," and they are engraved with the same emblem as those of his
father, viz., a cornucopia, although this symbol of plenty was hardly a
truthful characteristic of the times.

The seed of discord sown by Hyrcanus grew and spread alarmingly in the
reigns of his descendants. In vain did the successive rulers attempt
to raise the importance of the royal dignity, in vain did they surround
themselves with a body-guard of trusty hirelings and perform the most
brilliant feats of valor, the breach between them and their subjects
became irreparable, and no remedy proved effectual. The royal house and
the people were no longer at one; political life was separated from
religious life, and the two were pursuing opposite paths.

The king, Aristobulus, not only supplanted his mother upon the
throne, but he also imprisoned her with three of his brothers. His
brother Antigonus alone, of like temperament to himself and his
companion-in-arms, whom he tenderly loved, was permitted to take part
in the government. In spite of the meager and unsatisfactory accounts
of his short reign, we may gather from them that he followed the
example of his father's last years, in remaining closely connected
with the Sadducees, and in keeping the Pharisees from all power and
influence. Aristobulus had but few friends in his own family, and he
does not appear to have been beloved by his subjects. The fact of his
having had a decided preference for Hellenism accounts for his surname,
which was honored by the Greeks and hated by the Judæans--"Friend
of the Hellenes." This one characteristic gave such offense to the
people that they were ready to ascribe to him the authorship of any
evil deed that might occur in the kingdom. Whilst the Greeks called
him fair-minded and modest, the Judæans accused him of heartlessness
and cruelty. His mother expired during her imprisonment, possibly of
old age; evil report whispered that her own son was guilty of having
allowed her to die of starvation. His favorite brother, Antigonus, was
foully murdered (probably through the intrigues of the party hostile to
the Hasmonæans); sharp-tongued calumny affirmed that the king, jealous
of him, was the author of the foul deed, and tradition has woven a web
of tragic incidents round the sad fate of Antigonus. But of this later.

Aristobulus had inherited not only his father's military ability, but
also his plans of extending Judæa in a northeasterly direction. The
Ituræans and the Trachonites, who often left their mild, pastoral
pursuits for the rougher trade of war, occupied the district
surrounding the gigantic Mount Hermon, and eastwards as far as
the lovely plain of Damascus. Against these half-barbaric tribes
Aristobulus undertook a campaign, probably continuing what his father
had commenced. His brother Antigonus, in whose company he had won his
first laurels when fighting against the Samaritans and the Syrians, was
once more his companion-in-arms. The fortunes of war were favorable to
Aristobulus, as they had been to his father; he acquired new territory
for Judæa, and, like his father, forced the Judæan religion upon the
conquered people. Continued conquests in the same direction would have
put the caravan roads leading from the land of the Euphrates to Egypt
into the hands of the Judæans; which possession, combined with the
warlike courage of the inhabitants and the defensive condition of the
fortresses, might have permitted Judæa to attain an important position
among the nations. But, as though it had been decreed by Providence
that Judæa should not gain influence in such a manner, Aristobulus
was forced by severe illness to abandon his conquests and to return
to Jerusalem. Antigonus, it is true, carried on the war successfully
for some little time; but after his return to the capital, for the
celebration of the festivals in the approaching month of Tishri,
neither he nor his royal brother was fated ever again to tread the
arena of war. Antigonus fell, as was mentioned previously, by the hand
of an assassin, and Aristobulus died of a malignant disease, after a
reign of one year (106-105).

The deaths of the two brothers following in close succession gave
evil-tongued calumny the opportunity of inventing the following
fearful tragedy: It was said that the opponents of Antigonus seized
the occasion of his triumphal return to excite the suffering king's
jealousy. Aristobulus, while still reposing confidence in his brother,
sent for Antigonus, and intimated that he should appear unarmed. For
greater protection he had his body-guard stationed in one of the
passages, and gave orders that Antigonus was to be dispatched forthwith
if he should enter armed. The queen, who hated Antigonus, made use of
this order for the destruction of her brother-in-law, for she persuaded
him to go fully equipped to the king's chamber, and in one of the dark
passages of the tower of Straton the foul deed was executed. When the
king heard that his commands had been carried out he was violently
affected, and his grief caused a hemorrhage. His servant, in carrying
away a vessel filled with the blood that he had lost, slipped upon the
floor of the antechamber, still wet with the blood of the assassinated
man, and, dropping the vessel, caused the blood of the two brothers to
mingle. This accident was said to have had so overpowering an effect
upon the king's mind that he instantly declared himself to be his
brother's murderer, and the agony of remorse was the final cause of his
death. Tradition adds that an Essene seer of the name of Judah had not
only predicted the violent death of Antigonus, but also that it would
take place in the tower of Straton.

The commencement of the reign of Aristobulus's successor is involved in
legend. From this we gather that Alexander, whose Judæan name Jannaï
(Jannæus) is the abbreviation of Jonathan, had not only been imprisoned
by his brother, but had been so hated by his father that he had been
banished to Galilee. This was the result of a dream, in which it had
been revealed to John Hyrcanus that his third son would one day be king
of Judæa. The widow of Aristobulus is said to have released him from
prison, and to have given him her hand with the crown. But in that case
Alexander would have married a widow, which it was unlawful for him,
as high priest, to do. It is more probable that Alexander ascended the
throne, being the nearest heir to it, without the aid of the widow of
Aristobulus. Nor is there any foundation for the story that Alexander
commenced his reign by the murder of a brother with whom he had
actually shared the sufferings of his captivity. Alexander appears to
have begun by studying the people's wishes, for the Pharisees were once
more allowed to appear at court. Simon ben Shetach, the brother of his
wife, Queen Salome, the champion of the Pharisees, was constantly in
the king's presence.

Alexander Jannæus, who came to the throne at the age of twenty-three,
was as warlike as the family from which he sprung, but he was wanting
in the generalship and the judgment of his ancestors. He rushed madly
into military undertakings, thus weakening the power of the people,
and bringing the State more than once to the verge of destruction. The
seven and twenty years of his reign were passed in foreign and civil
wars, and were not calculated to increase the material prosperity of
the nation. His good luck, however, was greater than his ability, for
it enabled him to extricate himself from many a critical position into
which he had brought himself, and also, upon the whole, to enlarge the
territory of Judæa. Like his father, he employed mercenaries for his
wars, whom he hired from Pisidia and Cilicia. He did not dare enroll
Syrian troops, the hatred that existed between Judæans and Syrians
being too deeply ingrained to permit the harmonious working of the two
to be counted upon.

Alexander's attention was principally directed to the seaports which
had managed to free themselves from Syrian rule, owing to the rivalry
that existed between the two half-brothers, Antiochus Grypus and
Cyzicenus. He was particularly anxious to possess himself of the
thickly-populated and important seaport town of Ptolemaïs, colonized by
Judæans. Whilst his troops overran the district of Gaza, then under the
dominion of Zoïlus, a captain of mercenaries, he pressed the seaport
town himself with a persistent siege. The inhabitants of Ptolemaïs
turned for help to the Egyptian prince Ptolemy Lathurus, who, at open
warfare with his mother, had seized upon Cyprus. Lathurus, glad to have
found an opportunity of acquiring greater power, and of being able
at the same time to approach the caravan roads of Egypt, hastened to
send thirty thousand men to the Judæan coast. He chose a Sabbath day
for victoriously driving the Judæan army, consisting of at least fifty
thousand men, from Asochis, near Sepphoris, back to the Jordan. More
than thirty thousand of Alexander's troops remained on the field of
battle, many were taken prisoners, whilst the others fled. Lathurus,
with part of his army, marched through Judæa, slaughtering the
inhabitants, without sparing women or children. He wished not only to
revenge himself upon Alexander, but also upon the Judæans, for had they
not been his enemies in Egypt? Accho likewise surrendered, and Gaza
voluntarily opened its gates to him.

This crushing defeat would doubtless have brought Judæa into the most
revolting slavery, had not Cleopatra attempted to snatch the fruit of
her son's triumphs from him before he could turn them against herself.
She sent a mighty army against Lathurus, under the command of two
Judæan generals, Helkias and Ananias, the two sons of Onias, to whom
she was indebted for the integrity of her crown. Helkias died during
the campaign, and his brother took his place in the council and in
the field. The position of trust occupied by Ananias was of distinct
advantage to his compatriots in Judæa. Cleopatra had been urged not
to lose the favorable opportunity, when Judæa was unable to forego
her help, of invading that country and of dethroning Alexander. But
Ananias was indignant at this advice. He not only pointed out the
disgrace of such faithlessness, but he made the queen understand the
evil consequences that would follow upon such a step. Many Egyptian
Judæans, who were the upholders of her throne against the threatened
attacks of her son, would make common cause with her enemies, were she
to strike a blow at the independence of their country. His words even
contained the menace that he would, in such case, not only withhold his
political knowledge and his generalship from her interests, but that he
might possibly devote them to the cause of her opponents. This language
had its desired effect upon the queen; she rejected the cunning advice
of the enemies of the Jews, and made an offensive and defensive league
with Alexander at Bethzur (98). Lathurus was obliged to leave Judæa and
to retreat with his army to Cyprus. All the cities that had resisted
the arms of the Judæan king were now visited by his wrath.

But he was, above all things, determined upon retaking Gaza. This
object was accomplished only after a year of desperate fighting, and
was finally brought about by an act of treachery. All the cruelty
inherent in Alexander was poured out upon the besieged inhabitants of
Gaza. He executed some of the most distinguished amongst them, and the
terror he inspired was so great that many of the men killed their own
wives and children to prevent them from falling into Judæan slavery

The nine years of Alexander's reign had been too prolific in dangerous
and perplexing situations to allow of his disturbing the internal
harmony of his country. He appears to have been strictly neutral in
the strife that was raging between the Pharisees and Sadducees. His
wife Salome may have exercised her influence in urging him to maintain
this neutral position, as she was a warm partisan of the once-hated

Alexander appears to have made Simon ben Shetach the mediator between
the two parties; the Pharisees being still somewhat in the background,
and the Sadducees holding posts of trust. Ever since John Hyrcanus's
secession from Pharisaism, the Great Council had been composed of
Sadducæan members, and as long as one party was thus openly preferred
to the other, peace and reconciliation seemed impossible. The king may,
therefore, have been inspired by the wish to bring about some kind of
equality between the two parties by dividing offices and dignities
between them. But the Pharisees positively refused to act conjointly
with their opponents and offered the most active resistance. Simon
ben Shetach alone allowed himself to be chosen member of the Council,
secretly determining to purge it by degrees of its Sadducæan element.

Alexander's impartial conduct continued only so long as the critical
position drew his attention away from home affairs. It changed visibly
when he returned from his campaign, the conqueror of cities and
provinces deeming himself the despotic master of his people. Either
the newly acquired influence of the Pharisees threatened to be an
obstacle in his path, or he may have wished to reward and attract the
Sadducees upon whom he might rely for carrying on his campaigns, or he
may have been influenced by his favorite, the Sadducee Diogenes; at
all events, Alexander appeared as the inveterate opponent of Pharisaic
teaching, and made his views public in a most insulting manner. Whilst
officiating as high priest, during the Feast of Tabernacles, it was
his duty, in accordance with an ancient custom, to pour the contents
of a ewer of water upon the altar as an emblem of fruitfulness. But in
order to show his contempt for a ceremony considered by the Pharisees
as a religious one, Alexander poured the water at his feet. Nothing
more was required to ignite the wrath of the congregation assembled in
the outer court of the Temple. With reckless indignation they threw
the branches and the fruit, which they carried in their hands in honor
of the festival, at the heretical king, denouncing him as an unworthy
high priest. Alexander would certainly have paid for this disgraceful
action with his life had he not called in the help of the Pisidian and
Cilician mercenaries, who had been ordered to be in waiting, and who
fell upon the congregation, slaughtering 6000 within the precincts
of the Temple (95). In order to avoid a repetition of such scenes,
Alexander thenceforth prevented the worshipers from entering the court
of sacrifices, by building up a partition wall. But these events gave
rise to an implacable hatred between the king and the Pharisees. Thus,
after three generations, the descendants of the great Hasmonæans had
so far weakened the edifice raised at the expense of their ancestors'
lives, that it appears marvelous how it could have continued to resist
such repeated attacks. The bitter rivalry of the two kingdoms of Judah
and Israel in the days of Rehoboam and Jeroboam was repeated in the
history of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.

But Alexander did not see the breach that his hand had childishly and
ruthlessly made; absorbed in magnificent schemes of future conquest he
ignored the fact that if the harmonious intercourse between the king
and his subjects, the very life of the State, were to cease, greater
possessions would but weaken and not strengthen the kingdom. He had
set his heart upon invading the trans-Jordanic land, still called
Moabitis, and the southeastern provinces of the sea of Tiberias, called
Galaditis or Gaulonitis. But his progress in this campaign was checked
by the Nabathæan king Obeda, who lured him into a pathless country
broken up by ravines, where Alexander's army found its destruction,
and where the king himself escaped only with his life to Jerusalem
(about 94). There the wrath of the Pharisees awaited him. They had
excited the people to revolt, and six years of bloody uprisings against
him were the consequence (94-89). Alexander succeeded in putting
down one revolt after another by the aid of his mercenaries, but the
horrible butcheries that took place on these occasions were a perpetual
incentive to fresh uprisings. Alexander, worn out at length by these
sanguinary proceedings, offered to make peace with the Pharisees. It
was now, however, their turn to reject the proffered hand of peace,
and to be guilty of an act of treachery towards their country which
must remain as an indelible stain upon their party. Upon Alexander's
question as to what conditions of peace they required, the Pharisaic
leaders answered that the first condition was the death of the king.
They had, in fact, secretly offered their aid to the Syrian monarch
Eucærus to humble Alexander. Summoned by their promises, Eucærus
advanced upon Judæa with 40,000 infantry and 3000 cavalry. Upon the
news of this impending danger, Alexander marched out at the head of
20,000 infantry and 1000 cavalry. In the terrible encounter that ensued
at Shechem, Judæan fought against Judæan, Greek against Greek, for
each army remained true to its leader and could not be bribed into
desertion. The battle, disastrous for both sides, was finally gained by
Eucærus, and Alexander was driven, through the loss of his mercenaries,
to wander among the mountain-passes of Ephraim. There, his solitary
position moved his people to pity, and six thousand of his Pharisaic
opponents left the Syrian camp and went over to their king, who was now
able to force Eucærus's retreat from Judæa.

But the more relentless amongst the Pharisees still held out against
Alexander, and after an unsuccessful battle in the open field, threw
themselves for safety into the fortress of Bethome, which, however,
they were obliged to surrender. Urged by his Sadducæan favorite
Diogenes, and impelled by his own thirst for revenge, the king had
eight hundred Pharisees crucified in one day. Tradition even relates
that the wives and children of the victims were butchered before their
eyes, and that Alexander, surrounded by his minions, feasted in the
presence of this scene of carnage. But this exaggeration of cruelty was
not required to brand him with the name of "Thracian"; the crucifixion
of eight hundred men was enough to stigmatize him as a heartless
butcher, and this action alone was to bring forth bitter fruits for the
Sadducees who had witnessed it with malicious joy. During the civil
wars that had lasted for six years, fifty thousand men of both parties
had been sacrificed, but the Pharisees had suffered most. The remaining
Pharisees trembled for their lives, and the night after the crucifixion
of the eight hundred, eight thousand fled from Judæa, part of them to
Syria and part to Egypt.

The weakness of Alexander's position may readily be gauged by the fact
of his powerlessness to prevent Judæa from being made the seat of
war by the kings of Nabathæa and Syria. Yet his good fortune did not
forsake him, for a sudden change in the affairs of Syria, resulting in
the overthrow of its king, Aretas, worked to Alexander's advantage.
Thereby he was enabled to engage in the siege of some important
towns, colonized by Greeks and subject to Aretas: Diospolis, Pella
and Gerasa. Marching north, he invaded the lower Gaulonitis, with its
capital, Gamala, the upper province, with the town of Sogane, and the
city of Seleucia. He forced the inhabitants of these towns to accept
Judaism and the sign of the covenant. The city of Pella, making a
show of resistance, was destroyed. He also recovered the cities lying
east of the Red Sea, which had been taken from him by Aretas. The
territory of Judæa now embraced within its circumference a number of
important towns; it extended on the other side of the Jordan, from
Seleucia in the north to Zoar, the city of palms, south of the Dead
Sea; from Rhinokolura and Raphia in the south, on the shores of the
Mediterranean, to the mountains of Carmel in the northwest. The cities
on the sea-coast were of the most importance. Alexander ordered some
coins to be struck for his Greek subjects, with the Greek inscription,
"KING ALEXANDER," while an anchor was stamped upon one side, and upon
the other, in Hebrew characters, "JONATHAN THE KING" (Jehonathan
ha-Melech). His coins of an earlier date bore the same inscription as

After a campaign of three years' duration Alexander returned to
Jerusalem, where he was received with the honors due to a conqueror. He
had caused his crimes in part to be forgiven. In the very center of the
kingdom, on a mount near the Jordan, he built a strong fortress, called
after him, ALEXANDRION; and in the neighborhood of the Dead Sea, upon
a towering height, protected on all sides by deep ravines, he raised
the citadel of Machærus, the formidable guardian of his trans-Jordanic
conquests. These two mountain fortresses, together with the third,
Hyrcanion, built by John Hyrcanus, on Middle Mountain, were so amply
fortified by nature and by art that they were considered impregnable.

Even in the last years of Alexander's reign, although he was suffering
from an intermittent fever, he undertook the siege of some of the yet
unconquered fortresses of the trans-Jordanic territory. During the
siege of Argob, however, he was seized with so severe an attack that
he was forced to prepare himself for death. The solemnity of his last
hours led him to look upon his former actions in a new light. He was
horror-stricken to think how cruelly and foolishly he had persecuted
the Pharisees, and how in consequence he had alienated himself from
his people. He earnestly enjoined upon his queen, whom he declared
regent, to connect herself closely with the Pharisees, to surround
herself with counselors from their ranks, and not to embark in any
undertaking without having their consent. He also impressed upon her
to keep his death secret from his army until the beleaguered fortress
should have fallen, and then to resign his body to the Pharisees, that
they might either vent their rage upon it or else generously inter it.
From an obscure but more authentic source we gather that Alexander
sought to allay the queen's anxiety with regard to the party strife
rampant in Jerusalem by the following words: "Do not fear either the
true Pharisees or their honest opponents, but be on your guard against
hypocrites of both sides (the counterfeit ones), who, when they
commit sins, like the dissolute Prince Zimri, expect to be rewarded
like Phineas, who was zealous for the Law." Alexander died in the
forty-ninth year of his life and the twenty-seventh of his reign (79),
and left two sons, Hyrcanus and Aristobulus. The Pharisees ungenerously
appointed the anniversary of his death as a day of rejoicing.

It was indeed most fortunate for the Judæan nation that a woman of
gentle nature and sincere piety should have been called to the head of
the State after it had been torn asunder by the recklessness of its
former ruler. She came like the refreshing dew to an arid and sunburnt
soil. The excited passions and the bitter hatred of the two parties
had time to abate during her reign, and the country rose above narrow
partisanship to the worthier occupation of advancing the common welfare
of the nation. Although Queen Salome, or, as she was called, Alexandra,
was devoted with her whole soul to the Pharisees, entrusting them
with the management of home affairs, yet she was far from persecuting
the opposing party. Her authority was so greatly respected by the
neighboring princes that they did not dare make war with Judæa, and she
shrewdly succeeded in keeping a mighty conqueror, who had possessed
himself of Syria, from the confines of her own kingdom. Even the
heavens, during the nine years of her reign, showered their blessings
upon the land. The extraordinarily large grains of wheat gathered
during this time in the fields of Judæa were kept and exhibited during
many subsequent years. The queen ordered coins to be struck, bearing
the same emblems as her predecessors, with the Greek inscription,
"QUEEN ALEXANDRA." On the whole, her reign passed peacefully and
happily. The Law, which had fallen into great neglect, became a fixed
institution, and if it occasionally affected the Sadducees, who were
constantly breaking it, they could not consider themselves victims of
caprice. The crowded prisons were opened; the Pharisees returned from
exile, with their narrowed vision widened by the experience they had
gained in foreign lands.

Salome Alexandra proclaimed her eldest son Hyrcanus high priest; he was
a weak prince, whose private life was irreproachable, but who was not
fitted for a public post of importance.

Simon ben Shetach, the brother of the queen, the oracle of the
Pharisaic party, stood high in her favor. So great a part did he play
in the history of that time that it was called by many "the days
of Simon ben Shetach and of Queen Salome." The chief post in the
Council of Seventy, hitherto possessed by the high priest, was now,
however, given up to the Pharisees by order of the queen. The Nasi,
or president of the Great Council, was from this time on, as a rule,
the most learned and the most respected of the Pharisees. No one, of
course, could lay juster claim to this distinction than Simon ben
Shetach. But Simon was not an ambitious man, and he determined to waive
his own rights of precedence in favor of Judah ben Tabbai, who was
then residing in Alexandria, of whose profound learning and excellent
character he had formed a high estimate. The Alexandrian Judæan
community had probably entrusted this celebrated Palestinean scholar
with some important office. A flattering epistle was sent to Judah,
inviting him to return to Jerusalem and was couched in this form:
"From me, Jerusalem, the holy city, to thee, Alexandria: my spouse
dwells with thee, I am forsaken." Judah ben Tabbai responded to this
appeal by hastening to Jerusalem. With the help of Simon he undertook
the reorganization of the Council, the improvement of administration
of the law, the re-establishment of neglected religious observances,
the furthering of education, and generally the fashioning of such
regulations as the times required. Like Ezra and Nehemiah of old,
these two zealous men insisted upon a return to the strictest form of
Judaism; and, if they were often obliged to employ severe and violent
measures, these are not to be accounted to any personal malice, but to
the sternness of the age itself. They were indeed scrupulously strict
in their own conduct, and in directing those closely connected with
them. From the days of Judah ben Tabbai and Simon ben Shetach, the rule
of Judæan Law, according to the views of the Pharisees, may be said to
have begun, and it grew and developed under each succeeding generation.
These two celebrated men have therefore been called "Restorers of the
Law," who "brought back to the Crown (the Law) its ancient splendor."

Their work commenced with the reorganization of the Synhedrion. The
Sadducæan members were deprived of their seats, the penal code which
they had added to the Biblical penal laws was set aside, and the old
traditionary methods again made valid. The people had nothing to
complain of in this change, for they hated the severity of the "eye
for eye" punishment of the Sadducees. On the other hand, certain
days of rejoicing, disregarded by the Sadducees, were proclaimed as
half-holidays by the Pharisees. Witnesses in the law courts were no
longer to be questioned merely upon the place where and the time when
they had seen a crime committed, but they were expected to give the
most detailed and minute evidence connected with it, so that the judge
might be better able to pronounce a correct judgment and to detect the
contradictory statements of witnesses. This was particularly designed
as a protection against the charges of informers, who were numerous
enough in an age when conquerors and the conquered were constantly
changing parts. A salutary measure also was enforced to lessen the
number of divorce cases, which the literal interpretation of the
Pentateuchal divorce laws, as administered by the Sadducees, had failed
in doing. The High Court, as reorganized by the Pharisees, ordered the
husband to give his repudiated wife a certain sum of money, by which
she could support herself, and, as there was but little current coin
amongst a people whose wealth consisted principally in the fruits of
the soil or in cattle, the husband would often pause before allowing a
momentary fit of passion or excitement to influence his actions.

One of the reforms of this time expressly attributed to Simon ben
Shetach was the promotion of better instruction. In all large towns,
high schools for the use of young men from the age of sixteen sprung up
at his instance. But all study, we may presume, was entirely confined
to the Holy Scriptures, and particularly to the Pentateuch and the
study of the Law. Many details or smaller points in the Law which had
been partly forgotten and partly neglected during the long rule of the
Sadducees, that is to say, from Hyrcanus's oppression of the Pharisees
until the commencement of Salome's reign, were once more introduced
into daily life. Neglected customs were renewed with all pomp and
solemnity, the days of their re-introduction being celebrated with
rejoicing, and any public mourning or fast thereon was suspended. Thus
the ceremony of pouring a libation of water upon the altar during the
Feast of Tabernacles, which had been mockingly ridiculed by Alexander,
was in time reinstated with enthusiasm, and became a favorite and
distinctive rite. Upon these occasions, on the night succeeding the
first day of the festival, the women's outer court of the Temple was
brilliantly illuminated until it glowed like a sea of fire. All the
people would then crowd to the holy mount to witness or take part
in the proceedings. At times these bore a lively character, such as
torch-light processions and dancing; at others they took the more
solemn form of musical services of song and praise. This jubilee would
last the whole night. At break of day the priests announced with a
blast of their trumpets that the march was about to commence. At every
halting-place the trumpets gathered the people together, until a huge
multitude stood assembled round the spring of Siloah. Thence the water
was drawn in a golden ewer. In solemn procession it was carried back to
the Temple, where the libation was performed. The water streamed over
the altar, and the notes of the flute, heard only upon the most joyful
occasions, mingled with the rapturous strains of melody that burst from
countless instruments.

A similar national festival was the half-holiday of the wood-feast,
held in honor of the wood that was offered to the altar of the
Temple; it fell upon the fifteenth day of Ab (August). A number of
white-robed maidens were wont to assemble upon this occasion in some
open space among the vine-trees, where, as they trod the measure of
the dance, they chanted strophes of song in the Hebrew tongue. It was
an opportunity for the Judæan youths, spectators of this scene, to
select their partners for life. This festival, like the preceding one,
was inaugurated by the Pharisees in opposition to Sadducæan customs.
The Synhedrion seized upon the sacrificial ardor of the people to
introduce a measure which, above all things, was calculated to arouse
feelings of patriotism in the nation, and which was diametrically
opposed to the views of their rivals. The Sadducees had declared that
the daily offerings, and in fact the needs of the Temple, should not
be paid for from a national treasury, but with individual, voluntary
contributions. But the Council, in the reign of Salome Alexandra,
decreed that every Israelite from the age of twenty--proselytes and
freed slaves included--should contribute at least a half-shekel yearly
to the treasury of the Temple. In this way the daily sacrifices
acquired a truly national character, as the whole nation contributed
towards them. Three collections were instituted during the year: in
Judæa at the beginning of spring; in the trans-Jordanic countries, in
Egypt and Syria, at the Feast of Weeks; and in the yet more distant
lands of Babylonia, Media and Asia Minor, at the Feast of Tabernacles.
These last collections were the richest, the Judæans who dwelt
outside Palestine being very generous as well as very wealthy; thus,
instead of the silver or copper shekel or denaria, they offered gold
staters and darics. Central places in each land were chosen where the
offerings should be deposited until they could be taken to Jerusalem.
The most distinguished Judæans were selected to carry them thither,
and they were called "holy messengers." In the Mesopotamian and
Babylonian towns of Nisibis and Nahardea (Naarda), treasure-houses
were built for these Temple gifts, whence, under a strong escort to
protect them from the Parthian and Nabathæan robber-hordes, they were
safely borne to Jerusalem. The communities of Asia Minor had likewise
their treasure-houses, Apamea and Laodicea, in Phrygia, Pergamus and
Adramyttium, in the country of Aeolis. From this stretch of land nearly
two hundred pounds weight of gold was sent to Jerusalem about twenty
years after the first proclamation had been issued. From this we may
gather what an immense revenue poured into the Temple, leaving a large
surplus after all the requisites for divine service had been obtained.
The Temple of Jerusalem became thereby in time an object of envy and of

So far, the revival, introduced by Judah ben Tabbai and Simon ben
Shetach, bore a harmless character; it reinstated old laws, created
new ones, and sought means of impressing them upon the memory and
attention of the people. But no reaction can remain within moderate
bounds; it moves naturally towards excesses. The Sadducees, who were
unwilling to adopt the Pharisaic rendering of the Law, were summoned
to appear before the seat of justice and were unsparingly condemned.
The anxiety to exalt the Law and to banish all opposition in the
rival party was so great that upon one occasion Judah ben Tabbai had
a witness executed who had been convicted of giving false testimony
in a trial for a capital crime. He was, in this instance, desirous of
practically refuting the Sadducæan views, forgetting that he was at the
same time breaking a law of the Pharisees. That law required all the
witnesses to be convicted of perjury before allowing punishment to be
inflicted; and, as one witness alone could not establish an accusation,
so one witness alone was not punishable. But the two chiefs were
so clean-handed that Simon ben Shetach did not fail to upbraid his
colleague on account of ill-advised haste, and Judah ben Tabbai evinced
the profoundest remorse at the shedding of the innocent blood of the
executed witness by resigning his office of president and by making
a public acknowledgment of his contrition. A favorite maxim of Judah
ben Tabbai reveals his gentle disposition. "Consider accused persons
as lawbreakers only whilst before you for judgment; the moment that is
rendered, look upon them as innocent."

Simon ben Shetach, who succeeded Judah as President of the Council,
does not seem to have relaxed in severity towards the infringers of
the Law. The rare case of witchcraft was once brought before him, when
eighty women were condemned for the offense, and crucified in Ascalon.
On account of his unsparing severity, Simon ben Shetach brought upon
himself such hatred of his opponents that they determined upon a
fearful revenge. They incited two false witnesses to accuse his son of
a crime punishable with death, in consequence of which he was actually
condemned to die. On his way to the place of execution the young man
uttered such vehement protestations of innocence that at last the
witnesses themselves were affected, and confessed to their tissue of
falsehoods. But when the judges were about to set free the condemned,
the prisoner himself drew their attention to their violation of the
law, which enjoined that no belief was to be given witnesses who
withdrew their previous testimony. "If you wish," said the condemned
youth to his father, "that the salvation of Israel should be wrought
by your hand, consider me but the threshold over which you must pass
without compunction." Both father and son showed themselves worthy of
their sublime task, that of guarding the integrity of the Law; for to
uphold it one sacrificed his life, and the other, his paternal love.
Simon, the Judæan Brutus, let the law pursue its course, although he,
as well as all the judges, were convinced of his son's innocence.

The severity of the Pharisaic Synhedrion had naturally not spared
the leaders of the Sadducees. Diogenes, the favorite of Alexander,
and a number of others who had advised or authorized the execution
of the 800 Pharisees, expiated this act of cruelty with their lives.
The most distinguished of the Sadducees began to be uneasy at this
constant persecution; they felt the sword of justice hanging over their
heads, ready to descend upon them if they were guilty of the slightest
infringement of the Law. In fear of their lives they turned to
Alexander's second son, Aristobulus, who, without being a warm adherent
of the Sadducees, was prepared to be the protector of their party. He
sent their chiefs to Alexandra, commending them warmly to her mercy.
When they appeared before the queen they reminded her of their services
to the late king, and of the terror with which their name had once
inspired Judæa's neighbors, and they threatened to offer their valuable
services to the Nabathæan king Aretas or to the Syrian monarch. They
implored the queen to grant them a safe retreat in some fortress where
they would not be under the constant supervision of the Pharisees.
The gentle-hearted queen was so much moved by the tears of these
gray-haired warriors that she entrusted them with the command of most
of the fortresses, reserving, however, the three strongest--Hyrcanion,
Alexandrion, and Machærus.

No political events of any great importance occurred during Alexandra's
reign. Tigranes, king of Armenia, master of nearly the whole of Syria,
had threatened to invade some of the Judæan provinces which had
formerly belonged to the Syrian kingdom. The proximity of this ruler
had greatly alarmed the queen, and she endeavored by gentle words and
rich presents to prevent a contest with this powerful Armenian king.
Tigranes had received the Judæan embassy, and accepted the queen's
gifts most courteously, but they would hardly have prevented him from
moving upon Judæa, had he not been compelled to devote himself to the
defense of his own country from the attack of the Roman commander
Lucullus (69).

Alexandra fell hopelessly ill, and her illness occasioned the saddest
of entanglements. The violent and ambitious Aristobulus, supposing
that his mother destined his weak brother Hyrcanus as her successor,
left the capital secretly, and arriving at the Galilean fortress of
Gabata in the neighborhood of Sepphoris, upon the friendship of whose
governor, the Sadducee Galaistes, he could rely, insisted upon its
being entirely given up to him. He garrisoned it with mercenaries,
furnished by some of the minor Syrian trans-Jordanic princes and the
robber-hordes of Trachonitis, and was thus enabled to hold a large
force at his command. Hyrcanus and the chiefs of the Synhedrion,
fearing an impending civil war, entreated of the queen to take measures
to prevent it, but without avail. Alexandra bade them trust to the
army, to the fortresses that had remained faithful, and to the rich
treasury, and devoted herself exclusively to preparation for death. She
expired soon after, in the year 69, leaving her people and her kingdom
to all the horrors of a civil war which was ultimately to destroy their
dearly won independence. Salome Alexandra had reigned for only nine
years; she had witnessed the happy days of her people's freedom, and,
when lying on her death-bed, may have felt in her troubled soul the
presentiment that the coming night of slavery was at hand. She was the
only queen in Judæan history whose name has been handed down to us with
veneration, and she was also the last independent ruler of Judæa.



    Brothers contend for the throne--Arrangement between the
    brothers--The Idumæan Antipater--Hyrcanus's weakness--Aretas
    besieges Jerusalem--Interference of Rome--Pompey at
    Jerusalem--The Judæan colony in Rome--Flaccus in Asia
    Minor--Cicero's oration against the Judæans--Weakening of the
    power of the Synhedrion--Shemaya and Abtalion--Violent death
    of Aristobulus and his son Alexander--Julius Cæsar and the
    Judæans--Antipater's sons Phasael and Herod--Herod before the
    Synhedrion--Operations of Cassius in Judæa--Malich--Antigonus
    as King--Herod escapes to Rome.

    69.40 B. C. E.

When Providence has decreed that a State shall be destroyed, no event
is more certain to hasten its fall than the contentions between two
rival parties for the possession of the throne. The noblest upholders
of the nation's rights are then invariably arrayed against each other,
until at last the civil wars in which they are engaged are usually
referred to some foreign ruler, whose yoke is all the more galling
as he appears invariably in the light of a peacemaker with the olive
branch in his hand.

The death of the queen gave the first incentive to the war which broke
out between the two brothers and divided the nation into two camps.
To Hyrcanus II, her eldest son, the dying mother had, in right of his
birth, bequeathed the throne. He, whose virtues would have graced the
modest life of a private individual, but who would have been but an
indifferent ruler even in a peaceful era, was certainly not fitted to
govern in troubled times. He did more harm by his good nature than many
another could do by acts of tyranny. His younger brother was the direct
opposite to him in character. Hyrcanus's cowardice contrasted vividly
with the reckless courage of Aristobulus, a quality in which he
resembled his father Alexander. Added to this, he possessed unlimited
ambition, which blinded him to practical considerations and quitted him
only with his last breath. His aim was to be the mighty ruler of Judæa,
and with the means at his command to make the neighboring countries
subject to his rule. But his rash impetuosity prevented him from
being successful, and, instead of gathering laurels, he brought only
contempt upon himself and his nation. Hardly had Alexandra expired when
Aristobulus, at the head of his mercenaries and Sadducæan followers,
marched upon Jerusalem for the purpose of dethroning his brother. Upon
Hyrcanus's side were ranged the Pharisees, the people and the army. The
wife and children of Aristobulus had been imprisoned as hostages in
the citadel of Baris in Jerusalem. The brothers met at Jericho, each
at the head of his army. Hyrcanus was defeated and fled to Jerusalem,
the greater number of his troops going over to Aristobulus. The younger
brother attacked and took the Temple, where many of his opponents had
sought refuge. Hyrcanus was obliged to lay down his arms when he saw
that the invader was master of the sanctuary and the capital. The two
brothers met again, agreed upon making peace, and signed their covenant
in the Temple. Aristobulus, as the one more capable of ruling, was to
wear the royal crown, whilst Hyrcanus was to retain the high priest's
diadem. This agreement was ratified by the marriage of Aristobulus's
son Alexander to Alexandra, daughter of Hyrcanus.

Aristobulus II, who had attained royal dignity by a successful stroke
of arms, does not appear to have in any way excited the displeasure of
the Pharisees. The position of the two parties in Judæa now assumed a
different character, and they might have become extinct as parties, had
it not been for the advent of a man whose measureless ambition and
personal interest brought him to the fore, and who, together with his
family, became the vampire of the nation, sucking its noblest blood
away. This man was Antipater, the descendant of a distinguished Idumæan
family, who, in common with all other Idumæans, had been compelled by
John Hyrcanus to accept Judaism. Never had a mistaken action found its
punishment more surely and swiftly. The fanaticism of Hyrcanus I was
now to bring ruin upon his house and family. The wealth and diplomatic
talents of Antipater had raised him to the post of satrap of Idumæa
during the reign of Alexander Jannæus and of his queen. His courteous
acts and generous presents had won the affections not only of his
countrymen, but also those of the inhabitants of Gaza and Ascalon.

Hyrcanus II, who required a guide in his helplessness, bestowed his
confidence upon Antipater, who abused it, and exerted his influence
to his own advantage. The Idumæan lost no opportunity of reminding
Hyrcanus of the degrading part that he had had to play in having been
called to the throne only to relinquish it to his younger brother. So
successfully did Antipater work upon his feelings, making him believe
that Aristobulus was actually planning his death, that Hyrcanus
was tempted into breaking the covenant he had sworn to respect, by
calling in a foreign ruler to decide between the claims of the two
brothers. Antipater had laid his plans beforehand with Aretas, king
of the Nabathæans. He fled one night from Jerusalem, bearing Hyrcanus
with him, and arrived by forced marches at Petra, the capital of the
Nabathæan king. Aretas was ready to help Hyrcanus, having been richly
bribed by Antipater, and having the prospect of recapturing twelve
cities east and south of the Dead Sea, which had been bought so dearly
by the Hasmonæans. He marched, therefore, upon Judæa, with an army of
fifty thousand men, whose numbers were augmented by the followers of
Hyrcanus (66). Thus the peace which the nation had enjoyed for nearly
three years was disturbed for many a long day by the scheming ambition
of Antipater and the boundless folly of Hyrcanus.

Aretas laid siege to Jerusalem in the beginning of the spring. To
escape so deplorable a sight, many of the most distinguished Judæans
(probably some of the Pharisaic leaders amongst them) fled from the
capital to Egypt. The siege lasted for several months, the strong walls
of the city to a certain extent making up for the insufficient numbers
of Aristobulus's warriors. But provisions began to fail, and, what was
a far more serious consideration for the pious Judæans, the animals
necessary for sacrificial purposes, particularly for the coming Paschal
feast, were sensibly diminishing. But Aristobulus relied, and rightly
so, upon the piety of the Judæan besiegers, who would not dare refuse
the required victims for the altar. He ordered baskets to be lowered
each day from the walls, containing the price of the lambs that were
placed in the baskets, and were drawn up in return. But as the siege
dragged on, and as the end seemed far off, some counselor--we may
imagine that it was Antipater--advised Hyrcanus to hurry on the final
scene, and to desist from supplying the sacrificial lamb. The basket
that was lowered after this advice had been tendered was found to
contain, when received within the city walls, a pig. This insult to the
Law created a feeling of disgust amongst the besieged, and so deeply
affected them that subsequently the breeding of swine was forbidden by
the Synhedrion.

The adherents of Hyrcanus were guilty of yet another enormity. Amongst
those who had left the besieged city was a pious man called Onias, who
had once successfully prayed for rain in a drought. The soldiers of
Hyrcanus dragged him from his solitary retreat, and believing that
Heaven would again answer his prayer, commanded him to pronounce a
curse upon Aristobulus and his followers. But instead of giving vent
to a curse, the old man exclaimed with fitting dignity, "Lord of the
universe, as the besieged and the besiegers both belong to Thy people,
I entreat of Thee not to grant the evil prayers of either party." The
coarse soldiers could not understand the feelings that prompted such
words, and murdered him as if he had been a criminal. In this way they
thought they could silence the spirit of Judaism rising to protest
against this civil war. But although the mighty ones of the land defied
all right and proper feeling, the people were grievously distressed,
and believed that the earthquake and the hurricane that devastated
Palestine and other parts of Asia at that time were the visible signs
of Divine wrath.

But more terrible than earthquake or hurricane was the harbinger of
evil that appeared in Judæa, "the beast with iron teeth, brazen claws,
and heart of stone, that was to devour much, and trample the rest under
foot," which came to the Judæan nation, to drink its blood, to eat
its flesh and to suck its marrow. The hour had struck when the Roman
eagle, with swift flight, was to swoop down upon Israel's inheritance,
circling wildly round the bleeding nation, lacerating her with cruel
wounds and finally leaving her a corpse.

Like inexorable fate, Rome watched over the destinies of the people of
western Asia, plundering, dividing and destroying. Judæa was destined
to the same lot. The bird of prey scented its booty from afar with
astonishing precision, and hastened to put out the last spark of
life. It came to Judæa for the first time in the person of Scaurus, a
legate of Pompey. In leaving for Asia, Scaurus hoped to exchange an
insignificant position in his own country for a powerful one in foreign
lands. He had imagined that in Syria he might acquire wealth and
honor, but finding that country already in possession of other birds of
prey, he turned his attention to Judæa. There he was warmly welcomed
by the rival brothers, who looked upon him as an arbitrator in their
difficulties. They both sent ambassadors to meet him, and as they knew
that the Romans were not indifferent to gold, they took care not to
appear empty-handed before him. But Aristobulus's gifts prevailed; he
sent three hundred talents, whilst Hyrcanus, or more properly speaking
Antipater, gave little but promises. Roman interest accorded well with
the greed of Scaurus. The Republic, fearing the growth of his power,
began by insisting that the Nabathæan king should retire from the civil
war in Palestine; Scaurus was therefore able to command Aretas to raise
the siege of Jerusalem. Aretas complied, but was overtaken with his
army at Rabbath Ammon by the troops of Aristobulus and defeated.

For the moment Aristobulus might fancy that he was the victorious
monarch of Judæa. The direction that Roman statesmanship had taken,
and the slow, deliberate movements that the commander Pompey employed
against Mithridates, lulled him into the delusion that his monarchy
was one of lasting duration. A lover of war like his father, he began
immediately to make inroads into neighboring provinces, and also
organized a fleet for warlike purposes. For two years Aristobulus
nursed this vain dream, and he may even have wished to establish a show
of independence by ordering, during this interval, coins to be struck
in his name. But Antipater's inventive genius soon dissipated this
dream; for in the arts of bribery and diplomacy he was far superior
to Aristobulus. Antipater had already induced Scaurus to side with
Hyrcanus, and to win for him the favor of Pompey, who was at this time
gathering laurels in Syria. Pompey looked upon the quarrel between
the two brothers as an excellent means for adding another conquest
to his long lists of triumphs. Although Aristobulus had made him a
magnificent gift, valuable in point of art as of intrinsic merit, the
contest had not been brought to an end. This gift consisted of a golden
vine, bearing clusters of golden grapes and golden leaves, valued
at five hundred talents, and it had probably been designed by King
Alexander for the adornment of the Temple. This work of art aroused the
admiration of all those who saw it, and for that reason Pompey hastened
to send it to Rome, where it was placed in the Temple of Jupiter on
the Capitol, as the harbinger of his triumphs. But the pious Judæans,
naturally, would not allow their own sanctuary to be deprived of such
an ornament, and spontaneously made contributions, some for golden
grapes, others for golden leaves; so that another golden vine, in later
days, graced the outer court of the Temple.

Although Pompey's vanity was flattered by this magnificent present, he
was far from deciding in favor of the donor. He had the insolence to
command Antipater and Nicodemus, the two envoys of the rival brothers,
to bid their masters appear in person at Damascus, where the vexed
question should be discussed, and where he would decide in favor of one
of the two princes. In spite of the deep humiliation which each felt,
both Hyrcanus and Aristobulus appeared, and upheld their individual
claims; the one resting upon his rights of birth, the other upon his
capacity for governing. But a third party had also appeared before
Pompey, which was to represent the right of the nation apart from the
angry princes. Weary of the Hasmonæan quarrels, a republican party had
sprung up, which was ready to govern the Judæan community, according to
the letter of the Law, without an hereditary sovereign. The republicans
especially complained that the last of the Hasmonæans had changed the
Judæan form of government from a hierarchy to a monarchy, in order
to reduce the nation to servitude. Pompey, however, gave ear neither
to the murmurs of the republicans nor to the arguments of the two
brothers. It was not his intention to put an end to the strife; what
he desired was, in the guise of a peaceful arbitrator, to bring Judæa
under the Roman rule. He soon saw that the weak-minded Hyrcanus (under
the tutelage of a designing minister) would be better adapted for the
part of a ward of Rome than the daring Aristobulus, and he inwardly
determined to support the weaker prince. But as he feared that by
too rash a decision he would only be involved in a long contest with
Aristobulus in an inaccessible country, and that he would only delay
his triumphal entry into Rome, he endeavored to put off the younger
brother with empty promises. Aristobulus, however, saw through the
snare that was prepared for him, and determined to make sure of his
freedom whilst there was yet time. He, therefore, entrenched himself
in the citadel of Alexandrion, intending to oppose the invasion of the
enemy from the walls of the fortress. But Roman greed of conquest was
now to manifest itself in all its abhorrent nakedness.

The Roman commander was pleased to look upon this prince's justifiable
act of self-defense as evidence of insubordination, and to treat him
as an obstinate rebel. He crossed the Jordan at Bethshean, and taking
the field against Aristobulus, commanded him to surrender, following
up this command by a series of delusive promises and serious threats,
such as would have induced a more wily man to take a false step.
The unfortunate prince surrendered the fortress of Alexandrion, but
soon repenting of this folly, returned to entrench himself behind
the strong walls of the city of Jerusalem, whither Pompey followed
him. When the Roman commander arrived at Jericho he heard, to his
infinite satisfaction, of the suicide of Mithridates, the great and
dangerous enemy of the Roman State, and he felt that he had now only
to subdue Aristobulus before celebrating his triumphs in Rome. It
seemed as if this end would be easily attained; for Aristobulus,
impelled by fear, came penitently to the feet of Pompey, loading him
with presents, and promising to deliver Jerusalem into his hands. For
this purpose Aristobulus started for the capital, accompanied by the
legate Gabinius; but their advance was repelled by the patriots, who
closed the gates of Jerusalem upon them, and Pompey was compelled to
lead his army against the city. The Hyrcanists, or lovers of peace, as
they were called, opened their gates to the enemy; but the patriots
entrenched themselves upon the Mount of the Sanctuary, and destroying
the bridge that connected the Temple with the town, prepared for a
desperate defense. Pompey, much against his will, found that he was
involved in a regular siege, the Temple Mount being strongly fortified.
Then he sent to Tyre for his battering-rams, and ordered trees to be
felled for bridging over the moats. The siege lasted for a long while,
and might have continued still longer, had not the storming of the
fortress been rendered easier to the besiegers by the patriots' strict
observance of the Sabbath-day. In accordance with either a Pharisaic
or a Sadducæan rendering of the Law, the besieged declared that they
were permitted to resist an attack of the invaders on the Sabbath,
but that they were infringing upon the sanctity of that day if they
merely defended the walls from the enemy's onslaughts. As soon as the
Romans were aware of this distinction, they turned it to their own
advantage. They let their weapons rest on the Sabbath-day, and worked
steadily at the demolishing of the walls. Thus it happened that upon
one Sabbath, in the month of Sivan (June, 63 B. C.), a tower of the
Temple fell, and a breach was effected by which the most daring of the
Romans prepared a way for entering the Sanctuary. The legions of Rome
and the foreign mercenaries crowded into the court of the Temple, and
killed the priests as they stood sacrificing before the altar. Many of
the unfortunate victims threw themselves headlong from the battlements
into the depths below, whilst others lit their own funeral pyre. It
is believed that twelve thousand Judæans met their death upon this
day. Pompey then penetrated into the Sanctuary, in order to satisfy
his curiosity as to the nature of the Judæan worship, about which the
most contradictory reports prevailed. The Roman general was not a
little astonished at finding within the sacred recesses of the Holy of
Holies, neither an ass's head nor, indeed, images of any sort. Thus the
malicious fictions busily circulated by Alexandrian writers, and of a
character so prejudicial to the Judæans, were now shown to be false.
The entrance of the Roman conqueror into the Temple, though deplorable
enough, was in a way favorable to Judaism. Whether he was penetrated by
awe at the sublime simplicity of the Holy of Holies, or whether he did
not wish to be designated as the robber of sanctuaries, we know not;
but, wonderful to relate, Pompey controlled his greed for gold and left
the treasury, containing 2000 talents, untouched. But the independence
of the nation ceased forever from that hour. Exactly a century after
the Maccabees had freed their people from the tyranny of the Syrians,
their descendants brought down the tyranny of the Romans upon Judæa.

What did Hyrcanus gain by his supplication for aid from the Republic?
Pompey deprived him of his royal title, only leaving him the dignity
of the high priesthood, with the doubtful appellation of ethnarch, and
made him the ward of Antipater, who was named governor of the country.
The walls of Jerusalem were razed to the ground, Judæa put into the
category of conquered provinces, and a tax was levied upon the capital.
The territory was brought within narrower confines, and its extent
became once more what it had been in pre-Hasmonæan times. Several
seaports lying along the coast, and inhabited by Greeks, as well as
those trans-Jordanic towns which Hyrcanus and Alexander had conquered
after hard fighting, and had incorporated with Judæa, were declared
to be free towns by Pompey, and were placed under the guardianship
of the Roman governor of Syria. But these cities, particularly the
trans-Jordanic ones, joined together in a defensive and offensive
league, calling themselves the Decapolis. Pompey ordered the most
determined of his prisoners of war, the zealots, to be executed, whilst
the rest were taken to Rome. The Judæan prince, Aristobulus, his son
Antigonus, his two daughters, and his uncle Absalom were forced to
precede Pompey's triumphal car, in the train of the conquered Asiatic
kings and kings' sons. Whilst Zion veiled her head in mourning, Rome
was reveling in her victories; but the Judæan prisoners that had been
dragged to Rome were to become the nucleus of a community destined
to carry on a new kind of warfare against long-established Roman
institutions, and ultimately to modify or partly destroy them.

There were, without doubt, many Judæans living in Rome and in other
Italian cities before Pompey's conquests, who may have emigrated into
Italy from Egypt and Asia Minor for commercial objects. As merchants,
bringing grain from the Nile country, or tribute money from Asia Minor,
they may have come into contact with the Roman potentates. But these
emigrants could hardly have formed a regular communal organization, for
there were no authorized teachers of the Law amongst them. Probably,
however, some learned men may have followed in Pompey's train of
captives, who were ransomed by their compatriots, and persuaded
to remain in Rome. The descendants of these prisoners were called
according to Roman law _libertini_ (the freed ones). The Judæan quarter
in Rome lay upon the right bank of the Tiber, on the slope of Mount
Vatican, and a bridge leading across that river to the Vatican was
known for a long while by the name of the Bridge of the Judæans (Pons
Judæorum). Theodus, one of the Judæans settled in Rome, introduced
into his own community a substitute for the paschal lamb, which could
not be eaten outside of Jerusalem, and the loss of which was a bitter
deprivation to the exiles. This aroused the displeasure of the Judæans
in the home country, who wrote to Theodus: "If thou wert not Theodus,
we should excommunicate thee."

The Roman Judæans influenced, to a certain extent, the course of
Roman policy. For as the original emigrants, as well as the ransomed
captives, enjoyed the power of voting in public assemblies, they were
able at times, by their combined action on a preconcerted plan, by
their assiduity, by their temperate and passionless conception of the
situation, perhaps also by their keen intelligence, to turn the scale
upon some popular question. So important was their quiet influence
that the eloquent but intolerant Cicero, who had learned to hate the
Judæans from his master Apollonius Molo, was afraid on one occasion
to give vent to his anti-Judæan feelings in a public speech, for fear
of stirring them up against him. He had to defend the unjust cause of
a prætor Flaccus, who was accused of having been guilty of numerous
extortions during his government of the Asia Minor provinces. Amongst
other things, Flaccus had seized upon the votive offerings of the
Temple (_aurum Judæorum_) given by the community of Asia Minor--about
two hundred pounds of gold, collected by the Judæan inhabitants of
the towns of Apamea, Laodicea, Adramyttium, and Pergamus (62). In
order to justify his proceedings Flaccus cited a resolution of the
Senate, by which all exportation of money was forbidden from Roman
to foreign provinces; and although Judæa had been conquered by Roman
arms, yet she did not enjoy the honor of being enrolled amongst the
provinces of the Republic. The Roman Judæans were intensely interested
in this trial, and many of them were present among the populace. The
cowardly Cicero was so much afraid of them that he would have liked
to speak in a low tone in order to be heard by the Judges but not by
the Judæans. In the course of his defense he made use of an unworthy
piece of sophistry, which might have made an impression upon some
bigoted Roman, but which could hardly satisfy an intelligent mind. "It
requires great decision of character," he said, "to oppose the barbaric
superstitions of the Judæans and, for the good of our country, to show
proper contempt towards these seditious people, who invade our public
assemblies. If Pompey did not avail himself of a conqueror's rights,
and left the treasures of the Temple untouched, we may be sure he did
not restrain himself out of reverence for the Judæan sanctuary, but out
of astuteness, to avoid giving the suspicious and slanderous Judæan
nation an opportunity of accusing him; for otherwise he would hardly
have spared foreign, still less Judæan, sanctuaries. When Jerusalem was
unconquered, and when the Judæans were living in peace, they displayed
a deeply-rooted antipathy to the glory of the Roman State, to the
dignity of the Roman name, and to the laws of our ancestors. During the
last war the Judæan nation proved most effectually how bitterly they
hate us. How little this nation is beloved by the immortal gods is now
evident, as her country is conquered and leased out." What impression
this speech made upon the audience, and what decision was given to
Flaccus, are unknown. A year later Cicero was punished by a sentence of
banishment. He was not allowed to be seen within eighty miles of Rome,
and his villas were razed to the ground.

After Pompey's departure from Syria, the thraldom imposed upon
dismembered Judæa became more onerous than before, because she was left
in the anomalous condition of a partly conquered province and a partly
independent country. The powerful minister of Hyrcanus contributed to
make this condition lasting and oppressive. He endeavored to strengthen
his connection with Rome by munificent presents, trusting that the
Republic would support him, in spite of his unpopularity with the
Judæan people, who hated him as the cause of their subjection. With the
sweat from Judæa's brow he sustained the Roman commander Scaurus, who
had opened a campaign against the Nabathæan king, Aretas. Meanwhile
Alexander II, the eldest son of Aristobulus, escaping from captivity
and arriving in Judæa, gained the support of the patriots, and putting
himself at the head of fifteen hundred horse and ten thousand foot
soldiers, marched upon Jerusalem. Hyrcanus, or more properly speaking
his master Antipater, could not resist so great a force, and left the
capital to Alexander, who entered and had it fortified. The great
Roman power fought alternately upon either side, according to the
bribes that were offered its officials. Alexander felt so secure of
his position that he had coins struck with the following inscription
in Greek and Hebrew, "King Alexander and High Priest Jonathan." Aulus
Gabinius, however, the governor of Syria, and the most unscrupulous of
the Roman extortioners of his times, succeeded in ending this revolt
and in subduing Alexander. The death-stroke that awaited the latter was
only warded off by his mother, who, embracing the knees of the Roman
commander, entreated him to show mercy to her son.

Gabinius succeeded in weakening the unity of the Judæan State,
which had of late been so unworthily represented by the last of the
Hasmonæans, but the integrity of which had always been so jealously
watched over by the Great Council. Judæa was no longer to be an
independent State with self-governing and legislative powers over the
whole country, but was to be divided into five provinces, each having
its own independent Senate or Synhedrion for the control of home
affairs. These assemblies were held at specially appointed towns, at
Jerusalem, Gazara, Emmaus, Jericho, and Sepphoris; and Judæans selected
from the aristocratic party, who were well disposed towards Rome, were
placed at the head of these councils.

Although the fact of having dismembered the State testified in favor
of Gabinius's political insight, yet he deceived himself as regarded
the ultimate success of his plans. As the Synhedrion had grown out of
the innermost life of the whole nation and had not been forced upon it
by outside influences, it was no easy matter to break its centralizing
power. The new scheme of dividing Judæa into five provinces was hardly
introduced before it disappeared with Gabinius, leaving no trace of
its existence. The Great Council remained as before the heart of the
people, but its power was lessened by unfavorable circumstances. From
that time it was called the "Synhedrion," and to distinguish it from
the small Councils, the "Great Synhedrion." But it could not boast of
any political power, for that was now entirely in the hands of the
Romans. Simon ben Shetach, the celebrated president of the Council, was
succeeded by his two most distinguished disciples, Shemaya (Sameas)
and Abtalion (Pollion). We can trace the despairing sentiments of that
generation in some of their sayings which have been handed down to us:
"Love thy handicraft and shun governing; estrange thyself from worldly
power." "Be prudent in your words," said Abtalion to the law-framers;
"do not bring upon yourselves the penalty of exile, for your disciples
would have to follow you into a land full of ensnaring influences
(poisonous waters) which they would imbibe, and the sacred name of God
would be through them profaned." These two presidents of the Synhedrion
seem to have been Alexandrian Judæans, or at least they must have spent
some years of exile in Alexandria, perhaps with their master Judah ben

During their twenty-five years of official life (60-35), whilst the
political power of the Synhedrion was waning, their energy appears to
have been directed towards its inner or moral power. They assembled a
circle of eager disciples around them, to whom they taught the tenets
of the Law, their origin and application. They were indeed accredited
in after ages with so profound a knowledge of the Law, that to cite
Shemaya or Abtalion in support of an interpretation was considered
indisputable proof of its accuracy. One of their most distinguished and
most grateful disciples called them "the two great men of the era," and
the peculiarly careful study of the Law, for which the Pharisees became
so justly celebrated, may be said to have originated with them.

For some little time the history of Judæa contains nothing but accounts
of insubordination to Roman despotism and its unhappy consequences,
of scenes of oppression and robbery, and of acts of spoliation of the
Temple. Aristobulus, who had succeeded in escaping from Rome with his
son Antigonus, now appeared in Judæa. The rule of the Romans was of so
galling a character that Aristobulus, who had not been a favorite in
the old days, was now received with unbounded enthusiasm. Sufficient
arms could not be procured for the volunteers who flocked to his camp.
He was joined by Pitholaus, a Judæan commander, who had once served as
a general to Hyrcanus. Aristobulus placed himself at the head of 8000
men, and began immediately to regarrison the citadel of Alexandrion,
whence he hoped to exhaust the Romans by guerrilla warfare. But his
impatient temper led him into open battle, in which a large part of his
army was utterly destroyed, and the rest scattered. Still unsubdued,
Aristobulus threw himself with the remnant of his followers into the
citadel of Machærus, but at the approach of the Romans with their
battering-rams he was obliged to capitulate, and for the second time
was sent with his sons into captivity at Rome (56).

Another insurrection, organized by his son Alexander, who had obtained
his freedom from the then all-powerful Pompey, was doomed to come to
as disastrous a termination. Galled by the oppression of the Governor
of Syria, the inhabitants of that unfortunate country sent an army of
30,000 men to join Alexander. They commenced by killing all the Romans
who came in their way, Gabinius's troops not being strong enough to
oppose them. But the Governor craftily succeeded in detaching some
of Alexander's followers from his ranks, and then tempted the Judæan
prince into open battle. At Mount Tabor (in 55), the Judæans were
signally defeated.

Meanwhile the three most eminent men of Rome--Julius Cæsar,
distinguished by his brilliant sagacity, Pompey by his martial renown,
and Crassus by his boundless wealth--had agreed to break the power
of the Senate, and to manage the affairs of the State according to
their own will. The triumvirs began by dividing the fairest lands
into provinces, which they separately appropriated. Syria fell to
the share of Crassus, who was intensely avaricious in spite of his
vast riches. Judæa from this time on was annexed to Syria quite as a
matter of course. Crassus went out of his way, when marching against
the Parthians, to enter Jerusalem, being tempted thither by the rich
treasury of the Temple. He made no secret of his wish to seize upon
the two thousand talents that Pompey had spared. In order to satisfy
his greed, a pious priest, Eleazer, delivered up to him a solid bar
of gold, the existence of which, hidden as it was in a hollow staff
of curiously carved wood, had been unknown to the priests. Upon the
receipt of this gift, Crassus swore solemnly that he would spare the
treasury of the Temple. But when was a promise known to be binding
that was made by a Roman to a Judæan? He took the golden bar, the two
thousand talents, and all the golden vessels of the Temple, which were
worth another eight thousand talents (54). Laden with these and other
spoils of the Sanctuary, Crassus marched against the Parthians; but
the Roman arms had always failed to subdue this people. Crassus was
slain, and his army was so entirely disabled that his legate, Cassius
Longinus, returned to Syria with scarcely the tenth part of the army
of one hundred thousand men (53). The Parthians pursued the weakened
army, and the Syrians, weary of the Roman yoke, lent them secret aid.
To the Judæans this seemed an auspicious moment also for their own

It fell to Pitholaus to call the army together, which he led against
Cassius. Fortune, however, always deserted the Judæan arms when they
were turned against the Romans. Shut up in Tarichea on the lake of
Tiberias, the troops were obliged to surrender. Upon the urgent demand
of Antipater, Pitholaus was sentenced to death by Cassius, and thirty
thousand Judæan warriors were sold into slavery (52).

But the imprisoned Aristobulus looked forward once again to the hope
of placing himself upon his father's throne and of banishing Antipater
into obscurity. Julius Cæsar, the greatest man that Rome ever
produced, had openly defied the Senate, and broken with his associate
Pompey. The bitter strife between the two Roman potentates lit the
torch of war in the most distant provinces of the Roman empire. Cæsar
had given Aristobulus his freedom, and in order to weaken Pompey's
influence, had sent him with two legions to Palestine to create a
diversion in his favor. But the partisans of Pompey contrived to
poison the Judæan prince. His followers embalmed his body in honey
and carried it to Jerusalem, where it was buried beside the bodies
of the Hasmonæan princes. His eldest son, the gallant Alexander, was
decapitated by order of Scipio, a follower of Pompey, at Antioch. The
widow of Aristobulus and his surviving son Antigonus found protection
with Ptolemy, prince of Chalcis, whose son Philippion had fallen in
love with Alexandra, the daughter of Aristobulus, and had brought her
to his father's court. But Ptolemy, out of criminal love to his own
daughter-in-law, caused his son to be murdered and married the widow.

Antipater continued to be Pompey's faithful ally, until the Roman
general met with a miserable end in Egypt. Then the Idumæan offered
his services to Cæsar. When the great general found himself in Egypt,
without sufficient forces, without news from Rome, in the midst of a
hostile population, Antipater evinced a touching eagerness to help
him, which did not remain unrewarded. He provided the army of Cæsar's
ally, Mithridates, king of Pergamus, with all necessaries, and sent him
a contingent of Judæan troops; he aided him in conquering Pelusium,
and conciliated the Egyptian-Judæans who had taken the part of his
opponent. He was now well able to forego the favor of Hyrcanus. To no
effect did Antigonus, the last surviving son of Aristobulus, seek an
interview with Cæsar, in which he dwelt upon his father's and his
brother's loyalty to the Roman general; Antipater had but to display
his wounds, which he had received in the very last campaign, to gain
the victory over his rival. Cæsar, who was an astute reader of men,
and who had himself revolted from the legitimate order of things, knew
well enough how to value Antipater's loyalty and energy, and did not
support the rightful claims of Antigonus. Out of consideration for
Antipater (47), Hyrcanus was proclaimed high priest and ethnarch, and
to Judæa was given some relief from her burdens. The walls of Jerusalem
were rebuilt, the provinces that formerly belonged to Judæa, namely,
Galilee, the towns in the plains of Jezreel, and Lydda, were once
more made part of her territory. The Judæans were no longer forced to
provide winter quarters for the Roman legions, although the landowners
were obliged to give the fourth part of their harvest every second year
to the Roman troops.

Cæsar was altogether benevolent to the Judæans, and rewarded them for
their loyalty. To the Alexandrian Judæans he granted many privileges,
confirming their long-enjoyed equality with the Greeks, and permitting
them to be governed by a prince of their own (Ethnarch). Money was
again liberally provided for the Temple. Cæsar enabled the supplies to
reach their destination. He prevented the Greek inhabitants of Asia
Minor from molesting the Judæans of those provinces, from summoning
them before the courts of justice on the Sabbath, from interfering with
their public assemblages and the building of their synagogues, and in
general from disturbing them in their religious observances (47-44).
Cæsar must also have extended his generosity to the Judæan community in
Rome, for they evinced the warmest devotion to his memory.

But in spite of all these favors, the Judæan nation as a whole
remained cold and distant. The foreign communities of Judæans might
bless Cæsar as their benefactor, but the Palestinean Judæans could see
in him only the Roman, the patron of the hated Idumæan. So defiant was
the attitude of the nation that Antipater felt himself compelled to
threaten the disaffected with the triple wrath of Cæsar, of Hyrcanus
and of himself, whilst he promised liberal bounty to the obedient and
loyal Judæans. Meanwhile, a small body of men taken from the army of
Aristobulus had assembled under the command of Ezekias upon one of
the mountain heights of Galilee, where they only awaited an opportune
moment for raising the standard of revolt against Rome. The Romans,
it is true, only looked upon this little army as a band of robbers,
and upon Ezekias as a robber chieftain, but to the Judæans they were
the avengers of their honor and their freedom. For they were deeply
mortified that Antipater had placed the reins of government in the
hands of his sons, and that he cared only for the growing power of his
house. Of the four sons born to him by Kypros, the daughter of the King
of Arabia, he proclaimed Phasael, the eldest, Governor of Jerusalem and
Judæa, and the second, Herod, a youth of the age of twenty, Governor of

This prince was destined to become the evil genius of the Judæan
nation; it was he who brought her as a bound captive to Rome; it was he
who placed his feet triumphantly upon her neck. Like an ominous cloud
weighted down with misfortune, he seems from the very first to have
thrown a dark shadow upon the life of the nation, which, as it slowly
but surely advanced, quenched all light in the gathering darkness and
withered all growth, until nothing remained but a scene of desolation.
True to his father's policy, Herod began by basely flattering Rome
and by wounding the Judæan spirit. In order to gain favor with Cæsar,
and also to establish the security of his family, he undertook a
campaign against the followers of Ezekias; he captured the leader of
the band, and, without any trial or show of justice, sentenced him and
his followers to decapitation. Eager were the words of praise and of
thanks awarded to him by the Syrians and the Romans; he was called the
"Robber-subduer"; but whilst he was loaded with favors by Sextus Cæsar,
the Roman Governor of Syria, all true patriots mourned.

The bitter degradation which the people suffered at the hands of
this Idumæan family inspired some of the most distinguished Judæans
to lay before the weak-minded Hyrcanus the true state of their own
and of their High Priest's new position. They explained to him that
his dignity was but an empty name, that all real power lay with
Antipater and his sons. They pointed to the execution of Ezekias and
his followers as an act of gross contempt for the Law. These bitter
complaints would have had but little effect upon the weak Hyrcanus,
had not the mothers of the slain torn his heart with their cries of
anguish. Whenever he appeared in the Temple they threw themselves
before him and entreated him not to let the death of their sons remain

At last Hyrcanus permitted the Synhedrion to summon Herod before the
seat of justice. But Antipater did not fail to warn his son of the
terrible storm that was gathering over his head, and of the danger
of entering Jerusalem alone and unarmed; while at the same time he
cautioned him not to appear surrounded by too many troops, and so
arouse the suspicions of Hyrcanus. Herod appeared at the appointed
time, but with an armed escort, and with a letter from Sextus Cæsar,
making the king answerable for the life of the favorite. Thus the day
arrived for the great trial to which all the inhabitants of Jerusalem
were looking forward with feverish impatience. When the members of
the court had taken their places, the accused, clad in purple, with
aggressive demeanor, and escorted by his followers, appeared before
them. At this sight most of the accusers felt their courage fail
them; Herod's bitterest enemies looked downcast and shamefaced, and
even Hyrcanus was embarrassed. A painful silence ensued, during which
each man stood breathless. Only one member found words to save the
waning dignity of the Council, the President, Shemaya. Quietly and
calmly he spoke: "Is it not the intention of the accused to put us to
death if we pronounce him guilty? And yet I must blame him less than
the king and you, who suffer such contempt to be cast upon the Law.
Know, then that he, before whom you are all trembling, will one day
deliver you to the sword of the executioner." These words roused the
fainting courage of the judges, and they soon showed themselves to be
as determined as they had before appeared to be cowardly. But Hyrcanus
was afraid of their growing wrath, and commanded the Council to adjourn
the sitting. Meanwhile Herod withdrew from the anger of the people,
and was cordially received at Damascus by Sextus Cæsar, who proclaimed
him governor of Cœlesyria (46). Overwhelmed with honors, he was on the
point of wreaking his vengeance upon the king and the Council, when his
father and his brother Phasael urged him to milder measures. But he
silently nursed his revenge, determined to gratify it upon some future

The wide-spread disturbance occasioned by the murder of Cæsar (44)
involved Palestine in new troubles. The Roman Judæans justly were so
inconsolable at the death of this great man that they spent several
entire nights mourning beside the grave that contained his ashes. The
internal struggles, the bloody warfare, the constant proscriptions,
were but the labor-throes of Rome previous to the birth of a new
order of things; but for Judæa they were to a certain extent a fresh
attack of a fatal disease. The heads of the republican party supplanted
those of the Cæsarian party, but merely to be supplanted by them again
in a short time; and this was the case not only in Judæa, but in
various parts of the Roman empire. The republican, Cassius Longinus,
had arrived in Syria for the purpose of raising troops and money, and
demanded that Judæa should supply him with 700 talents. Cassius was in
desperate haste, for any moment might deprive him of the supreme power
with which he ruled at that time over persons and events in Syria. Thus
he threw the inhabitants of four Palestinean cities into chains and
sold them into slavery, because their contributions were not delivered
quickly enough.

The eyes of the unfortunate monarch, Hyrcanus, were opened at last to
the fact that the Idumæans were seeking only their own interest under
the cloak of warm partisanship for his cause. He began to be suspicious
in his dealings with them, and turned for support to a true and
faithful friend, Malich, who had long since recognized the duplicity
of the Idumæans. As yet Hyrcanus knew nothing of the fiendish plot by
which he was to be dethroned, and which was to raise Herod, by the
help of the Roman legions, to the throne of Judæa. But this rumor had
reached the ears of Malich. Determined to rid the king of the hated
Antipater, he contrived to poison him when he was feasting at a banquet
with Hyrcanus (43). In cutting at the root, he failed, however, to
destroy the growing evil, for Herod surpassed his father, not only in
determination and in audacity, but also in duplicity. He avenged the
death of Antipater by the assassination of Malich. All attempts to ruin
the Idumæan brothers were unsuccessful. Even when Herod fell suddenly
and grievously ill, Phasael was fortunate enough to subdue his enemies.
A plot conceived by Antigonus, the son of Aristobulus II, supported by
his kinsman Ptolemy of Chalcis, to deprive the Idumæans of their power,
failed likewise, and Herod compelled Hyrcanus to crown him with the
garland of victory when he made his entry into Jerusalem. As a means
of disarming this terrible and mighty prince, Hyrcanus tried to attach
him to his house, by betrothing him to his granddaughter Mariamne,
celebrated in history no less for her beauty than for her misfortunes.
The victim was to be bound to the executioner by the bonds of marriage,
and her own mother, Alexandra, helped to bring about this miserable

Fortune smiled so persistently upon the Idumæan that all changes in
the political world, however they might appear to damage his cause,
only gave him greater power. The republican army was completely
routed at Philippi (in 42), the leaders, Brutus and Cassius,
committed suicide, and the Roman world lay at the feet of the second
triumvirate--Octavius, Antony, and Lepidus. Herod and Phasael looked
upon these changes with a troubled eye; for had they not displayed
the warmest zeal for the opponents of the triumvirate? Besides this,
some of the Judæan nobles had hurried forth to meet the victor Antony
in Bithynia, carrying to him their complaints of the rapacity of
the Idumæan brothers. But Herod soon found the means to scatter the
clouds. He also appeared before Antony with a smooth tongue and ready
money. Antony did not fail to remember that he had formerly tasted of
Antipater's hospitality. He turned a deaf ear to the Judæan nobles, and
dismissed Herod with marks of favor. The voice of the nation, which
made itself heard through its ambassadors, was no longer heeded. Antony
sentenced some of the unfortunate envoys to be thrown into prison, and
others to be executed, whilst he proclaimed the two Idumæan brothers
governors of Judæa, with the title "Tetrarch."

At one time it seemed as if this constant good fortune were about to
desert the Idumæan brothers and to return to the Hasmonæan house. The
Parthians, stimulated by the fugitive Roman republican Labienus, had
made, under the command of their king's son Pacorus, and his commander,
Barzapharnes, an inroad into Asia Minor and Syria, whilst Mark
Antony was reveling at the court of the bewitching queen Cleopatra.
The Parthians, enemies of the Roman republic, were also violently
antagonistic to Herod and Phasael; they became doubly so on account of
their connection with Lysanias, the son of Ptolemy, who was related to
the house of Aristobulus, and who had promised great rewards to the
Parthian commanders if they would sweep the hated brothers out of the
way, dethrone Hyrcanus, and crown Antigonus. The Parthians agreed to
this scheme, and, dividing their army into two detachments, marched
by the sea-coast and the inland road upon Jerusalem. At every step
they were met and joined by Judæan troops, who outstripped them in
their haste to arrive at the capital. Upon entering Jerusalem they
besieged the Hasmonæan palace, and flocked to the Mount of the Temple.
The common people, in spite of being unarmed, supported the invaders.
The festival of Pentecost was at hand, and a crowd of worshipers from
all parts of Judæa were streaming into Jerusalem; they also declared
themselves in favor of Antigonus. The Idumæans held the palace and its
fortress, and the invaders, the city. Hyrcanus and Phasael were at last
persuaded by Pacorus, the king's cup-bearer, to go as envoys of peace
to the general, Barzapharnes, whilst Herod was closely watched. Upon
arriving at Ecdippa the two unfortunate ambassadors were thrown into
prison, where Phasael committed suicide, and where Hyrcanus had his
ears mutilated, in order to incapacitate him thereafter for holding his
priestly office. Plots were also laid to ensure the downfall of Herod,
but, warned by some faithful followers of his brother, he contrived to
escape from his palace at night. Accompanied by his bride Mariamne,
and by the female members of his family, he hurried to the fortress
Masada, which he left in command of his brother Joseph, retiring first
into Arabia, then into Egypt, and finally to Rome. He was followed by
the execrations of the people. Antigonus was now proclaimed king of
Judæa (the Parthians carrying off Hyrcanus to Babylon), and feeling
himself to be in truth a monarch, he had coins struck with his Hebrew
and Greek names: "Mattathias, High Priest, and the Commonwealth of the
Judæans," and also "King Antigonus." The Parthian auxiliary troops were
dismissed, and Antigonus destroyed the last of the Roman contingent
that still held some of the fortresses in Palestine. So Judæa was once
more freed from foreign soldiery, and could indulge in the sweet dream
of regained independence after thirty hard years of internal troubles
and terrible warfare.



    Weakness of Antigonus and Herod's Strength of
    Character--Contest for the Throne--Herod becomes
    King--Proscriptions and Confiscations--Herod's
    Policy--Abolition of the Hereditary Tenure of the High
    Priesthood--Death of the High Priest Aristobulus--War with
    the Arabians--The Earthquake--Death of the last of the
    Hasmonæans--Hillel becomes the Head of the Synhedrion--His
    System of Tradition--Menahem the Essene--Shammai and his
    School--Mariamne--Herod's Magnificence and Passion for
    Building--Herod rebuilds the Temple--Herod executes his Sons
    Alexander and Aristobulus--Antipater and his Intrigues--The
    Pharisees under Herod--The Destruction of the Roman
    Eagle--Execution of Antipater and Death of Herod.

    40.3 B. C. E.

It is certain that Judæa derived her greatness and independence rather
from the tact and foresight of the first Hasmonæans than from their
skill in arms; and in like manner she suffered humiliation and bondage
from the short-sightedness of the last Hasmonæan kings, who did not
understand how to make use of the advantages within their grasp. Events
were most favorable for Antigonus to acquire extended power. The Roman
leaders were violently opposed to one another. The provinces in the
east, unimportant in the eyes of Octavius, were looked upon by Antony
as the abode of luxury and pomp rather than as an arena for warlike
achievements. The soft arms of Cleopatra had made the rough couch of
the war-goddess distasteful to him. The Parthians, who hated the greed
of Rome, had valiantly repulsed her troops. Had Antigonus understood
how to keep alive the hatred of the people towards the Idumæan house,
the Romans themselves would have courted him as an ally instead of
shunning him as an enemy, so eager were they for assistance in staying
the progress of the Parthians. The mountain tribes of Galilee had
already declared in favor of Antigonus; and Sepphoris, one of their
cities, had been converted into an arsenal; besides, the caves of
Arbela sheltered numerous bands of freebooters, who might have proved
dangerous to the enemy's rear. But Antigonus was neither a statesman
nor a general. He did not know how to turn to account the varied
material which he had at hand. The whole of his strength was frittered
away upon trivial aims; his leading passion was the revenge which he
meditated against Herod and his brothers, and this retarded instead
of stimulating his activity. He did not know how to rise to the truly
royal height whence he could look down with contempt instead of with
hatred upon the Idumæan upstarts. During his reign, which lasted three
years and a half (40-37), he undertook nothing great or decisive,
although the Roman officers, who for the sake of appearances pretended
to support Herod, in point of fact usually occupied a neutral position.

Even amongst his own people Antigonus did not know the secret of
winning men of influence to his cause so that they would stand or fall
with him. The very leaders of the Synhedrion, Shemaya and Abtalion,
averse to Herod on account of his overwhelming audacity, were not
partisans of Antigonus. It is somewhat difficult to understand entirely
the reason of this aversion to the Hasmonæan king. Had Antigonus
professed allegiance to Sadducæan principles, or was there personal
jealousy between the representatives of the royal power and the
teachers of the Law? We are led to believe from one circumstance,
insignificant in itself, that the dislike originated from the latter
cause. It happened once, upon the day of Atonement, that the entire
congregation, according to custom, had followed the high priest,
Antigonus, at the close of the divine service, from the Temple to his
own residence. On the way they met the two Synhedrists, Shemaya and
Abtalion; they quitted their priest-king to form an escort for their
beloved teachers of the Law. Antigonus, vexed at this apparent insult,
expressed his displeasure to the Synhedrists by an ironical obeisance,
which they returned in the same offensive way. This unfortunate
variance with the most influential men, coupled with Antigonus's lack
of generalship and statecraft, brought misfortune upon himself, his
house and the nation.

His rival Herod, who possessed all those qualities in which he was
deficient, was a man of a different stamp. When fortune frowned upon
him for a time, he could always win back her smiles. His flight
from Jerusalem had been so desperate for him that at one moment he
contemplated suicide. His design to make an ally of the Nabathæan king
failed. He wandered through the Judæan-Idumæan desert, an outcast and
penniless, but yet unbroken, and revolving far-reaching schemes. He
turned to Egypt; there Cleopatra offered to make him general of her
army, but he refused, for he still clung to the hope of wearing the
crown of Judæa. He took ship for Rome, and after being tempest-tossed
and narrowly escaping shipwreck, he arrived at his destination at the
favorable moment when Octavius and Antony had once more agreed upon
the Brundisian treaty. He found no difficulty in persuading Antony
that he could render him great service in repulsing the Parthians, and
he convinced him that Antigonus, raised to the throne of Judæa by the
Parthians, would always be an implacable enemy to the Romans. Antony
was completely deceived by the craft and subtlety of Herod. He spoke
favorably of him to Octavius, who dared not refuse him anything. Thus
within seven days, Herod succeeded in having the Senate proclaim him
King of Judæa, and Antigonus pronounced an enemy of Rome (40). This
was the second death-blow that Rome had dealt the Judæan nation, in
delivering her up to the mercy of an alien, a half-Judæan, an Idumæan,
who had his own personal insults to avenge. Judæa was forced to submit,
and in addition to pay tribute-money to Rome.

Herod, seeing that his ambition was to be crowned with success, now
left Antony (who had loaded him with honors), in order to assume the
royal title conferred upon him. He left Rome and arrived at Acco (39).
He was supplied with sums of money by various friends, and especially
by Saramalla, the richest Judæan in Antioch. With these moneys he hired
mercenaries and subdued a great part of Galilee. He then hastened
southwards, to relieve the fortress of Masada, where his brother Joseph
was hard pressed by the friends of Antigonus. This struggle was of long
duration, as the Romans were unwilling to take an active part in the
contest. Herod felt the necessity of appearing in person in Antony's
camp, which at that moment was pitched before Samosata, there to plead
his own cause. Partly in return for the services he rendered to the
Roman commander upon this occasion, and partly through his persuasive
powers, he induced Antony to send Sosius, one of his generals, at
the head of two legions, to resolutely carry on the contest against
Antigonus, and to establish upon the throne the king selected by Rome.

This war was carried on by Herod with implacable severity. Five cities
in the neighborhood of Jericho, with their inhabitants to the number
of 2000, who had sided with Antigonus, he ordered to be burnt. In the
following spring (37), he commenced the siege of Jerusalem. Previous
to this, he celebrated in Samaria, with hands stained with the blood
of its inhabitants, his nuptials with Mariamne, to whom he had now for
several years been betrothed.

As soon as Sosius had advanced into Judæa with a large army of Roman
infantry, cavalry and Syrian mercenaries, the siege of Jerusalem was
pressed. The besieging army numbered one hundred thousand men. They
built ramparts, filled up the moats, and prepared their battering-rams.
The besieged, though suffering from want of food, defended themselves
heroically. They made occasional sorties, dispersed the workmen,
destroyed the preparations for the siege, built up a new wall, and
harassed the besiegers to such an extent that after one month's
labor they had not advanced to any extent in their work. But the two
Synhedrists, Shemaya and Abtalion, raised their voices against this
opposition, and recommended their countrymen to open their gates to

This division of purpose amongst the besieged, combined with the
attacks of the invaders, may have hastened the fall of the northern
wall, which took place at the end of forty days. The besiegers rushed
into the lower town and into the outworks of the Temple, while the
besieged, with their king, fortified themselves in the upper town and
on the Temple Mount. The Romans were occupied during another fortnight
with the storming of the south wall. On a Sabbath evening, when the
Judæan warriors were least expecting an attack, a portion of the wall
was taken, and the Romans rushed like madmen into the old part of the
city and into the Temple. There, without distinction of age or sex,
they slaughtered all who came in their way, even the priest beside his
sacrifice. By a strange fatality, Jerusalem fell on the anniversary
of the day on which, twenty-seven years previously, the Temple had
been taken by Pompey. It was hardly possible for Herod to restrain his
savage soldiery from plundering and desecrating the holy spot, and it
was only by giving costly gifts to each soldier that he prevented the
entire destruction of Jerusalem. Antigonus was thrown into chains and
sent to Antony, who, upon Herod's persistent entreaties, and contrary
to all custom and usage, had him tortured and then ignobly beheaded.
This disgraceful treatment excited the opprobrium even of the Romans.

Herod, or, as the people called him, the Idumæan slave, had thus
reached the goal of his lofty desires. His throne, it is true, rested
upon ruins and upon the dead bodies of his subjects; but he felt that
he had the power to maintain its dignity, even if it were necessary to
carry a broad river of blood round its base. The bitter hatred of the
Judæan people, whose ruler he had become without the slightest lawful
title, was nothing to him as compared with the friendship of Rome and
the smile of Antony. His line of action was clearly marked out for him
by the situation of affairs: he had to cling to the Romans as a support
against the ill-will of his people, and meet this ill-will by apparent
concessions, or control it by unrelenting severity. This was the policy
that he followed from the first moment of his victory until he drew
his last breath. During all the thirty-four years of his reign he
followed this line of policy, cold and heartless as fate, and entailing
the most terrible consequences. Even in the first confusion attendant
upon the conquest of the Temple Mount, he had not lost his coolness
and vigilance, but had ordered his satellite Costobar to surround the
exits of Jerusalem with his soldiery, and thus to prevent the escape
of the unfortunate fugitives. The followers of Antigonus were slain
in large numbers, many amongst them being of the most distinguished
families. Herod did not forget old grievances. The Synhedrists, who
twelve years previously had decreed his death, were killed to a man,
with the exception of Abtalion and Shemaya, who had been hostile
to Antigonus. He seized the property of those whom he executed or
otherwise condemned for the royal treasury; for this worthy pupil of
Roman masters was fully alive to the advantages of proscription and
confiscation. He passed over the Hasmonæan house in selecting a high
priest, and chose a certain Ananel, a descendant of Aaron, but not
of high-priestly family, for that office. He declared that his own
was an old Judæan family which had returned from Babylonia, wishing
in this way to obliterate the fact that he was descended from an
Idumæan ancestor who had been forced to accept Judaism. The natives
of Jerusalem, who had a good memory for his true extraction, did not
indeed lend an ear to this invention, but foreign Judæans and heathens
may perhaps have been deceived by it. His confidential friend and
historian, Nicolaus of Damascus, relates this fiction as coming from
his own lips. At the death of Shemaya and Abtalion, the presidents of
the Synhedrion were chosen from a Babylonian-Judæan family, that of
Bene Bathyra.

Two persons still existed who might prove dangerous to Herod: an old
man and a youth--Hyrcanus, who had once worn the crown and the priestly
diadem, and his grandson Aristobulus, Herod's brother-in-law, who had
claims upon both the royal and the priestly dignity. Herod could not
devote himself to the calm enjoyment of his conquest until these two
should be powerless. Hyrcanus, it was true, who had fallen captive to
the Parthians, had been mutilated by them, and was therefore unfit to
resume his priestly office; but his captors had generously granted
him freedom, and the aged monarch had been joyfully and reverentially
welcomed by the community of Babylonian Judæans. In spite of the
devotion which he received from these people, Hyrcanus had an intense
longing to return to his native land, and Herod was afraid that he
might induce the Babylonian Judæans or the Parthians to take up his
cause and help him regain his throne, from which the latter had torn
him. Anxious to avert this danger, Herod bethought himself of taking
Hyrcanus from Parthian influence and of bringing him under his own
power. It was thus that the aged monarch received a pressing invitation
to Jerusalem to share the throne and the power of king Herod, and
to receive the thanks of the Idumæan for past acts of kindness that
Hyrcanus had shown him. Vainly did the Babylonian Judæans warn the
credulous prince not to let himself be drawn a second time into the
eddy of public life; he hurried to his doom. Herod received him with
every mark of respect, and gave him the place of honor at his table and
in the Council, masking his treachery so completely that Hyrcanus was
entirely deceived. He was unarmed and powerless in a golden cage.

But more dangerous to Herod seemed his young brother-in-law
Aristobulus, the only brother of Mariamne, who, on account of his
lineage, his youth, and his surpassing beauty, had attracted the love
and devotion of all his people. Herod, in debarring him from the
dignity of high priest, imagined that he had successfully destroyed his
influence. But this was not so. Alexandra, the mother of Mariamne and
Aristobulus, as well versed in intrigue as Herod himself, had succeeded
in obtaining Antony's favor for her son. She had sent the portraits of
her children, the most beautiful of their race, to the Roman triumvir,
believing his weak nature might be worked upon most favorably through
the senses. Antony, in truth, struck by the portraits, requested to
see Aristobulus. But Herod, in order that this meeting should not
take place, suddenly proclaimed the young Hasmonæan high priest, and
Ananel was deprived of this dignity. But Alexandra was far from being
satisfied, for she was secretly determined that her son should also
wear the crown which his ancestors had worn. Herod, fully alive to his
peril, was all the more determined to rid himself of this dangerous
youth. Aristobulus had already gained the heart of the people, and
whenever he appeared in the Temple, every eye hung upon his noble and
perfect form, every glance seemed to avow that the Judæans were longing
to see this last scion of the Hasmonæan house seated upon the royal
throne. Herod durst not act with open violence against his rival, who
was looked upon with special favor by Queen Cleopatra, but as usual
he resorted to treachery. He invited Aristobulus to Jericho, and bade
his followers dispatch the youth whilst he was disporting in the bath.
Thus died, at the early age of seventeen, Aristobulus III., the last
male representative of the Hasmonæan house. Herod then reappointed his
puppet Ananel as high priest. It was vain for the Idumæan to affect
deep grief at the death of his young brother-in-law, it was vain for
him to throw sweet perfume upon his body; all the relations and friends
of the murdered Hasmonæan accused Herod in their hearts of his death,
although their lips gave no utterance to their thoughts.

But this crime brought its own bitter punishment with it, and made
Herod's whole life one long tale of misery. The agony of remorse that
might have wrought some change upon a less hardened nature was not
felt, but only an ever-increasing suspicion towards those of his own
household, which urged him to heap crime upon crime, to murder his
nearest relatives, even his own children, until he became at last the
most terrible example of a sin-laden existence. Alexandra, who had
staked her ambitious hopes upon the coronation of her son, and who
now found herself so cruelly deceived, did not hesitate to accuse
Herod before Cleopatra of the murder of Aristobulus. This queen, whose
passions were uncontrolled, and who looked with an envious eye upon
Herod's newly acquired kingdom, took advantage of his crime to make
its author appear odious in the eyes of Antony. Herod was summoned to
Laodicea. Trembling for his life, the vassal king obeyed the summons,
but succeeded in ingratiating himself so thoroughly by costly gifts and
by carefully chosen yet eloquent words, that not only was the death of
Aristobulus overlooked, but he was distinguished by marks of esteem,
and sent back to Jerusalem, full of happy self-confidence. He lost,
however, one precious pearl from his crown. The far-famed district of
Jericho, celebrated for its wealth of palm-trees and its highly-prized
balsam, had been given by Antony to Cleopatra, and Herod was forced to
accept two hundred talents in lieu as tribute-money from the queen. He
could, however, rest well satisfied with this loss, when comparing it
with the danger from which he had escaped.

On the threshold of his palace, however, the demon of discord awaited
him, ready to fill his whole being with despair. On the eve of his
departure he had entrusted his wife Mariamne to the care of Joseph,
the husband of his sister Salome, and had given him the secret command
that, in case of his falling a victim to Antony's displeasure, Joseph
should murder both Mariamne and Alexandra. Love for his beautiful wife,
whom he could not bear to think of as belonging to another, added to
hatred of Alexandra, who should not triumph in his death, prompted
this fiendish resolve. But Joseph had betrayed his secret mission to
Mariamne, and had thus plunged another dagger into the heart of that
unhappy queen. When a false report of Herod's death became current in
Jerusalem, Mariamne and her mother prepared to put themselves under
Roman protection. Herod's sister Salome, who hated both her husband
Joseph and her sister-in-law Mariamne, made use of this fact to
calumniate them upon her brother's return, accusing them of a mutual
understanding and undue intimacy. Herod at first turned a deaf ear to
this calumny, but when Mariamne disclosed to her husband, amidst tears
of indignation, that Joseph had confessed his secret mission to her,
then the king's wrath knew no bounds. Declaring that he fully believed
his sister's accusations, he beheaded Joseph, placed Alexandra in
confinement, and would have had Mariamne slain, had not his love for
his queen surpassed even his rage. From that day, however, the seeds of
distrust and hatred were sown in the palace, and they grew and spread
until one member of the royal family after another met with an untimely
and violent death.

Outwardly, however, fortune appeared to smile upon Herod, carrying him
successfully over the most difficult obstacles in his path. Before the
sixth year of his reign had ended, threatening clouds began to gather
over his head. A surviving sister of the last Hasmonæan king Antigonus
had arisen as the avenger of her brother and his race, and had, in some
way or other, possessed herself of the fortress of Hyrcanion. Herod
had hardly disarmed this female warrior before he was threatened by a
more serious danger. Cleopatra, who had always hated the Judæans, and
who had been most ungenerous to that community in Alexandria during a
year of famine, had again attempted to effect Herod's ruin by awakening
Antony's displeasure against him. Afraid of this violent and yet crafty
queen, and alarmed at the hatred of his own people, who were longing
for his downfall, Herod determined upon preparing some safe retreat,
where his life would at all events be secure from his enemies. He chose
for this purpose the fortress of Masada, which nature had rendered
almost impregnable, and which he fortified still more strongly. But
Cleopatra was already devising another scheme for the downfall of
her enemy. She succeeded in entangling him in a war with Malich, the
Nabathæan king, and thus endeavored to bring about the ruin of two
equally hated monarchs. But Herod gained two decisive victories over
the Nabathæans, which alarmed Cleopatra, and caused her to send her
general Athenion to the aid of Malich. The Judæan army sustained a
terrible defeat, and Herod was beaten back across the Jordan. This
disaster was followed by an earthquake, which alarmed and dispirited
the Judæan troops to such an extent that they lost all courage and
were almost powerless before the enemy. But Herod, with true genius,
succeeded in rousing his people, and in leading them victoriously
against the Nabathæans. Malich was forced to become the vassal of the
Judæan king.

Hardly, however, was peace restored before a storm arose that
threatened to shake the Roman world to its very depths and to destroy
the favorite of the Roman generals. Ever since that day when Rome and
her vast possessions lay at the feet of the triumvirs, who hated each
other cordially, and each one of whom wished to be sole ruler of the
state, the political atmosphere had been charged with destructive
elements that threatened to explode at any given moment. Added to this,
one of the three leaders was completely under the sway of the dissolute
and devilish Queen Cleopatra, who had set her heart upon becoming
mistress of Rome, even though this should entail the devastation of
whole countries by fire and by sword.

It was during this highly excited period that a Judæan author foretold,
in beautiful Greek verse, written in the form of a sibylline prophecy,
the coming destruction of the Roman-Greek state, and the reign of
Belial, who would decoy the unhappy ones to their final destruction;
but this Judæo-Greek seer also heralded the coming of a glorious
Messiah. An era of crime had certainly begun, and a Belial had appeared
in the person of the half-Judæan Herod, but as yet no Messianic dawn of
better things was apparent.

With the declaration of war between Octavius and Antony, a fierce
strife broke out between the Western and the Eastern provinces of
Rome; it was Europe against Asia--a war of nations. But it came to a
sudden end with the fall of Antony in the battle of Actium (31). This
blow struck Herod severely; neither he nor his friends doubted for one
moment that he would be submerged in the ruin of his protector, for
he had been closely allied to Antony. He was prepared for the worst,
but he determined not to be outlived by the aged Hyrcanus, by his wife
Mariamne, or by his mother-in-law Alexandra. He accused Hyrcanus of
having conspired with the Nabathæan king, and ordered the innocent
monarch to be executed. Mariamne and Alexandra he placed under the
guardianship of the Ithuræan Soem in the fortress of Alexandrion. Herod
then prepared to present himself before the conqueror, Octavianus
Cæsar, and if he met with his death, as was most probable, Mariamne and
her mother were to be instantly murdered.

On the eve of Herod's departure, he found himself compelled to make
some change in the Synhedrion, and to appoint the Babylonian Hillel,
a man unknown until then, as one of the presidents. This gave a new
direction to the spirit of Judaism, which has affected that faith
down to the present. Hillel, born about the year 75, traced back his
descent, on his mother's side, to the house of David. Although his
lineage was a distinguished one, he was living in needy circumstances,
and was supported by his rich brother, Shebna. He probably accompanied
Hyrcanus on his return from Babylon to Jerusalem, and became one of the
most devoted disciples of the Synhedrists, Shemaya and Abtalion, whose
traditional lore he endeavored to transmit literally and faithfully.

Hillel was particularly distinguished for his winning, dove-like
gentleness, his intense love of humanity, which arose from his own
humility, and from his deep faith in others, and lastly, for that
perfect equanimity proceeding from his profound trust in God, that
never wavered in the midst of trouble. In later ages he was revered as
the ideal of modesty and gentleness. When he was once asked to express
the essence of Judaism in one sentence, he uttered this golden maxim:
"Do not unto others what thou wouldst not have done unto thyself.
This is the principal commandment: all others are the development
of that one." If strife and dissension arose, Hillel was invariably
the peacemaker. His beneficence knew no bounds, and he had that rare
delicacy of feeling which never humiliates the recipient by the gift,
but which rather helps him to maintain his self-respect. His faith in
God raised him triumphantly above every fear. All the members of his
household were imbued through his example with the same faith; so much
so that once, upon entering the town and hearing a cry of distress,
he was able confidently to remark, "That cry cannot have proceeded
from my house." Hillel has bequeathed a greater number of maxims to us
than any of his predecessors. We read amongst them the following: "If
I were not to care for myself (my soul), who would do so for me? If I
care for myself alone, what can I effect? If not now, when then?" "Be
of the disciples of Aaron, love peace, seek peace, love mankind, thus
lead them to the Law." Impressed by the sublime mission of Israel, that
of maintaining and teaching the pure belief in one God, he exclaimed
at one of the festivals in the Temple: "If I (Israel) am here, then
is everything here; if I should be wanting, who would be here?" The
doctrines of Judaism were so profoundly revered by him that his
indignation was roused whenever they were used as stepping-stones to
the schemes of the ambitious. "He who wishes to raise his name, lowers
it; he who does not seek the Law, does not deserve to live. He who
does not progress in learning, retrogrades; he who uses the crown of
the Law for his own ends, perishes."

Hillel became in after years the very ideal of his co-religionists.
The impetus given by him to the development of doctrinal Judaism marks
an epoch in the history of that faith. He greatly enriched the mass of
the traditional lore that he had imbibed from the Synhedrists, Shemaya
and Abtalion. But far more important was his logical derivation of the
statutes of the Law observed in his time. He traced them back to their
first principles, and raised them out of the narrow circle of tradition
and mere custom to the height of reason. The traditional law, according
to Hillel, carries within itself its justification and binding power,
it does not depend on authority alone. Thus, to a certain extent, he
paved the way to a reconciliation between Pharisees and Sadducees by
placing before them the principles common to both, from which neither
of them could withhold their assent. On the one hand, Hillel agreed
with the Sadducæan principle, that a law can only be valid if founded
upon scriptural authority; but, on the other hand, he declared that
this authority did not merely lie in the dead letter, but was also to
be derived from the general spirit of the scriptural writings. After
this demonstration by Hillel, no dispute amongst the schools could
arise as to the binding power of traditional law. By the introduction
of seven rules, or Middoth, the oral law could be imbued with the same
weight and authority as that actually contained in the Scriptures.
Through these seven rules the oral law assumed quite a different
aspect; it lost its apparently arbitrary character; it became more
universal and reasonable in its tendency, and might be looked upon as
originating from Holy Writ itself.

These explanatory rules were, moreover, intended not only to justify
the oral law, but also to lay down instructions how to amplify the
laws, and how to meet unforeseen cases of difficulty. At first they
appear to have been unfavorably received. It is expressly narrated
that Hillel introduced them at a council of the Bathyrene Synhedrion,
but that assembly may either have misinterpreted them or have disputed
their expediency. In the meantime an opportunity presented itself
of having recourse to these explanatory rules, for a question was
raised, the solution of which deeply excited the whole nation, and
to this opportunity Hillel owed the dignified position of President
of the Synhedrion. The eve of the festival on which the Paschal
Lamb was to be sacrificed occurred on the Sabbath, a most unusual
event at that time, and the Bathyrene Synhedrion could not throw any
light upon the disputed question, whether it was permitted or not to
sacrifice the Paschal Lamb on the Sabbath Day. Hillel, whose ability
must have attracted the attention of the discerning before, had
taken part in the discussion, and had proved that according to the
explanatory rules, the Pesach, or Paschal Sacrifice, like every other
whole offering, supersedes the Sabbath. The debate became heated, the
mass of the people being warmly interested in the celebration of the
festival. Expressions of approval and censure for Hillel were freely
uttered. Some cried, "We have to look to the Babylonians for the best
information"; others ironically asked, "What good can we expect from
the Babylonians?"

From that day Hillel's name became so popular that the Bathyrene
Synhedrists resigned their offices--whether of their own free will,
or because they were forced to do so by the people, is not known--and
conceded the Presidency to Hillel himself (about 30). Hillel, far from
being proud of his exalted position, expressed himself as dissatisfied,
and angrily reproved the Synhedrists. "Why is it," he asked, "that I,
an insignificant Babylonian, became President of the Synhedrion? Only
because you have been too indolent to heed the teachings of Shemaya and
Abtalion." Herod does not seem to have made any objection to the choice.

One of the statutes which Hillel had introduced was of general
interest, and proved that he had true insight into affairs of life.
In the Sabbatical year all debts were by law canceled. At the time
when the state was a republic based upon moral laws, this was a wise
measure for equalizing property; but at a later period, when capital
became a power in itself, the rich were not willing to relieve their
less wealthy neighbors from their difficulties by giving them loans. On
this account Hillel, without entirely abrogating the law which already
existed, ruled that the creditor should give over the debt in writing
to the Court, so that the Court might collect it, and the creditor be
relieved from the necessity of violating the law. This timely statute,
equally advantageous to debtor and creditor, was called by the Greek
word _Prosbol_, because the debt was given over to the Council of the

At Herod's particular desire, the second place of honor, that of
Deputy of Hillel, was given to the Essene Menahem, to whom the king
showed great partiality. The cause of this attachment was as follows
(at least so the tale ran in later days): Menahem, by means of the
prophetic power ascribed to the Essenes, had foretold during his
childhood that Herod would one day be king in Jerusalem, and that his
reign would be a brilliant one, but that he would fail in piety and
justice. That which had appeared incredible to the youth recurred to
the man when he wore the regal crown. But Menahem appears not to have
found his office congenial, and soon withdrew in favor of Shammai,
whose characteristics, opposed in many ways to those of Hillel, in
reality supplemented them. Shammai was probably by birth a Palestinean,
and therefore much interested in all the political and religious
controversies of his native land. His religious views were strict to
a painful extreme. But Shammai was not of a gloomy or misanthropical
disposition; indeed, he encouraged friendliness in demeanor towards
every one. This is indicated by the maxim which has come down to us,
"Let your work in the Law be your principal occupation; speak little,
but do much, and receive all men with a friendly countenance."

The two Synhedrists, Hillel and Shammai, founded two separate
schools, opposed to each other in many religious, moral, and legal
questions, which, with their different tendencies, exerted a powerful
influence, during the subsequent unsettled and warlike times, upon
events of historical importance. Herod had no conception of the forces
antagonistic to his house that were quietly developing within the
seclusion of these schools.

With a trembling heart he had presented himself at Rhodes before
Octavianus Cæsar, who, since the defeat of Antony at Actium, was sole
master of the Roman provinces. He, so haughty in his own country,
appeared in meek and lowly guise at the footstool of the mighty ruler,
yet not without a certain manly resolution. In his interview with
Octavianus, Herod did not in any way conceal the position he had held
with relation to Antony; but he took care to dwell upon the fact of his
having refrained from aiding Antony after his defeat at Actium, thereby
intimating to Octavianus what use he might make of the devotion and
zeal which Herod was prepared to transfer from the cause of Antony to
that of his conqueror. Octavianus was neither noble enough to despise
so venal a man, nor did he feel secure enough to do without him.

So he graciously encouraged the pleading Herod, bade him array himself
as before in royal robes, and sent him back to his own country laden
with honors (30). Herod found no difficulty in becoming as loyal a
partisan of Octavianus as he had been for twelve long years of Antony.
During the campaign of the second Cæsar against Egypt, he was met at
Acco by Herod bearing rich presents, and the Judæan king supplied
the Roman army with water and with wine during their march through
an arid country. It is possible that Antony may have heard, before
he put an end to his life, that Herod's loyalty was not founded on a
rock. Herod had also the malicious joy of knowing that his persistent
enemy, Cleopatra, who had failed to fascinate the conqueror by her
attractions, had nothing left but to seek death. The Alexandrian
Judæans, who had suffered from her hatred, shared Herod's feelings.
For, but a short time previous to her death, this terrible woman had
longed to assassinate with her own hands the Judæans who were living in
the capital of Egypt, and who were devoted to the cause of Octavianus.
The Egyptian Judæans were rewarded for their devotion by an official
recognition of their equality with the rest of the inhabitants; in
fact, Octavianus had such confidence in their loyalty that he placed
the harbors of the Nile and of the sea under the control of the Judæan
Alabarchs, who had held that office under former Egyptian monarchs.
This was a special mark of favor, for the possession of Egypt, the
Roman granary, and particularly of the harbor of Alexandria, was so
precious to the first emperor of Rome that no Senator dared approach
that country without the imperial permission. When the Alabarch who
was then in office died, Octavianus allowed his successor to be chosen
by the Alexandrian Judæans, and granted him all the rights of his
predecessors. Whilst he governed the Greek Alexandrians with extreme
severity on account of their depravity, their untrustworthiness and
their love of sedition, and kept them strictly under his own rule, he
appointed a Judæan Council to assist the Alabarchs or Ethnarchs. The
Judæan community was thus governed by one of its own race, who decided
all the judicial questions and provided for the carrying out of all
imperial commands and behests.

Octavianus also granted to the numerous Judæans who were settled
in Rome, the Libertini, if not extraordinary privileges, at least
the right of observing their own religious customs, and thus set a
worthy example to his successors. The Judæans were allowed to build
synagogues, where they worshiped according to their rites; they were
also permitted to transmit their yearly contributions to the Temple in
Jerusalem, although, in general, it was forbidden to send large sums
out of Rome. The Roman Judæans also received their due portion of the
grain that was distributed amongst the population. If the distribution
happened to take place on a Sabbath, their portion was allotted to them
on the following day. These were the orders of the emperor.

Octavianus made over to Herod the splendid body-guard of Cleopatra,
numbering four hundred Gauls, and he placed under his jurisdiction
several seaports that had been torn from Judæa, as well as the
territory of Jericho. Samaria, as also Gadara and Hippos in
trans-Jordanic territory, were also incorporated with Judæa. The area
of the kingdom was now identical with what it had been before the
civil war between the royal brothers and the first intervention of the
Romans; but different, indeed, were the circumstances under which she
had regained her possessions! Probably it was due to Herod's boundless
sycophancy to Rome that sacrifices were now regularly offered up for
the welfare of the Cæsars, Augustus and his consort presenting in
return golden vessels for the use of the Temple.

Herod was now at the very zenith of his power; the untoward fortune
that he had feared had not only been averted, but had actually
assisted in exalting him. He was not, however, to enjoy his good
fortune; the terrible consequences of his crimes clung to his footsteps
and changed his cup of happiness into one of gall. In the narrow circle
of his own home a tragedy was about to be enacted, far more terrible
than could have been conceived by the imagination of a poet. Mariamne,
who, as well as her mother Alexandra, had been in close confinement
during the king's absence, had elicited from her gaoler Soem the fact
that she would not have been permitted to outlive Herod. Upon the
king's return she made no secret of her hatred for him, and when he
spoke to her in words of tenderness and affection, she taunted him with
the murders of her brother, her grandfather and many others of her
relatives. Herod's heart was torn by the love he bore to this beautiful
woman and by the wrath he felt at her persistent enmity to his person
and his power. Whilst still a prey to these conflicting feelings he
was only too ready to lend a willing ear to the malicious inventions
of his sister Salome, who assured him that his cup-bearer had been
bribed by Mariamne to poison him. During the investigation that ensued
it transpired that Soem had disclosed his secret instructions to
the queen, and this treachery on the part of a confidential servant
let loose a host of wild passions within Herod's breast. Soem was
decapitated on the spot. Whilst still moved by his ungovernable rage,
Herod summoned a council, before whom he accused his wife of adultery
and of an attempt to poison him. The judges passed the sentence of
death upon her, and, wishing to curry favor with Herod, ordered the
execution to take place forthwith. It was thus that the most beautiful
woman in Judæa, the Hasmonæan princess, the pride of her people, was
led to the scaffold. She went to her doom with remarkable fortitude,
without the faintest tremor or the least display of feminine weakness,
worthy of her heroic ancestry (29). We may take Mariamne as the symbol
of Judæa, delivered up to the axe of the executioner by intrigue and

But Mariamne's death did not quench Herod's thirst for revenge; on
the contrary, it brought on still fiercer paroxysms of rage. He could
not endure her loss, and became a prey to sickness and insanity.
He would call frantically upon her name in a passion of sobs and
tears; and he had her body embalmed in honey, so that he might keep
it in his presence. It was whilst traveling in Samaria that he fell
so dangerously ill that the doctors despaired of his life, and when
this intelligence reached his capital, Alexandra proceeded to possess
herself of Jerusalem. But the king's vitality returned upon the rumor
of this sudden peril to his throne, and Alexandra fell a victim to
her sedition. She was the very last who bore the Hasmonæan name, and
she had lived long enough to witness the violent and disgraceful
deaths of her father-in-law Aristobulus II, her husband Alexander, her
brother-in-law Antigonus, her son Aristobulus III, her father Hyrcanus
II, and her daughter Mariamne.

The remaining two-thirds of the Herodian reign are devoid of any
real progress; the record of that time tells of cringing submission
to Augustus and to Rome, of the erection of magnificent edifices,
of the love of pomp and display, of deeply-rooted moral corruption,
of unsuccessful conspiracies and court intrigues, leading to new
crimes and further executions. In order to retain the favor of the
all-powerful Augustus, Herod introduced into Jerusalem the celebration
of the Actian games, occurring every fifth year, in remembrance of
Augustus' victory over his rival, he also built theaters and arenas,
where he organized combats between gladiators or wild beasts, thus
arousing the displeasure of the national party, who rightly divined
that it was intended that Judaism soon should be absorbed by a
Pagan-Roman worship, and who recognized in the Roman trophies and
eagles displayed in the theaters, the introduction of Roman deities.
Herod gave his people another cause for umbrage, in the fact that
he was not only ornamenting the hated city of Samaria, within a
circumference of half a mile, with the most beautiful buildings,
but that he also contemplated making that city the capital of his
dominions, a dignity for which she was singularly adapted by her
fortunate position. The newly-built Samaria was renamed Sebaste, just
as the citadel Baris, the armory of the Hasmonæans in old days, on
the northwest side of the Temple, had been called Antonia in honor of
Antony. In fact, Judæa became crowded with cities and with monuments
which bore the names of Herod's own family or those of his Roman
protectors. The fortress of Straton on the sea was, by most lavish
expenditure, converted into a beautiful city, with an extensive harbor,
and received the name of Cæsarea, one of the towers on its walls being
called Drusus, after the son of Augustus. Herod did not even hesitate
to erect a Roman temple on the soil of the Holy Land. Two colossal
figures were raised in Cæsarea, one of them representing, in gigantic
proportions, the figure of Augustus as the Olympian Jupiter, and the
other that of the city of Rome as the Argive Juno. At the splendid
consecration of Cæsarea, the rebuilding of which had occupied twelve
years, the inhabitants could have imagined themselves transported into
a pagan city. On account of its name, its origin and its importance,
the national party justly called it Little Rome. In later days it
became the seat of the Roman governor, the rival of Jerusalem, and
finally her conqueror. Whenever Cæsarea rejoiced, Jerusalem was sure to
mourn. The harbor of Cæsarea, which grew in time to be a town itself,
was called Sebastus. Herod had, without doubt, enhanced the beauty of
Judæa, but, like a doomed victim, she was garlanded for the altar. His
love of display found satisfaction in the magnificence of his edifices,
but not his love of renown. Despairing of securing the affection of his
own people, he resolved to compel the admiration of the stranger. He
exhausted his people by taxation, redoubled his extortions, searched
for hidden treasures in the ancient royal cemeteries, sold those who
had been imprisoned for theft as slaves to neighboring countries, and
then lavished all the funds he had gained by these practices upon the
adornment of Syrian, Asiatic, and Greek cities. Huge were the sums of
money that he withdrew from his own country for such enterprises.

Herod may possibly have secured the admiration and affection of the
Greeks, the Romans and the Judæans outside of Palestine; but the people
of Jerusalem felt nothing but aversion for this grasping upstart, who
sought to estrange them from the customs of their fathers. In spite
of his having shown himself to be their generous benefactor, upon the
occasion of a great famine (24), the nation now only beheld in him the
murderer of the Hasmonæans, the usurper of their throne, the destroyer
of the noblest citizens, the suppressor of freedom. He had disgraced
the three dignities of Monarch, High Priest, and Synhedrist. The first
he had arrogated to himself; the second, which until his reign had,
with very few exceptions, descended by right of inheritance from father
to son, he had given away, according to his own pleasure or to attain
his own ends; and the power of the third he had curtailed by allowing
it hardly any scope for action. Joshua, of the family of Phabi, had,
through Herod's instrumentality, succeeded Ananel as High Priest; but
the king having been fascinated by the beauty of another Mariamne,
the daughter of an inferior priest, Simon, he dispossessed Joshua of
his dignity, and raised Simon to his office, in order that his future
wife's rank be not too strikingly below his own.

This High Priest Simon was an Alexandrian, the son of Boëthus, and it
was he who laid the foundation-stone of the greatness of the house
of Boëthus, from which several high priests descended. He appears to
have been the founder of the sect of the Boëthuseans, who followed
the teachings of the Sadducees, but who were better able to grasp and
apply those teachings than the Sadducees themselves, thanks to their
Alexandrian readiness and sophistry.

These despotic acts of Herod were not calculated to make him beloved
by his people. He was perfectly aware of their ill-will towards him,
but as he could not crush it, he at least sought to make it harmless.
Thus he insisted upon all subjects taking an oath of allegiance,
resolving to punish severely those who would refrain from doing so. The
Essenes alone, who disapproved of oaths, were exempt; he had no cause
for fear in their peaceful, contemplative lives; on the contrary, he
warmly approved of such subjects, who would submit without murmuring
to any law that he might choose to make. Those amongst the Pharisees
who were the followers of the peace-loving Hillel seem to have taken
the required oath without hesitation, but the followers of the sterner
Shammai stubbornly refused to do so. Six thousand Pharisees in all
refused to take the oath of allegiance, and to inflict corporal
punishment upon so great a number appeared, even to Herod, a serious
matter. So he heavily taxed the refractory, amongst whom was the wife
of his brother Pheroras, an ardent devotee, strange to say, of strict

But, in spite of all these precautionary measures, Herod did not trust
his subjects, and employed a number of spies to watch them. He himself
would often appear in disguise at their popular assemblies, and woe
to the unfortunate individual who, at that moment, might be giving
utterance to a complaint against the existing order of things; he was
doomed to be imprisoned in a fortress, or secretly despatched. But
popularity is too sweet for the tyrant to forego it, and to Herod it
was particularly important, as he wished to appear before the Romans
in the character of a prince beloved by his people. This, besides his
passion for building, was probably the motive that impelled him to
convert the Temple, now five hundred years old, small and of an old
fashion, into a magnificent edifice in a new style. The representatives
of the nation, when he informed them of his plan, received the news
with horror; they feared that Herod intended merely to destroy their
old Temple, and that he would endlessly protract the work of the
new building, thus robbing them entirely of their sanctuary. But he
pacified them by the assurance that the old Temple should remain
standing until all the workmen, with their material, were at hand for
the construction of the new one. Thousands of carts, laden with quarry
stone and marble, now appeared on the scene, and ten thousand skilled
workmen were ready to commence operations. In the eighteenth year of
Herod's reign (20) the building was begun, and in one year and a half
(18) the inner part of the Temple was finished. The building of the
outer walls, courts and galleries occupied a period of eight years, and
long after this time, until just before the destruction, the workmen
were still employed upon them.

The Herodian Temple was a magnificent production, the exquisite
beauty of which those who witnessed it could not sufficiently admire.
It differed from the uncompleted Temple of Zerubbabel in being of
vaster dimensions and of richer and more ornate decoration. The whole
circumference of the Temple Mount (Har-ha-bayith), which was surrounded
by a lofty and strong wall, besides the fortress at Antonia, with
which it was in communication, exceeded three-quarters of a mile,
and the ground rose in terraces. Owing to this commanding position
the Sanctuary could be seen from afar. The long range of outer wall
protected a series of courts and galleries, with their cedar ceilings
and mosaic floorings. The first court was assigned as a place of
assembly for the people, where the most important questions were
discussed. Here the pagan and the unpurified were admitted; here Greek
and Roman inscriptions, in large characters, and placed in prominent
positions, caught the eye of him who entered. They ran as follows: "No
foreigner is permitted to pass through this grating into the Sanctuary
and its surroundings. If discovered there he has brought the punishment
of death upon himself." The second court, which in former days had
been protected by a wooden grating, was now shut in by a low wall.
The internal arrangements of the Temple were but little changed, and
consisted, as in the Temple of Zerubbabel, of three uncovered courts
and of the Sanctuary, which was of a size to admit of the golden
altar, the candlestick and the shewbread table, and, at the extreme
end, of the Holy of Holies. But the outer parts of the Sanctuary
vastly outshone those of the old Temple. Its walls were of snow-white
marble, and as they rose on the highest summit of the Temple Mount,
and towered above the outer walls and their fortifications, they
presented a beautiful and striking appearance from all sides. The large
space in front of the Sanctuary was partitioned into various smaller
courts for the use of the women, the laymen, the priests, and for all
those who were engaged in preparing the sacrifices for the altar. The
space allotted to the female portion of the worshipers, whose visits
to the Temple were now of frequent occurrence, was entirely shut off
from the rest, and three large balconies were reserved for the use of
the women, from which they were able to witness all celebrations of
a public character. The gateway leading to this part of the Temple
was closed by a magnificent door, cast in Corinthian brass, the gift
of a rich and pious Alexandrian, after whom it was named the Gate of
Nicanor. Fifteen steps led thence to the laymen's quarters, which
were reached by passing through a gateway, called, on account of its
commanding position, the High Gate. The outer court was entirely open;
but, on the other hand, the Sanctuary was shut off by a gateway higher
and broader than any other, containing double folding doors, thickly
covered with a layer of gold. This was the Great Gate or the Gate of
the Sanctuary. The high roof of the Sanctuary rose at intervals into
sharp gilded points, the object of which was to prevent the birds from
building their nests on this consecrated place, but probably quite
unintentionally on the part of the builder, they may also have served
as lightning conductors.

The splendor of the dedication far exceeded that solemnized in King
Solomon's time. Hecatombs upon hecatombs were offered up, and the whole
nation was feasted. The celebration fell upon the very anniversary
of the day when, twenty years previously, Herod, with blood-stained
hands, had made himself master of Jerusalem--a terrible reminiscence.
The hands that built the Temple had already lighted the torch for its
destruction. Herod placed it under the protection of Rome. To the
horror of the pious Judæans, a golden eagle, the symbol of Roman might,
was hung over the principal entrance. Herod, moreover, constructed a
subterranean passage, leading from the fortress of Antonia to the east
gate of the Temple, in order to control the egresses of the Sanctuary.
His soul was filled with distrust of his people.

Towards the close of his reign the aged and sin-laden monarch was
seized with a terrible malady. This threw him into a condition of such
hopeless misery that one may say that all human feeling gave place
to the fury of the wild beast. The corpses of his innocent victims
rose up before his excited imagination, and made his life one long
torment. Vainly he sought for one loving heart, one faithful soul,
who would comfort and guide him. But he believed that his own flesh
and blood--his sister and brother, Salome and Pheroras, even his own
children--were his enemies, and were conspiring against his peace and
his life. This terrible state of mind made him more dangerous than
ever to those who ventured within his presence. The chief cause of his
frenzy was the death of his beloved Mariamne. Besides two daughters,
she had left him two sons, Alexander and Aristobulus, who, as they
grew to man's estate, took the death of their unfortunate mother
deeply to heart, and could not conceal the aversion they felt for
their father. As these princes were of Hasmonæan descent, Herod had
decided upon making them his successors. He had sent them as youths
to Rome, in order that they might gain the favor of Augustus, and be
educated according to Roman fashion. He married the eldest, Alexander,
to Glaphyra, the daughter of Archelaus, King of Cappadocia, and the
younger, Aristobulus, to Salome's daughter, Berenice. He thought
that by these means he could secure peace amongst the members of
his own family. But his wishes were defeated by the hatred that the
revengeful Salome and her brother Pheroras bore to the descendants of
the Hasmonæan Mariamne. Herod was induced by his sister to take to his
heart and to adopt as a royal prince the son of his first wife, Doris,
whom together with her child he had repudiated upon his marriage with

Antipater, the son of Doris, had inherited all the malice, craft and
cruelty of the Idumæans, and he spared neither his father nor his
brothers. The three, Salome, Pheroras, and Antipater, although they
hated one another mortally, were united in hatred against the sons of
Mariamne. The more these princes were indulged by their father, and the
more they were beloved by the people as descendants from the Hasmonæans
on their mother's side, the more did their bitter foes fear and detest
them. Antipater accused Alexander and Aristobulus of wishing to avenge
the death of their mother upon the person of their father. Imprudent
expressions, hastily uttered in moments of irritation, may have given
some show of reason to these accusations. Herod's suspicions dwelt
eagerly upon this calumny. He began to hate his sons, and, as a mark of
displeasure towards them, led Antipater to believe that he should share
in their rights of succession. This determination of the king served to
embitter the Hasmonæan princes still more, and drove them to the most
unwise outbursts of anger against their father. Antipater succeeded at
the same time in laying proofs of an attempted conspiracy of the two
brothers against Herod before him. Their friends and their servants
were, by the king's commands, put to the torture, and upon the strength
of their confession, wrung from them under agony, Alexander and
Aristobulus were condemned to death by a council numbering one hundred
and fifty of Herod's friends. Herod himself hastened the execution,
and ordered the two princes to be torn from Jerusalem and hurried to
Samaria, and there, where thirty years previously their unnatural
father had celebrated his marriage with their mother, her two sons were
mercilessly beheaded.

However, the conspiracies against Herod's life did not cease with
their death, but, on the contrary, acquired fresh vigor. Antipater,
not feeling at all sure of his succession so long as his father was
alive, actually conspired with Pheroras against the life of that
father and benefactor. But his fiendish design came to light, and it
was discovered that Antipater had undoubtedly intended poisoning his
father. This disclosure was a terrible blow for Herod. The turmoil of
his outraged feelings cannot be described, and yet he had to control
himself, and even to pretend great affection for Antipater, in order
to induce that prince to leave Rome and return to Jerusalem. Upon
Antipater's arrival, his father loaded him with reproaches, and accused
him before a tribunal, which was under the presidency of the Roman
governor Quintilius Varus, of fratricide and attempted parricide.
Vainly did the prince plead innocence; Herod's friend, Nicolaus of
Damascus, appeared as his merciless accuser. His death sentence was
passed, and Herod begged of Augustus to ratify it.

Such constant and frequent alarms brought Herod, who had nearly reached
his seventieth year, to his death-bed. All his hopes were frustrated;
the result of so much labor, of so much guilt, of so much bloodshed,
had become hateful to him. In which of his surviving sons could he have
confidence? For the third time he altered the succession, and resolved
that the throne should belong to his youngest son, Antipas I.

His miserable state of mind, which might have made him gentler and
more merciful, only led him into still greater cruelty. An unimportant
rising on the part of some hot-headed youths called forth from the aged
monarch an act of retaliation as heartless and as severe as in the days
when his heart beat high with young and ambitious hopes. The Pharisees
were no friends of his, especially those who were the disciples of
Shammai. He therefore kept a suspicious eye upon the members of the
Pharisaic schools, and the Pharisees, on their side, continued to
incite the youths of their following against their monarch, whom they
termed the Idumæan and the Roman. This they were able to do without
incurring any danger to themselves, for they clothed their words in a
metaphorical garb, applying the denunciations of the Hebrew prophets
of old to the Idumæan nation, to express what they felt for Herod and
his family.

Amongst the Pharisees who were most bitterly opposed to Herod and the
Romans, Judah ben Zippori and Matthias ben Margalot were distinguished
for their ardor and recklessness, and were endeared to their people by
these very characteristics. Upon hearing of Herod's mortal illness,
they incited some of their young disciples to put an end to the
desecration of the Temple, by hurling the Roman eagle from the gateway.
The rumors of Herod's death, that were credited in Jerusalem, favored
this bold undertaking. A number of youths armed with axes rushed to
the Temple Gate, scaled it by means of a rope-ladder, and cut down
the eagle. At the news of this rebellious action, the captain of the
Herodian guard sent his troops to the spot, and they succeeded in
capturing the two ringleaders and forty of their followers. They were
brought into the king's presence, and the sight of these new victims
revived his exhausted vitality. At their trial, which was conducted in
his presence, he was forced to hear much that proved how incapable he
had been in breaking the stubborn will of his people. The prisoners
fearlessly confessed what they had done, boasting proudly of their
performance, and replying to the question as to who had incited them to
such an action, "The Law." They were all burnt alive as "desecrators of
the Temple."

But Herod was to be punished more effectually by eternal justice than
would have been possible had he been arraigned before the severest
earthly tribunal. Even the pleasure that was granted him before he
entirely succumbed to his loathsome malady, the delight of being able
to order the execution of his son, was soon followed by a paroxysm
of pain in which he nearly caused his own destruction. His relative
Achiab tore the knife from his hand, but the cry of horror that arose
from his palace in Jericho at this suicidal attempt, came to the ear
of Antipater, a prisoner in the same palace. He began to hope that
his life might yet be spared, and he besought his gaoler to release
him. But the gaoler, who feared to risk his own life, hurried into the
king's apartments, to see if the cruel monarch still lived. When Herod
heard that Antipater yet hoped to outlive him, he ordered his instant
assassination, and his orders were forthwith obeyed. Although Antipater
deserved his death tenfold, yet there was a general feeling of horror
at the idea of a father who could sentence his three sons to death.
Even Augustus, who did not show any tenderly paternal feelings to his
daughter Julia, could not help exclaiming at the news of Antipater's
execution, that "he would rather be Herod's swine than his son." A
legend of later date tells how Herod was not satisfied with shedding
the blood of his own children, but how, in a passion, he ordered all
children under two years of age in Bethlehem and the surrounding
country to be massacred, because he had heard that the Messiah of the
House of David had been born in that place! But Herod, criminal as he
was, was innocent of this crime.

Herod's last thoughts dwelt, however, upon bloodshed. He insisted
upon the most respected men of Judæa being brought to Jericho, and
imprisoned in the great public arena, where they were closely guarded;
he then left orders with his sister Salome and her husband that
directly after his death had taken place they should be all massacred
by his body-guard, so that the entire nation might be mourning their
loved ones, and no one would have the heart to rejoice over his
demise. Murder filled his thoughts from the first moment of his public
life until he drew his last breath. He died five days after the
execution of Antipater, in the sixty-ninth year of his life and the
thirty-seventh of his reign, in the spring of the year 4 B. C. His
flatterers called him "Herod the Great," but the nation only knew him
as "the Hasmonæan slave." Whilst his body was being taken in all pomp
to its resting-place in Herodium, under the escort of the Thracian,
German and Gallic body-guard, the nation joyfully celebrated the day as
a semi-festival.



    The Family of Herod--Partition of the Kingdom of Judæa--Revolt
    against Archelaus--Sabinus and Varus--The Adventurer-Chief,
    Judas the Galilæan--Confirmation of Herod's Will--Archelaus
    as Ruler--His brief Reign and his Banishment--Judæa becomes
    a Roman Province--The Revolt against the Census--The
    Schools of Hillel and Shammai--Judas Founder of the
    Party of Zealots--Onerous Taxation--Fresh Hostility of
    the Samaritans--Expulsion of the Judæans from Rome by
    Tiberius--Pontius Pilate.

3 B. C. E.--37 C. E.

However unfortunate the reign of Herod may have been, it yet contrasted
favorably with that which followed. Herod's rule was at all events
distinguished by external splendor, and by a certain amount of
animation in the direction of public affairs. The boundaries of
Judæa now extended far beyond the limits assigned to them in the
most prosperous days of the Hasmonæans. Those tracts of land beyond
the Jordan and the Hermon, which Aristobulus I and Alexander I had
only partially conquered after years of useless fighting, fell into
the possession of Herod merely by the stroke of a pen; but the new
territories were less welcome, perhaps, on that account than if they
had been won with toil and difficulty. The towns of Judæa had been
restored with great magnificence, they were adorned with beautiful
specimens of Greek sculpture and architecture; but the monuments
which were erected perpetuated the fame of Roman dignitaries and the
Herodian family, and not the greatness of the nation. The seaports, and
especially the port of Cæsarea, were crowded with shipping, and trade
was consequently encouraged, but the imports which naturally increased
did not help to enrich the nation. The Temple was resplendent in
its renovated glory, and outwardly recalled the days of Solomon, but
the priests were forced to offer sacrifices for the welfare of those
whom they hated in their hearts. The country even enjoyed a certain
amount of independence, for the Roman fetters were not visible at a
superficial glance. All this outward show--because it was only outward
show--disappeared with the death of the one man who knew how to make
use of it. As soon as death had torn the reins from Herod's hands,
public affairs fell into an unsettled and disjointed state, which was
the beginning of more lasting misfortunes. The edifice, superficially
constructed, soon gave way, burying among its ruins everything that
remained in Judæa of freedom and national existence.

Herod had left several daughters and six sons. Some of them he favored
in his will, others he slighted. The publication of this will (the
contents of which were known to Ptolemy, the brother of the celebrated
historian, Nicolaus of Damascus) proved how little he cared for the
interests of Judæa, and how constantly he was actuated by the most
selfish motives. Instead of keeping the unity of the country intact,
he dismembered it, so as to subdivide it between three of his sons.
The other three were not mentioned; these were--Herod, his son by
the second Mariamne; another Herod, by Cleopatra of Jerusalem; and
Phasael, by his wife Pallas. He bequeathed to his son Archelaus (whose
mother was Malthace the Samaritan) the countries of Judæa and Samaria,
with the title of sovereign. Herod Antipas (also the son of Malthace)
became the possessor of the lands of Galilee and Peræa; Philip,
the son of Cleopatra of Jerusalem, another tetrarchy--Gaulanitis,
Batanæa, Trachonitis, and the country called Panias, which contained
the source of the Jordan. He bequeathed to his sister Salome, as a
reward for her faithfulness, the revenues of the towns of Jamnia,
Azotus, and Phasaelis (to the north of Jericho). However, these last
bequests were only expressed in the form of wishes, for he left to the
emperor Augustus the right of deciding whether they should be put into
execution, or whether the land should be otherwise divided, and another
successor appointed to the throne.

The sons, who had received but scanty proofs of affection from their
father during his lifetime, were not united by any ties of brotherly
love, and each envied the share which had fallen to his brother.
Antipas grudged the large territories and the regal title of Archelaus,
because in an earlier will he had been nominated as successor to
the throne. Salome, in spite of her large possessions, was equally
embittered against Archelaus, and did all in her power to dispute the
succession. The discord which divided the house of Herod was handed
down to their children and children's children. As the fulfilment of
Herod's bequests depended on a higher authority, all the disputants
tried to ingratiate themselves with the people, who, they hoped,
would intercede in their favor with Augustus. Salome and her husband
actually countermanded an order given by Herod for the execution of
the imprisoned nobles, and persuaded the officers of the Herodian
body-guard that Herod himself had disapproved of an execution on so
large a scale.

Archelaus, who had still more causes for currying favor with the
people, appeared in the Court of the Temple after the period of
mourning had expired, and addressing the multitude from a throne
erected for the occasion, promised to abolish all the unjust laws
sanctioned in his father's reign, and to resettle public affairs, so
as to promote general peace and well-being. Emboldened by so much
condescension, the people would not rest contented with royal promises;
they insisted upon stating their grievances in a definite form, and
demanded speedy and certain redress. There were five points on which
the people were particularly resolute. They desired that the oppressive
yearly taxes should be reduced, whilst the duties upon public sales
and purchases should be completely taken off; that the prisoners who
had languished for years in dungeons should be liberated; that the
counselors who had voted the death-sentence when the Roman eagle had
been destroyed be punished; and finally that the unpopular High Priest,
Joaser, should be deposed, and one more worthy of his important office
be named in his stead.

All this was really nothing short of demanding both a new and a
popular form of government and a public condemnation of the Herodian
tyranny. However little Archelaus cared at heart for the reputation
of his father, he could not possibly agree to all these requests.
Nevertheless, he assented to everything, but he could not promise that
their wishes should be accomplished until Herod's will had received
the imperial sanction. But the crowds of people, consisting of several
thousands, who had congregated from every part of Judæa to celebrate
the Feast of Passover, incited by the Pharisees, who worked upon their
feelings by picturing to them the martyrdom of Judas and Matthias, the
destroyers of the eagle, would not be put off, and came forward full of
anger and defiance. What their intentions may have been is not known.
Archelaus, who feared a revolt, sent a troop of soldiers to quell any
disturbance, but they were assailed with stones and forced to take to
flight. In the meantime midday approached, and the people allowed their
anger to cool. They were occupied with the rites of the festivals, and
made no preparations either for defense or for commencing hostilities.
Archelaus took advantage of their inactivity; he commanded all the
infantry in Jerusalem to fall upon the sacrificing multitude, and to
hew them down; the cavalry were to remain in the open plains to arrest
the fugitives. Three thousand were killed on that day on the Mount of
the Temple and in the surrounding country; those that escaped the sword
of the enemy destroyed themselves. Heralds thereupon proclaimed to the
whole town that Archelaus forbade the celebration of the Passover for
that year, and no one was allowed to approach the Temple. This was the
inauguration of the reign of Archelaus.

Although his relatives would probably not have acted with more humanity
than he did, they cried out against his cruelty, and made use of it as
a weapon with which to serve their own purposes when in the presence of
Augustus. The whole house of Herod traveled to Rome to lay the land of
Judæa at the feet of the emperor, and to petition, according to their
respective interests, for the alteration or the confirmation of the

During their absence unexpected events took place, and the prize for
which they were all contending very nearly escaped their possession
altogether. Judæa became a huge battle-field, the arena of furious
encounters. Men threw themselves into the affray, assuming the titles
of kings or leaders of the people. The blood of the slain warriors, the
groans of unarmed, wounded citizens, the smoke issuing from burning
cities, filled every heart with dismay and with horrible forebodings of
the downfall of Judæa. The tragical events which took place during the
first year after the death of Herod are described in the Chronicle as
the "War Period of Varus," the Governor of Syria.

At the desire of Archelaus, Quintilius Varus had remained in Jerusalem
after the departure of the Herodian family, so as to crush any attempt
at revolt which might occur during the absence of the princes. The
task was an easy one, for the patriots who were hostile to the
Herodians had no decided plan of action, were insufficiently armed, and
allowed themselves to be led away by their fierce hatred into unwise
and useless demonstrations. Varus, seeing no further necessity for
remaining in the Judæan capital, returned to Antioch, but he left a
considerable number of troops to be in readiness in case of any signs
of hostility.

As soon as the governor Varus had left Jerusalem another cause of
annoyance was given to the people by the arrival of Sabinus, the
treasurer of Augustus. He had been sent to claim the treasures of
Herod, and probably also all those belonging to the Temple, as if the
emperor had been the acknowledged heir to Herod's possessions. Sabinus
must have had some malevolent intention, for he hastened his journey
to Jerusalem, notwithstanding that he had promised Varus to remain at
Cæsarea until the Herodian disputes were settled. He took advantage of
the reluctance with which the custodians complied with his demands to
create a disturbance among the people, and thus obtain a pretext for
entering the city.

The Feast of Pentecost was drawing near, and, as usual, multitudes
of people congregated from all parts of the country at Jerusalem.
This time, the greater part of them were animated by hostile feelings
against the Romans and the Herodians. The strife was not delayed. The
people soon chose their leaders, and succeeded in occupying the Mount
of the Temple and the Hippodrome, whence they defied the Romans, who
had taken up their quarters in the palace of Herod. Sabinus, thinking
himself lost, encouraged the Romans to besiege the Temple, and sent
messages to Varus for more reinforcements. The Judæans, well protected
behind the Temple walls, hurled their weapons and their huge stones
down upon the Romans. Victory would have been theirs had not the enemy,
with burning materials, set fire to the colonnade. The flames spread
so rapidly that escape was impossible. Of the unfortunate combatants,
some were victims of the fire, others fell before the swords of the
Romans, and many of them killed themselves in reckless despair.

As soon as the Temple was left unprotected, the Romans, tempted by
the treasures which they knew it contained, rushed into the courts.
Sabinus alone is said to have appropriated four hundred talents from
the treasures of the Temple. The plunder of these treasures, the
desecration of the Holy of Holies, and the destruction of the halls
of the Temple, barely ten years after the sacred edifice had been
completed, roused all the indignation and, at the same time, all the
valor of the Judæans. Even a great part of the Herodian troops went
over to the malcontents, and assisted them against the Romans. Thus
strengthened, they besieged the palace of Herod, laid mines under
the towers, and threatened the Romans with destruction if they did
not retire immediately. Sabinus, anxiously awaiting the expected
reinforcements, but vacillating between fear of the besiegers and a
longing to obtain the mastery over them, remained for the time in the
citadel of the palace.

Thus all the horrors of anarchy were let loose in Judæa. Had the
insurgents found skilful and trustworthy leaders their united efforts
might have brought about such momentous events that the Herodian
dispute would have come to a most unexpected termination. But there
was no organization to give shape and purpose to all this patriotic
fervor. It was nurtured by selfish adventurers, and was therefore
hurtful to the country itself rather than dangerous to the enemy.
Two thousand soldiers, probably Idumæans, whom Herod had dismissed
shortly before his death, disturbed the regions of the south. A certain
Simon, a slave of Herod, distinguished by great beauty and an imposing
presence, collected a troop of malcontents, who hailed him as their
king, and, at his command, burned to the ground many royal castles
in the country, including the royal palace at Jericho. The palace of
Betharamata was destroyed by a band of men, the name of whose leader
is unknown. A third adventurer was a shepherd named Athronges, a giant
in strength and stature, who was accompanied into the field of battle
by four brothers, all of the same colossal build. After assuming the
royal title, he fell upon the Romans, cut off their retreat, and fought
valiantly till, after a long and fierce struggle, he was forced to
yield. There was but one leader of all these free troopers who had a
decided aim in view, and who might have proved a formidable foe, both
to Romans and Herodians, had fortune favored him, or his countrymen
given him their cordial help. This was Judas, known by the name of "the
Galilean," a native of Gamala in Gaulanitis, and a son of Ezekias,
fighting against whom Herod had won his first laurels. Judas had been
imbued, from his birth, with a passionate love for his country, and
as passionate a hatred towards the Romans. He became the leader of
a faction which gradually came to rule the country, and eventually
gave the Romans more difficulties to contend with than even the Gauls
and the Germans. Judas was at this period in the prime of life. His
intense zeal proved contagious, and he gained a considerable number of
partisans among the powerful Galileans. With their assistance he took
possession of the arsenal in Sepphoris, the Galilean capital. He then
armed his followers, gave them stipends from the money found in the
arsenal, and soon became the terror of the Romans and of all those who
were favorably disposed towards them.

Events in the region bordering on Syria were even more pressing than
Sabinus in urging the governor to suppress the revolt, and to hasten
to the rescue of the Roman troops. The terror of Varus himself was so
great that he not only ordered all the Roman troops that were at his
disposal (over twenty thousand men) to march against the insurgents,
but summoned the armies under the command of the neighboring princes.
Aretas, the king of the Nabathæans, placed his troops at the command of
the Roman general, and as they formed the vanguard of the Roman army,
they burnt and plundered all the villages through which they passed.
Varus sent one division of his troops to Galilee to commence operations
against Judas. There seems to have been a severe struggle at the town
of Sepphoris; ultimately Varus set fire to it and sold the inhabitants
as slaves, but Judas escaped. The town of Emmaus, where Athronges had
established himself, shared the same fate, though the inhabitants had
taken to flight. On his arrival at Jerusalem, Varus found that his task
had become a light one, for the besiegers were alarmed at the report
of the approach of his army, and had abandoned their struggle against
Sabinus. Notwithstanding this, two thousand prisoners were crucified at
the command of Varus.

Such was the end of a revolt which had been fanned into existence by a
natural feeling of anger and indignation, but had failed through the
absence of wise and judicious guidance. It had only been successful
in bringing the nation into a state of more humiliating dependence
upon Rome, for a legion was retained to keep guard over the rebellious
citizens of Jerusalem.

During all this time the Herodians were still discussing their claims
to the sovereignty of Judæa before the throne of Augustus, and their
servile behavior and mutual accusations only convinced the Emperor
how unworthy one and all were of holding the reins of government.
Before Augustus could come to any decision, a Judæan embassy arrived,
consisting of fifty men of position and importance, whose mission had
been approved by Varus. They brought accusations against the Herodian
government, and implored the Emperor to proclaim Judæa a Roman province
in conjunction with Syria, but to grant the nation full liberty to
conduct her own internal affairs. As the petition had the support
of eight thousand Roman-Judæans, the Emperor was obliged to listen
to it. However, after having heard both the demands of the embassy
and the arguments of the pretenders to the throne, he decided upon
confirming Herod's will, with this exception, that he did not grant the
sovereignty immediately to Archelaus, but only recognized him as ruler
(Ethnarch), promising him, however, that if he proved worthy of the
royal title it should be granted to him eventually. Augustus could not
entirely disregard the last wishes of a prince who had been his friend,
and who had served the Romans with a devotion only equaled by the zeal
with which he furthered his own egotistical ends. The imperial treasury
suffered no diminution whether Judæa was called an ethnarchy or a
province dependent upon Rome.

The reign of Archelaus was short and uneventful (4 B. C.-6 C. E.).
Herod's children had inherited little of their father's disposition,
excepting his fancy for building and his cringing policy towards Rome.
In other respects they were insignificant, and there was something
small and contemptible even in their tyranny. At first Archelaus (who
appears also under the name of Herod) attempted to conciliate the
discontented members of the community, whose indignation he had aroused
at the assembly in the courts of the Temple. He gave way to the general
desire to depose the unpopular High Priest Joasar, and appointed in his
stead the latter's brother, Eleazer, who was soon succeeded by Joshua
of the family of Sié or Seth. But he in turn was replaced by Joasar,
and thus three High Priests followed one another in the short space of
nine years. The only war carried on by Archelaus was fought against
Athronges, who had been able to hold his own for some time after the
death of his four brothers; and such was the incapacity of Archelaus
that he was long unable to subdue an adventurer, whose powers were
almost exhausted, but who was still able to dictate the conditions of
his own surrender.

Archelaus offended the feelings of the pious Judæans by his marriage
with his sister-in-law Glaphyra, the widow of Alexander, who had been
executed. This daughter of the king of Cappadocia had had two sons; one
of these, Tigranes, and his nephew of the same name, became, in later
years, kings respectively of Greater and Lesser Armenia. Indifferent to
the melancholy fate of her husband, she married, after his death, Juba,
the king of Numidia; but was soon divorced from him, and contracted an
alliance with Archelaus, the brother of her first husband, an alliance
forbidden by Judæan laws. Little is known of the life of Archelaus;
his acts of tyranny called forth the opprobrium of the Judæans and the
Samaritans. He was taken before Augustus to answer for his misdeeds,
but being unable to defend himself, he was dethroned and sent into
exile among the Allobrogian races (6 C. E.). The principalities
belonging to Herod Antipas and to Philip remained in their former
condition, but the towns which had been in the possession of Salome
came also under the Imperial sway, for Salome had bequeathed them at
her death to the Empress Livia.

Thus after enjoying a hundred and fifty years of real or apparent
independence, Judæa became entirely subjugated to Roman authority,
and was united with the province of Syria. Matters remained in this
condition, with the exception of a short interval, till the final
revolt. The Imperial representative in Judæa, who henceforth received
the title of Procurator, had his seat of government in the seaport
Cæsarea, which from that time became the hated rival of Jerusalem. The
duties of the Procurator consisted in maintaining order in the country,
and in enforcing the punctual payment of all taxes. He had even the
power of pronouncing the death sentence, and also of supervising the
Synhedrion's administration of the criminal law.

The authority of the Synhedrion became more and more limited, and
the political importance of that assembly, which had considerably
diminished during the reign of Herod, dwindled entirely away. The
Romans interfered in all the functions of the Synhedrion, and also
in the installations of the High Priests. The Procurator named and
deposed the High Priests according to their friendly or unfavorable
inclinations towards Rome; he took charge of the sacerdotal ornaments,
and only gave them up on the chief festivals. The vestments of the High
Priests were kept under lock and key in the fortress of Antonia; they
were removed in time for the festival by the officials of the Temple,
and returned to their place of preservation in the presence of a Roman
overseer. A light was burning constantly before the case containing the
priestly vestments.

The first Procurator whom Augustus sent to Judæa was the captain of the
horse, Coponius. The Syrian Governor, Quirinius, came at the same time
(6-7) to lay claim to the confiscated property of Archelaus. He was
also instructed to take a census of the population, and to estimate the
property of the country for the purpose of the new method of taxation.
A tax was to be levied upon every individual, inclusive of women
and slaves; however, female children under twelve and male children
under fourteen years of age and very old people were to be exempt.
Furthermore, an income tax was levied, and those who kept cattle were
called upon to give up a part of their herds. The taxes on the land
were to be paid out of the produce of the harvest.

This method of levying imposts roused the indignation of all classes
alike. Every one resented such interference in private as well as
political affairs, and felt as if the land and property, and the very
person of each individual were in the hands of the emperor, and made
use of according to his pleasure. It is not surprising that, in their
ignorance of the Roman constitution, the people should have looked
upon the census as the herald of slavery, and anticipated with terror
a repetition of the Babylonian captivity. Their dread of the census,
exaggerated perhaps, but not wholly unjustifiable, caused greater
agitation than any previous statute, and aroused new disputes, in
which the old differences between Pharisee and Sadducee were entirely
forgotten. New points of discussion were raised. The question of the
supremacy of the oral law disappeared before the burning question of
the day--whether the people should become slaves to the Romans, or
whether they should offer stubborn and energetic resistance. This
question brought dissension into the camp of the Pharisees. The new
faction to which this discussion on the census had given rise sprang
from the very center of the Synhedrion, and was connected with the
names of Hillel, Shammai, and Judas of Galilee.

Hillel and Shammai did not live to see the catastrophe which made Judæa
a province of Rome. Hillel's death caused wide-spread mourning, and
the oration at his grave began with the sad cry: "O pious, O gentle,
O worthy follower of Ezra." The people, in their great affection for
him, continued to distinguish his descendants with their favor, and
the presidency of the Synhedrion became hereditary in his family for
more than four centuries. Of Hillel's son and successor, Simon I,
nothing but his name has been preserved. All the greatness which
encircled Hillel's name was bequeathed to the school which he formed,
and which inherited and faithfully preserved the spirit of its founder.
The disciples of this school evinced in all their public dealings
the peacefulness and gentleness, the conciliatory spirit which had
distinguished their great master. They were guided and supported by
these characteristic qualities during the political storms which long
convulsed their unhappy country. There were about eighty members of
this school who were most devotedly attached to Hillel, and were called
the elders of the school. The names of only two of these have been
recorded: Jonathan, the son of Uziel, and Jochanan ben Zaccai. The
former is reputed, but without actual proof, to have been the author
of a Chaldaic translation of the Prophets. He was disinherited by his
father in favor of Shammai, probably from displeasure at his having
joined the school of Hillel.

In the same way as the school of Hillel endeavored to preserve the
characteristic gentleness of their master, the followers of Shammai
emulated and even exceeded the stern severity of the founder of
their school. It seemed impossible to the school of Shammai to be
sufficiently stringent in religious prohibitions; the decisions which
they arrived at, in their interpretations of the law, were so generally
burdensome that those which were milder in character were treasured up
as rare exceptions. Thus, according to their opinion, no work should be
attempted which, if commenced before the Sabbath, would, even without
the aid of a Judæan, be completed on the Sabbath. It was prohibited on
the Sabbath day to give sums of money for charitable purposes, to make
arrangements for marriage contracts, to instruct children, to visit the
sick, or even to bring comfort to the sorrowing. In their regulations
concerning the purity of the Levites in their person and apparel,
their exaggerations brought them very near the excesses of the Essenes.
They were equally severe concerning matrimonial laws, and only allowed
divorce to be granted in the case of the unchastity of the wife.

In the school of Shammai, the Pharisaic principles were carried to
the very extreme. It was only due to the yielding disposition of the
followers of Hillel that peace was not disturbed, and that a friendly
relationship existed between two schools of such opposite views and
characters. The school of Shammai were not only severe in their
explanations of the laws, but entertained very stern and rigid opinions
on nearly all subjects; they were particularly harsh and repellant
towards proselytes to Judaism. Any heathen who came to the school of
Shammai, requesting to be received into the community might expect but
a very cold and repellant reception. The school of Shammai cared not
for proselytes. How dangerous to Judaism lukewarm proselytes may be,
they had too often seen in the case of the converted Herodians. But in
spite of their own rigid obedience to the Law, they did not exact the
same obedience from the Judæan troops who were fighting against the
national enemy. Originally there had been some hesitation about making
war on the Sabbath, but now the school of Shammai were unreservedly
in favor thereof; the siege of a hostile city, commenced before the
Sabbath, was not to be raised, in spite of the transgressing of the
Sabbath law, until the fortress surrendered. These ordinances were
instituted by Shammai himself, in whom hatred of the heathen was even
greater than religious devotion. The school of Shammai had a large
number of adherents in the Synhedrion, as well as among the people.
Their religious austerity, and their hatred of the heathens, found more
sympathizers than the moderation and peacefulness of the followers of
Hillel. They consequently formed the majority, and were able to carry
all their resolutions. Among the followers of Shammai, several names
have been preserved--Baba ben Buta, Dostai from Itome, and Zadok.

It is possible that this Zadok may be the same of whom it is related
that, excited by a fanatical hatred of the Romans, he joined with Judas
the Galilean, and placed himself at the head of a religious republican
faction who called themselves the _Zealots_ (Kannaim). The members
of this faction were also called the Galileans. The watchword which
Judas gave the party of the Zealots, and which was eagerly endorsed by
Zadok, was that obedience to the Roman law was disregard of the Divine
law, for God alone was ruler, and could alone demand obedience; that
it became, therefore, a clear and solemn duty to strain every nerve,
and sacrifice property, and life, and family in this struggle against
the usurper, who exacted submission due to God alone. And they set up
as an exemplar Phineas, the slayer of the chief Zimri, the only one
who, in the presence of a neglectful tribe and a slothful nation, had
served his God with zeal. Furthermore, Judas proclaimed that the Judæan
state must be a republic, recognizing God alone as sovereign and His
laws as supreme. This teaching found favor all the more readily as the
Roman yoke was becoming more and more intolerable. The great purpose
they had in view--the recovery of their freedom--electrified young and
old, and the Zealots, a faction which at first only comprised followers
of Shammai, soon included a great number of Judæans, who chafed
indignantly under the weight of the Roman fetters.

As soon as the law was passed that every one should give an accurate
description of his family, his lands and his property, Zadok and Judas
gave the signal for energetic resistance. In some places a conflict
seems to have ensued. The more moderate, however, including the
High Priest Joasar, tried to pacify the malcontents by explaining
that the census would not be the precursor of slavery or of the
confiscation of property, but was simply necessary in order to control
the arrangements for taxation. It was useless, and the census was
regarded with such suspicion and dislike that every fine was now called
census (Kenas). Even the moderate party, although they endeavored to
stem the agitation, were indignant at the encroachments made upon
their liberties. The school of Hillel considered the taxation so
unjustifiable that, conscientious as they were, they acceded to all
measures by which it might be escaped.

Such was the general abhorrence for this system of taxation, that
all those who were officially occupied in carrying it out, whether
as tax-collector (Moches) or as treasurer (Gabbai), were looked upon
as dishonorable men; they were not tolerated in the higher ranks of
the community, and their testimony as witnesses was discredited. Only
mercenary motives and utter indifference to public opinion could
induce any one to undertake the despised office. The designations of
tax-gatherer and overseer became henceforth terms of opprobrium.

Another change also originated with the Roman occupation of Judæa.
All public documents, deeds of divorce, etc., were now to be dated
according to the year of the reign of the Roman Emperor, and not, as
formerly, that of the Judæan rulers. The Zealots were much annoyed at
this innovation, and they accused the more moderate Pharisees, who had
yielded to it, of indifference in matters of religion. "How could such
an ignominy be perpetrated as to write the words, 'according to the
laws of Moses and Israel'" (the usual formula in the separation deeds)
"next to the name of the heathen ruler, and thus permit the holy name
of the greatest prophet to be placed by the side of the name of the
heathen ruler." In one matter Quirinius was forced to yield to the
wishes of the people. He deposed the unpopular High Priest Joasar, and
named in his stead Anan of the family of Seth, whose four sons also
became high priests.

Under Coponius, who entered upon his office of Procurator when
Quirinius left, the old enmity between the Judæans and Samaritans
revived. Several days before the Feast of Passover, the doors of the
Temple were thrown open at midnight, on account of the great number of
offerings which took place during that time. A few Samaritans stole
into the first outer court, and threw some human bones in among the
pillars, with the object of polluting the Temple. Henceforth the hatred
between these two races became fiercer than ever, and the guards of the
Temple, who were under the charge of the Levites, were strengthened,
so as to prevent the recurrence of such a desecration. Not long after
these events Coponius was recalled. He was followed by Marcus Ambivius,
who in a short time was also recalled, and was succeeded by Annius
Rufus. Thus there were three overseers in the short space of seven
years (7-14), a disastrous circumstance, as each one was intent upon
draining, as far as possible, all the wealth from the nation.

The death of Augustus brought little change to Judæa; the latter simply
became, with other provinces, the possession of Tiberius. Outwardly,
these provinces may not have suffered under the new emperor's reign,
for he was just to the people, though antagonistic to the aristocracy,
which he endeavored to suppress. He listened to the complaints of
the Judæans, and lightened the burdens of their almost unendurable
taxation. He appointed as procurator Valerius Gratus, who occupied this
post for eleven years (15-26) In reality, however, the antipathy of
Tiberius to the Judæans was even greater than that of his predecessor
and adopted father; it would seem as if the representative of
imperialism in Rome had a foreboding of the mortal blow which Rome was
destined to receive from Judaism. This antipathy had probably been
stimulated by the fact that the Romans, and particularly the Roman
women, had a leaning towards Judaism. The enthusiasm of the Judæans
for their religion presented a striking contrast to the indifference
with which the Romans, both the priests and the laity, regarded their
national worship. The loss of freedom in imperial Rome had carried
away with it that ideality which inspires highly-gifted souls; ardent
and emotional minds sought in vain for some lofty interest to satisfy
their longings. Several Roman proselytes, during the reign of Tiberius,
gave evidence of their religious enthusiasm by sending offerings to the
Temple at Jerusalem. It may have been a feeling of superstition, rather
than conviction, which gave rise to conversions; for from the converts
gained for the cult of Isis in Rome, it was evident that the unknown,
the strange, the mystical exercised a strong fascination over those
from whose lives all idealism was banished.

The displeasure of Tiberius was incurred by the Roman proselytes for
the first time under the following circumstances:--Fulvia, the wife of
a very highly respected senator, had been converted to Judaism, and had
sent offerings to the Temple through the agency of her teachers, who,
however, had retained these offerings for themselves. As soon as these
facts came to the ears of Tiberius, he presented a law against Judæans
to the Senate. That body consequently resolved that Judæans must leave
the city of Rome, on pain of becoming slaves for life, unless they
abjured Judaism within a given time. This measure is said to have been
urgently recommended by the minister Sejanus, who exercised a most
powerful influence over Tiberius. Thousands of Judæan youths were,
then and there, banished to Sardinia, to fight against the hordes of
brigands that infested that island. Banishment to so uncongenial a
climate was almost certain to be fatal to the unfortunate youths; but
this consideration did not lead the Emperor, as hard-hearted as his
senators, to take a milder course. The Judæans throughout Italy were
threatened with banishment if they did not forsake their religious
observances; all young men, in the prime of life, were forced to come
armed into the camp on the Sabbath-day; severe punishment followed if
religious scruples dictated a refusal. This was the first time that
the Judæans had suffered religious persecution in Rome--their first
martyrdom--destined to be the precursor of countless others.

The Procurator Gratus, whom Tiberius had appointed, took as active
a part as his predecessors in the internal affairs of Judæa. During
the eleven years that he occupied his post he installed as many as
five high priests, of whom some only retained their office during one
year. These changes were sometimes due to the unpopularity of the high
priests, but were far more often the result of bribery or of wanton

Although Judæa and the neighboring lands of Idumæa and Samaria were
ruled by Procurators, the tetrarchy of Galilee and Peræa enjoyed
a semblance of independence under the reign of Herod Antipas, and
the lands of Batanæa and Trachonitis under that of Philip. These
two princes were distinguished only for their passion for building
and their submissiveness to Rome. Herod Antipas had at first made
Sepphoris the capital of his tetrarchy, but as soon as Tiberius became
emperor he built a new city in the lovely neighborhood of the lake of
Gennesareth, which he named Tiberias, and where he established his
court (24-26). But the pious Judæans objected to living in this new
city; it had probably been built upon a site which had once served as
a battle-field, as a quantity of human bones were discovered there.
The inhabitants were consequently prevented by the strict Levitical
regulations from visiting the Temple, and performing various religious
observances. Antipas induced the Judæans to settle there only by
holding out the most tempting offers and by using force; and a century
actually elapsed before the more conscientious members of the people
consented to take up their abode in the city of Tiberias.

The town of Beth-Ramatha, in a situation similar to that of Jericho,
and also rich in the produce of balsam plants, was renamed Livia, in
honor of the wife of Augustus. Philip, whose revenue from the country
only amounted to one hundred talents, also built two cities. One of
these he built in the beautiful district near the source of the Jordan,
and named it Cæsarea Philippi, to distinguish it from the seaport town
of Cæsarea; the other, to the northeast of the Lake of Gennesareth,
he named Julias, after the daughter of Augustus. Indeed, Judæa teemed
with monuments erected in honor of the Cæsars. Philip's disposition
was gentle, and seemingly unmarred by fierce passions, and his reign,
which lasted seven-and-thirty years (4 B. C.-33 A. C.), was quiet
and uneventful. Antipas, on the contrary, had inherited some of his
father's wild and bloodthirsty nature.

The successor to the Governor Valerius Gratus was Pontius Pilate, whose
tenure of office (26-36) embraced a decade memorable in the history
of the world. As soon as he was in power, he showed the determination
to subject the Judæans to further humiliation, and to convince them
that they must drink the cup of suffering to the dregs. The mere facts
that Pilate was the creature of the deceitful minister Sejanus, before
whom emperor and senate trembled alike, and that he was sent by him to
Judæa, would suffice to describe his disposition. Pilate was worthy
of his master; he certainly went far beyond any of his predecessors in
wounding the susceptibilities of the Judæan nation. He attacked their
religious scruples by endeavoring to induce them to pay homage to the
emblems and insignia of imperialism. Till now the leaders of Roman
troops had respected the aversion with which the Judæans were known to
regard all images, and on entering Jerusalem the obnoxious emblems had
always been removed from the Roman standards. Herod and his sons had
never failed to observe this practice. Although Pilate well knew that
the feelings of Judæans had never before been outraged on this subject,
he paid no heed to them. It is not known whether he had received
secret injunctions on this point from Sejanus, or whether he acted on
his own authority, with the anticipation of a satisfactory bribe. He
sent privately for all the imperial emblems in order to replace them
upon the standards which were in Jerusalem. The command that these
representations of human beings were to be worshiped as deities caused
the deepest indignation throughout the land. Delegates from the people,
who were even joined by members of the Herodian family, hastened to the
Procurator at Cæsarea, and implored him to command the removal of the
hated images.

During five days the petitioners remained before the palace of the
Procurator, sending up ceaseless supplications. On the sixth day
Pilate attempted to terrify them, and threatened that they should
be cut down by his legions if they did not immediately disperse.
However, when he found that the Judæans were determined to sacrifice
their lives, if necessary, rather than their religious convictions,
and perhaps afraid of the disapproval of Tiberius, he at last gave
way, and issued a command that the cause of their anger should be
removed. But he provoked the indignation of the inhabitants of
Jerusalem against himself a short time after. He purposed making an
aqueduct from a spring at a distance of four geographical miles from
the town of Jerusalem. In order to meet the necessary expenses, he
possessed himself of the treasures in the Temple (the korban). He was
in Jerusalem at the time, and was surrounded by an angry populace,
who assailed him with execrations. He did not venture to call out his
legions, but ordered a number of soldiers to disguise themselves in
the Judæan dress, and to mingle with the crowd and attack them. The
multitudes rapidly dispersed, but not before great numbers of them had
been killed and wounded.



    The Messianic Hope--Various Conceptions of the Expected
    Messiah--The Essene Idea of the Kingdom of Heaven--John
    the Baptist, his Work and Imprisonment--Jesus of Nazareth
    continues John's Labors--Story of his Birth--His Success--His
    Relations to Judaism and the Sects--His Miraculous Healing of
    the Sick and Exorcism of Demons--His Secret Appearance as the
    Messiah--His Journey to Judæa--Accusations against him, and his
    Condemnation--The First Christian Community and its Chiefs--The
    Ebionites--Removal of Pilate from Judæa--Vitellius, Governor of
    Syria, favors the Judæans.

    28-37 C. E.

While Judæa was still trembling in fear of some new act of violence on
the part of the governor, Pontius Pilate, which would again afflict the
country with disturbances and troubles, a strange event occurred. At
first but little heeded, it soon acquired, through the singularity of
its origin and many favorable attendant circumstances, a considerable
degree of notoriety. So great were the strides this movement rapidly
made to influence and power, that radical changes were produced by it
and new paths opened in the history of the world. The time had come
when the fundamental truths of Judaism, till then thoroughly known
and rightly appreciated only by profound thinkers, were to burst
their shackles and go freely forth among all the people of the earth.
Sublime and lofty views of God and of holy living for the individual
as well as for the state, which form the kernel of Judaism, were now
to be disseminated among other nations and to bring them a rich and
beneficent harvest. Israel was now to commence in earnest his sacred
mission; he was to become the teacher of nations. The ancient teaching
about God and religious morality was to be introduced by him unto a
godless and immoral world. Judaism, however, could gain admission into
the hearts of the heathens only by taking another name and assuming new
forms, for with its old designation and distinctive features it was not
generally popular.

It was due to the strange movement which arose under the governorship
of Pilate that the teachings of Judaism won the sympathy of the
heathen world. But this new form of Judaism, altered by foreign
elements, became estranged from and placed itself in harsh antagonism
to the parent source. Judaism, which had given birth to this new
manifestation, could take no pleasure in her offspring, which soon
turned coldly from her and struck out into strange, divergent paths.
This new power, this old doctrine in a new garb, or rather this
Essenism intermingled with foreign elements, is Christianity, whose
advent and earliest course belong to the Judæan history of this epoch.

Christianity owed its origin to an overpowering, mysterious feeling
which reigned among the better classes of the Judæan nation, and
which became daily stronger as their political position became more
and more intolerable. The ever-recurring evils brought on them by the
rapacity of their Roman rulers, the shamelessness of the Herodian
princes, the cowardice and servility of the Judæan aristocracy, the
debasement of the high priests and their families, and the dissensions
of rival parties, had raised the longing for the deliverer announced
in the prophetical writings--the Messiah--to so great a pitch that
any highly-gifted individual, possessed of outward charm or imbued
with moral and religious grace, would readily have found disciples,
and believers in his Messianic mission. The most earnest thinkers of
that time had long regarded the political condition of the Judæans
since their return from the Babylonian exile as a temporary or
preparatory state, which would only continue until the true prophet
arose, and Elijah turned the hearts of the fathers to the children,
and restored the tribes of Jacob. When the people, with solemn rites,
elected the Hasmonæan Simon as their prince, they decreed that he and
his descendants should hold that position only until the True Prophet
appeared to assume the royal dignity, and it was only to a scion of the
House of David, the Anointed that, according to prophecy, this dignity
by right belonged.

When, consequent upon the wars undertaken by the three powerful
leaders, Octavius, Antony, and Lepidus, ostensibly to punish Cæsar's
murderers, in reality to introduce a new form of government, the
great political convulsion took place in the Roman Empire, and three
divisions of the world were laid waste, a Judæan poet in Egypt was
foretelling a far different outcome--the destruction of the whole
heathen world and the dawn of the "Kingdom of God." In that kingdom
a holy king--the Messiah--would hold the scepter. "When Rome shall
vanquish Egypt, and govern her, then shall the greatest in the kingdom,
the immortal King, arise in the world, and a holy King will come to
rule over all the nations of the earth during all time." The Messiah,
so confidently expected, was to bring forth quite a new state of
things--a new heaven and a new earth. At the coming of Elijah, who was
to be the precursor of the Messiah, the resurrection of the dead would
take place, and a future world be revealed.

This ardent longing for the Messiah, and the belief in his advent,
swayed all classes of the Judæan nation, excepting the aristocracy
and those who clung to Rome. These were satisfied with the present,
and anticipated harm rather than benefit from any change. During the
short space of thirty years a great number of enthusiastic mystics
appeared, who, without any intention to deceive, and bent upon removing
the load of care and sorrow that weighed so heavily upon the people,
assumed the character of prophet or Messiah, and found disciples, who
followed their banner faithfully unto death. But though it appears that
every Messiah attracted ready believers, no one was acknowledged as
such by the whole nation. The incessant friction between the various
communities, and the deep study of the holy books, had awakened a
critical spirit difficult to satisfy. The nation was also split into
many parties, each entertaining a different idea of the future savior,
and rendering it, therefore, impossible that any one aspirant should
receive general recognition as the Messiah. The republican zealots,
the disciples of Judas of Galilee, pictured the Messiah as delivering
Israel from his enemies by the breath of his mouth, destroying the
Roman Empire, and restoring the golden era of David's kingdom. The
school of Shammai added to this representation of the Messiah the
attributes of ardent religious zeal and perfect moral purity. The
followers of Hillel, less swayed by fanaticism or political views,
expected a prince of peace, who would bring tranquillity to the
country itself, and introduce harmony into its relations with all its
neighboring states. On one point, however, all agreed: the Messiah
must spring from the branch of David; and thus, in the course of time,
the expression "Ben David"--the son of David--became identical with
the Messiah. According to the prevailing belief, the fulfillment of
the Messianic prophecies required the return of the scattered tribes
of Israel, richly laden with presents, expiatory offerings from the
nations by which they had so long been oppressed. Even the most
educated classes, who had felt the influence of Grecian culture, and
were represented by Philo, the Judæan Plato, fully believed that the
Messianic age was to be ushered in, and pictured it as an epoch of
miracles. A heavenly apparition, only visible to the righteous, would
lead back from Greece and barbarous lands the exiled and repentant
Israelites. The latter would be found prepared for the Messianic time,
following the holy life of the patriarchs, and imbued with a sublime
and pious spirit, which would prevent them from falling into their
old sins, and would surely call down upon them the full grace of God.
Then would the streams of former happiness be again replenished from
the eternal spring of Divine grace: the ruined cities would arise, the
desert become a blooming land, and the prayers of the living would have
the power of awakening the dead.

It was the sect of Essenes that pictured the Messiah and the Messianic
time in the most idealistic manner. The great object of their
asceticism was to advance the kingdom of heaven (Malchuth Shamayim) and
the coming era (Olam-ha-Ba). Their adherence would be granted alone
to him who led a pure and spotless life, who renounced the world and
its vanities, and gave proofs that the Holy Spirit (Ruach ha-Kodesh)
dwelt within him. He must also have power over demons, reject Mammon,
and inaugurate a system of community of goods, in which poverty and
self-renunciation would be the ornaments of mankind.

It was from the Essenes that for the first time the cry went forth,
"The Messiah is coming! The kingdom of heaven is near!" He who first
raised his voice in the desert little thought it would re-echo far away
over land and sea, and that it would be answered by the nations of the
earth flocking together round the banner of a Messiah. In announcing
the kingdom of heaven, he only meant to invite the sinners among the
Judæan people to penitence and reformation. The Essene who sent forth
this call to the Israelites was John the Baptist (his name doubtless
meaning the Essene, he who daily bathed and cleansed both body and
soul in spring water). But few accounts have reached us of John the
Baptist. He led the same life as the Essenes, fed upon locusts and wild
honey, and wore the garb of the prophets of old, a cloak of camel-hair
fastened by a leather girdle. John appears to have fully entertained
the belief, that if only the whole Judæan nation would bathe in the
river Jordan, acknowledge their sins, and adopt the strict rules of
the Essenes, the promised Messianic time could be no longer deferred.
He therefore called upon the people to come and receive baptism in the
Jordan, to confess and renounce their sins, and thus prepare for the
advent of the kingdom of heaven.

John dwelt with other Essenes in the desert, in the vicinity of
the Dead Sea, presumably in order to be ever at hand to teach the
repentant sinners the deep moral signification of baptism. Bound up
with that rite was doubtless the adoption of the rule of life of
the Essenes. There were certainly many, imbued with an enthusiastic
spirit, and saddened by the evils and the distress they witnessed,
who eagerly responded to the cry of the Essene Baptist. Who would not
gladly, were it only in his power to do so, further the great work of
the Redemption, and help to advance the kingdom of heaven? Did the
baptized persons return improved by their immersion in the waters of
the Jordan? Was any great moral influence the result of this symbolical
act? History tells us not; but our knowledge of the state of Judæa at
that time can easily supply us with an answer to the question. The
Judæan people did not as a whole, especially among the middle-class
citizens, require this violent shock as a means of improvement; they
were neither vicious nor depraved, and their form of public religious
worship was sufficient to keep them in the right paths. By two sets
of people, however, the call of John to repentance might have been
heeded--it might have had a beneficial influence upon the higher and
lower classes, upon the aristocracy and wealthy, who had been corrupted
by Rome, and upon the miserable peasantry, brutalized by constant
warfare. But the rich only laughed at the high-souled enthusiast, who
taught that baptism in the water of the Jordan would bring about the
miraculous Messianic era, and the sons of the soil were too obtuse and
ignorant to heed the Baptist's earnest cry.

His appeal, on the other hand, had nothing in its tenor and character
to offend the Pharisees, or arouse any opposition among the ranks of
that ruling party. John's disciples, those who were bound closest to
him, and who carried out his mode of living, kept strictly to the words
of the Law, and observed all its prescribed fasts. If the Pharisees,
comprising at that time the schools of Hillel and of Shammai, did not
greatly favor the enthusiasm and extravagance of the Essenes, they
placed themselves in no direct antagonism to the Baptists.

From their side, John would have met with no hindrance to his work, but
the Herodians were suspicious of a man who drew such throngs around
him, whose burning words moved the hearts of his hearers in their
very depths, and could carry away the multitude to the performance
of any enterprise he chose to undertake. Herod Antipas, governor of
the province in which the Baptist dwelt, gave his soldiers orders to
seize and imprison him. How long a time he was kept in confinement,
and whether he was still alive when one of his disciples was being
proclaimed as the Messiah, must, on account of the untrustworthiness of
the sources from which our information is derived, remain doubtful. It
is authentic, however, that he was beheaded by the order of Antipas,
whilst the story of the young daughter of Herodias bringing to her
mother the bloody head of the Baptist upon a platter is a mere legend.

After the imprisonment of the Baptist, his work was carried on by some
of his disciples, among whom no one exerted so powerful an influence
as Jesus of Galilee. Jesus (short for Joshua), born in Nazareth,
a small town in Lower Galilee, to the south of Sepphoris, was the
eldest son of an otherwise unknown carpenter, Joseph, and of his wife
Miriam or Mary, who bore him four more sons, Jacob, Josê, Judah, and
Simon, and several daughters. Whether Joseph or Mary, the father and
mother of Jesus, belonged to the family of David cannot be proved. The
measure of his mental culture can only be surmised from that existing
in his native province. Galilee, at a distance from the capital and
the Temple, was far behind Judæa in mental attainments and knowledge
of the Law. The lively interchange of religious thought, and the
discussions upon the Law, which made its writings and teachings the
common property of all who sought the Temple, were naturally wanting in
Galilee. The country, which, at a later period, after the destruction
of the Temple, contained the great schools of Uscha, Sepphoris, and
Tiberias, was at that time very poor in seats of learning. But, on the
other hand, morality was stricter in Galilee, and the observance of
laws and customs more rigidly enforced. The slightest infringement was
not allowed, and what the Judæans permitted themselves, the Galilæans
would by no means consent to. They were also looked upon as fanatical

Through their vicinity to the heathen Syrians, the Galilæans had
adopted many superstitions, and, owing to their ignorance of the nature
of disease, the sick were often thought to be possessed by demons,
and various forms of illness were ascribed to the influence of evil
spirits. The language of the Galilæans had also become corrupted by
their Syrian neighbors, and was marred by the introduction of Aramaic
forms and words. The Galilæans could not pronounce Hebrew with purity.
They exchanged, and sometimes omitted, the guttural sounds, and thus
often incurred the ridicule of the Judæans, who thought a great deal of
correct articulation. The first word he spoke revealed the Galilæan,
and, as his language provoked laughter, he was not often allowed to
lead in the recital of the prayers. The birthplace of Jesus, Nazareth,
offered no particular attraction; it was a small mountain-town, not
more fertile than the other parts of Galilee, and bearing no comparison
to the richly-watered Shechem.

On account of his Galilæan origin, Jesus could not have stood high in
that knowledge of the Law which, through the schools of Shammai and
Hillel, had become prevalent in Judæa. His small stock of learning
and his corrupt half-Aramaic language pointed unmistakably to his
birthplace in Galilee. His deficiency in knowledge, however, was fully
compensated for by his intensely sympathetic character. High-minded
earnestness and spotless moral purity were his undeniable attributes;
they stand out in all the authentic accounts of his life that have
reached us, and appear even in those garbled teachings which his
followers placed in his mouth. The gentle disposition and the humility
of Jesus remind one of Hillel, whom he seems, indeed, to have taken as
his particular model, and whose golden rule, "What you wish not to be
done to yourself, do not unto others," he adopted as the starting-point
of his moral code. Like Hillel, Jesus looked upon the promotion of
peace and the forgiveness of injuries as the highest forms of virtue.
His whole being was permeated by that deeper religiousness which
consecrates to God not only the hour of prayer, a day of penitence, and
longer or shorter periods of devotional exercise, but every step in the
journey of life, which turns every aspiration of the soul towards Him,
subjects everything to His will, and, with child-like trust, commits
everything to His keeping. He was filled with tender brotherly love,
which Judaism also teaches towards an enemy, and had reached the ideal
of the passive virtues which the Pharisees inculcated: "Count yourself
among the oppressed and not among the oppressors, receive abuse and
return it not; do all from love to God, and rejoice in suffering."
Jesus doubtless possessed warm sympathies and a winning manner, which
caused his words to produce a deep and lasting effect.

Jesus must, from the idiosyncrasies of his nature, have been powerfully
attracted by the Essenes, who led a contemplative life apart from the
world and its vanities. When John the Baptist--or more correctly the
Essene--invited all to come and receive baptism in the Jordan, to
repent and prepare for the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus hastened to obey
the call, and was baptized by him. Although it cannot be proved that
Jesus was formally admitted into the order of the Essenes, much in his
life and work can only be explained by the supposition that he had
adopted their fundamental principles. Like the Essenes, Jesus highly
esteemed self-inflicted poverty, and despised the mammon of riches. The
following proverbs, ascribed to him, appear to bear his stamp: "Blessed
are ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of heaven" (Luke vi. 20). "It is
easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich
man to enter into the kingdom of God" (Matthew xix. 24). "No man can
serve two masters, ye cannot serve God and mammon" (Matthew vi. 24).
Jesus shared the aversion of the Essenes to marriage: "It is not good
to marry" (Matthew xix. 11). Community of goods, a peculiar doctrine
of the Essenes, was not only approved of, but positively enjoined by
Jesus; like them, he also reprobated every form of oath. "Swear not
at all" (so Jesus taught), "neither by heaven nor by the earth, nor
by your head--but let your yea be yea, and your nay be nay" (James
v. 12). Miraculous cures, said to have been performed by him--such
as the exorcism of demons from those who believed themselves to be
possessed--were often made by the Essenes, so to say, in a professional

After John had been taken and imprisoned by Herod Antipas, Jesus
thought simply of continuing his master's work; like him, he preached
"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand," without perhaps having
then a suspicion of the part he was afterwards to play in that kingdom
of heaven looked forward to in the approaching Messianic time. Jesus
apparently felt that if his appeal was not to be lost in the desert
like that of the Baptist, but, on the contrary, bring forth lasting
results, it must not be addressed to the whole nation, but to a
particular class of the Judæans. The middle classes, the inhabitants of
towns of greater or lesser importance, were not wanting in godliness,
piety and morality, and consequently a call to them to repent and
forsake their sins would have been meaningless. The declaration made to
Jesus by the young man who was seeking the way of eternal life, "From
my youth upwards, I have kept the laws of God; I have not committed
murder, nor adultery, nor have I stolen, nor borne false witness;
I have honored my father and mother, and loved my neighbor like
myself,"--this declaration might have been made by the greater number
of the middle-class Judæans of that time. The disciples of Shammai
and Hillel, the followers of the zealot Judas, the bitter foes of the
Herodians and of Rome, were not morally sick, and were not in need
of the physician's art. They were ever ready for self-sacrifice, and
Jesus wisely refrained from turning to them. Still less was he inclined
to attempt to reform the rich, and he was repelled by the higher
classes of Judæans. From these, the warning of the simple, unlearned
moralist and preacher, his reproof of their pride, their venality
and inconstancy, would only have elicited mockery and derision. With
right judgment, therefore, Jesus determined upon seeking out those who
did not belong to, or had been expelled from the community for their
religious offenses, and who had either not been allowed or had not
desired to return to it. They were publicans and tax-gatherers, shunned
by the patriots, as promoters of Roman interests, who turned their
backs upon the Law, and led a wild, unshackled life, heedless alike
of the past and of the future. There existed in Judæa many who had no
knowledge of the great healing truths of Judaism, who were ignorant
of its laws, and indifferent as to the glorious history of its past
or its possible future. These were known as transgressors of the Law
(Abrianim), or sinners as they were called, the friends of Herod and
of Rome. There were also ignorant, poor handicraftsmen and menials
(Am ha-Arez), who were seldom able to visit the Judæan capital, or
listen to Judæan teachings, which, indeed, they would probably not have
understood. It was not for them that Sinai had flamed, or the prophets
had uttered their cry of warning; for the teachers of the Law, more
intent upon expounding doctrine than upon reforming their hearers,
failed to make the Law and the prophets intelligible to those classes,
and consequently did not draw them within their fold. It was to these
outcasts that Jesus turned, to snatch them out of their torpor, their
ignorance and ungodliness. He felt within himself the call to save "the
lost sheep of the house of Israel." "They that be whole need not a
physician, but they that are sick" (Matthew ix. 12).

Intent upon the lofty mission which he had undertaken--to turn the
ignorant and the godless, the sinner and the publican to repentance,
and by virtue of the Essene mode of living to prepare them for the
approaching Messianic time--Jesus first sought his native town of
Nazareth. But there, where he had been known from his infancy, and
where the carpenter's son was not considered to possess superior
sanctity but only inferior knowledge, he was met with derision and
contempt. When, on the Sabbath, he spoke in the synagogue about
repentance, the listeners said to each other, "Is that not the son of
Joseph the carpenter, and his mother and sisters, are they not all with
us?" and they said to him, "Physician, heal thyself," and listened not
to him. The ignominious treatment he received in his own birthplace
caused him to utter the proverb, "The preacher is least regarded in his
own country." He left Nazareth, never to return.

A better result followed the teaching of Jesus in the town of Capernaum
(Kefar Nahum), which was situated on the western coast of the Sea of
Tiberias. The inhabitants of that delightfully situated town differed
as much from the Nazarenes as their mild, fertile land from a rough
and wild mountain gorge. In Capernaum there were doubtless a greater
number of men steeped in effeminacy and vice, and there existed,
probably, a wider gap between the rich and the poor. But just on that
account Jesus had more scope to work there, and an easier access was
found for the earnest, penetrating words which he poured forth from
the depths of his soul. Many belonging to the lowest classes attached
themselves to Jesus and followed him. Among his first disciples in
Capernaum were Simon, called Kephas or Petrus (rock), and his brother
Andrew, the sons of Jonah, both fishermen, the first, in some degree,
a law-breaker, and also the two sons of a certain Zebedee, Jacob
and John. He was also followed by a rich publican, called sometimes
Matthew, sometimes Levi, in whose house Jesus often tarried, bringing
with him companions from the classes then looked down upon with the
greatest contempt. Women likewise of doubtful repute were among his
followers, the most conspicuous of the number being a native of the
town of Magdala, near Tiberias, Mary Magdalene, from whom seven devils
(according to the language of the time) had to be driven out. Jesus
converted these abandoned sinners into remorseful penitents. It was,
doubtless, an unheard-of thing at that time for a teacher of Judaism to
hold intercourse with women at all, more especially with any of that

He, however, by word and example raised the sinner and the publican,
and filled the hearts of those poor, neglected, thoughtless beings
with the love of God, transforming them into dutiful children of their
heavenly Father. He animated them with his own piety and fervor, and
improved their conduct by the hope he gave them of being able to
enter the kingdom of heaven. That was the greatest miracle that Jesus
performed. Above all things, he taught his male and female disciples
the Essene virtues of self-abnegation and humility, of the contempt of
riches, of charity and the love of peace. He said to his followers,
"Provide neither gold nor silver nor brass for your purses, neither
two coats, neither shoes" (Matthew x. 9). He bade them become sinless
as little children, and declared they must be as if born again if
they would become members of the approaching kingdom of heaven. The
law of brotherly love and forbearance he carried to the extent of
self-immolation. "If you receive a blow on one cheek, turn the other
one likewise, and if one takes your cloak, give him likewise your
shirt." He taught the poor that they should not take heed for meat or
drink or raiment, but pointed to the birds in the air and the lilies
in the fields that were fed and clothed yet "they toil not, neither
do they spin." He taught the rich how to distribute alms--"Let not
thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth." He admonished the
hypocrite, and bade him pray in the secrecy of his closet, placing
before him a short form of prayer--"Our Father which art in heaven,"
which may possibly have been in use among the Essenes.

Jesus made no attack upon Judaism itself, he had no idea of becoming
the reformer of Jewish doctrine or the propounder of a new law; he
sought merely to redeem the sinner, to call him to a good and holy
life, to teach him that he is a child of God, and to prepare him
for the approaching Messianic time. He insisted upon the unity of
God, and was far from attempting to change in the slightest degree
the Jewish conception of the Deity. To the question once put to him
by an expounder of the Law, "What is the essence of Judaism?" he
replied, "'Hear, O Israel, our God is one' and 'Thou shalt love thy
neighbor as thyself.' These are the chief commandments" (Mark xii.
28). His disciples, who had remained true to Judaism, promulgated the
declaration of their Master--"I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill;
till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass
from the Law till all be fulfilled" (Matthew v. 17). He must have kept
the Sabbath holy, for those of his followers who were attached to
Judaism strictly observed the Sabbath, which they would not have done
had their master disregarded it. It was only the Shammaitic strictness
in the observance of the Sabbath, which forbade even the healing of
the sick on that day, that Jesus protested against, declaring that
it was lawful to do good on the Sabbath. Jesus made no objection to
the existing custom of sacrifice, he merely demanded--and in this the
Pharisees agreed with him--that reconciliation with one's fellow-man
should precede any act of religious atonement. Even fasting found no
opponent in him, so far as it was practised without ostentation or
hypocrisy. He wore on his garments the fringes ordered by the Law, and
he belonged so thoroughly to Judaism that he shared the narrow views
held by the Judæans at that period, and thoroughly despised the heathen
world. He was animated by that feeling when he said, "Give not that
which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine,
lest they trample them under their feet and turn again and rend you."

The merit of Jesus consists especially in his efforts to impart greater
inner force to the precepts of Judaism, in the enthusiasm with which
he obeyed them himself, in his ardor to make the Judæans turn to God
with filial love as children to their father, in his fervent upholding
of the brotherhood of men, in his insistence that moral laws be placed
in the foreground, and in his endeavors to have them accepted by those
who had been hitherto regarded as the lowest and most degraded of human

It was not to be expected, however, that through his teaching alone
Jesus could attract devoted followers, or achieve great results;
something more was required--something strange and wonderful to startle
and inflame. His appearance, his mystical character, his earnest
zeal produced, doubtless, a powerful effect, but to awaken in the
dull and cold a lasting enthusiasm, to gain the confidence of the
masses and to kindle their faith, it was necessary to appeal to their
imagination by strange circumstances and marvelous surroundings. The
Christian chronicles abound in extraordinary events and descriptions
of miraculous cures performed by Jesus. Though these stories may in
part be due to an inclination to exaggerate and idealize, they must
doubtless have had some foundation in fact. Miraculous cures--such,
for example, as the exorcism of those possessed by demons--belonged
so completely to the personality of Jesus that his followers boasted
more of the exercise of that power than of the purity and holiness of
their conduct. If we are to credit the historical accounts of that
period, the people also admired Jesus more for the command he displayed
over demons and Satan than for his moral greatness. It was indeed on
account of the possession of such power that he was first considered a
supernatural being by the uncultured masses.

Encouraged by the great effect he produced in Capernaum, where he
found his first circle of disciples, Jesus wandered about in the towns
of Galilee, remaining some time in its second capital, Bethsaida,
in Magdala, and in Chorazin, where he gained many followers. His
presence, however, in Bethsaida and Chorazin could not have produced
any lasting result, as he bewailed--according to the words placed in
his mouth, "Woe unto thee, Chorazin, woe unto thee, Bethsaida"--the
spirit of opposition and indocility of their inhabitants. Like Sodom
and Gomorrah, they were accursed. Still he had many faithful disciples,
both men and women, who followed him everywhere, and obeyed him in all
things. They renounced not only their former immoral and irreligious
life, but also gave up all their possessions, carrying out the doctrine
of the community of goods. The repasts they took in common formed, as
it were, the connecting link which attached the followers of Jesus to
one another, and the alms distributed by the rich publicans relieved
the poor disciples of the fear of hunger, and thus bound them still
more closely to Jesus.

Among his followers Jesus selected as his peculiar confidants
those who, distinguished by their superior intelligence or greater
steadfastness of character, seemed best calculated to forward the
aims he had in view. The number of these trusted disciples was not
known, but tradition mentions twelve, and calls them the twelve
apostles--representatives, as it were, of the twelve tribes of Israel.

His great design, the secret desire of his heart, Jesus disclosed on
one occasion to the most intimate circle of his disciples. He led them
to a retired spot at the foot of Mount Hermon, not far from Cæsarea
Philippi, the capital of the Tetrarch Philip, where the Jordan rushes
forth from mighty rocks, and in that remote solitude he revealed to
them the hidden object of his thoughts. But he contrived his discourse
in such a manner that it appeared to be his disciples who at last
elicited from him the revelation that he considered himself the
expected Messiah. He asked his followers, "Who do men say that I, the
son of man, am?" Some replied that he was thought to be Elijah, the
expected forerunner of the Messiah; others, again, that he was the
prophet whose advent Moses had predicted; upon which Jesus asked them,
"But whom say ye that I am?" Simon Peter answered and said, "Thou art
the Christ." Jesus praised Peter's discernment and admitted that he
was the Messiah, but forbade his disciples from divulging the truth,
or, for the present, from speaking about it at all. Such was the
mysteriously-veiled birth of Christianity. When, a few days later, the
most trusted of his disciples, Simon Peter and the two sons of Zebedee,
James and John, timidly suggested that Elijah must precede the Messiah,
Jesus declared that Elijah had already appeared, though unrecognized,
in the person of the Baptist. Had Jesus from the very commencement of
his career nourished these thoughts in the depths of his soul, or had
they first taken shape when the many followers he had gained seemed to
make their realization possible? Jesus never publicly called himself
the Messiah, but made use of other expressions which were doubtless
current among the Essenes. He spoke of himself as "the son of man,"
alluding probably to Daniel vii. 13, "One like the son of man came
with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days," a verse
which referred probably to the whole people and its Messianic future,
but which at that time was made to point to the Messiah himself. There
was yet one other name which Jesus applied to himself in his Messianic
character--the mysterious words "Son of God," probably taken from the
seventh verse of the second Psalm, "The Lord hath said unto me, Thou
art my son; this day have I begotten thee." Was this expression used by
Jesus figuratively, or did he wish it to be taken in a literal sense?
As far as we know, he never explained himself clearly on that subject,
not even at a later date, when it was on account of the meaning
attached to those words that he was undergoing his trial. His followers
afterwards disagreed among themselves upon that matter, and the various
ways in which they interpreted that ambiguous expression divided them
into different sects, among which a new form of idolatry unfolded

When Jesus made himself known as the Messiah to his disciples,
enjoining secrecy, he consoled them for the present silence imposed on
them by the assurance that a time would come, when "What I tell you in
darkness, that speak ye in light, and what ye hear in the ear, that
preach ye upon the house-tops." What occurred was doubtless contrary to
what Jesus and his disciples expected, for as soon as it was known (the
disciples having probably not kept the secret) that Jesus of Nazareth
not only came to preach the Kingdom of Heaven, but was proclaimed as
the expected Messiah, the public sentiment rose against him. Proofs and
signs of his being the Messiah were asked, which he was not able to
give, and he thus was forced to evade the questions addressed to him.
Many of his followers seem to have been repelled by his assumption of
the Messianic character, and so left him at once. "From that time many
of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him" (John vi. 66).
In order not to be discredited in the eyes of his disciples, it was
essential that he should perform some miracle that would crown his work
or seal it with his death. It was expected that he would now appear in
Jerusalem before the whole nation in the character of the Messiah, and
it is stated that his own brothers entreated of him to go there, so
that his achievements might at last become visible to his disciples.
"For there is no man that doeth anything in secret and he himself
seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, show thyself to
the world" (John vii. 4). Jesus thus found himself almost obliged to
enter upon the path of danger. He was, moreover, no longer safe in
Galilee, and appears to have been tracked and pursued from place to
place by the servants of the Tetrarch Herod Antipas. It was at that
time that Jesus said to one of his followers who clung to him in his
distress, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests,
but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head" (Matthew viii. 20).
He wished to prevent any misconception as to his desire to alter the
Law, and his reply to the Pharisee who asked what would be required of
him if he became his disciple was, "If thou wilt enter into life, keep
the commandments, sell what thou hast and give to the poor." When he
had passed Jericho and was approaching Jerusalem, Jesus took up his
abode near the walls of the capital, in the village of Bethany, at the
Mount of Olives, where the lepers who were obliged to avoid the city
had their settlement. It was in the house of one of these that shelter
was given him. The other disciples whom he found at Bethany belonged
also to the lower orders. They were Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and
Martha. Only one resident of wealth and position in Jerusalem, Joseph
of Arimathea, is said to have become a disciple of Jesus.

The entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem and his appearance in the Temple
have been glorified by a halo of legends which contain but little
historical truth. They show us Jesus accompanied in triumph by the
people singing hosannas, the same people who a few days later were to
demand his death. Both reports were inventions: the first was designed
to prove that he was recognized as the Messiah by the people; the
second, to throw the guilt of his execution upon all Israel. Equally
unhistorical is the account of Jesus entering the Temple by force,
throwing down the tables of the money-changers, and chasing away those
who were selling doves. An act that must have given rise to intense
excitement would not have been omitted from other chronicles of that
period. It is not mentioned in any other writings of that time that the
stalls of money-changers and dealers in doves had a place in the Temple.

It is just the most important facts of the life of Jesus--the account
of the attitude he assumed at Jerusalem before the people, the
Synhedrion and the different sects, the announcement of himself as the
Messiah, and the manner in which that announcement was received--that
are represented in such various ways in the chronicles that it is
impossible to separate the historical kernel from its legendary
exaggerations and embellishments. Prejudice certainly existed against
him in the capital. The educated classes could not imagine the
Messiah's saving work to be performed by an unlearned Galilæan; indeed,
the idea that the Messiah, who was expected to come from Bethlehem,
out of the branch of David, should belong to Galilee, overthrew the
long-cherished conviction of centuries. It is probably from this
time that the proverb arose: "Can there any good thing come out of
Nazareth?" (John i. 46). The devout took offense at his going about
eating and drinking with sinners, publicans, and women of a degraded
class. Even the Essenes, John's disciples, were displeased at his
infringement of rules and customs. The Shammaites were scandalized
at his healing the sick on the Sabbath day, and could not recognize
the Messiah in one who desecrated the Sabbath. He also roused the
opposition of the Pharisees by the disapproval he expressed here and
there of their interpretations of the laws, and of the conclusions they
drew from them. From Jesus the zealots could not look for deeds of
heroism, for, instead of inspiring his followers with hatred of Rome,
he advocated peace, and in his contempt for mammon admonished them to
submit willingly to the Roman tax-gatherers. "Render therefore unto
Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's, and unto God the things which are
God's" (Matt. xxii. 21). These startling peculiarities, which seemed
to contradict the preconceived idea of the Messianic character, caused
the higher and the learned classes to be coldly indifferent to him,
and it is certain that he met with no friendly reception in Jerusalem.
These various objections, however, to the mode of life and the tenets
of Jesus afforded no ground for any legal accusation against him.
Freedom of speech had, owing to the frequent debates in the schools
of Shammai and Hillel, become so firmly established a right that no
one could be attacked for expressing religious opinions, unless indeed
he controverted any received dogma or rejected the conception of the
Divinity peculiar to Judaism. It was just in this particular that
Jesus laid himself open to accusation. The report had spread that he
had called himself the Son of God--words which, if taken literally,
wounded the religious feelings of the Judæan nation too deeply to allow
him who had uttered them to pass unscathed. But how was it possible to
ascertain the truth, to learn whether Jesus had really called himself
the Son of God, and to know what meaning he attached to these words?
How was it possible to discover what was the secret of his sect?
To bring that to light it was necessary to seek a traitor among his
immediate followers, and that traitor was found in Judas Iscariot,
who, as it is related, incited by avarice, delivered up to the judges
the man whom he had before honored as the Messiah. One Judæan account,
derived from what appears a trustworthy source, seems to place in
the true light the use made of this traitor. In order to be able to
arraign Jesus either as a false prophet or a seducer of the people,
the Law demanded that two witnesses had heard him utter the dangerous
language of which he was accused, and Judas was consequently required
to induce him to speak whilst two hidden witnesses might hear and
report his words. According to the Christian writings, the treachery
of Judas manifested itself in pointing out Jesus through the kiss of
homage that he gave his master as he was standing among his disciples,
surrounded by the people and the soldiers. No sooner had Jesus been
seized by the latter than his disciples left him and sought safety in
flight, Simon Peter alone following him at some distance. At dawn of
day on the 14th of Nissan, the Feast of the Passover, that is to say,
on the eve of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Jesus was led, not before
the great Synhedrion, but before the smaller court of justice, composed
of twenty-three members, over which the High Priest, Joseph Caiaphas,
presided. The trial was to determine whether Jesus had really claimed
to be, as the two witnesses testified, the Son of God; for one cannot
believe that he was arraigned before that tribunal because he had
boasted that it was in his power to destroy the Temple and rebuild it
in three days. Such a declaration, if really uttered by him, could not
have been made a cause of complaint. The accusation doubtless pointed
to the sin of blasphemy, and to the supposed affirmation of Jesus that
he was the Son of God. Upon the question being put to him on that
score, Jesus was silent and gave no answer. When the presiding judge,
however, asked him again if he were the Son of God, he is said to have
replied, "Thou hast said it," and to have added, "hereafter shall ye
see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power and coming in
the clouds of Heaven." If these words were really spoken by Jesus, the
judges could infer that he looked upon himself as the Son of God. The
High Priest rent his garments at the impious assertion, and the court
declared him guilty of blasphemy. From the account of the proceedings
given by Christian authorities, there is no proof that, according to
the existing penal laws, the judges had pronounced an unjust verdict.
All appearances were against Jesus. The Synhedrion received the
sanction of the death-warrant, or rather the permission to execute it,
from the governor, Pontius Pilate, who was just then present for the
festival at Jerusalem.

Pilate, before whom Jesus was brought, entering into the political side
of the question, asked him if he declared himself to be not only the
Messiah but the King of the Judæans, and as Jesus answered evasively,
"Thou hast said it," he likewise decreed his execution, which he indeed
alone had the power to enforce. That Pilate on the contrary found Jesus
innocent and wished to save him, while the Judæans had determined upon
putting him to death, is unhistorical and merely legendary. When Jesus
was scoffed at and obliged to wear the crown of thorns in ironical
allusion to the Messianic and royal dignity he had assumed, it was
not the Judæans who inflicted those indignities upon him, but the
Roman soldiers, who sought through him to deride the Judæan nation.
Among the Judæans who had condemned him there was, on the contrary, so
little of personal hatred that he was treated exactly like any other
criminal, and was given the cup of wine and frankincense to render
him insensible to the pains of death. That Jesus was scourged before
his execution proves that he was treated according to the Roman penal
laws; for by the Judæan code no one sentenced to death could suffer
flagellation. It was consequently the Roman lictors who maliciously
scourged with fagots or ropes the self-styled King of the Judæans.
They also caused Jesus (by the order of Pilate) to be nailed to the
cross, and to suffer the shameful death awarded by the law of Rome. For
after the verdict of death was pronounced by the Roman authorities,
the condemned prisoner belonged no more to his own nation, but to the
Roman state. It was not the Synhedrion but Pilate that gave the order
for the execution of one who was regarded as a State criminal and a
cause of disturbance and agitation. The Christian authorities state
that Jesus was nailed on the cross at nine o'clock in the morning, and
that he expired at three o'clock in the afternoon. His last words were
taken from a psalm, and spoken in the Aramaic tongue--"God, my God, why
hast Thou forsaken me?" (Eli, eli, lama shebaktani.) The Roman soldiers
placed in mockery the following inscription upon the cross: "Jesus of
Nazareth, King of the Judæans." The cross had been erected and the body
was probably buried outside the town, on a spot which was the graveyard
of condemned criminals. It was called Golgotha, the place of skulls.
Such was the end of the man who had devoted himself to the improvement
of the most neglected, miserable, and abandoned members of his people,
and who, perhaps, fell a victim to a misunderstanding. How great was
the woe caused by that one execution! How many deaths and sufferings
of every description has it not caused among the children of Israel!
Millions of broken hearts and tragic fates have not yet atoned for his
death. He is the only mortal of whom one can say without exaggeration
that his death was more effective than his life. Golgotha, the place
of skulls, became to the civilized world a new Sinai. Strange, that
events fraught with so vast an import should have created so little
stir at the time of their occurrence at Jerusalem, that the Judæan
historians, Justus of Tiberias and Josephus, who relate, to the very
smallest minutiae, everything which took place under Pilate, do not
mention the life and death of Jesus.

When the disciples of Jesus had somewhat recovered from the panic
which came upon them at the time he was seized and executed, they
re-assembled to mourn together over the death of their beloved Master.
The followers of Jesus then in Jerusalem did not amount to more than
one hundred and twenty, and if all who believed in him in Galilee
had been numbered, they would not have exceeded five hundred. Still,
the effect that Jesus produced upon the unenlightened masses must
have been very powerful; for their faith in him, far from fading away
like a dream, became more and more intense, their adoration of Jesus
rising to the highest pitch of enthusiasm. The only stumbling-block
to their belief lay in the fact that the Messiah who came to deliver
Israel and bring to light the glory of the kingdom of heaven, endured a
shameful death. How could the Messiah be subject to pain? A suffering
Messiah staggered them considerably, and this stumbling-block had to
be overcome before a perfect and joyful belief could be reposed in
him. It was at that moment probably that some writer relieved his own
perplexities and quelled their doubts by referring to a prophecy in
Isaiah, that "He will be taken from the land of the living, and will
be wounded for the sins of his people." The humble, wavering disciples
of Jesus were helped over their greatest difficulty by the Pharisees,
who were in the habit of explaining the new or the marvelous by
interpretations of Scripture. By this means they afforded indirectly
a solution and support to Christianity, and thus belief was given
to the most senseless and absurd doctrines, and the incredible was
made to appear certain and necessary. Without some support, however
feeble, from Holy Writ, nothing new would have been received or could
have kept its ground. By its help everything that happened was shown
to have been inevitable. Even that Jesus should have been executed
as a malefactor appeared pregnant with meaning, as it fulfilled the
literal prophecy concerning the Messiah. Was it not written that he
should be judged among the evil-doers? His disciples declared they had
heard Jesus say that he would be persecuted even unto death. Thus his
sufferings and death were evident proofs that he was the Messiah. His
followers examined his life, and found in every trivial circumstance
a deeper Messianic significance; even the fact that he was not born
in Bethlehem, but in Nazareth, appeared to be the fulfillment of a
prophecy. Thus he might therefore be called a Nazarene (Nazarite?), and
thus were his followers persuaded that Jesus, the Nazarene, was Christ
(the Messiah). When the faithful were satisfied on that point, it was
not difficult to answer the other question which naturally offered
itself--When would the promised kingdom of heaven appear, since he who
was to have brought it had died on the cross? Hope replied that the
Messiah would return in all his glory, with the angels of heaven, and
then every one would be rewarded according to his deeds. They believed
that some then alive would not taste death until they had seen the
Son of Man enter his kingdom. His disciples were hourly expecting
the return of Jesus, and only differed from the Judæans in so far as
they thought that the Messiah had already appeared in human form and

This kingdom was to last a thousand years: the Sabbath year of jubilee,
after the six thousand years of the world, would be founded by Jesus
when he returned to the earth, bringing the blessing of peace and
perfect happiness to the faithful. This belief required the further
conviction that Jesus had not fallen a prey to death, but that he would
rise again. It may have been the biblical story of Jonah's entombment
for three days in the bowels of a fish which gave rise to the legend
that Jesus after the same interval came forth from his sepulcher, which
was found to be empty. Many of his disciples declared they had seen
him after his death, now in one place, now in another; that they had
spoken to him, had marked his wounds, and had even partaken of fish and
honey with him. Nothing seemed to stagger their faith in the Messianic
character of Jesus; but greatly as they venerated and glorified him,
they had not yet raised him above humanity; in spite of the enthusiasm
with which he inspired them, they could not look upon him as God. They
regarded him only as a highly gifted man who, having obeyed the Law
more completely than any other human being, had been found worthy to be
the Messiah of the Lord.

They deviated in no degree from the precepts of Judaism, observing the
Sabbath, the rite of circumcision, and the dietary laws, whilst they
also reverenced Jerusalem and the Temple as holy places. They were,
however, distinguished from the other Judæans in some peculiarities
besides the belief they cherished that the Messiah had already
appeared. The poverty which they willingly embraced in accordance
with the teaching of Jesus was a remarkable trait in them. From this
self-imposed poverty they were called Ebionites (poor), a name they
either gave themselves or received from those who had not joined them.
They lived together, and each new disciple was required to sell his
goods and chattels and to pour the produce into the common purse.

To this class belonged the early Christians, or Judæan Christians, who
were called Nazarenes, and not, according to their origin, Essenes.
Seven administrators were appointed, as was usual among the Judæans,
to manage the expenditure of the community, and to provide for their
common repasts. They abstained from meat, and followed the way of the
Essenes, whom they also resembled in their practice of celibacy, in
their disuse of oil and superfluous garments, a single one of white
linen being all each possessed. It is related of James, the brother of
Jesus, who, on account of his near relationship to the founder, was
chosen leader of the early Christian community, and was revered as
an example, that he drank no wine or intoxicating beverages, that he
never ate meat, allowed no scissors to touch his hair, wore no woolen
material, and had only one linen garment. He lived strictly according
to the Law, and was indignant when the Christians allowed themselves to
transgress it. Next to him at the head of the community of Ebionites
stood Simon Kephas or Petrus, the son of Jonas, and John the son of
Zebedee, who became the pillars of Christianity. Simon Peter was the
most energetic of all the disciples of Jesus, and was zealous in his
endeavors to enroll new followers under the banner of Christianity. In
spite of the energy he thus displayed, he is described as being of a
vacillating character. The Christian chronicles state that when Jesus
was seized and imprisoned he denied him three times, and was called by
his master "him of little faith." He averred, with the other disciples,
that they had received from Jesus the mission of preaching to the lost
children of the house of Israel the doctrine of the brotherhood of
man and the community of goods; like Jesus and John the Baptist, they
were also to announce the approaching kingdom of heaven. Christianity,
only just born, went instantly forth upon her career of conquest and
proselytism. The disciples asserted that Jesus had imparted to them the
power of healing the sick, of awakening the dead, and of casting out
evil spirits. With them the practice of exorcism became common, and
thus the belief in the power of Satan and demons, brought from Galilee,
first took form and root. In Judaism itself the belief in demons was
of a harmless nature, without any religious significance. Christianity
first raised it to be an article of faith, to which hecatombs of human
beings were sacrificed. The early Christians used, or rather misused,
the name of Jesus for purposes of incantation. All those who believed
in Jesus boasted that it was given to them to drive away evil spirits,
to charm snakes, to cure the sick by the laying on of their hands, and
to partake of deadly poisons without injury to themselves. Exorcism
became by degrees a constant practice among Christians; the reception
of a new member was preceded by exorcism, as though the novice had till
then been possessed by the devil. It was, therefore, not surprising
that the Christians should have been looked upon by Judæans and
heathens as conjurors and magicians. In the first century, however,
Christians attracted but little attention in Judæan circles, escaping
observation on account of the humble class to which they belonged. They
formed a sect of their own, and were classed with the Essenes, to whom,
in many points, they bore so great a resemblance. They might probably
have dwindled away altogether had it not been for one who appeared
later in their midst, who gave publicity to the sect, and raised it to
such a pinnacle of fame that it became a ruling power in the world.

An evil star seems to have shone over the Judæan people during the
hundred years which had elapsed since the civil wars under the last
Hasmonæans, which had subjected Judæa to Rome. Every new event appeared
to bring with it some new misfortune. The comforting proverb of
Ecclesiastes, that there is nothing new under the sun, in this instance
proved false. The Messianic vision which had indistinctly floated in
the minds of the people, but which had now taken a tangible form, was
certainly something new; and this novel apparition, with its mask of
death, was to inflict new and painful wounds upon the nation.

Christianity, which came from Nazareth, was really an offshoot of the
sect of the Essenes, and inherited the aversion of that sect for the
Pharisaic laws by which the life of the people was regulated. This
aversion rose to hatred in the followers, stimulated by grief at the
death of their founder. Pontius Pilate had greatly contributed to
increasing of the enmity of the Christians against their own flesh
and blood. He it was who added mockery and scorn to the punishment of
death; he had bound their Messiah to the cross like the most abject
slave, and in derision of his assumed royalty had placed the crown of
thorns on his head. The picture of Jesus nailed to the cross, crowned
with thorns, the blood streaming from his wounds, was ever present to
his followers, filling their hearts with bitter thoughts of revenge.
Instead of turning their wrath against cruel Rome, they made the
representatives of the Judæan people, and by degrees the whole nation,
responsible for inhuman deeds. They either intentionally deceived
themselves, or in time really forgot that Pilate was the murderer of
their master, and placed the crime upon the heads of all the children
of Israel.

At about this period the anger of Pilate was kindled against a
Samaritan self-styled Messiah or prophet, who called his believers
together in a village, promising to show them on Mount Gerizim the
holy vessels used in the time of Moses. The Governor, who looked
with suspicion upon every gathering of the people, and regarded
every exciting incident as fraught with possible rebellion against
the Roman Empire, led his troops against the Samaritans, and ordered
the ringleaders, who had been caught in their flight, to be cruelly
executed. Judæans and Samaritans jointly denounced his barbarity to
Vitellius, the Governor of Syria, and Pilate was summoned to Rome to
justify himself. The degree of favor shown to the Judæans by Tiberius
after the fall of Sejanus, explains the otherwise surprising leniency
evinced towards the Judæan nation at that time. The Judæans had found
an advocate at court in Antonia, the sister-in-law of Tiberius. The
latter, who was the friend of a patriotic prince of the house of Herod,
had revealed to Tiberius the plot framed against him by Sejanus, and
in grateful recognition Tiberius repealed the act of outlawry against
the Judæans. Vitellius, the Governor of Syria, was graciously inclined
towards the Judæans, and not only inquired into their complaints,
but befriended them in every way, showing a degree of indulgence and
forbearance most unusual in a Roman, in those subjects on which they
were peculiarly sensitive. When, on the occasion of the Feast of
Passover, Vitellius repaired to Jerusalem in order to make himself
acquainted with all that was going on there, he sought to lighten as
much as possible the Roman yoke. He remitted the tax on the fruits
of the market, and as the capital was mainly dependent upon that
market for its requirements, a heavy burden was thus removed from the
inhabitants of Jerusalem. He further withdrew the pontifical robes from
behind the lock and bolts of the fort of Antonia, and gave them over to
the care of the College of Priests, who kept them for some time. The
right of appointing the High Priest was considered too important to
the interests of Rome to be relinquished, and Vitellius himself made
use of it to install Jonathan, the son of Anan, in the place of Joseph
Caiaphas. Caiaphas had acted in concert with Pilate during all the time
he had governed, and from his good understanding with the latter had
doubtless become distasteful to the Judæan nation. The favor granted
to the Judæans by Vitellius was in accordance with the wishes of the
Emperor, who commanded him to aid the nation with all the available
Roman forces in an unjust cause--that of Herod Antipas against King
Aretas. Antipas, who was married to the daughter of Aretas, king of the
Nabathæans, had nevertheless fallen in love with Herodias, the wife of
his half-brother Herod, who, disinherited by his father Herod I., led
a private life, probably in Cæsarea. During a journey to Rome, Antipas
became acquainted with Herodias, who, doubtless repining at her obscure
position, abandoned her husband, and after the birth of a daughter
contracted an illegal marriage with his brother. Antipas' first wife,
justly exasperated at his shameless infidelity, had fled to her father
Aretas, and urged him to make war upon her faithless husband. Antipas
suffered a great defeat, which was no sooner made known to the Emperor
than he gave Vitellius orders instantly to undertake his defense
against the king of the Nabathæans. As Vitellius was about to conduct
two legions from Ptolemais through Judæa, the people took offense at
the pictures of the Emperor which the soldiers bore on their standards,
and which were to have been carried to Jerusalem, but out of regard
to the scruples of the Judæans, Vitellius, instead of leading his
army through Judæa, conveyed it along the farther side of the Jordan.
Vitellius himself was received with the greatest favor in Jerusalem,
and offered sacrifices in the Temple. Of all the Roman governors he was
the one who had shown most kindness to the Judæans.



    Character of Agrippa--Envy of the Alexandrian Greeks towards
    the Judæans--Anti-Judæan Literature--Apion--Measures
    against the Judæans in Alexandria--Flaccus--Judæan Embassy
    to Rome--Philo--Caligula's Decision against the Judæan
    Embassy--Caligula orders his Statue to be placed in the
    Temple--The Death of Caligula relieves the Judæans--Agrippa's
    Advance under Claudius--His Reign--Gamaliel the Elder and his
    Administration--Death of Agrippa--Herod II--The False Messiah,
    Theudas--Death of Herod II.

    37.49 C. E.

After the murder of the Roman Emperor Tiberius, when the Senate
indulged for the moment in the sweet dream of regaining its liberty,
Rome could have had no forebodings that an enemy was born to her in
Jerusalem, in the half-fledged Christian community, which would in
time to come displace her authority, trample upon her gods, shatter
her power, and bring about a gradual decadence, ending in complete
decay. An idea, conceived and brought forth by one of Judæan birth and
developed by a despised class of society, was to tread the power and
glory of Rome in the dust. The third Roman Emperor, Caius Caligula
Germanicus, was himself instrumental in delivering up to national
contempt the Roman deities, in a sense the corner-stone of the Roman
Empire. The throne of the Cæsars had been alternately in the power of
men actuated by cruel cowardice and strange frenzy. None of the nations
tributary to Rome suffered more deeply from this continual change in
her masters than did the Judæans. Every change in the great offices of
state affected Judæa, at times favorably, but more often unfavorably.
The first years of Caligula's reign appeared to be auspicious for
Judæa. Caligula specially distinguished one of the Judæan princes,
Agrippa, with marks of his favor, thus holding out the prospect of a
milder rule. But it was soon evident that this kindness, this good-will
and favor, were but momentary caprices, to be followed by others of a
far different and of a terrible character, which threw the Judæans of
the Roman Empire into a state of fear and terror.

Agrippa (born 10 B. C. E., died 44 C. E.) was the son of the prince
Aristobulus who had been assassinated by Herod, and grandson of the
Hasmonæan princess Mariamne; thus in his veins ran the blood of the
Hasmonæans and Idumæans, and these two hostile elements appeared to
fight for the mastery over his actions, until at last the nobler was
victorious. Educated in Rome, in the companionship of Drusus, the son
of Tiberius, the Herodian element in Agrippa was the first to develop.
As a Roman courtier, intent upon purchasing Roman favor, he dissipated
his fortune and fell into debt. Forced to quit Rome for Judæa, after
the death of his friend Drusus, he was reduced to such distress that
he, who was accustomed to live with the Cæsars, had to hide in a remote
part of Idumæa. It was then that he contemplated suicide. But his
high-spirited wife, Cypros, who was resolved to save him from despair,
appealed to his sister Herodias, Princess of Galilee, for instant
help. And it was through the influence of Antipas, the husband of
this princess, that Agrippa was appointed overseer of the markets of
Tiberias. Impatient of this dependent condition, he suddenly resigned
this office and became courtier to Flaccus, governor of Syria. From
this very doubtful position he was driven by the jealousy of his own
brother Aristobulus. Seemingly abandoned by all his friends, Agrippa
determined upon once more trying his fortune in Rome. The richest and
most distinguished Judæans of the Alexandrian community, the Alabarch,
Alexander Lysimachus, with whom he had taken refuge, provided him with
the necessary means for his journey. This noblest Judæan of his age,
guardian of the property of the young Antonia, the daughter of the
triumvir, had evidently rendered such services to the imperial family
that he had been adopted into it, and was allowed to add their names to
his own--Tiberius Julius Alexander, son of Lysimachus. He possessed,
without doubt, the fine Greek culture of his age, for his brother Philo
was a man of the most exquisite taste in Greek letters. But none the
less did the Alabarch Alexander cling warmly to his people and to his
Temple. Resolved to save Agrippa from ruin, but distrustful of his
extravagant character, he insisted that his wife Cypros should become
hostage for him.

A new life of adventure now commenced in Rome for Agrippa. He was met
on the Isle of Capri by the Emperor Tiberius, who, in remembrance
of Agrippa's close connection with the son he had lost, received
him most kindly. But upon hearing of the enormous sum of money that
Agrippa still owed to the Roman treasury, Tiberius allowed him to fall
into disgrace. He was saved, however, by his patroness Antonia, the
sister-in-law of the emperor, who maintained a friendly remembrance
of Agrippa's mother Berenice. By her mediation he was raised to new
honors, and became the trusted friend of the heir to the throne, Caius
Caligula. But, as though Agrippa were destined to be the toy of every
caprice of fortune, he was soon torn from his intercourse with the
future emperor and thrown into prison. In order to flatter Caligula,
Agrippa once expressed the wish, "Would that Tiberius would soon expire
and leave his throne to one worthier of it." This was repeated by a
slave to the emperor, and Agrippa expiated his heedlessness by an
imprisonment of six months, from which the death of Tiberius at last
set him free (37).

With the accession to the throne of his friend and patron, Caligula,
his star rose upon the horizon. When the young emperor opened the
prison-door to Agrippa he presented him with a golden chain, in
exchange for the iron one that he had been forced to wear on his
account, and placed the royal diadem upon his head, giving him the
principality of Philip, that had fallen to the Empire of Rome. By
decree of the Roman Senate he also received the title of Prætor. So
devoted was Caligula to Agrippa that, during the first year of his
reign, the Roman emperor would not hear of his quitting Rome, and when
at length Agrippa was permitted to take possession of his own kingdom,
he had to give his solemn promise that he would soon return to his
imperial friend.

When Agrippa made his entry into Judæa as monarch and favorite of the
Roman emperor, poor and deeply in debt though he had been when he left
it, his wonderful change of fortune excited the envy of his sister
Herodias. Stung by ambition, she implored of her husband also to repair
to Rome and to obtain from the generous young emperor at least another
kingdom. Once more the painful want of family affection, common to all
the Herodians, was brought to light in all its baseness. Alarmed that
Antipas might succeed in winning Caligula's favor, or indignant at
the envious feelings betrayed by his sister, Agrippa accused Antipas
before the emperor of treachery to the Roman Empire. The unfortunate
Antipas was instantly deprived of his principality and banished to
Lyons, whither he was followed by his faithful and true-hearted wife.
Herod's last son, Herod Antipas, and his granddaughter, Herodias,
died in exile. Agrippa, by imperial favor, became the heir of his
brother-in-law, and the provinces of Galilee and Peræa were added to
his other possessions.

The favor evinced by Caligula towards Agrippa, which might naturally
be extended to the Judæan people, awakened the envy of the heathens,
and brought the hatred of the Alexandrian Greeks to a crisis. Indeed,
the whole of the Roman Empire harbored secret and public enemies of the
Judæans. Hatred of their race and of their creed was intensified by a
lurking fear that this despised yet proud nation might one day attain
to supreme power. But the hostile feeling against the Judæans reached
its climax amongst the restless, sarcastic and pleasure-loving Greek
inhabitants of Alexandria. They looked unfavorably upon the industry
and prosperity of their Judæan neighbors, by whom they were surpassed
in both these respects, and whom they did not excel even in artistic
and philosophical attainments. These feelings of hatred dated from
the time when the Egyptian queen entrusted Judæan generals with the
management of the foreign affairs of her country, and they increased
in intensity when the Roman emperors placed more confidence in the
reliable Judæans than in the frivolous Greeks. Slanderous writers
nourished this hatred, and in their endeavors to throw contempt upon
the Judæans they falsified the history of which the Judæans were justly

The Stoic philosopher Posidonius circulated false legends about the
origin and the nature of the divine worship of the Judæans, which
legends had been originally invented by the courtiers of Antiochus
Epiphanes. The disgraceful story of the worship of an ass in the Temple
of Jerusalem, besides other tales as untrue and absurd, added to the
assertion that the Judæans hated all Gentiles, found ready belief in
a younger, contemporary writer, Apollonius Malo, with whom Posidonius
had become acquainted in the island of Rhodes, and by whom they were
widely circulated. Malo gave a new account of the history of the Judæan
exodus, which he declared was occasioned by some enormity on the
part of the Judæans; he described Moses as a criminal, and the Mosaic
Law as containing the most abominable precepts. He declared that the
Judæans were atheists, that they hated mankind in general; he accused
them of alternate acts of cowardice and temerity, and maintained that
they were the most uncultured people amongst the barbarians, and could
not lay claim to the invention of any one thing which had benefited
humanity. It was from these two Rhodian authors that the spiteful and
venom-tongued Cicero culled his unworthy attack upon the Judæan race
and the Judæan Law. In this respect he differed from Julius Cæsar, who,
in spite of his associations with Posidonius and Malo, was entirely
free from all prejudice against the Judæans.

The Alexandrian Greeks devoured these calumnies with avidity,
exaggerated them, and gave them still wider circulation. Only three
Greek authors mentioned the Judæans favorably--Alexander Polyhistor,
Nicolaus of Damascus, the confidant of Herod, and, lastly, Strabo,
the most remarkable geographer of ancient times, who devoted a fine
passage in his geographical and historical work to Judaism. Although
he mentions the Judæans as having originated from Egypt, he does not
repeat the legend that their expulsion was occasioned by some fault of
their own. Far otherwise he explains the Exodus, affirming that the
Egyptian mode of life, with its unworthy idolatry, had driven Moses
and his followers from the shores of the Nile. He writes in praise of
the Mosaic teaching relative to the unity of God, as opposed to the
Egyptian plurality of deities, and of the spiritual, imageless worship
of the Judæans in contrast to the animal worship of the Egyptians, and
to the investing of the divinity with a human form among the Greeks.
"How can any sensible man," he exclaims, "dare make an image of the
Heavenly King?" Widely opposed to the calumniators of Judaism, Strabo
teaches that the Mosaic Law was the great mainstay of righteousness,
for it holds out the divine blessing to all those whose lives are pure.
For some time after the death of their great lawgiver, Strabo maintains
that the Judæans acted in conformity with the Law, doing right and
fearing God. Of the sanctuary in Jerusalem he speaks with veneration,
for, although the Judæan kings were often faithless to the Law of Moses
and to their subjects, yet the capital of the Judæans was invested with
its own dignity, and the people, far from looking upon it as the seat
of despotism, revered and honored it as the Temple of God.

One author exceeded all the other hostile writers in the outrageous
nature of his calumnies; this was the Egyptian Apion, who was filled
with burning envy at the prosperous condition of the Judæans. He
gave a new and exaggerated account of all the old stories of his
predecessors, and gained the ear of the credulous multitude by the
readiness and fluency of his pen. Apion was one of those charlatans
whose conduct is based on the assumption that the world wishes to be
deceived, and therefore it shall be deceived. As expounder of the
Homeric songs, he traveled through Greece and Asia Minor, and invented
legends so flattering to the early Greeks that he became the hero of
their descendants. He declared that he had witnessed most things of
which he wrote, or that he had been instructed in them by the most
reliable people; and even affirmed that Homer's shade had appeared to
him, and had divulged which Grecian town had given birth to the oldest
of Greek bards, but that he dared not publish that secret. On account
of his intense vanity he was called the trumpet of his own fame, for
he assured the Alexandrians that they were fortunate in being able to
claim him as a citizen. It is not astonishing that so unscrupulous a
man should have made use of the hatred they bore to the Judæans to do
the latter all the injury in his power.

But the hostility of the Alexandrians, based on envy and religious
and racial antipathy, was suppressed under the reign of Augustus and
Tiberius, when the imperial governors of Egypt sternly reprimanded all
those who might have become disturbers of the peace. Affairs changed,
however, when Caligula came to the throne, for the Alexandrians
were then aware that the governor Flaccus, who had been a friend of
Tiberius, was unfavorably looked upon by his successor, who was ready
to lend a willing ear to any accusation against him. Flaccus, afraid of
drawing the attention of the revengeful emperor upon himself, was cowed
into submission by the Alexandrians, and became a mere tool in their
hands. At the news of Agrippa's accession to the throne, they were
filled with burning envy, and the delight of the Alexandrian Judæans,
with whom Agrippa came into contact through the Alabarch Alexander,
only incensed them still more and roused them to action.

Two most abject beings were the originators and leaders of this
anti-Judæan demonstration; a venal clerk of the court of justice,
Isidorus, who was called by the popular wits, the Pen of Blood, because
his pettifoggery had robbed many of their life, and Lampo, one of those
unprincipled profligates that are brought forth by a burning climate
and an immoral city. These two agitators ruled, on the one hand, the
weak and helpless governor, and, on the other, they led the dregs of
the people, who were prepared to give vent to their feelings of hatred
towards the Judæans upon a sign from their leaders.

Unfortunately, Agrippa, whose change of fortune had been an offense in
the eyes of the Alexandrians, touched at their capital upon his return
from Rome to Judæa (July, 38), and his presence roused the enemies
of the Judæans to fresh conspiracies. These began with a farce, but
ended for the Judæans in terrible earnest. At first Agrippa and his
race were insultingly jeered at. A harmless fool, Carabas, was tricked
out in a crown of papyrus and a cloak of plaited rushes; a whip was
given him for a scepter, and he was placed on an eminence for a throne,
where he was saluted by all passers-by as Marin (which, in the Chaldaic
tongue, denotes "our master"). This was followed by the excitable mob's
rushing at the dawn of the next day into the synagogues, carrying
with them busts of the emperor, with the pretext of dedicating these
places of worship to Caligula. In addition to this, at the importunate
instance of the conspirators, the governor, Flaccus, was induced to
withdraw from the Judæan inhabitants of Alexandria what they had held
so gratefully from the first emperors--the right of citizenship. This
was a terrible blow to the Judæans of Alexandria, proud as they were of
their privileges, and justly entitled to the credit of having enriched
this metropolis by their learning, their wealth, their love of art and
their spirit of commerce equally with the Greeks. They were cruelly
driven out of the principal parts of the city of Alexandria, and were
forced to congregate in the Delta, or harbor of the town. The mob,
greedy for spoil, dashed into the deserted houses and work-shops, and
plundered, destroyed and annihilated what had been gathered together by
the industry of centuries.

After committing these acts of depredation, the infuriated Alexandrians
surrounded the Delta, under the idea that the unfortunate Judæans
would be driven to open resistance by the pangs of hunger or by the
suffocating heat they were enduring in their close confinement. When
at last the scarcity of provisions impelled some of the besieged to
venture out of their miserable quarters, they were cruelly ill-treated
by the enemy, tortured, and either burnt alive or crucified. This
state of things lasted for a month. The governor went so far as to
arrest thirty-eight members of the Great Council, to throw them into
prison and publicly to scourge them. Even the female sex was not
spared. If any maidens or women crossed the enemy's path they were
offered pig's flesh as food, and upon their refusing to eat it they
were cruelly tortured. Not satisfied with all these barbarities,
Flaccus ordered his soldiers to search the houses of the Judæans for
any weapons that might be concealed there, and they were told to
leave not even the chambers of modest maidens unsearched. This reign
of terror continued until the middle of September. At that time an
imperial envoy appeared to depose Flaccus and to summon him to Rome,
not on account of his abominable conduct towards the Judæans, but
because he was hated by the emperor. His sentence was exile and he was
eventually killed.

The emperor alone could have settled the vexed question as to whether
the Judæans had the right of equal citizenship with the Greeks in
Alexandria; but he was then in Germany or in Gaul celebrating childish
triumphs, or in Britain gathering shells on the seashore. When he
returned to Rome (August, 40) with the absurd idea of allowing himself
to be worshiped as a god, and of raising temples and statues to
his own honor, the heathen Greeks justly imagined that their cause
against the Judæans was won. They restored the imperial statues in
the Alexandrian synagogues, convinced that in the face of so great a
sacrilege the Judæans would rebel and thereby arouse the emperor's
wrath. This was actually the cause of a fresh disturbance, for the
new governor of Alexandria took part against the Judæans, courting
in this way the imperial favor. He insisted that the unhappy people
should show divine honors to the images of the emperor, and when they
refused on the ground that such an act was contrary to their Law, he
forbade their observance of the Sabbath day. In the following words he
addressed the most distinguished of their race: "How would it be if
you were suddenly overwhelmed by a host of enemies, or by a tremendous
inundation, or by a raging fire; if famine, pestilence or an earthquake
were to overtake you upon the Sabbath day? Would you sit idly in your
synagogues, reading the Law and expounding difficult passages? Would
you not rather think of the safety of parents and children, of your
property and possessions, would you not fight for your lives? Now
behold, if you do not obey my commands, I will be all that to you,
the invasion of the enemy, the terrible inundation, the raging fire,
famine, pestilence, earthquake, the visible embodiment of relentless
fate." But neither the rich nor the poor allowed themselves to be
coerced by these words; they remained true to their faith, and prepared
to undergo any penalties that might be inflicted upon them. Some few
appear to have embraced paganism out of fear or from worldly motives.
The Judæan philosopher, Philo, gives some account of the renegades of
his time and his community, whom he designates as frivolous, immoral,
and utterly unworthy. Amongst them may be mentioned the son of the
Alabarch Alexander, Tiberius Julius Alexander, who forsook Judaism, and
was consequently raised to high honors in the Roman State.

Meanwhile, the Judæans determined upon pleading their cause before
the emperor. Three men (who were specially adapted for their mission)
were selected to be sent as envoys to Rome. One of these, the Judæan
philosopher, Philo, was so far distinguished through birth, social
standing, profound culture, and brilliant eloquence, that no better
pleader for the cause of justice could have been found. Through the
medium of his powerful writings Philo has so largely influenced not
only his contemporaries but also those who came after him, both within
and without the Judæan community, that the scanty accounts of his
life must not be passed over. As brother of the Alabarch Alexander,
Philo belonged to the most distinguished and wealthy family of the
Alexandrian community. He received in his youth the usual education
which all well-born parents held as necessary for their sons. Possessed
of unquenchable love for learning, he obtained complete mastery over
his studies. His taste for metaphysical research was developed at a
very early age, and he devoted himself to it untiringly for a time,
taking delight in that alone. He affirms enthusiastically that he had
no desire for honors, wealth, or material pleasures, so long as he
could revel in ethereal realms, in company with the heavenly bodies. He
belonged to the few elect who do not creep on the earth's surface, but
who free themselves from all earthly bondage in the sublime flight of
thought. He rejoiced in being exempt from cares and occupations. But
though he gloried in philosophy, Judaism, which he termed the "true
wisdom," was still dearer to his heart. When he gathered the beautiful
blossoms of Grecian learning, it was to twine them into a garland with
which to adorn Judaism. Philo had been leading the retired life of a
student for some time, when, as he bitterly remarked, an event drew him
unmercifully into the whirlpool of political troubles: the miserable
condition of his people had probably disturbed his contemplative life.
In later years he looked back with longing upon his former occupation,
and lamented that practical life had obscured his vision for
intellectual things, and had materially interfered with his range of
thought; but he consoled himself with the knowledge that in undisturbed
hours he was still able to lift his mind to noble objects. Philo's
philosophical researches not only furnished food for his intellect,
but helped to inspire him with true nobility of character, developing
in him a nature that regarded all acts of human folly, vulgarity, and
vice as so many enigmas which he could not solve.

His wife, who was justly proud of him, emulated him in the simplicity
of her life. When asked by some of her brilliantly attired friends why
she, who was so rich, should disdain to wear gold ornaments, she is
said to have answered, "The virtue of the husband is adornment enough
for the wife." Philo's contemporaries were never weary of praising
his style; so forcibly indeed did it remind them of Plato's beautiful
diction that they would observe, "Plato writes like Philo, or Philo
like Plato." Philo's principal aim was to harmonize the spirit of
Judaism with that of the philosophy of the age, or, more rightly
speaking, to show that Judaism is the truest philosophy. And this was
not merely to be an intellectual exercise, but to him it was a sacred
mission. He was so completely absorbed in these ideas that, as he
relates of himself, he often fell into trances, when he fancied that
revelations were vouchsafed to him which he could not have grasped at
ordinary times.

This was the man who was to present himself before the emperor, as
the representative of the Alexandrian Judæan community. The heathen
Alexandrians also sent a deputation, headed by Apion, to which also
belonged the venom-tongued Isidorus. Not only were the envoys concerned
with the privileges of the community they represented, but they
were pledged to raise their voices against the cruel persecution of
their race. For the first time in history were Judaism and Paganism
confronted in the lists, each of them being represented by men of Greek
culture and learning. Had the two forms of faith and civilization
been judged by their exponents, the decision for Judaism would not
have been doubtful. Philo, dignified and earnest, seemed in himself
to embody faithful search after truth, and the purest moral idealism;
whilst Apion, frivolous and sarcastic, was the very incarnation
of smooth-tongued vainglory, and bore the stamp of the vanity and
self-conceit of fallen Greece. But the outcome of this contest remains
doubtful. Caligula was too passionate a partisan to be a just umpire.
He hated the Judæans because they would not recognize and worship
him as their deity, and his hatred was fanned by two contemptible
creatures, whom he had dragged from the mire and had attached to
himself--the Egyptian Helicon and Apelles of Ascalon.

The Judæan envoys were hardly permitted to speak when they were
admitted to the imperial presence, and Caligula's first word was one
of jarring reproof: "So you are the despisers of God, who will not
recognize me as the deity, but who prefer worshiping a nameless one,
whilst all my other subjects have accepted me as their god." The Judæan
envoys declared that they had offered up three successive offerings
in honor of Caligula: the first upon his accession to the throne; the
second upon his recovery from a severe illness; and the third after his
so-called victory over the Teutons. "That may be," answered Caligula,
"but the offerings were made _for me_ and _not to me_; for such I do
not care. And how is it," he continued, awakening the ribald merriment
of his pagan audience, "how is it that you do not eat pig's flesh,
and upon what grounds do you hold your right of equality with the
Alexandrians?" Without waiting for a reply, he turned his attention
to something else. Later on when he dismissed the Judæan envoys, he
remarked that they seemed less wicked than stupid in not being willing
to acknowledge his divinity.

Whilst the unfortunate ambassadors were vainly seeking to gain ground
with the emperor, they were suddenly overwhelmed with tidings that
struck terror into their hearts. One of their own race burst into their
presence, exclaiming, amidst uncontrollable sobs, that the Temple in
the holy city had been profaned by Caligula. For not only were the
imperial statues to be erected in the synagogues, but also in the
Temple of Jerusalem. The governor of Syria, Petronius, had received
orders to enter Judæa with his legions and to turn the Sanctuary into a
pagan temple. It is easy to conceive the mortal anguish of the Judæan
nation when these orders became known to them. On the eve of the Feast
of Tabernacles a messenger appeared in Jerusalem, who converted this
feast of rejoicing into mourning. Petronius and his legions were at
Accho, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, but, as the rainy season was at
hand, and as obstinate resistance was expected, the Roman commander
resolved to await the spring before commencing active operations.
Thousands of Judæans hastened to appear before Petronius, declaring
that they would rather suffer the penalty of death than allow their
Temple to be desecrated. Petronius, perplexed as to how he should carry
out this mad scheme of Caligula's, consulted the members of the Royal
Council, entreating of them to influence the people in his favor. But
the Judæan aristocracy, and even Agrippa's own brother Aristobulus,
held with the people. Petronius then sent a true statement of the case
to the emperor, hoping that he might be induced to abandon his scheme.
Meanwhile he pacified the people by telling them that nothing could be
effected until fresh edicts arrived from Rome, and begged of them to
return to their agricultural duties, and thus to avert the possibility
of a year of famine.

But before Petronius' letter was in the hands of the emperor,
Caligula's intentions had been frustrated by Agrippa. The Judæan
king had acquired so extraordinary an influence over Caligula that
the Romans called him and Antiochus of Commagene, his teachers in
tyranny. Agrippa, who was living at that time near the person of
the emperor, could not have been indifferent to the desecration of
the Temple, but he was too accomplished a courtier openly to oppose
this imperial caprice. On the contrary, he seemed dead to the cry of
anguish that arose from his people, and only occupied in preparing,
with the most lavish expenditure, a magnificent feast for the emperor
and his favorites. But under this garb of indifference he was really
working for his people's cause. Caligula, flattered by the attentions
that were lavished upon him, bade Agrippa demand a boon, which should
be instantly granted. His astonishment was indeed boundless when the
Judæan monarch begged for the repeal of the imperial edict concerning
images. He had little thought that his refined courtier would prove so
unselfish a man, so pious, and so thoroughly independent of the will of
the emperor. Cunning as he was, Caligula was helplessly entrapped, for
he could not retract his pledged word. Thus he was forced to write to
Petronius annulling his former decree. Meanwhile he received Petronius'
letter, in which the governor detailed what difficulties he would
encounter, were he to attempt to execute the orders of his master. More
than this was not required to lash Caligula's passionate and excitable
nature into a fury. A new and stringent order was given to proceed
with the introduction of the statues into the Temple of Jerusalem.
But before this order, terrible to the Judæans and full of danger to
Petronius himself, had arrived in Jerusalem, it was announced that the
insane Caligula had met with his death at the hands of the Prætorian
Tribune Chereas (24 Jan., 41). These tidings came to Jerusalem on the
22d of Shebat (March, 41), and the day was afterwards celebrated as one
of great rejoicing.

Caligula's successor upon the throne of the Cæsars was Claudius, a
learned pedant and a fool. He owed his crown to chance, and to the
diplomacy of King Agrippa, who had induced the reluctant Senate to
accept the choice of the Prætorians. Rome must indeed have fallen low
when a somewhat insignificant Judæan prince was allowed to speak in the
Senate House, and, in some measure, to have influence in the choice
of her ruler. Claudius was not ungrateful to his ally; he lauded him
before the assembled Senate, raised him to the dignity of consul, and
made him king of all Palestine, for Judæa and Samaria were incorporated
with the monarchy.

As a remembrance of these events, the emperor ordered an inscription
to be engraved on tablets of bronze, in pedantic imitation of the
classical age, and coins to be struck, bearing on one side two clasped
hands, with these words, "Friendship and comradeship of King Agrippa
with the Senate and the Roman people." On the other side was the
emperor between two figures, and the inscription: "King Agrippa, friend
of the emperor." The kingdom of Judæa had thus recovered its full
extent; indeed, it had acquired even a greater area than it possessed
formerly under the Hasmonæans and Herod I.

Herod II., brother and son-in-law of King Agrippa, received from
Claudius the rank of Prætor, and was made prince of Chalcis, in
Lebanon. The Alexandrian Judæans greatly benefited by the new order
of things which was brought about in the vast Roman Empire by the
death of Caligula. The emperor Claudius freed the Alabarch Alexander,
with whom he was on friendly terms, from the imprisonment into which
his predecessor had thrown him, and settled the disputes of the
Alexandrians in favor of the Judæans. Caligula's prejudice against that
unfortunate community had developed their independence, and their
strength was far from being broken. Their rights and privileges were
fully re-established by an edict of the new emperor, and they were
placed on an equal footing with the Greek inhabitants of Egypt. The
dignity of the Alabarch was restored by the emperor, and this was most
important to the Judæans, for it assured them of the leadership of one
of their own race, and made them independent of the Roman officials. It
was during this reign that Philo gave the wealth of his learning to a
wide circle of readers, and was instrumental in bringing Judæan-Greek
culture to its zenith. Claudius extended his goodwill to the Judæans of
the entire Roman Empire, granting them complete religious freedom, and
protecting them from the interference of the pagans.

When Agrippa, laden with honors, left Rome for Judæa to take possession
of his kingdom, his subjects remarked that some great change was
manifest in him, and that the stirring revolution in Rome, by which
a headstrong emperor had been dethroned in favor of a weak one, had
deeply impressed their own monarch. The frivolous Agrippa returned
an earnest-minded man; the courtier had given place to the patriot;
the pleasure-loving prince to the conscientious monarch, who was
fully aware of what he owed his nation. The Herodian nature had, in
fact, been entirely subdued by the Hasmonæan. For the last time,
Judæa enjoyed under his reign a short span of undisturbed happiness;
and his subjects, won by his generous affection, which even risked
forfeiting the good will of Rome in their cause, repaid him with
untiring devotion, the bitterest enemies of his scepter becoming his
ardent supporters. Historians do not weary of praising Agrippa's loving
adherence to Judaism; it seemed as if he were endeavoring to rebuild
what had been cast down by Herod. He mixed freely with the people
when they carried the first fruits into the Temple, and bore his own
offering of fruit or grain to the Sanctuary. He re-established the
old law that obliged the king to read the book of Deuteronomy in the
Court of the Temple at the close of each year of release. Facing the
congregation, Agrippa performed this act for the first time in the
autumn of the year 42, and when he came to the verse, "From amongst
your brethren shall you choose a king," he burst into a passion of
tears, for he was painfully aware of his Idumæan descent, and knew that
he was unworthy of being a king of Judæa. But the assembled multitude,
and even the Pharisees, exclaimed with enthusiasm: "Thou art our
brother; thou art our brother!"

Agrippa's careful government made itself felt throughout the entire
community. Without doubt the Synhedrion, under the presidency of
Gamaliel I. (ha-Zaken, the elder), the worthy grandson of Hillel, was
permitted to take the management of home affairs into its own hands.
The presidency acquired greater importance under Gamaliel than it
had enjoyed before; for the Synhedrion, modeled upon the political
constitution of the country, partook somewhat of a monarchical
character. The consent of the president was required for the
interpolation of a leap year, and all letters or mandates addressed
to near or distant communities were sent in his name. The formulæ of
these letters, which have in some instances been handed down to us, are
extremely interesting, both in contents and form, for they prove that
all Judæan communities, as well as their representatives, acknowledged
the supreme authority of the Synhedrion. Gamaliel would address a
foreign community through the pen of his accomplished secretary,
Jochanan, in these terms: "To our brethren in Upper and Lower Galilee,
greeting: We make known to you that the time has arrived for the
ingathering of the tithes of your olive yards." "To our brethren, the
exiles in Babylon, Media, Greece (Ionia), and to all other exiles,
greeting: We make known to you that as in this season the lambs are
still very small, and the doves have not yet their full-grown wings,
the spring being very backward this season, it pleases me and my
colleagues to prolong the year by thirty days."

Many excellent laws emanated from Gamaliel; they were principally
directed against the abuses that had crept in, or were aimed at
promoting the welfare of the whole community. It was the true spirit of
Hillel that pervaded the laws framed by Gamaliel for the intercourse
between the Judæans and the heathens. The heathen poor were permitted
to glean the fields in the wake of the reapers, and were treated
exactly like the Judæan poor, and the pagans were given the peace
greetings upon their own festivals when they were following their
own rites. The poor in all towns of mixed population received equal
treatment; they were helped in time of distress, their sick were
nursed, their dead were honorably treated, their sorrowing ones were
comforted, whether they were pagans or Judæans. In these ordinances, so
full of kindly feeling towards the heathen, the influence of Agrippa
is plainly visible. Rome and Judæa had for the moment laid aside their
mutual antipathy, and their intercourse was characterized by love and
forbearance. The generosity of the emperor towards the Judæans went so
far that he severely punished some thoughtless Greek youths in the town
of Dora for attempting to introduce his statues into the synagogues.
The governor Petronius was ordered to be strict in the prevention of
such desecration.

Agrippa had inherited from his grandfather Herod the wish to be popular
among the Greeks. As Herod had sent presents to Athens and other Greek
and Ionian towns, so his grandson conferred a great benefit upon the
degenerate city, once mother of the arts, a benefit which her citizens
did not easily forget. He also showered favors upon the inhabitants
of Cæsarea, the city that Herod had raised as a rival of Jerusalem,
and upon the Greeks of the seaboard Sebaste, who lived in their own
special quarter. These recipients of his benefits exerted themselves to
give proofs of their gratitude. The people of Sebaste raised statues
to his three daughters, and struck coins in his honor, bearing the
inscription--"To the great king Agrippa, friend of the emperor." The
last years of this monarch's reign were happy for his nation, both
within and without the kingdom of Judæa. They were like the rosy
flush in the evening sky that precedes, not the dawn of day, but the
blackness of night. In some respects they call to mind the reign of
King Josiah in the earlier history of the nation, when the kingdom
enjoyed tranquillity at home and independence abroad, with no dearth of
intellectual activity.

Philo visited Jerusalem during Agrippa's reign, and was able to take
part in the people's joy at the revocation of Caligula's edicts. Never
before had the first fruits been carried into the Temple with greater
solemnity or with more heartfelt rejoicing. To the bright strains of
musical instruments the people streamed into the Sanctuary with their
offerings, where they were received by the most distinguished of their
race. A psalm was then chanted, which described how the worshipers had
passed from sorrow into gladness.

It was at this time that a great queen, followed by her numerous
retinue, arrived in Jerusalem, she having renounced paganism for
Judaism, thus filling to the brim the cup of gladness of the once
persecuted but now honored race.

The happy era of Agrippa's reign was, however, not to be of long
duration. Although he had gained the complete confidence of the
emperor, the Roman dignitaries looked upon him with suspicion,
and beheld in each step made by the Judæan king some traces of
disaffection; and they were not far wrong. For, however much Agrippa
might coquet with Rome, he was yet determined to make Judæa capable
of resisting that great power, should an encounter, which he deemed
inevitable, occur between the two. His people should not be dependent
upon the caprice of one individual. Thus he resolved to strengthen
Jerusalem. He chose for this purpose the suburb of Bezetha, to the
northeast of the city, and there he ordered powerful fortifications
to be built. They were to constitute a defense for the fortress of
Antonia, which lay between Bezetha and Jerusalem. He applied to Rome
for the necessary permission, which was readily granted by Claudius,
who could deny him nothing, and the Roman favorites who would have
opposed him were silenced by gifts. The fortifications were commenced,
but their completion was interrupted by the governor of Syria, Vibius
Marsus. He saw through Agrippa's scheme, plainly told the emperor of
the dangers that would surely menace Rome if Jerusalem could safely
set her at defiance, and succeeded in wringing from Claudius the
revocation of his permission. Agrippa was forced to obey, not being in
the position to openly offer resistance. But at heart he determined
upon weakening the Roman sway in Judæa. To attain these ends, he
allied himself secretly with those princes with whom he was connected
by marriage or on terms of friendly relationship, and invited them to
a conference at Tiberias, under the pretext of meeting for general
amusement and relaxation. There came at his call to the Galilean
capital Antiochus, king of Commagene, whose son Epiphanes was affianced
to Agrippa's youngest daughter; Samsigeranus, king of Emesa, whose
daughter Jatape was married to Agrippa's brother Aristobulus; then
Cotys, king of Armenia Minor, Polemon, prince of Cilicia, and lastly,
Herod, Agrippa's brother, prince of Chalcis. All these princes owed
their positions to Agrippa, and were therefore liable to lose them
at the accession of the next emperor or at the instigation of some
influential person at the court of Claudius. But Marsus, suspicious of
this understanding between so many rulers, and distrustful of the cause
that brought them together, suddenly presented himself in their midst,
and, with the ancient Roman bluntness, bade them return each man to his
own city. So tremendous was the power of Rome, that at one word from
an underling of the emperor the meeting was annulled. But the energy
and perseverance of Agrippa would probably have spared Judæa from any
possible humiliation, and assured her future safety, had his life been
prolonged; he met, however, with an unexpected death at the age of
fifty-four. Judæa's star sank with that monarch, who died, like Josiah,
the last great king of the pre-exilian age, a quarter of a century
before the destruction of his State.

It soon became evident that the Greek inhabitants of Palestine had but
dissembled their true feelings in regard to King Agrippa. Forgetful of
that monarch's benefits, the Syrians and Greeks of the city of Cæsarea,
and of the seaboard of Sebaste, solaced themselves by heaping abuse
upon his memory, and by offering up thank-offerings to Charon for his
death. The Roman soldiery quartered in those towns made common cause
with the Greeks, and carried the statues of Agrippa's daughters into

Claudius was not indifferent to the insults offered to his dead
friend's memory. He was, on the contrary, anxious to raise Agrippa's
son, Agrippa II., to the throne of Judæa. But in this he was opposed by
his two all-powerful favorites, Pallas and Narcissus, on the plea of
the prince's youth (he was seventeen years of age), and Judæa was thus
allowed to sink once more into a Roman province.

However, out of affection and respect to the dead king, the emperor
gave the Judæan governor Cuspius Fadus a somewhat independent position
in regard to the Syrian governor Vibius Marsus, who had always been
hostile to Agrippa and the Judæans. It was his soldiery who had
insulted the memory of the Judæan monarch, and for this cowardly
action they were to be punished and exiled to Pontus. They managed,
however, to extort a pardon from the emperor, and remained in Judæa,
a circumstance which contributed not a little to excite the bitterest
feelings of the national party, which they fully returned. They could
ill control their hatred of the Judæans, stinging the latter into
retaliation. Companies of freebooters under daring leaders prepared, as
after the death of Herod, to free their country from the yoke of Rome.
But Fadus was prepared for this rising. It was his desire to strengthen
the Roman rule in Judæa, and to give it the same importance that it had
had before the reign of Agrippa; and to this end he attempted to keep
the selection of the high priest and the sacred robes in his own hands.
But in this he met resistance both in the person of the high priest and
at the hands of Agrippa's brother, Herod II.

Jerusalem was so greatly excited by these proceedings that not
only did the governor Fadus appear within the city, but he was
accompanied by Caius Cassius Longinus at the head of his troops.
Herod and his brother Aristobulus begged for a truce of hostilities,
as they were anxious to send envoys to Rome. This they were allowed
to do, only on the condition that they surrendered themselves as
hostages for the preservation of peace. Having willingly complied,
an embassy, consisting of four men--Cornelius, Tryphon, Dorotheus,
and John--started for Rome. When they arrived in that city they
were introduced to the emperor by the young Agrippa. Claudius, still
faithful to his old affection for the Herodians, granted the Judæans
full right to follow their own laws, and gave Herod permission to
choose the high priest of the Sanctuary. Taking instant advantage of
this permission, Herod raised Joseph, of the house of Camith, to the
high priesthood in the place of Elionai, his brother's choice. To a
certain extent Herod II. may be regarded as king of Judæa, but he
exerted no influence upon the course of political events. All legal
power was vested in the hands of the governor; the Synhedrion lost,
under the sway of his successor, the power which it had regained under

Fadus was confronted with a rising of another nature during his
governorship. A certain Theudas appeared as prophet or messiah, and was
followed by four hundred disciples, for the messianic redemption was
quickly growing into a necessity for the nation. To give proof of his
power he declared that he would divide the waters of the Jordan, and
would lead his followers safe across the bed of the river. But when his
band of disciples approached the riverside, carrying with them much of
their worldly possessions, they were confronted by a troop of Fadus's
cavalry soldiers, who slew some, made others prisoners, and decapitated
their leader.

Shortly after these events Fadus was recalled from Jerusalem, and his
place was taken by Tiberius Julius Alexander, son of the Alabarch
Alexander, nephew of the Judæan philosopher Philo. Tiberius, who had
espoused paganism, bore already the dignity of a Roman knight. The
Emperor believed doubtless that in naming a Judæan of a distinguished
house as governor over the land, he was giving proof of his
friendliness to the nation. He did not imagine that their sensitive
natures would be violently opposed to the fact of being governed by a
renegade. The people seem indeed to have been most uncomfortable under
the rule of Tiberius; the zealots lifted up their heads and excited
an insurrection. They were led by Jacob and Simon and the sons of the
zealot Judah, but no details of this revolt are extant. To judge by the
severity of the sentence passed upon the ringleaders by the governor,
it must have been of a grave character, for the two brothers suffered
crucifixion, the most degrading form of capital punishment amongst
the Romans. Tiberius Alexander remained only two years at his post.
He was afterwards named governor of Egypt, and exercised considerable
influence in the choice of the emperor.

Herod II., king of Chalcis, titular king of Judæa, died at this time
(48), and with him the third generation of Herodians sank into the



    Distribution of the Judæans in the Roman Empire and in
    Parthia--Relations of the various Judæan Colonies to the
    Synhedrion--Judæan Bandits in Naarda--Heathen Attacks upon
    Judaism--Counter Attacks upon Heathenism by Judæan Writers--The
    Judæan Sibyls--The Anti-heathen Literature--The Book of
    Wisdom--The Allegorists--Philo's Aims and Philosophical
    System--Proselytes--The Royal House of Adiabene--The Proselyte
    Queen Helen--The Apostle Paul--His Character--Change in
    his Attitude towards the Pharisees--His Activity as a
    Conversionist--His Treatment of the Law of Moses--The Doctrines
    of Peter--Judaic-Christians and Heathen-Christians.

    40.49 C. E.

Round the very cradle of the Judæan race there had rung prophetic
strains, telling of endless wanderings and dispersions. No other people
had ever heard such alarming predictions, and they were being fulfilled
in all their literal horror. There was hardly a corner in the two great
predominant kingdoms of that time, the Roman and the Parthian, in which
Judæans were not living, and where they had not formed themselves into
a religious community. The shores of the great midland sea, and the
outlets of all the principal rivers of the old world, of the Nile, the
Euphrates, the Tigris, and the Danube, were peopled with Judæans. A
cruel destiny seemed to be ever thrusting them away from their central
home. Yet this dispersion was the work of Providence and was to prove
a blessing. The continuance of the Judæan race was thus assured.
Down-trodden and persecuted in one country, they fled to another, where
the old faith, which became ever dearer to them, found a new home.
Seeds were scattered here and there, destined to carry far and wide the
knowledge of God and the teachings of pure morality. Just as the Greek
colonies kindled in various nations the love of art and culture, and
the Roman settlements gave rise in many lands to communities governed
by law, so had the far wider dispersion of the oldest civilized people
contributed to overthrow the errors and combat the sensual vices of the
heathen world. In spite of being thus scattered, the members of the
Judæan people were not completely divided from one another; they had a
common center of union in the Temple of Jerusalem and in the Synhedrion
which met in the hall of hewn stone, and to these the dispersed
communities clung with loving hearts. Towards them their looks were
ever fondly directed, and by sending their gifts to the Temple they
continued to participate, at least by their contributions, in the
sacrificial worship. From the Synhedrion they received their code of
laws, which they followed the more willingly as it was not forced
upon them. The Synhedrion, from time to time, sent deputations to the
different communities, both far and near, to acquaint them with the
most important decisions.

The visits paid to the Temple by the Judæans who lived out of
Palestine, strengthened the bond of unity, and these visits must have
been of frequent occurrence, for they necessitated the creation of
many places of worship in Jerusalem where the various foreign Judæans
met for prayer. The capital contained synagogues of the Alexandrians,
Cyrenians, Libertines, Elymæans, and Asiatics. One can form some
idea of the vast numbers of Judæans existing at that period if one
considers that Egypt alone, from the Mediterranean to the Ethiopian
boundary, contained nearly a million. In the neighboring country
of Cyrenaica, there were likewise many Judæans, some having been
forcibly transplanted thither from Egypt, whilst others were voluntary
emigrants. In many parts of Syria, and especially in its capital,
Antioch, the Judæans formed a considerable portion of the population.
The kings of Syria who succeeded Antiochus Epiphanes had reinstated
them in all their rights, of which the half-insane Epiphanes had robbed
them. One of these kings had even given them some of the utensils taken
from the Temple, and these were preserved in their synagogue. About ten
thousand Judæans lived at Damascus, and one of their nobles was made
ethnarch over them by the Nabathæan king, Aretas Philodemus, just as in
Alexandria one of their most distinguished members was elected chief of
the community. To the great capital of the world, Rome, the point of
attraction for the ambitious and the grasping, the discontented and the
visionaries, the Judæans returned in such masses after their expulsion
by Tiberius, that when the Emperor Claudius determined, from some
unknown cause, upon expelling them again, he was only deterred, by fear
of their great numbers, from endeavoring to carry out his intention.
Meanwhile he forbade their religious meetings. Towards the end of his
reign, however, on account of some disturbances occasioned by a certain
Christian apostle, Chrestus, they were probably, but only in part,
banished from Rome.

Even greater than in Europe, Syria and Africa was the number of Judæans
in the Parthian Empire. They were the descendants of former exiles,
who owned large tracts of country in Mesopotamia and Babylonia. Two
youths from Naarda (Nahardea on the Euphrates) called Asinaï (Chasinaï)
and Anilaï (Chanilaï) founded in the vicinity of that town a robber
settlement, which spread terror along the bordering countries. Just
as Naarda and Nisibis became the central points for the countries of
the Euphrates, there arose in every land a central nucleus from which
Judæan colonies spread themselves out into neighboring lands, from Asia
Minor on the one side, towards the Black Sea on the other, towards
Greece and the Islands. Athens, Corinth, Thessalonica, and Philippi
contained Judæan communities. There is no doubt that from Rome Judæan
colonies went forth westward to the south of France and Spain.

The effect produced by the Judæans upon the heathens was at first
repellent. Their peculiar mode of living, their dress and their
religious views, caused them to be considered as strange, enigmatical,
mysterious beings, who at one moment inspired awe, and at another
derision and contempt. So thorough was the opposition between the
Judæans and the heathens that it manifested itself in all their
actions. Everything that was holy in the eyes of the heathens
was looked upon with horror by the Judæans, whilst objects of
indifference to the former were considered sacred by the latter. The
withdrawal of the Judæans from the repasts enjoyed in common by their
fellow-citizens, their repugnance to intermarriages with the heathens,
their abhorrence of the flesh of swine, and their abstinence from warm
food on the Sabbath, were considered as the outcome of a perverse
nature, whilst their keeping aloof from intimate intercourse with
any but their own coreligionists was deemed a proof of their enmity
towards mankind in general. The serious nature of the Judæans, which
prevented their participation in childish amusements and mimic combats,
appeared to those around them the sign of a gloomy disposition, which
could find no pleasure in the bright and the beautiful. Superficial
persons, therefore, regarded Judaism only as a barbarous superstition,
which instilled hatred towards the generality of men, whilst the more
thoughtful and discerning were filled with admiration by the pure and
spiritual worship of one God, by the affection and sympathy which bound
the Judæans together, and by the virtues of chastity, temperance and
fortitude which characterized them.

Paganism, with the immoral life which sprang from it, stood revealed in
all its nakedness to the keen sight of the Judæans. The dreary idolatry
of the heathen, with its fabulous mythology which made divine nature
even lower than the human, the madness which allowed wicked emperors
to be worshiped as gods, the sensuality which had prevailed since the
fall of Greece and the closer connection of the Romans with demoralized
nations, the daily spectacle of evil lives and broken marriage
vows, the bacchanalian intoxication of superstition, unbelief, and
bestialities, fostered the pride of the Judæans in their own spiritual
and intellectual possessions, and urged them to make the superiority of
Judaism over heathenism manifest. In places where the Grecian language
facilitated exchange of thought, as in Egypt, Asia Minor and Greece,
there was considerable mental friction between the Judæans and the
heathens. Judaism, as it were, summoned paganism to appear before the
tribunal of truth, and there placed its own sublime faith beside the
low, degrading forms of belief of its adversary.

The Judæans were deeply anxious to impart the burning convictions that
filled their hearts to the blind, deluded heathens, and to attain that
object, their religion being hated by the latter, some of the most
cultivated among the Judæans had recourse to a sort of pious fraud,
by which heathen poets and soothsayers were made to bear witness to
the beauty and grandeur of Judaism. Skilful imitations in verse,
enunciating Judæan doctrines, were placed by Judæan-Grecian writers in
the mouth of the mist-shrouded singer Orpheus, and introduced among
the strains of Sophocles, the tragic poet who had celebrated the
all-powerful gods. When Rome had extended her empire far and wide,
and the legends of the prophetic Sibyls had become known through
many lands, Judæan poets hastened to make the latter stand sponsors
to tenets and views which they durst not proclaim themselves, or
which, if given in their own name, would have obtained no hearing.
In an oracular form the Sibyl was made to reveal the deep meaning of
Judaism, to stir the hearts of the people by pictures of the awful
result of infidelity to God, and to offer to nations engaged in bloody
conflict the olive branch of peaceful amity, opening out to them bright
prospects of the happier times, predicted by the Seers, to those
who believed in the eternal God of Judaism; and the Sibyl spoke in
prophetic strains of the glorious future, when all the nations of the
earth would rejoice in the blessings of the Messianic kingdom.

    "Unhappy Greece, cease proudly to exalt thyself; offer prayers
    for help to the immortal and lofty One, and take heed of thy
    ways. Serve the mighty God, so that thou also mayest find thy
    portion among the good when the end will have come and the day
    of judgment, according to the will of God, will rise up before
    man. Then will the teeming earth give abundantly to mortals
    the fairest fruits of the vine and the olive and choicest
    nourishing seeds. Also sweet honey dropping from heaven, and
    trees with their fruit, and fat sheep. Likewise oxen and lambs
    and the kids of the goat. For them rivers of milk will flow,
    sweet and white. The cities will be filled with merchandise,
    the earth will be rich, and there will be no more war or
    fearful sound of fighting. Nor will the earth, loud groaning,
    quake and be rent. War will cease, and there will be no drought
    upon the lands, no more famine or fruit-destroying hail. But
    great peace will reign over all the world, and to the end of
    time each king will be the other's friend, and under one law
    will the people of the whole world be governed by the Eternal
    God, enthroned in the starry heavens--one law for all weak,
    pitiable men; for He is one God, and there is no other, and the
    wicked He will cast into the flames."

The aim of a long series of prose writings of the Judæan-Grecian school
was to set forth the futility and defects of paganism on the one hand,
and on the other to display Judaism in its most favorable light, and
thus to induce the heathen to become acquainted with the tenets of the
latter. Heathen kings who had been convinced that idolatry was empty
and vain, and that by Judaism, on the contrary, truth was revealed were
pointed out as examples.

"The Book of Wisdom" was even more decided and vigorous in its
denunciations of paganism than the Sibylline writings. Its unknown
author gave with philosophical acumen, but in a poetical garb, a
truthful exposition of idolatry, showed it to be the cause of vice and
immorality, and then, in marked contrast to these dark shadows, made
Judaism shine with increased purity and luster. It was the wisdom of
Judaism, embodied, as it were, in the wise King Solomon, that presented
these views, and in his name, turning to the monarchs of the earth
(the Roman governors), rebukes their shameless self-deification. "Love
righteousness, ye rulers of the earth," exclaims the Wisdom of Solomon,
"recognize the Lord in goodness, and seek Him in simplicity of heart"
(Book of Wisdom, i. 1). According to this author, the invention of
idols was the cause of lasciviousness, and leads to the destruction
of life. Idolatry did not exist from the beginning, neither will it
last forever. It arose through the vanity and ignorance of man, and
would endure but a short time. A father, suddenly plunged into deepest
grief by the death of a child, perhaps made for himself an image of
the latter; by degrees he worshiped the lifeless figure as a god, and
insisted upon the observance by his dependants of mystical rites in
its honor. In the course of time this godless practice became law, and
images, by the order of despots, received the worship of the people. In
the absence of the monarch, when he could not be personally adored by
his subjects, the tyrant was flattered by the incense offered to his
image. The ambition of the artist also fostered the growth of idolatry
among the ignorant masses. To please the potentates of the earth he
strove to make his images as beautiful as possible, and the public,
dazzled by the splendor and grace of the work, worshiped as gods those
whom they previously reverenced as men. Such beautiful productions of
art became a snare to those whom misfortune or tyranny had enslaved,
and induced them to deify carved stone and wood, and to bestow on them
the uncommunicable name of God. Not alone do the people err in their
religious creed, but they live in constant strife with one another
and call it peace; infanticide is celebrated as a rite, they observe
dark, mysterious ceremonies, and are guilty of unchastity. Each one
plays the part of spy on the other, or wounds his friend in his dearest
honor. All, without distinction, thirst for blood, love plunder, and
practice cunning, perjury, deceit, ingratitude, and every description
of impurity. For the worship of vain idols is the beginning, cause,
and end of every evil thing. "For health he calleth upon that which is
weak, for life prayeth to that which is dead, for aid humbly beseecheth
that which hath least means to help" (Book of Wisdom, xiii. 18).

After the author has thus shown the vanity of idolatry, he attempts to
describe the fundamental truths of Judaism:

    "There is no God but Him whom the Jews adore. Divine wisdom
    preserved the first-born, saved the righteous (Noah) from the
    flood, upheld the righteous (Abraham) in innocence before God,
    delivered the holy seed (the Judæan people) from the oppression
    of the nations, filled the soul of the servant of God (Moses),
    who appeared before kings with terrible signs and wonders.
    Israel is the upright one whom God has chosen. He possesses the
    knowledge of the Divine Being, and may call himself the Son of
    God, who in His mercy sustains and upholds him."

These righteous ones will have eternal life. When Israel is persecuted
by the rulers of the earth, because his path lies apart from theirs,
and he condemns their godless ways, turns from them as unclean, and
calls God his Father; when the nations of the earth torture him and put
him to a shameful death--these are only trials imposed by God on His
chosen one, to prove him and make him worthy of His grace. He tries him
like gold in the furnace, and accepts him as a pure offering. Israel
shall judge the nations, and have dominion over the people, and their
God shall reign forever.

    "Then will the upright one stand firmly before his oppressors.
    They will be troubled with great fear; they will be amazed
    at his glorious salvation, and repenting they will say,
    'This was he whom we had in derision, and of whom we made a
    laughing-stock. Ignorantly we accounted his life madness, and
    his end to be without honor. And now he is numbered among the
    children of God and his lot is among the saints. We strayed
    from the way of truth, and the light of righteousness did not
    shine for us.' Israel was the instrument through which God
    gave the world the undying light of the law. In all things did
    the Lord magnify His people and glorify them; He abandoned
    them not, but assisted them in every time and place." (Book of

Like the Babylonian Isaiah, the Alexandrian-Judæan sage contemplated
his ideal in Israel, of whom a noble mission was required, and who
would hereafter shine in glory.

Whilst the Alexandrian Judæans were absorbed in Grecian literature
and philosophy, and were using that melodious language as a weapon
against paganism and the immorality it fostered, they were carried
beyond the object they had in view. Their desire was to make Judaism
acceptable to the cultivated Greeks, but in following out that design
it was, in some degree, lost to themselves. Greek conceptions had so
completely taken possession of their thoughts that at last they came
to find in the teachings of Judaism the current speculations of the
Greeks. The faith that they had inherited was, however, still dear
to them, and they managed, through sophistical means, to deceive
themselves into a belief of the genuineness of their exposition. The
Holy Scripture could not, indeed, always offer apposite passages to
the prevailing philosophy, but the Judæan-Alexandrian authors knew how
to help themselves out of that difficulty. They followed the example
of Greek writers, who found their own views of the world in the poems
of Homer, or put them there, and to accomplish that feat, employed a
peculiar kind of sophistical word-pictures. Thus the Judæan thinkers
of that period, in their interpretations of the Holy Scriptures, had
recourse to allegory, and instead of the plain, natural meaning
of a work, often gave it a different and seemingly higher import.
Starting with the assumption that the Scriptures cannot always receive
a literal explanation without the divine glory's being tarnished and
many biblical characters being degraded, they resorted to the arts of
allegory and metaphor. This method became so general that even the
masses lost all pleasure in the simple stories of the Holy Scriptures,
and took more delight in artificial explanations than in the plain
lessons and sublime laws of their sacred books. The pious men, who
were wont to explain the Scriptures on the Sabbath, were obliged, in
compliance with the taste of the time, to allegorize both the history
and the lessons contained in them. One result of this method was the
indifference that manifested itself among the cultivated Judæans of
Alexandria to the practice of the religion of their fathers. Allegory
undermined the ramparts that fenced the Law. If the latter was only the
garment in which philosophical ideas were robed, if the Sabbath was
merely intended to record the power of uncreated divinity, and the rite
of circumcision was only meant to show the necessity of placing a curb
on the passions, it would be sufficient to understand and adopt the
ideas underlying those forms. Of what use would be the practice of the
latter? From indifference to the practice of the laws to the desertion
of Judaism itself there was only one step, and thus can be explained
the apostasy to paganism of some Judæans who were unable to withstand
the difficulties and constant pressure they had to encounter. It was
also among the Alexandrian Judæans that the conflict between science
and faith first appeared.

The indifference towards Judaism was combated, indeed, by many who had
not wholly given themselves up to Greek culture. Philo, the greatest
genius which Alexandrian Judaism produced, opposed the lukewarm spirit
and the feelings of contempt which had grown up against the practice of
the Law. In his elevated and inspired diction he urged the obligation
of adhering to the letter of the Law, and induced his co-religionists
to regard it again with love and reverence. Philo indeed shared some
of the errors and prejudices of his contemporaries, but with his clear
intelligence, he soared above the mists which enthroned them. He
likewise made exaggerated use of the allegorical method employed by
his predecessors, and agreed with them in applying it to the entire
Pentateuch, or at least to the greater part of its history and laws.
To carry out this metaphorical line of scriptural interpretation he
devised symbolic numbers, explained Hebrew by Greek words, and from
one and the same sentence deduced different and opposite conclusions.
To Philo allegorical exposition became almost a necessity. Had he not
already found it in use, he would doubtless have invented it.

He wished to give the sanction of Holy Writ to the great thoughts
which were partly the productions of his own rich mind, partly adopted
from the philosophical schools of the Academy, the Stoics and the
Neo-Pythagoreans. Sharing, and indeed, surpassing in perversity the
allegorical explanations he found in vogue, he departed from them
just in that essential point which told against the necessity of the
practice of the Law, and in that lay his chief importance. He expresses
himself with decision and force against those who, satisfied with the
spiritual meaning contained in the Law, are indifferent to the Law
itself. He calls them superficial and thoughtless, acting as though
they lived in a desert, or as incorporeal beings who knew neither
of town nor village nor dwelling, or who, in fact, entertained no
intercourse with human beings, despising what is dear to mankind,
and seeking only abstract spiritual truths. The holy word, however,
while teaching us to seek out diligently the deepest spiritual meaning
of the Law, does not cancel our obligation of adhering to customs
introduced by inspired men who were in all things infinitely greater
than ourselves. Shall we, because we know the spiritual meaning of the
Sabbath, neglect its prescribed observance? "Shall we," he exclaims,
"make use of fire on the Sabbath, till the ground, carry burdens, plead
in courts of justice, enforce the payment of debts, and, in fact,
transact all our usual daily business? Shall we, because a festival
symbolizes the peace of the soul, and is intended as an expression of
gratitude to God, cease to observe the festival itself? Or shall we
give up the rite of circumcision now that we are acquainted with its
symbolic significance? In that case we should likewise renounce our
reverence for the sanctity of the Temple and abandon many religious
observances. But, on the contrary, both the inner truth contained in
the Law, and the Law itself, should be equally prized--the one as the
soul, the other as the body. Just as we take care of the body, looking
upon it as the habitation of the soul, so also should we value the
letter of the Law. By strict observance of the Law we shall attain a
clearer insight into its deepest meaning, and shall likewise escape the
remarks and reproaches of the people."

It is in the Hebrew Scriptures, according to Philo, that the most
profound wisdom is contained. All that is taught by the sublimest
philosophy the Judæans found in their precepts and customs--the
knowledge of the eternal God, the vanity of idols, and the universal
laws of humanity and kindness. "Is not the highest honor due," he
exclaims, "to those laws which teach the rich to share their wealth
with the needy, which console the poor by enabling them to look forward
to the time when they will no longer beg at the rich man's door, but
will have recovered their alienated property; for, at the opening
of the seventh year, prosperity would return again to the widow and
the orphan, and would restore to well-being those whom fortune had

In opposition to the abuse hurled against Judaism by a Lysimachus and
an Apion, Philo brings forward the spirit of humanity which breathes
through the Judæan Law, and which affects even the treatment of animals
and plants. "And yet, though Judaism is founded in truth on love, these
miserable sycophants accuse it of misanthropy and egotism." In order
to ensure a better comprehension of the Judæan ethics by the cynics
and lawbreakers of his own race, as also by the Greeks, who had only a
false conception of Judaism, Philo arranged his writings so that they
should form a kind of philosophical commentary on the Pentateuch, with
the further object that the truths of Judaism might be brought within
the province of philosophy.

But if, on the one hand, Philo stood firmly on Judæan ground, on the
other he was no less imbued with the dogmas of the Grecian schools,
which ran counter to the former, and he seems to have been equally
swayed by the spirit of Judaism and that of Greece. Vainly he attempted
to bring the contradictory ideas into harmony. They were so completely
opposed from their very inception that they could not be reconciled. To
solve the difficulty between the conflicting views of a creating God
and a perfect deity who does not come into contact with matter, Philo's
system takes a middle course. God created first the spiritual world of
ideas, which were not merely the archetypes of all future creations,
but at the same time active powers which formed the latter. Through
these spiritual powers which surround God like a train of servitors,
He works indirectly in the world. Spiritual power acting, as it were,
intermediately between God and the world is, according to Philo, the
Logos, or creative reason, the divine wisdom, the spirit of God, the
source of all strength. In Philo's more mystical than philosophical
description, the Logos is the first-born son of God, who, standing on
the border-land of the finite and infinite, links both together. He
is neither uncreated like God, nor created like the things that are
finite. The Logos is the prototype of the universe, the delegate of
God, whose behests it communicates to the world, the interpreter who
reveals His will and constantly accomplishes it, the archangel who
shows forth his works, the high priest and intercessor between the
world and God. Early Christianity made use of this doctrine of the
Logos in order to assume a philosophic aspect.

The princely philosopher of the house of the Alabarchs combated
the Greek and Roman paganism, steeped in vice and bestiality. His
exposition of the Judæan Law was designed to darken still more, by
comparison with the pure light of Judaism, the shadows of idolatry, the
sexual looseness, frivolity, vanity and corruption which existed in the
Grecian-Roman world. He tried to show how false were the accusations
hurled against Judaism, and to make known the sublime grandeur and
beauty of its tenets. His principal works were written for his own
people and co-religionists, though he frequently addressed those who
stood outside that circle. Against the few laws of humanity which the
Greeks boasted to have possessed from ancient times, as, for example
that of granting fuel to any one requiring it, or of showing a wayfarer
the right path, Philo could have no difficulty in enumerating a long
array of benevolent duties contained in Scripture or transmitted by
word of mouth. At the head of unwritten laws he placed Hillel's golden
saying, "What is hateful to yourself do not unto others." Judaism does
not merely forbid any one to refuse fire or water, but commands that
what the poor and feeble require shall be given to them. It prohibits
the use of false weights and measures, the coinage of false money. It
does not allow children to be taken from their parents, or wives to
be separated from their husbands, even when they have been legally
acquired as slaves. Even towards animals the duty of mercy is impressed
upon man. "What, in comparison to these," he cries to the Greeks, "are
the few laws descending from primeval times, of which you boast so

In the following tone of mockery Philo answered malicious accusations
against the Lawgiver:

    "Yes, verily, Moses must have been a sorcerer, not only to have
    preserved a whole people, and supplied them abundantly whilst
    they were journeying through many nations, exposed to the
    danger of hunger and thirst, and ignorant of the way they were
    pursuing, but likewise to have made them, in spite of their
    mutinous spirit, which often broke out against himself, docile
    and pliant."

Of the three great moralists who followed each other within a century,
Hillel the Babylonian, Jesus of Nazareth, and Philo the Alexandrian,
it was the last who in all things, great and small, upheld most
strenuously the glory of Judaism. He was superior to them likewise
in beauty of style and in depth of thought, whilst he was animated
with equally fervent convictions. The first two simply created an
impulse, but it was through their disciples that their ideas, variously
transformed, were introduced into a larger circle; whereas Philo,
by his own eloquent writings, made an important and lasting effect.
His works were perhaps read by cultivated heathens even more than by
Judæans, though all were affected by the warmth and glow which pervaded
everything he wrote about God, Moses, and the spirit of the Law.

Philo and the Alexandrian sages continued to promote the great work
of the prophets Isaiah, Habakkuk and Jeremiah, and laid bare all the
unreasonableness, the instability, the perversion and immorality
of the heathen religions. The transparent, shimmering ether with
which the Greeks invested Olympus, these writers resolved into mists
and vapors. Greeks and Romans, who felt deeply on the subject, were
moved to turn with contempt from a religion which not only gave so
unworthy a representation of the Divinity, but actually seemed to
sanctify immorality by the example set before them in the history
of their deities. Like most oriental people, the heathens felt the
need of religion, and those who were searching for true and elevated
teaching embraced Judaism, which was daily being brought more and more
home to them in the Greek translations of Judæan writings through
Greek-Alexandrine literature, and also through intercourse with
cultivated Judæans.

During the last ten years which preceded the destruction of the Judæan
State, there were more proselytes than there had been at any other
time. Philo relates from his own experience that in his native country
many heathens, when they embraced Judaism, not only changed their faith
but their lives, which were henceforth conspicuous by the practice
of the virtues of moderation, gentleness and humanity. "Those who
left the teachings in which they had been educated, because they were
replete with lying inventions and vanities, became sincere worshipers
of the truth, and gave themselves up to the practice of the purest
piety." Above all, the women, whose gentle feelings were offended by
the impurity of the mythological stories, seemed attracted towards the
childlike and sublime scenes in Biblical history. The greater part of
the women in Damascus were converted to Judaism, and it is related that
in Asia Minor there were also many female proselytes. Some over-eager
Judæans may have traveled with the intention of making converts, as was
proved in the story of the Roman patrician Fulvia.

It was by similar zeal for conversion that the Judæan faith was
introduced into an Asiatic court, the members of which remained
steadfast adherents to Judaism during several generations. Adiabene,
a province on the banks of the Tigris, situated where once lay the
Assyrian kingdom, was governed by a royal pair, Monobaz and Helen.
It was a small, but not unimportant state, and although it touched
the great domains of Rome and Parthia, it had been able to hold its
independence during some centuries. Monobaz had many children, the
offspring both of Helen and of other wives, but the youngest of all,
Izates, was the favorite of both parents. In order that he should not
suffer from the jealousy which that favoritism had caused among the
elder brothers, Monobaz sent him to the court of a neighboring king,
of the name of Abinerglus (Abennerig), who was so greatly pleased with
the young prince confided to his care, that he gave him his daughter in
marriage. A Judæan merchant by the name of Anania traded at this court,
and whilst he showed his merchandise to the princesses, he dilated at
the same time upon the tenets of Judaism with such success that he
converted them to his faith. Izates, whose wife, Samach, was one of the
converts, became interested in Anania, discoursed with him, and became
a sincere adherent of Judaism, which he openly embraced in the year 18
C. E. His mother, the queen Helen, had also, without the knowledge of
her son, been won over to Judaism. The deep impression which the Judæan
precepts had made upon the royal converts was proved when the throne
became vacant. The dying Monobaz passed over his eldest sons and named
Izates as his successor. When Helen related her husband's wishes to the
nobles of Adiabene, they suggested that the elder brothers should be
put to death, and thus prevent a civil war, to which their hatred and
jealousy might not improbably give rise. But Helen, softened by her
conversion to Judaism, would not follow this sanguinary advice, and
only kept the brothers in confinement, with the exception of her eldest
son, Monobaz II, to whom she confided the regency. When Izates arrived
at the capital of Adiabene, and had, according to his father's last
testament, received the crown from the hand of Monobaz, he considered
it an unmanly act of cruelty to leave his brothers to languish in
confinement, and he sent them as hostages into honorable banishment,
some to Rome and some to the Parthian capital.

Once on the throne, Izates intended to adopt Judaism, and even to
submit to the rite of circumcision, but he was dissuaded from doing so
by his mother, and by his physician, also named Anania, who, being an
Hellenic Judæan, represented to him that the latter was not essential.
Izates felt reassured for the time; but another Judæan, a Galilæan
of the name of Eleazar, and a strict follower of the Law, came to
his court and offered a contrary opinion. Eleazar, seeing the king
engrossed in reading the Pentateuch, probably a Greek translation,
could not help observing that to belong to the Judæan faith it was
not sufficient to read the Law, but it was necessary also to practise
its precepts. Thereupon Izates, and, according to some authorities,
also his elder brother Monobaz, secretly submitted to the rite of
circumcision. The queen-mother had anticipated dangerous results from
so decided a step, but they were not immediately forthcoming. Not only
was there perfect peace after the accession of Izates, but he was so
much respected that he was chosen to be arbitrator between the Parthian
king Artaban and the rebellious nobles of that monarch.

Some time later, when several of the king's relations avowed their
conversion to Judaism, some of the nobles of Adiabene formed a
conspiracy, and secretly induced Abia, the king of Arabia, to declare
war against him. Izates, however, was successful, and Abia killed
himself in despair. The nobles then conspired with Vologeses, the king
of Parthia, to make war against their king, who had been faithless
to the religion of his forefathers. This war, however, which might
have been most calamitous for Izates, Vologeses was prevented from
undertaking, and henceforth his reign, which lasted about thirty
years, continued undisturbed. Queen Helen, fired by the enthusiasm of
the Judæan faith, desired to visit Jerusalem, and, accompanied by her
son, she accomplished this long journey in about the year 43. Izates
sent five of his own sons to Jerusalem to learn the religion and the
language of the Hebrews.

How grand and joyous must have been the welcome offered by the
inhabitants of Jerusalem to a queen come from the far distant East
with the sole view of paying homage to their God and His Law! Was not
the word of prophecy fulfilled before their very eyes, that the second
Temple should be greater than the first, inasmuch as the heathens
should come and worship the one God?

Helen soon had the opportunity of appearing as the benefactress of the
people. A famine prevailed which created great distress in the country,
and the poorer classes especially suffered severely. Queen Helen sought
to relieve them by bringing from Alexandria and Cyprus whole ship-loads
of wheat and figs, which she distributed among the starving people
(48 C. E.). Abundant means were given her by Izates to carry out her
generous impulses. Her offering to the Temple consisted of a golden
shell-shaped portal for the door of the inner Temple, to receive and
reflect the first rays of the morning sun, and thus announce the break
of dawn to the officiating priests.

The piety and benevolence of the proselyte Helen were long remembered
with love and gratitude by the nation. She survived her son Izates,
who died at the age of fifty-five (55 C. E.); he is said to have left
twenty-four sons and the same number of daughters. He was succeeded
by his elder brother, Monobaz II, who declared himself also to be a
firm adherent to Judaism. When Helen died, Monobaz caused her remains,
as well as those of his brother, to be removed to Jerusalem, and to
be buried within the magnificent tomb which she had constructed there
during her lifetime. This mausoleum, which was about thirty stadia
north of Jerusalem, had beautiful pillars of alabaster, and was
considered a great work of art. Helen had built a palace in the lower
part of the town, and her granddaughter, the Princess Grapte, erected
another in that part of Jerusalem known as Ophla. Monobaz, who also had
his palace in Jerusalem, had golden vessels made for use in the Temple
on the Day of Atonement. The people of Adiabene remained firm friends
of the Judæan nation, and were always ready to give their powerful help
in times of danger.

This leaning towards Judaism, evinced by so many religiously inclined
heathens, was utilized by the teachers of the Nazarene creed. They took
advantage of and worked upon this enthusiasm, and thus laid the first
step to their future conquest of the world.

Two Judæans, both coming from countries where the Greek language was
spoken, Saul of Tarsus (known as Paul) and Jose Barnabas of Cyprus,
declared their intention of proselytizing the heathen. They thus
widened the sphere of the small community, and raised it from being
an insignificant sect of Judaism to the position of a distinct and
separate religious body, but in order to do so they were obliged to
change its original character and purpose.

During the short decade following the death of its founder the small
community had been augmented by Essenes and some Judæan inhabitants
of Greek countries. The former, who had hitherto lived in a mystic
land of visions and trusted to miraculous intervention for the arrival
of the kingdom of heaven, may have seen their dreams fulfilled in
the advent of Jesus. The Essenes, who had no families, were obliged
to augment their numbers from without. They could only add to
the community by dint of mystical persuasions, and, as believing
followers of Jesus, they continued their propaganda and attracted new
adherents from the lower classes, whom the leaders of the Pharisees
had neglected or avoided. Their untiring zeal incited the activity of
the first Christians, who had been awaiting, not so much an increase
of believers, as the speedy re-appearance of Jesus, enthroned in the
clouds of heaven. Apostles were now sent out from Jerusalem, where
they were chiefly established, to propagate the belief that Jesus
was the true Messiah. In order, however, to gain many converts, a
greater power of oratory was required than the simple fishermen and
mechanics of Galilee possessed. This want was supplied by the addition
of Greek-speaking Judæans. From Asia Minor, Egypt, Cyrene, from the
islands of Crete and Cyprus, there was an annual pilgrimage of Judæans
to Jerusalem at the time of the Passover festival. Besides men of
piety and enthusiasts, there were adventurers, seekers after novelty,
and beggars, ignorant of the Law. Of these pilgrims, numbers eagerly
adopted the new faith. Many adventurers among the Greek Judæans were
easily persuaded to accept the doctrine of the community of goods,
which the Ebionite Christians had retained from their Essene origin,
and which found great favor with these homeless wanderers. All those
who possessed any property sold it to increase the contents of the
general treasury, and those who were utterly impecunious lived without
any cares in the community. These Greek Judæans, who had learnt from
their heathen neighbors the art of speaking on every subject, and
even of veiling almost meaningless expressions in an attractive and
persuasive manner, presented the new religion in an attractive form.
They were best adapted to become the preachers and missionaries. When
converted themselves, they used all their efforts to convert others.
The Greek element soon predominated over the Galilæan, Ebionite and
Essene elements, of which the community had previously been composed.

These Greek Judæans, who had never been taught the Law in the schools
of Jerusalem and were, indeed, generally ignorant of its tenets,
transgressed them, sometimes unwillingly, but at times intentionally.
When taken to task they justified their actions by the belief which
they entertained in the Messianic character of Jesus, who, they
alleged, had also put aside the authority of the Law. In Jerusalem,
still considered as the holy city, each practice and observance was
made a matter of deep importance. People began to suspect that the
Nazarenes, who spoke in foreign tongues, were introducing innovations
and endeavoring to bring the Law into contempt, and the disciples of
Jesus were thenceforth watched, and their utterances in the synagogues
and in the market-places were carefully noted. Amongst those who were
most fanatical against the Nazarenes was Saul of Tarsus, a zealous
follower of the Pharisaic school, who held that no edict of either
the oral or the written Law might be tampered with. As he spoke Greek
himself, he was able to measure the boldness of the utterances of the
Judæan-Christian Greeks who were in Jerusalem, and his indignation was
great against them. One of these Greeks, of the name of Stephen, was
particularly violent in his attacks, and had recklessly spoken against
the holiness of the Law and the Temple. It appears that Saul proclaimed
him to be a blasphemer, and that he was stoned, whether after a
judicial trial or by an angry populace is not known. After that time
the Nazarenes were viewed with still greater suspicion, and were called
upon to defend themselves; and again it was Saul who watched the
proceedings of these Greek adherents of the new sect, and caused them
to be brought up for trial. They were imprisoned, and those who were
found guilty of contempt of the Law by their belief in the Messianic
attributes of Jesus were not punished by death, but were sentenced
to be scourged. The foreign Nazarenes, terrified by this severity,
hastened away from Jerusalem and dispersed in various Greek towns
in which there dwelt Judæan communities, among whom they continued
their work of proselytizing. Those followers of Jesus, however, who,
notwithstanding their new faith, did not deny the holiness of the
Law, remained unmolested. Their three leaders, James, a brother or a
relation of Jesus, Kephas or Peter, and John, son of Zebedee, lived at
Jerusalem without fear of persecution.

The other Nazarenes zealously continued the work of conversion in
foreign places. Homeless themselves, they endeavored to introduce into
their circle of followers the doctrine of the community of goods, which
would enable them to live on from day to day without care or thought
for the morrow. They were particularly attracted towards the towns of
Antioch and Damascus, where they found a large field for their labors
in the Greek-speaking community of men and women. The half-educated
multitude listened eagerly to the words of messengers who announced
that a heavenly kingdom was at hand, and to enter it they must accept
only baptism, and the belief that Jesus was the Messiah who had
actually appeared, had been crucified, and had risen again.

Soon these two Greek cities saw a Nazarene community settling within
their walls, who seemed to be Judæans, who lived according to Judæan
rule, who prayed, sang psalms, and ended their songs of praise with
the customary "Amen"; but who yet showed certain signs of forming a
new sect. They assembled together at a meal which they called Agape,
spoke the blessing over the wine, drank after one another from the same
vessel, broke their bread in remembrance of the last hours of Jesus,
and gave each other, men and women indiscriminately, the kiss of peace.
Then, in convulsive excitement, some arose and prophesied, others spoke
in strange tongues, whilst others again effected miraculous cures in
the name of Jesus. An unnatural and highly wrought state of enthusiasm
prevailed in these Greek-Nazarene circles, which would probably have
been deemed ridiculous, and would have evaporated in time; in short,
Christianity might have died a noiseless death, if Saul of Tarsus had
not appeared, and given it a new direction, a great scope, and thereby
imparted to it vital powers and vigor. Without Jesus, Saul would not
have made his vast spiritual conquests, but without Saul, Christianity
itself would have had no stability.

Saul (born in Tarsus in Cilicia, at the beginning of the Christian
epoch, and belonging to the tribe of Benjamin) had a very remarkable
nature. Weak and fragile in body, he was possessed of a tenacity which
nothing could daunt. He was excitable and vehement, could not endure
any opposition to his opinions, and was one-sided and bitter in his
treatment of those who differed from him in the slightest degree. He
had a limited knowledge of Judæan writings, and was only familiar
with the Scriptures through the Greek translation; enthusiastic and
fanciful, he believed in the visions of his imagination and allowed
himself to be guided by them. In short, Saul combined a morbid and an
iron nature; he seemed created to establish what was new, and to give
form and reality to that which seemed impossible and unreal.

He had persecuted the Greek Nazarenes, hunted them out of their
haunts of concealment to give them over to punishment, because they
had seceded from Pharisaic Judaism. But that did not suffice. Hearing
that some of them were established in Damascus, he followed them
thither with all zeal, intending, with implacable persecuting zeal, to
exterminate the community. But his disposition towards them suddenly
changed. In Damascus many heathens, particularly many of the female
population, had gone over to Judaism. The conversion of the royal house
of Adiabene had caused much excitement. Saul had probably himself
witnessed the great triumph of Judaism, the entry of Queen Helen, the
Princes of Adiabene and their retinue into Jerusalem. She probably
stayed in Damascus on her journey, and there must have received the
thanks of the Judæan inhabitants of that city. These events must
have made a deep impression on Saul, and may have given rise to the
thought: Had not the time foreseen by the prophets now arrived, when
every nation should recognize the God of Israel, bow down and swear
allegiance to Him alone?

If he was occupied with these thoughts he must also have been prepared
to wrestle with many doubts to which they gave rise. Would it be
possible to convert the heathen world if the Law were to bind them with
its trammels, if they were to be forced to observe the Sabbath and
the festivals, to keep the dietary laws, to distinguish between the
clean and the unclean, and even to submit to circumcision? Should the
heathen be required to follow even the severe Pharisaic ordinances?
In that case it would be impossible that other nations should enter
the Judæan community. But, on the other hand, could not the Law be
abrogated for the sake of the heathens, and might they not merely be
taught the knowledge of God and a loftier morality? Yet, as the whole
law originated from God, by whom it was revealed, and who had expressly
commanded that it should be fulfilled, how could it be set aside? A
saying of his teachers may then have occurred to Saul, that the Law
was only binding until the time of the Messiah, and that as soon as
the Redeemer came its importance and significance would cease. If the
Messiah had really appeared, then all the difficulties that surrounded
the conversion of the heathen would disappear. This train of thought
engrossed the mind of Saul. His nervous temperament and imaginative
nature easily dispelled all doubts, and he believed firmly and truly
that Jesus had made himself manifest to him. Much later he said of
the vision which had appeared: "If it were in the flesh I know not,
if it were supernatural I know not, God knows; but I was carried up
beyond the third heaven." This is not very reliable evidence to an
actual fact. Legend has adorned this conversion, which was of such
great importance to Christianity, in a fitting manner. It describes
Saul traveling to Damascus, and his path illumined by a great light.
Beholding this light, he is said to have fallen in terror to the earth,
and to have heard a voice, which called to him, "Saul, Saul, why dost
thou persecute me?" Blinded by the vision, he reached Damascus; and
after an interview with a Christian, who advised him to be baptized,
the scales at length fell from his eyes.

With the certainty that he had actually beheld Jesus, another doubt
was banished from Saul's mind, or a different Messianic point of
view was revealed to him. Jesus had certainly died--or rather had
been crucified--but, as he appeared to Saul, he must have risen from
the dead; he must have been the first who had been brought to life
again, and had therefore confirmed the fact that there would be a
Resurrection, which fact had been a matter of contention between the
various schools: and Jesus had also thereby announced the advent of
the kingdom of heaven, of which, as the prophet Daniel had predicted,
the resurrection of the dead was to be the forerunner. Thus the former
Pharisee of Tarsus was firmly convinced of three things--that Jesus
had arisen; that he was the true Messiah who had been predicted; and
that the kingdom of heaven, the period of the resurrection, was near,
and that the then existing generation, or rather the true believers
in Jesus, would soon witness its arrival. This belief led to further
results. If the Messiah had already appeared, or if Jesus were actually
the Christ, then the Law was of itself abrogated, and the heathens
could participate in the blessing of Abraham, without observing the
Law. This belief acted as an incentive to Saul. He felt himself called
upon to convert the depraved world of heathendom, and, through Christ,
to lead it back to the Father of all. No time was allowed to elapse
between the inception of this idea and its realization. Assuming the
name of Paul, he joined the Nazarenes of Damascus, who were not a
little astonished that their persecutor had now become their colleague,
and was seeking to make fresh converts.

Paul found many opportunities for converting in Damascus, as a strong
feeling in favor of Judaism prevailed there, and the sacrifice
incumbent on its followers alone kept many aloof. The newly-converted
Apostle could render this step easier, as he relieved them of all
duties to the Law by means of a belief in Jesus. He does not, however,
seem to have found a warm reception for his faith, resting as it did on
sophistry, even amongst his own countrymen. His theory that the whole
Law might be set aside was probably not considered as quite acceptable.
The people also seem to have felt distrust of their former persecutor.
In short, Saul-Paul could not maintain his ground in Damascus, and
fled to Arabia (Auranitis), where Judæan communities also existed.
When, however, he returned to Damascus for the second time, and his
coreligionists had acquired greater confidence in him, he could indulge
his love of proselytism. But his brusque, inconsiderate manner, and
his assertion that the Law was no longer in force, aroused the Judæan
community of Damascus against him. The Judæan ethnarch of the town, who
had been appointed or confirmed by Aretas Philodemus, sought to take
him prisoner. His companions saved him, by lowering him in a basket
from a window in the wall. Thus he escaped from those who rightly
considered him as the destroyer of Judaism. He returned to Jerusalem
three years after his conversion. He felt that there was a wide
difference between himself and the Galilæan Christians, and that he
would not be able to make terms with them. Paul was filled with the one
thought, that the blessing for all generations, the promise (evangel)
made to Abraham that he should be father of many nations, and that
the wealth of the heathen should belong to the children of Abraham,
was now finally to be realized, and that he (Paul) was called upon to
effect this work. He wished to put an end to the difference between the
Judæans and the Greeks, between slaves and freemen, and to make all
brothers in the covenant of Abraham--as the seed of Abraham--according
to the promise given in by-gone years. This was the glad message which
he brought to the people; it was a far-reaching thought, of which
the Ebionites in Jerusalem and the so-called main Apostles had no

After a short stay in Jerusalem, Saul, accompanied by his disciple,
the Cyprian Joseph Barnabas, repaired to Cilicia, Paul's native
place, and traversed Asia Minor and Macedonia to Achaia. There his
endeavors were crowned with marvelous results. He founded in various
places Greek-Christian communities, especially in Galatia, in Ephesus,
Philippi, and Thessalonica, and in the town of Corinth. This result
may partly be laid to the credit of Judaism; for when Paul wished to
win over the heathens, he had to unfold to them the glorious past of
the Judæan nation, in order to speak of Jesus. He also had to contrast
the pure belief in God with the wild practices of heathendom. He found
a susceptibility for the pure teachings of Judaism among the heathen.
Not a few felt disgust at the mythological stories of the gods and
the deification of human beings. The remembrance was yet fresh in
their memories how all nations of the Roman kingdom, with unexampled
abjectness, had dedicated altars to the monster Caligula, and had
recognized and worshiped him as a god. Despairing and pure spirits
sought a God to whom they might elevate themselves, but they did not
find him. Now Paul had come and brought them this God, surrounded,
it is true, with wonderful stories, which, however, pleased them, on
account of the mythological strain in them. The heathen nations could
better comprehend the "Son of God" than the "Messianic Redeemer." The
wide-spread disease of immorality, which was rife throughout the Roman
empire, rendered the Judæan teachings acceptable and proper. Paul's
orations, delivered with the fire of enthusiasm, and uttered by one
who threw his whole soul into his words, could not fail to make an
impression on the better-disposed and purer-minded heathens. To this
was added the fear of the approach of the end of the world, which Paul,
through his firm belief in the resurrection and reappearance of Jesus,
had transformed into the hope that the dead would arise, in refulgent
form, at the trumpet-call, and that the living would be carried up into
heaven in a cloud.

Thus Paul appealed to the imagination of many heathens in his apostolic
wanderings from Jerusalem to Illyria. At first he aroused only people
of the lower classes, slaves, and especially women, by his glad
tidings. To the cultivated Greeks the Christianity which Paul preached,
based on the so-called resurrection of Jesus, appeared as a ridiculous
absurdity. The Judæans were naturally displeased with him. Paul's chief
topics, on which he dilated to the heathens whom he wished to convert,
were the Judæan nation, Judæan writings, and the Judæan Law; without
these his preaching about a Messiah or salvation had no foundation.
The Greeks must have been told about Israel and Jerusalem, or his
words would have fallen on deaf ears. He, therefore, could only resort
to those towns where Judæan communities dwelt, from whom the heathen
nations had received some faint notion of the history and doctrines of

Paul's efforts were directly aimed at destroying the bonds which
connected the teachings of Christ with those of Judaism. He therefore
inveighed against the Law, as it proved a hindrance to the reception of
heathen proselytes. He asserted that it was detrimental to the pursuit
of a higher spiritual life and to following the way of truth. Paul not
only disapproved of the so-called ceremonial laws of Judaism, but also
of those relating to morality. He affirmed that without laws men would
not have given way to their evil desires. "Thou shalt not covet" had
first aroused covetousness; thus through the Law the knowledge of sin
had arisen. Man is sensual and inclined to sin, for flesh is weak and
inclined to resist the Law. Paul set up a new teaching. He maintained
that man had only become sensual, weak and sinful because the first
man had sinned. Adam's fall had given birth to an inextinguishable
hereditary sin, and by this means death had come upon humanity. The
Law was not able to overcome this hereditary sin. In order to destroy
sin and death, God had made a special dispensation. He had given up
the Messiah, His son, to death, and again re-animated him, and he
had become the second Adam, who was to obliterate hereditary sin,
to conquer death, and establish everlasting life. Thus the Redeemer,
instead of bringing about the redemption of nations from the yoke
imposed on them, had redeemed them from sin.

Paul therefore conceived Christianity to be the very opposite of
Judaism. The one was founded on law and compulsion, the other owed
its origin to freedom and grace. Jesus or Christianity had brought
about the holy state foretold by the prophets. The ancient times had
departed, and a new state of things had arisen; the old covenant
(Testament) must yield to the new one; Abraham himself had not
been judged as just through the Law, but through faith. Thus Paul
sophistically explained the Scriptures. From the Law it is to be
inferred that whosoever does not abide by it, and refuses wholly and
entirely to comply with its precepts, stands under a curse. The great
service which Jesus had rendered was that he had delivered all men
from this curse, for through his means the Law had been set aside. How
could the Judæans submit to this open desecration of the Law of Sinai
for which their forefathers had suffered death, and for which, but a
short time since, under Caligula, they had determined to sacrifice
their lives? It is not to be wondered at that they rose against the
man who despised the Law, and persecuted him. They, however, contented
themselves with flogging Paul when he fell into their hands, but they
left his life unharmed; five times, as he himself relates, he was
chastised with thirty-nine strokes. Not only the Judæans but also the
Nazarenes, or Judæan Christians, were incensed against Paul for his
attack on the Law, and by this means dissension and schisms arose
in the midst of young Christianity. Peter, or Kephas, who came as a
messenger to the Judæans, taught a Christianity which differed from
that of Paul, and that of the other Apostles who sought to make
converts amongst the heathen; whilst Apollos from Alexandria, and a
certain Chrestus preached another version.

The Judaic Christians saw with terror the fruits of the ceremonial
freedom preached by Paul in the communities founded by him in Corinth
and Ephesus, where every species of vice and immorality was rife. Other
Apostles, therefore, followed Paul, and proclaimed his teachings full
of error and misrepresentation, and maintained that the Law of Judaism
was binding on Christians, as it was only by this Law that the lower
passions could be held in check. In Antioch a violent quarrel arose
between Paul and the Judaic-Christian Apostle. Peter, who till then had
disregarded the dietary laws and eaten at one table with the heathens,
was censured by the leaders of the severe party of the Apostle James,
and was now obliged to acknowledge his fault, and to speak openly
against Paul's contempt of the Law. Paul, on the other hand, reproached
him with hypocrisy. The influence of the severe, Law-loving Judaic
Christians was, however, so great that all the Judæan Christians of
Antioch gave up eating at the tables of the heathen, and their example
was even followed by Barnabas, the disciple of Paul.

Racial feelings also helped to widen the breach between the two
parties. The Greek Christians despised the Judaic Christians in the
same way as the Hellenes had looked down upon the Judæans. Paul sent
out violent epistles against the adherents of the Law, and laid a
curse on those who preached salvation in a manner differing from his
own. These did not spare him either, and related how he had loved
the daughter of a high priest; how, on being despised by her, he had
in disgust written against circumcision, the Sabbath, and the Law.
Thus, within barely thirty years after the death of its founder,
Christianity was split into two parties, namely, a Judaic-Christian
and a heathen-Christian sect. The Judaic Christians remained attached
to the foundations of Judaism, compelled their converts to adhere to
the Law, and clung to Jerusalem, where they awaited the return of
the Messiah. The heathen Christians, on the other hand, separated
themselves more and more from Judaism, and took up an inimical position
towards it.



    Position of Affairs in Judæa--Roman Oppression--Character
    of Agrippa II.--The last High Priest--The Zealots
    and the Sicarii--Eleazar ben Dinai--Quarrel
    with the Samaritans--Violence in Cæsarea--The
    Procurators--Florus--Insurrection in Cæsarea--Bloodshed
    in Jerusalem--The Peace and War Parties--The Leader of
    the Zealots, Eleazar ben Ananias--Menahem, chief of the
    Zealots--Massacres of Heathens and Judæans--Defeat of
    the Romans--The Synhedrion and its President, Simon ben
    Gamaliel--Position of the Synhedrion.

    49.66 C. E.

Whatever triumph Judaism might celebrate by the accession of
proselytes, and bright as seemed the dawn of the day predicted by the
prophet, when the peoples of the earth would turn their eyes to Zion,
and towards the light issuing thence to illumine the human race, yet in
their native land, and more especially in Jerusalem, the yoke of the
Romans weighed heavily on the Judæans, and became daily more oppressive.

The pitiable state of existing affairs crushed down all joyful feelings
as to the prospective dominion of Judaism. A veil of sadness had for
the last twenty years been spread over the nation, and no joyful
feelings could exist beneath it. The last decades exhibit the nation as
a captive who, continually tormented and goaded on by his jailer, tugs
at his fetters, with the strength of despair, until he wrenches them
asunder. The bloody contest between Rome, strong in arms and fertile
in stratagem, and Judæa, poor in outward means of warfare and powerful
only through indomitable will, inspires the deepest interest because,
in spite of the disproportion between the combatants, the weak
daughter of Zion would probably have gained the victory had she not
been torn by conflicting parties and surrounded by treachery. Perhaps,
had she awaited a more favorable moment, success might have been hers;
but Providence had decreed the destruction of her national life.

This great combat, to which few struggles in the history of the world
are comparable, was waged not merely for liberty, like the wars in
which the Gauls, Germans, and Britons were engaged against Rome, but
had likewise a religious character. The Judæan people were daily
wounded in their religious sentiments by the arbitrary rule of Rome,
and desired to gain their independence in order to acquire and maintain
the free exercise of their religion. Such being their aim, the frequent
reverses they sustained could not abate the ardent longing they felt to
be free; on the contrary, it rose with each fresh disaster, and in the
most trivial circumstances they saw and resented an attack upon their
most sacred convictions. It was seldom, indeed, that Rome outraged
the religious feelings of the Judæans as she had done under Caligula;
on the contrary, she rather indulged their susceptibilities, but she
often wounded them unintentionally through her despotic and jealous

The higher classes, poisoned by the seductive arts of Rome, had become
deaf to the voice of duty, and the wise and vigilant among the nation
feared, with reason, that the whole body would be infused with the
moral prostration of its highest members. The aristocratic families
were, indeed, so deeply steeped in immorality that the middle classes
could hardly escape its contaminating influence. The bad example was
set by the last members of the house of Herod, who were educated either
in Rome itself or in the small courts of the princely Roman vassals.
Agrippa II (born 27, died 91-93), son of the last noble Judæan king
Agrippa I, a mere stripling of seventeen years at the time of his
father's death, drank in the poisoned air of the Roman court, where
the Messalinas and Agrippinas openly displayed the most hideous vices.
After the demise of Herod II, the Emperor Claudius gave Agrippa the
tiny kingdom of Chalcis (about 50). It was whispered that this last
scion of the Hasmonæan and Herodian houses led an incestuous life with
his beautiful sister Berenice, who was a year younger than himself, and
a widow on the death of her husband, Herod II. There was probably some
truth in the rumor, as Agrippa found himself forced to silence it. He
betrothed his sister to Polemon, king of Cilicia, who, perhaps allured
by her wealth even more than by her beauty, adopted Judaism to obtain
her hand. But impelled by her inconstant humor, Berenice soon left
Polemon, and was free again to indulge in her licentious intrigues.

Agrippa's second sister, Mariamne II (born 34), married to a native
of Palestine, Julius Archelaus, dissolved that union, though she had
borne him a daughter, and became the wife of the Judæan Demetrius
of Alexandria, probably the son of the Alabarch Alexander, and in
that case the brother of the apostate Tiberius Alexander. Still more
depraved was his youngest sister, the beautiful Drusilla (born 38). Her
father had promised her, when still a child, to the prince Epiphanes,
the son of his friend Antiochus of Commagene, but only upon condition
of his becoming a convert to Judaism. After Agrippa's death, however,
Epiphanes refused to accept Judaism, and the young Agrippa gave his
sister Drusilla to Aziz, king of Emesa, who declared himself willing
to embrace her faith. Heedless, however, of conjugal duty, Drusilla
soon abandoned her husband, married a Roman, the Governor Felix, and
for his sake gave up her faith and became a pagan. The envy with which
Berenice inspired Drusilla was supposed to have been the motive of
the infidelity of the younger sister both to her husband and to her

Although Agrippa was only prince of Chalcis, he was looked upon as
the king of Judæa. Rome certainly had not deprived him of the royal
title, but had divested him of all power, and made use of him only as
a pliant tool and as a guard upon the movements of the surrounding
nations. Agrippa was devoted to the imperial house, styling himself the
emperor's friend. He displayed weakness and impotency when it behooved
him to put bounds to the usurpations, insolence, and arrogance of Rome,
and only showed his strength when he opposed the struggles of his
people to regain their freedom and liberty. The whole house of Agrippa,
including his most distant connections, Antipas and the two brothers
Costobar and Saul, were all immoral, rapacious, and hostile to their
own people. The only authority which Claudius, or rather his council,
had left in the hands of the titular king, and which was ratified by
his successors, was that which he was allowed to exercise over the
Temple, and which enabled him to appoint the high priest. It was not
religious zeal or moral worth that swayed Agrippa in the choice of the
high priest, but simply the sentiments felt by the candidate for that
office towards Rome. He who carried servility and the surrender of
national aspirations furthest gained the prize. In barely twenty years
Agrippa had named at least seven high priests. Among that number was
Ananias (son of Eleazar?), whose enormous wealth, either acquired or
inherited, allowed him to ingratiate himself with all who were open to
bribery, and set him free to practise acts of lawlessness and violence.
Since the time when Herod had lowered the dignity of the high priest's
office by permitting it to be sold or gained by pandering to most
degraded sentiments, there were certain families who seemed to have
acquired a right to it--those of Boëthus, Cantheras, Phabi, Camith, and
Anan or Seth, and it was but seldom that any one was elected outside
that circle. The members of these families vied with each other in
dishonorable conduct and frivolous thoughtlessness. Often their fierce
jealousy broke out in acts of violence, and the streets of Jerusalem
occasionally were the scenes of bloody skirmishes between the followers
of those hostile rival houses. Each succeeding high priest tried to
gain as much as possible out of his office, giving--heedless of the
worth or fitness of the recipient--the most lucrative places in the
Temple to his relatives and friends. So reckless were the high priests
in the use, or rather abuse, of their power, that they would send their
slaves, armed with clubs, to the barns to seize for themselves the
tithes which every one was legally free to give to whichever priest he
might select. Those priests who had not the good fortune to be related
to the high priest were thus deprived of the means of subsistence,
and fell into stringent poverty. Avarice and greed of power were the
mainsprings of the actions of those who were elected to represent the
highest ideal of morality; the Temple was despoiled by its dignitaries
even before the enemy forced his way into it with his weapons of murder.

From this time, according to tradition, the visible signs of divine
mercy ceased to appear in the Temple. Like some cankerous affection,
this demoralization of princes and high priests extended ever more
and more to the classes closest to them, producing evils which are
depicted in dark colors by the pen of a contemporary. Since the penal
laws were administered in the name of the emperor, and were placed
under the control of the governors, the judiciary became dependent
upon the Romans and the wealthy and influential classes. Selfishness,
bribery, calumny, and cowardice, according to the painter of the
manners and morality of that period, were ever increasing. "They throw
off," he bitterly exclaims, "the yoke of heaven, and place themselves
under the yoke of men; their judgments are false and their actions
perverse. The vain and thoughtless are made great, while the nobler
citizens are despised." Frivolity in the women and licentiousness in
the men were so completely the order of the day that the most eminent
teacher of morality of that time, Jochanan ben Zaccai, found himself
obliged to abolish the ritual hitherto used in cases of suspicion of
adultery. With deep sorrow, the nobler-minded Judæans lamented a state
of things in which outward forms of worship stood higher than morality,
and the defiling of the Temple caused more scandal and wrath than an
act of murder. In the lower classes, crime of another but of a not
less alarming nature appeared. The frequent insurrections which had
been stimulated and fomented by the Zealots since Rome had arrogantly
treated Judæa like a conquered province, had given rise to bands of
free troops, which roved wildly about the country, confounding liberty
with licentiousness, and trampling upon both customs and laws. They
crowded the caves and hollows which abound in the rocky mountains of
Judæa, and from those retreats made frequent irruptions to gratify
their love of unbridled liberty. Some bands of Zealots, led by Eleazar
ben Dinai and Alexander, were incited by feelings of patriotism to
deeds of cruelty. They had sworn destruction and death to the Romans,
and they included among the latter all those who consorted with them;
they would not recognize them as Judæans, and deemed it no crime
to plunder and destroy them. The degenerate friends of Rome were,
according to their views, and the oaths they had taken, mere outlaws,
and the Zealots kept their oath only too well. They attacked the nobles
as often as they fell in their way, ravaged their possessions and did
them as much harm as lay in their power. If there was any wrong to be
avenged upon the enemy of their country, they were the first to lend
their sword in defense of their outraged nationality.

Another band of Zealots, grown wild and savage, forgot the original aim
of liberating their country, and turned their attacks upon the foes of
the latter into profit for themselves. They were called Sicarii, from
the short dagger "sica," which they wore concealed under their cloaks,
and with which, either openly or insidiously, they struck and killed
their enemies. The Sicarii belonged to the very refuse of the Zealots.
Later they acknowledged the grandsons of Judas of Galilee, Menahem and
Eleazar ben Jair, as their leaders, but at the commencement of this
epoch they were under no discipline whatever. They wandered about the
country without any defined object, lending their assistance to those
who either offered them a reward or an opportunity for satisfying their
thirst for revenge. Armed with daggers, they wandered among the various
groups that thronged the colonnade of the Temple during the festivals,
and unperceived, struck down those they had marked out as their
victims. These murders were committed with such extraordinary rapidity
and skill, that for a long time the assassins remained undiscovered,
but all the greater were the dread and horror excited by those dark,
mysterious deeds. Murders became so frequent that Jochanan ben Zaccai
and the teachers of the Law found it necessary to abrogate the
sin-offering for the shedding of innocent blood, as too many animals
would have been slaughtered for the human victims. It may have been
about this time that the Great Synhedrion, which witnessed with intense
grief the constant increase of lawlessness and immorality, gave up its
functions and transferred its place of meeting from the Hewn-stone Hall
to the Commercial Hall in Bethany, an act which seemed to imply its

To stem, if possible, the confusion and disorder which existed,
the noblest citizens combined, and keeping aloof from conflicts
and strifes, sought to further by all means in their power the
spiritual advancement of Judaism. To keep the Law intact was their
self-imposed, sacred task. In Jochanan ben Zaccai they found a fitting
representative. He was considered, next to the president of the
Synhedrion, Simon ben Gamaliel (and perhaps even before him), as the
greatest teacher of that time. On account of his deep knowledge of the
Law and of the worth and dignity of his character, Jochanan ben Zaccai
was made vice-president of the Synhedrion. That position gave him the
power to cancel such laws as could not be enforced in that stormy
period. His chief office, however, was that of teacher. In the cool
shade cast by the Temple walls, he sat, encircled by his disciples, to
whom he delivered the laws that were to be observed, and expounded the

Besides the spirit of anarchy there was another source of discord
and misery. As the existing situation became more and more sad and
hopeless, the longing in the hearts of faithful believers for the
expected deliverer who was to bring peace to Judæa became more and more
intense. Messianic hopes were rifer among the people now than they
had been even during the time of the first Roman governors; and these
hopes stirred up enthusiasts who proclaimed themselves to be prophets
and Messiahs, and who inspired belief and obtained followers. Freedom
from the yoke of Rome was the one great aim of all these enthusiasts.
What the disciples of Judas attempted to bring about by force of arms,
the disciples of Theudas hoped to accomplish without fighting, having
recourse only to signs and miracles. A Judæan from Egypt calling
himself a prophet, found no less than three, or according to another
account, four thousand followers. These he summoned to the Mount of
Olives, and there promised to overthrow the walls of Jerusalem with
the breath of his mouth and to defeat the Roman soldiers. He was not
the only one who, carried away by the fervor of desire, prophesied the
approach of better times. And well may those enthusiasts have found
acceptance among the people. A nation that had enjoyed so rich a past
and looked forward even to a more glorious future, might allow itself
to be lulled into forgetfulness of the dismal present by pictures of
freedom and happiness. These visions and prophecies, harmless enough
in themselves, derived a sad importance from the bitter and savage
animosity with which they inspired the Roman governors. If the people,
jealous of any interference with their religion, looked upon the
slightest offense to it as an attack upon Judaism itself, and made
the governors, the emperor, and the Roman state responsible for the
delinquency, the imperial officials in Judæa were not less susceptible,
for they treated the most trivial agitation among the people as an
insult to the majesty of Rome and the emperor, and punished with equal
severity the innocent and the guilty. Vain was the favor shown to
the Judæan nation by the emperors Claudius and Nero--the procurator
constantly over-stepped the limit of his authority, and urged on by
greed and the love of power, acted the part of tyrant. Judæa had the
misfortune to be almost always governed by depraved creatures, who
owed their position to the reckless favorites who ruled at court.
They rivaled one another in acts of wickedness and cruelty, thus ever
increasing the discontent and provoking the wrath of the people.
Cumanus, who succeeded Tiberius Alexander (about 48-52), was the first
of five such avaricious and bloodthirsty procurators. He governed
only the provinces of Judæa and Samaria, Claudius having bestowed
the command of the province of Galilee on Felix, the brother of his
favorite, Pallas. Cumanus and Felix became deadly foes.

It was the governor of Judæa who first excited the resentment of the
people. Jealous suspicion of any great concourse of people assembled
in the Temple, a suspicion which, since the revolt at the time of the
census, had become traditional among the Roman governors, induced
Cumanus, at the time of the Passover, to place an armed cohort in the
colonnade of the Temple to watch the throngs which gathered there
during that festival. On that occasion a soldier, with the recklessness
often exhibited by the inferior Roman troops, made an offensive gesture
towards the sanctuary, which the people interpreted as an insult
to their Temple. Carried away by indignation and anger, they threw
stones at the soldiers and abused the governor. A tumult ensued, which
threatened to become a serious sedition. Cumanus ordered fresh troops
to advance and take possession of the fortress of Antonia, and assuming
a menacing aspect, alarmed the people assembled round the Temple, who
now hastened to escape from his reach. In their anxiety to get away,
the crowds pressed fearfully through the various places of exit, and it
is believed that more than ten or indeed twenty thousand persons were
suffocated or trampled to death.

A similar occasion might have led to a like disastrous result, had
not Cumanus prudently complied with the wishes of the people. On the
highway, not far from Bethoron, a band of Sicarii having fallen upon
and robbed a servant of the emperor, Cumanus resolved that all the
neighboring villages should suffer bitterly for the act of violence
committed in their vicinity. One of the Roman soldiers, infuriated by
an attack upon a fellow-countryman, got possession of a Book of the
Law, tore it in pieces and threw the fragments into the fire. Here
was a new cause for angry excitement and wrathful reproaches in the
desecration of what they held most sacred. Countless bands flocked to
Cumanus at Cæsarea, crying out against the blasphemer. Much rather,
they exclaimed, would they suffer the worst fate themselves than see
their Holy Scriptures profaned; and in tones of fury they called for
the death of the guilty man. The governor yielded this time to the
counsel of his friends, and ordered the soldier to be executed in the
presence of those whose religious feelings he had outraged.

Another occurrence took a more serious form and led to strife and
bloodshed. Some Galilæans who were on their way to a festival at
Jerusalem, passed through Samaria, and whilst in the town of Ginæa,
on the southeastern end of the plain of Jezreel, they were murdered
in a fray with the hostile Samaritans. Was this only an accidental
mischance, or the result of the burning hatred which existed between
the Judæans and the Samaritans? In either case the representatives
of Galilee were justified in demanding vengeance at the hands of the
governor upon the murderers. But Cumanus treated the affair with
contemptuous indifference, and thus obliged the Judæans to deal with
the matter themselves. The leaders of the Zealots, Eleazer ben Dinai
and Alexander, incited both by the Galilæans and their governor,
Felix, took the matter into their own hands, entered with their troops
the province of Acrabatene, inhabited by Samaritans, and pitilessly
destroyed and killed all within their reach. The Samaritans appealed to
Cumanus for redress for this attack upon their province, and he gave
them permission to take up arms, sending at the same time Roman troops
to assist them in a fearful massacre.

This proof, as they considered it, of the partisanship of the emperor's
officials roused the anger of the inhabitants of Jerusalem to such
a degree that, spurred on among others by Dortus, a man of some
position, they were on the point of attacking the troops of Cumanus,
which would doubtless have seriously increased the gravity of the
situation, and might have hastened the final catastrophe by twenty
years. The principal inhabitants of Jerusalem, however, alarmed at the
possible consequences of an outbreak against the Roman arms, strove to
prevent so dangerous an act, and, clothed in deep mourning, implored
the irritated multitude to pause and think of the future. At their
prayer the people laid down their arms. But neither the Judæans nor the
Samaritans were really pacified, and still smarting under the wrongs
mutually received, they sent deputies to the Syrian governor, Umidius
Quadratus, accusing each other, and asking him to investigate the whole
dispute. To effect that object, Quadratus visited Samaria; but he was
not an impartial judge, and many of the captive Judæans were doomed
to perish on the cross. It was only after those executions had taken
place that he formed a tribunal of justice, and summoned both parties
to appear before it. In the meantime, however, Felix having taken the
part of the Galilæans against the Samaritans, such entanglements ensued
that Quadratus would not venture to adjudicate between the disputants,
and ordered them to send deputies to Rome to obtain the decision of the
emperor. Among the Judæan envoys were Jonathan, the former high priest,
and Anan, the governor of the Temple. Cumanus was also obliged to leave
his post in order to appear at Rome and justify himself there.

All the intricate court intrigues were brought into play by this trial,
which took on a more serious aspect from the fact that the governor
himself was one of the accused. The emperor caused a tribunal to be
formed, but the verdict was given not by himself, but by his depraved
wife, the notorious Agrippina, who was the paramour of Pallas, the
brother of Felix. It had been arranged between the Judæan deputies
and Pallas that after sentence was pronounced against Cumanus, the
emperor should be asked to name Felix governor of Judæa in his stead.
The verdict given in favor of the Judæans could not be considered an
impartial one, and was not in itself a proof that the Samaritans had
been the aggressors. Many of them were pronounced guilty and executed,
and Cumanus was sent into banishment. At the same time, probably also
through the intercession of the empress, a kingdom in the northeast
of Judæa was bestowed upon Agrippa; it consisted of that part of
the country which had once belonged to Philip's tetrarchy, Batanæa,
Gaulanitis, Auranitis, Trachonitis, as well as Paneas and Abilene. On
Judæa proper Rome kept a firm grasp, and would never allow a native
prince, however much he might be under Roman influence and control, to
exercise in that domain any regal prerogatives.

Felix, whose appointment had been sought of the emperor by the former
high priest, Jonathan, succeeded Cumanus as governor of Judæa. He
married Drusilla, King Agrippa II's beautiful sister, who thereupon
went over to paganism. During his long administration, Felix surpassed
all his predecessors in arrogance and audacity. He gave himself up
entirely to the acquisition of riches and the satisfaction of his
appetites. He continued to exercise his evil power even after the death
of Claudius (54). For although the young emperor, Nero, or his mother,
Agrippina, was as favorable to the house of Herod as Claudius had been,
and had given Agrippa four considerable towns with their surrounding
districts as well as the important city of Tiberias near Tarichea in
Galilee, Judæa was allowed to remain under the iron rule of its cruel
governor. Felix pretended to attack only the seditious mutineers; but
the fact of his consorting with the wild Sicarii showed how little
truth there was in that assumption. Numerous, indeed, must have been
the victims who suffered death at his hands under the plea that they
were the enemies of Rome, for even the former high priest, Jonathan,
at whose request the emperor had given Felix his appointment, now
bitterly reproached him for his misdeeds. Exasperated by his boldness
the governor caused him to be assassinated, employing the Sicarii to
seize and murder him in the broad light of day. Ishmael II, of the
house of Phabi, was named high priest by Agrippa in about the year 59.
It was during his pontificate that the family of the high priest gained
such power in the state that, aided by a strong rabble, they were able
to compel the landowners to pay them all the tithes, thus robbing the
lower priests of their incomes and causing many of them to perish from

The arrogance with which the governors treated the nation was not
without its baneful influence upon the conduct of the foreigners who
dwelt in great numbers in the towns on the sea-coast. The Greeks
and Romans that had settled in Judæa openly showed their hatred to
their neighbors, and usurped the position of masters in the land. The
fearful picture drawn by the great prophet seemed now on the point
of being literally fulfilled: "The stranger in thy midst will ever
rise higher, but thou wilt ever sink lower." The most shameless in
their conduct towards the Judæans were the Greek Syrians who lived in
Cæsarea--even the civil rights of the former were disputed by them. But
the Judæans of Cæsarea, who far surpassed their heathen fellow-citizens
in industry, wealth and courage, would not allow themselves to be
deprived of their rights of citizenship, and fierce disputes and
fights in the streets were consequently of almost daily occurrence. On
one occasion, some Judæan youths having avenged with blows an insult
they had received from a party of Syrians, and obliged the latter to
flee, Felix took up the affair, called in some troops, which, being
chiefly composed of Greeks and Syrians, sided heartily with their own
countrymen. Many Judæans lost their lives, many were imprisoned, and
the houses of the rich were plundered and destroyed. The actual point
in dispute remained undecided, both sides being only more embittered by
the blood that had been shed. The rival parties sent deputies to Rome,
and Nero was called upon to pronounce judgment between them. Bribery
gained the favor of Burrus, the secretary of the emperor, to the cause
of the Syrians of Cæsarea. His verdict was consequently given against
the Judæans, who were deprived of their civil rights.

Festus, the successor of Felix, governed for only a short time (from 59
to 61). During that period the unsatisfactory state of things remained
unchanged, or, if possible, became still worse. A new enthusiast,
proclaiming himself the Messiah, awoke the hope of the people for
liberty and redemption, drew followers around him, and then shared
the fate of his predecessors. The jealous spite which animated the
different parties became more and more violent. The king, Agrippa, at
length took up his residence in Jerusalem, in the Hasmonæan palace,
which was just opposite the Temple. In order to overlook the courts of
the latter he added to the height of his palace, and from the hall in
that building, where he took his repasts, he could watch every movement
that took place in the Temple. The Temple authorities took umbrage at
this, and complained that Agrippa encroached upon their privileges;
and in order to hide the Temple from his view they had a high wall
built on its western side. This aroused the displeasure of Agrippa
and of the governor, who wished to demolish the hardly finished wall.
Bitter words were used on both sides; but at last prudence prevailed,
and it was resolved that the dispute should be settled by the emperor.
Twelve deputies, among whom were the high priest Ishmael and the
treasurer Hilkia, were sent to represent the case at Rome. It was not
Nero, however, but his paramour, Poppea Sabina, who gave the verdict.
This beautiful but shameless woman had, strangely enough, a preference
for Judaism, and as at Nero's court all state affairs were conducted
by intrigue, the Judæan deputies profited by that happy chance and
won their cause. The deputies brought back the imperial order that
the jealous guard kept over the Temple should be discontinued. A few
years later Poppea interceded again on behalf of two Judæans who had
been condemned by Felix and sent as prisoners to Rome. In order not
to infringe upon the laws of their religion they, like Daniel and his
friends, refused, whilst in prison, to eat anything but fruit. But at
the desire of Poppea, who had now become empress, Nero granted the
self-denying captives their liberty.

After the death of Festus, Nero named Albinus governor, and in
comparison with those who preceded and those who came after him he was
looked upon as a just ruler. Before he entered the province, Anan the
high priest attempted to revive the half-extinct Sadducæism, and to put
its penal code again into force; a tribunal was elected by him, and
innocent men were condemned. The Pharisees were so dissatisfied with
this illegal Synhedrion that they demanded of Agrippa the dismissal of
the high priest.

The new governor Albinus was met on his way by accusations against
Anan, who it was said had infringed upon the authority of Rome by
punishing criminals himself. His enemies were successful, and he was
obliged to resign his office of high priest after having filled it for
three months. Joshua ben Damnai succeeded him, but in a short time he
had to give way to Joshua ben Gamala (63 or 64). Ben-Gamala had married
a widow of great wealth, Martha, a daughter of the house of the high
priest Boëthus, and it is said that she induced King Agrippa II, by the
offer of a large bribe, to confer the office of high priest upon her
husband. Between Joshua ben Damnai and his more fortunate successor
there burned so fierce a hatred that their respective followers could
not meet in the streets without insulting and even attacking each other.

Joshua ben Gamala can, however, by no means be ranked among the worst
of the high priests. The improvement in education, which began with
him, testified to the interest he took in the useful institutions of
the community. He established schools for boys from the age of five
years in every town. But Ben-Gamala did not long retain his high
office; he was obliged to resign it to Matthia ben Theophilus (65),
the last of the twenty-eight high priests who owed their election to
Rome and the house of Herod. Albinus the governor, who was bent upon
the destruction of the fanatical Sicarii, embittered the people by the
heavy taxes laid upon them, a part of which he kept for himself. Upon
learning that a successor had been appointed, he caused those of the
Sicarii who had been imprisoned for serious offenses to be executed,
and those who were suffering for lighter misdeeds were, upon paying
a fine, set at liberty. The Sicarii thus released from imprisonment
took part afterwards in the insurrections of the people against their
oppressors, and stained the good cause with many acts of cruelty.

The last of the procurators, Gessius Florus, who also was appointed by
Poppea, hastened by his shameless partiality, avarice, and inhumanity,
the execution of the long-cherished plan of the malcontents to shake
off the tyrannical yoke of Rome. Florus was one of those utterly
profligate beings to whom nothing is sacred; who sacrifice everything
to their greed, and disregard, without scruple, the most solemn oaths.
What his predecessors had done with a pretense at least to some form,
or under the shadow of secrecy, he accomplished openly in brazen-faced
defiance of the Law. Inaccessible to pity, he had indulgence only
for the Sicarii, who gave him a portion of their plunder. In the two
years during which his administration lasted (64-66), many towns were
completely sacked. The Sicarii were allowed to carry on unmolested
their nefarious practices, the rich being obliged to purchase their
favor as well as that of their patrons.

So unbearable was this condition of the state that even a cowardly
nation must have lost patience, and the courage of the Judæan people,
in spite of the thousand disasters which had befallen them, of the
heavy weight of the Roman yoke, and of the daily acts of violence of
which they were the victims, was not yet broken. Rome at that time
resembled a community of madmen, among whom the emperor Nero, confiding
in the favor of the Senate and the people, perpetrated one folly after
another, and was guilty of a succession of crimes. Thus, excepting
through their own endeavors, there appeared no chance of deliverance
for the Judæans. This was the opinion of the best and greatest among
them, of all those who were not the tools of Rome, or blinded by her
false splendor, or paralyzed by terror of her strength. The boldest
were already thinking of rebellion. The governor, Cestius Gallus, had,
in the meantime, been informed of the exasperation and angry feeling
that existed among the Judæan people, and reported the state of Judæa
at the court of Rome, failing not to make known there that the nation
was brooding over conspiracy and revolt. But no one listened to his
warning voice. Nero was too busy to attend to such trifles; he had to
play the zither, to perform on the stage, to indulge in orgies, and
to devise murders. The Empress Poppea, the friend of the Judæans, was
dead. The creatures of the court resembled the monster Gessius Florus,
and doubtless derided what they considered the puerile fears of Gallus.
The latter thereupon devised a plan to bring prominently before Nero's
court the vastness of the population of Judæa, and the imprudence of
underrating it. It was arranged between Agrippa and the high priest
Matthia that at the Feast of the Passover a great though peaceful
demonstration should take place, through a peculiar manner of numbering
the people. Circulars were sent to the community, residing both within
and outside Judæa, bidding vast numbers appear at the coming festival.
Crowds of worshipers, a greater concourse than had ever assembled
before, obeyed the summons. In the spring of the year 66 they flocked
to celebrate the Feast of Passover; from the towns and villages of
Judæa, from Syria, even from countries bordering the Euphrates, and
from Egypt, they streamed into Jerusalem, which could hardly contain
the vast multitude. On their way towards the Temple, some of the
pilgrims were crushed in the crowd, and this feast was thereafter
called the Passover of the Crushing. The numbering of the people was
carried on in the following way:--From each offering a kidney was taken
for the priests, the kidneys thus appropriated being counted; and it
was reckoned that each lamb that was eaten in company, was partaken of
by at least ten persons. The result of these calculations proved that
nearly three millions were at that time present in Jerusalem.

Cestius Gallus had himself come to Jerusalem to conduct the
investigation, and all appealed to him to have pity on their
unspeakable woes, and to deliver them from their country's scourge.
Florus, who was present, only smiled, but the governor of the city
promised to use his influence in softening the procurator's heart
towards them, and he acquainted Rome with the imposing concourse
he had seen with his own eyes at Jerusalem. He was, however, much
deceived as to the effect produced by his device of proving how great
were the numbers of the people. Nero, at that time, had reached the
highest point of his arrogance and pride. "Should Nero, whose triumphs
surpassed those of Pompey, Cæsar, and Augustus, fear Judæa?" The
account sent by Cestius Gallus of the crowds assembled at Jerusalem
during the Feast of Passover was probably not even read by Nero, or, if
looked at, only thrown to the winds.

In Judæa, and above all in the capital, men, young and old, became
daily more impatient to break the galling chains of Rome. Patience
was exhausted; they awaited only the favorable moment when they could
strike at their foe with a chance of success. A trifling incident,
which brought to light the unparalleled insolence of Florus, fanned the
spirit of impatience and closed the lips of prudence. Fresh causes of
disagreement had arisen between the Judæans and the Syrians in Cæsarea;
the former could not forget that Nero had lowered them in the eyes of
their fellow-citizens, and the latter, elated by the preference given
them, made the Judæans feel their degraded position. The irritation
thus caused, stirred up the religious hatred and racial animosity which
slumbered under the surface in both communities. A piece of ground
belonging to a heathen in Cæsarea, which happened to be just in front
of the synagogue, was covered by him with shops, so that only one
narrow entrance to the sacred building remained. The hot-headed Judæan
youths tried to interrupt the construction of these booths, and Florus,
won over by a large sum of money, refrained from interfering; and,
in order not to be a witness of the probable scene of contention, he
absented himself and went to Samaria, leaving the two bitterly-opposed
parties to the undisturbed exercise of their passionate animosity. On a
certain Sabbath, while the Judæans were assembled in worship, a Greek
placed a vessel in front of the synagogue and sacrificed birds upon it,
to signify that the Judæans were descendants of outcast lepers. This
calumny concerning the origin of their race was not taken quietly by
the Judæan youths, who instantly armed themselves and fell upon their
mocking foes. The fight ended in the defeat of the Judæans, all of
whom thereupon, carrying away their holy books, betook themselves to
the neighboring small town of Narbata, and thence sent an embassy of
twelve men, among whom was the rich tax-gatherer Jonathan, to Florus
in Samaria. The deputies reminded him of the sum he had received, and
of his promise to afford them protection. But instead of listening
to their supplications he received them harshly, and threw them into
prison. When tidings of this new act of violence reached Jerusalem,
the anger of the whole population was aroused, but before they had
time to form any plan of action, Florus sent them another exasperating
message. He desired the warden of the Temple to hand over out of the
sacred treasury seventeen talents, which he declared were required in
the service of the emperor. This command, the intention of which was
plainly discerned by the inhabitants of Jerusalem, made them flock
around the Temple as though they would shield the threatened Sanctuary.
The timid broke forth in lamentations, and the fearless reviled the
Roman governor, and carried a box about as though they were collecting
alms for the indigent Florus. The latter, anticipating opportunities
to satisfy his avarice and thirst for blood, now came himself to
Jerusalem, and by his presence added fuel to the fire. Florus placed
himself as judge in front of the palace of Herod, and called upon the
high priest and the men of greatest standing to appear before him,
demanding them to deliver into his hands those who had dared mock him.
Trembling, they endeavored to offer excuses for what had taken place,
and implored his mercy. But Florus heeded them not, and gave orders
to the Roman soldiers to plunder the upper market-place, a quarter
inhabited by the wealthy. Like very demons the wild soldiers threw
themselves into the market and the adjoining streets, killed men, women
and children, ransacked houses and carried off their contents. On that
one day (16th Iyar), more than three thousand six hundred men perished.
The prisoners, by the command of Florus, were scourged and crucified.
In vain had the princess or queen Berenice knelt before Florus,
imploring him to stay the work of bloodshed and destruction; he was
deaf to her entreaties, and in fear for her own safety she was obliged
to seek refuge and safety in her palace.

Some days after, vast crowds gathered in the now half-ruined upper
town (Zion), uttering lamentations for those who had been killed and
pronouncing execrations upon their murderer Florus, and it was not
without much difficulty that the heads of the people succeeded in
silencing them. But this only increased the audacity of Florus, who
demanded, as a proof of their present peaceable intentions, that the
people with the nobles should go forth to meet the incoming troops
and welcome them in a friendly spirit. The representatives of the
Sanctuary could hardly induce the people to comply with that request,
for the patriots rebelled against the new humiliation thus thrust
upon them, and persuaded many to share their sentiments. At length,
however, the high priest succeeded in persuading the people to offer
an amicable reception to the Roman cohorts. But soon the deceitful
intention of the governor manifested itself. The people fulfilled
the heavy sacrifice they had with heavy hearts undertaken to perform,
and greeted the troops with forced friendliness; but the soldiers,
having received their instructions from Florus, looked grimly at them
and made no response. At the first murmur of discontent caused by
the strange manner of the Roman troops, the latter rushed upon the
people with drawn swords, driving them before them, whilst the horses
trampled on the fugitives. A fearful crush took place at the gates of
the city, and the road from Bezetha was strewn with the wounded and the
killed. When it was perceived that the soldiers were directing their
steps towards Fort Antonia and the Temple, the designs of Florus upon
the treasures contained in it could no longer be concealed, and the
people hastened to the Sanctuary to protect it, if possible, from his
sacrilegious project. They threw stones at the soldiers, barred their
passage through the narrow entrance, demolished the colonnade which
connected the fortress Antonia with the Temple, and thus frustrated the
governor's hope of becoming a second Crassus. Without being aware of it
themselves, the inhabitants of Jerusalem had by that step commenced the
war of insurrection.

Before the determined attitude of the people the courage of Florus
forsook him. He informed the representatives of the capital that
in order to restore peace to Jerusalem, he would quit the city and
withdraw the greater number of the troops, leaving only a small
garrison behind. Upon representations being made to him that the
greater part of the army was hated by the people, on account of
the inhumanity of which it had been guilty, he bade them choose
those soldiers who had taken least part in the recent butchery. The
representatives of Judæa selected the soldiers who served under
Metilius, whose weak disposition appeared to them a pledge of
forbearance. But hardly had Florus left Jerusalem, when the heated
ferment resolved itself into determined action. The people were divided
into two parties, one was the party of peace, the other the party that
favored revolution. The latter party was composed chiefly of the young
and strong, who shared the views and principles of the Zealots. They
were ready to risk their lives in their endeavor to overthrow the yoke
of pagan, tyrannical Rome, and regain their cherished liberty.

The revolutionary party was not devoid of statesmanlike discretion; it
had already formed an alliance with the princely house of Adiabene,
which was warmly devoted to Judaism, and had likewise managed to
interest the Parthian-Babylonian community in its cause. The advocates
of war, bold and fearless, looked down upon their more timid brethren.
Men of strength, filled with lofty aspirations, they swore a solemn
oath to die rather than submit to Rome; and well did they keep that
oath in the raging war, under the hail of the catapults, tortured
by the rack, and in the arena of wild beasts. The soul of the
revolutionary party in Jerusalem was Eleazar ben Ananias, who belonged
to a high-priestly family. He was well versed in the Law, and belonged
to the strict school of Shammai, which generally agreed with the

On the side of peace were the followers of Hillel, who abhorred war
on principle; the nobles who were basking in the brilliant sunshine
of Rome; the wealthy, whose possessions would be exposed to jeopardy
through so great a revolution--all these, though smarting under the
insolence of Florus, desired the continuance of the present state
of things under the imperial power of Rome. The honest friends of
peace, however, failed to perceive that the evil from which the Judæan
community suffered did not depend upon any one person who might be
accidentally in power, but upon the system of tutelage and robbery,
and on the fundamental difference which existed between the foreign
rulers and the people they governed. Even the best governors, those who
truly desired to preserve order and peace, could not have prevented the
susceptibility of the nation from being frequently wounded, nor the
constant irritation of the people.

The people, although aroused and embittered, appeared undecided, and
paused before taking the final step, each party trying to draw the
populace to its side. The friends of peace, whilst they strove to
moderate the anger of the masses, endeavored likewise to justify their
revolt against Florus before the Syrian governor, Cestius, and to
explain that Florus was in fault for the disturbance which had broken
out. They acquainted Cestius with everything that had occurred, and
begged him to come to Jerusalem to see with his own eyes the misery and
ruin caused by the acts of the last governor, and to convince himself
of the friendly demeanor of its inhabitants. Cestius, too indolent to
come and inquire into the matter himself, sent a deputy, Neapolitanus,
in his stead.

The leaders of the revolutionary party had, in the meantime, been so
successful that the payment of taxes to Rome was withheld. The king,
Agrippa, who, from motives of self-interest, was in favor of peace,
called the people together, and attempted to open their eyes to the
danger into which they were blindly running. Standing upon a high
gallery opposite the Temple he spoke to the people. At his side was the
Princess Berenice, who had interceded for the injured and downtrodden,
to cover him with the shield of her popularity.

His speech, containing every argument that reason or sophistry could
urge against war with Rome, made at first some impression upon the
people. A great number of them cried out that they had no ill-will
against the Romans, but only desired to be delivered from the yoke
of Florus. Thereupon Agrippa exhorted the assembled multitude to
show that they were really peacefully inclined by replacing the
broken columns they had thrown down and paying the taxes due to the
emperor. For the moment it appeared as though their angry feelings
were about to subside. The shattered colonnade was to be repaired,
and in the adjoining towns and villages taxes were gathered. When
Agrippa found what an advantage he had gained he went a step further,
and tried to persuade the people to obey Florus as their governor
until his successor should be appointed. But this last demand spoilt
all. The revolutionary party again won the upper hand, and Agrippa
was obliged to flee from Jerusalem. Those who had so often suffered
from the cruelty and injustice of Florus, at the very mention of his
name feared to become again his miserable dupes and the victims of
cunning intrigue. After Agrippa's departure there was no question
of taxes. Universal was the satisfaction at their abolition, and
the tax-gatherers durst not confront the prevailing excitement by
attempting to enforce their payment. The day on which it was resolved
not to pay the taxes, the 25th Sivan (June), was henceforth to be kept
as the anniversary of a victory. The Sicarii now also began to bestir
themselves. They assembled under the command of Menahem, a descendant
of Judas, the founder of the Zealots, and took the fortress of Masada;
they put its Roman garrison to death, possessed themselves of their
weapons, and being thus well armed, appeared on the field of battle.

Eleazar, the head of the Zealots, fanned the revolutionary spirit
of the people, and drove them on to complete rupture with Rome. He
dissuaded the priests from receiving any presents or sacrifices from
heathens, and so great was the power he exerted that the officiating
priests discontinued offering the daily sacrifice for the emperor
Nero. That was the starting-point of the revolution. Allegiance to the
emperor was thenceforth renounced. The party of peace saw also the
grave importance of this step and tried to retrace it. Learned teachers
of the Law, doubtless of the school of Hillel, explained to a large
gathering of the people that it was unlawful to shut out the offerings
of heathens from the Temple, and aged priests declared that it was an
ancient custom to receive such offerings. The officiating priests,
however, remained unconvinced, and threw themselves without reserve
into the maelstrom of revolution. From that time on, the Temple obeyed
its chief, Eleazar, and became the hotbed of the insurrection.

The advocates of peace saw with sorrow the progress made by the rival
party, and tried to smother the flames before they could accomplish
the work of destruction and ruin; but the means they employed to
quench the revolutionary fire only made it burn the more fiercely.
They sent deputies to Florus and Agrippa, earnestly entreating that a
sufficiently large number of troops should be instantly despatched to
Jerusalem. The former, actuated either by timidity or by the spirit of
revenge which made him desire that the hated Judæans should become more
and more hopelessly entangled, refused to comply with that request.
Agrippa, on the other hand, sent 3,000 horsemen, Auranites, Batanæans,
and wild Trachonites, under the command of Philip of Bathyrene, and
Darius, a commander of cavalry, to help the party that wished to remain
at peace with Rome. When these troops arrived, they found the Mount
on which the Temple stood, as well as the lower town, already in the
possession of the Zealots. The aristocratic quarter of the higher town
alone remained open to them. A fierce combat took place between the
two parties, the royal troops joining the few soldiers left of the
Roman garrison. Fighting continued for seven days, with no decided

At the time of the festival of wood-carrying (15th Ab), however, the
situation changed. The Zealots barred the entrance of the Temple
against any one belonging to the peace party, and gained over to their
side the masses who had brought wood for the altar, as well as the
Sicarii who had made their way into the Temple through the crowd.
Strengthened by the increase of numbers, the Zealots drove away their
opponents and became masters of the upper town. The anger of the people
was roused against the friends of Rome, they set fire to the palaces of
King Agrippa and Princess Berenice, devoting to the flames likewise the
house of the rich priest Ananias, and the public archives, among which
the bonds of debtors were kept. Some of the partisans of Rome crept in
terror into the sewers, while others took refuge with the troops in the
western palace of Herod. Shortly after this the Zealots attacked the
Roman guards in the fort Antonia, overcame them after a siege of two
days, and put them to death (17th Ab); they then stormed the palace of
Herod, which was defended by the combined troops of Rome and Agrippa.
After eighteen days of incessant fighting the garrison capitulated and
the Judæan soldiers under Philip were allowed to depart unhurt. The
Romans, too proud to sue for mercy, retreated to the three towers in
the wall, Hippicus, Phasael, and Mariamne. The Sicarii under Menahem
rushed into the fort after the Romans had left it, and killed all who
had not been able to save themselves by flight (6th Elul--August).

But the patriotic Zealots, the followers of Eleazar, were soon made
aware of the injury their righteous cause must sustain from their
fraternizing with the unrestrainable Sicarii. Puffed up by their
victory over Agrippa's troops, Menahem and his satellites broke out
into acts of shameful cruelty. Insulting pride now characterized
Menahem's behavior; words of anger were exchanged between him and
Eleazar; and as the former entered the Temple in the captured regal
attire, the words became blows and fighting commenced. The Sicarii
were besieged, and Menahem, who had fled to the part of the city
called Ophla, was brought back and executed. A small number of his
followers, under his relative Eleazar ben Jair, escaped to the fortress
of Masada, which was occupied by their friends. After this bloody
episode the Zealots, led by Eleazar, besieged the towers, and the
Roman troops under the command of Metilius were at last obliged to
sue for mercy. The Judæans deputed to treat with Metilius agreed that
the Romans, deprived of their arms and baggage, should be allowed to
depart unmolested. As soon, however, as the conquered soldiers were
divested of their swords and shields, Eleazar's band fell upon them and
destroyed them all. Metilius alone was spared, because in the fear of
death he had promised to adopt the Judæan faith, and he was allowed to
live an animated trophy of the victory of the Judæans over the Romans.
The day on which Jerusalem was delivered from the Romans (17 Elul) was
henceforth to be considered one of the festive anniversaries. That the
aim of Eleazar and his party was noble and disinterested was shown by
the moderation they observed after their victory. The city was in their
hands, their rivals helpless, and yet in the annals of those times we
can discover no trace of persecution or cruelty towards them.

Thus far the insurrection had been limited to Jerusalem, for the rest
of Judæa, although equally excited, remained quiet during the events
that were taking place in the capital, and awaited the result. Florus
himself had likewise remained quietly at Cæsarea, taking care, however,
that the revolution should flow on like a stream of fire, carrying
devastation all over the country, and even beyond its boundaries.
When tidings of the battle between the Zealots and the Roman cohorts
in Jerusalem reached Cæsarea, the Greeks and Syrians attacked the
Judæans who had returned there. The carnage which ensued must have been
fearful; more than twenty thousand Judæans were killed, and these,
doubtless, did not succumb without, in self-defense, causing some
other deaths. Not a single Judæan remained alive in Cæsarea. Those
who tried to flee were captured, put into chains by the command of
Florus, and sent as slaves to various ships. This unexampled cruelty
exasperated the whole population of Judæa, and their hatred against the
heathens broke out into wild frenzy. Everywhere, as though by common
assent, bands of free troops formed themselves, attacking the heathen
inhabitants of the country, burning, destroying, and slaying. These
barbarous onslaughts, of course, called again for revenge from the
heathen population of Judæa and Syria. Many towns were divided into two
hostile parties, which savagely fought together during the day, and lay
in ambush to injure each other at night.

A horrible deed, resulting from the war of races, took place in
the town of Bethshean, the first of a long series of acts of
self-destruction of which we read in the account of the destruction
of the Temple. Its heathen inhabitants had made a covenant with their
Judæan fellow-citizens, promising to befriend them if they would assist
in repulsing any attack of Judæan bands upon their town. The Judæans
in Bethshean honestly fulfilled their agreement, fought vigorously
against their brethren, and drove them away from the vicinity of the
town. Among the combatants on that occasion, Simon ben Saul, a Judæan
of gigantic strength and great valor, was principally distinguished.
No sooner, however, were the heathen inhabitants delivered from their
assailants than, under cover of the night, they fell upon the unguarded
Judæans, and put them all, nearly thirteen thousand, to death. In that
fearful massacre Simon and his family alone survived, the former,
wielding his drawn sword with the energy of despair, drove terror into
the hearts of his enemies. Full of anguish and remorse at having fought
against his brethren, he resolved to fall only by his own hand. After
killing his aged parents, his wife and children, he thrust his sword
into his breast and expired at their side.

The violent animosity which inflamed the Judæans and heathens in
Cæsarea also reached Alexandria. A massacre of the Judæans, partly due
to the anger of an apostate, took place in the Egyptian capital. The
Alexandrian Greeks, jealous of their Judæan fellow-citizens, resolved
to solicit the Emperor Nero to deprive them of the rights which they
had received from Claudius, putting them on a footing of equality with
the Greeks. To select the deputies who were to convey their wishes
to the emperor, a large concourse assembled in the amphitheater of
the town. A few Judæans being discovered among the crowd, they were
fiercely attacked and insulted as spies. Three of them were dragged
through the streets to be committed alive to the flames. Enraged at
the savage treatment of their brethren, the Judæans armed themselves,
seized firebrands, and threatened to burn the amphitheater where the
Greeks were still assembled. The governor Tiberius now attempted to
interfere in order to stay the impending civil strife, but he only
increased the angry ferment. The Judæans hated him for being a renegade
to his faith, and reproached him with his apostasy. Infuriated by
their taunts, Tiberius Alexander lost all control over himself; he
ordered his legions to repair to the Judæan quarter, and gave free
license to the exercise of that brutality which it had cost so much
effort to restrain. The soldiers, greedy for blood and plunder, poured
in upon the beautiful Delta quarter of the town, killed all whom they
found in their way, burned the houses, and filled the streets with
blood and corpses. Fifty thousand Judæans lost their lives, and the
man who ordered that frightful butchery was the nephew of the Judæan
philosopher Philo!

Such was the alarming proportion which the insurrectionary movement by
Eleazar ben Ananias had assumed. The revolution had tasted blood, and
was drawn on and on in its hurried course till it carried away even
the indifferent, and converted almost the whole nation into Zealots.
From day to day the number of brave and daring warriors increased. The
expected help now came from Adiabene and Babylon. Members of the royal
house of Adiabene, brothers and sons of the King Izates, Monobazus and
Cenedæus, took the management of the rebellion into their own hands,
and prepared to hold out to the last. Three heroes, who alone seemed
more than equal to a whole army, now entered Jerusalem. They were
Niger, from the other side of the Jordan, Silas, the Babylonian, and
Simon Bar-Giora, the wild patriot, who, from his first entrance to the
end of the war, brought terror to the hearts of the Romans. Cestius
Gallus, whose duty it was as Governor of Syria to uphold the honor of
Roman arms, and to keep the imperial supremacy intact in the country
placed under his jurisdiction, could no longer witness the rebellion
spreading around him without an effort to stem its progress. He called
his legions together, and the neighboring princes voluntarily sent
their troops to his assistance as auxiliaries. Even Agrippa contributed
three thousand foot soldiers and two thousand horsemen to the Roman
army, and offered himself as guide through the mountain paths and
ravines of that dangerous country. Cestius led more than thirty
thousand men, experienced soldiers, out of Antioch, against Judæa, and
doubted not that in one battle he would be able to destroy the Judæan
rebels. On his way along the sea-coast he left in every town marks of
blood and fire.

As soon as the Zealots in Jerusalem heard of the approach of the Roman
troops they seized their arms, in spite of its being the Sabbath day.
They were not afraid to face the Romans, nor would they allow the
Sabbath laws to interfere with their warlike ardor. Cestius had made
a halt at Gabaot, about a mile from Jerusalem, expecting, perhaps, a
missive of repentant submission. But the Zealots attacked the Roman
army with such impetuosity that they broke through their ranks, killing
in the first onslaught more than five hundred soldiers, whilst they
only lost three and twenty men themselves (26th Tishri--October). If
the Roman cavalry had not come to the assistance of the foot soldiers,
the latter would have been utterly destroyed. Loaded with rich booty,
the victors returned to Jerusalem, singing jubilant hosannas, while
Cestius during three days remained idle in his camp without venturing
to advance.

It was only on the fourth day that the Roman army approached the
capital. The Zealots had abandoned the outer parts of Jerusalem, which
could afford them no adequate shelter, and had withdrawn behind the
strong walls of the inner town behind the Temple. The Romans thereupon
marched in, destroyed the suburb Bezetha, then pressed on towards the
western point, just opposite Herod's palace, where they pitched their
camp (30th Tishri). This caused no alarm to the Zealots; they threw
the traitors who, following the advice of Anan ben Jonathan, wished to
open the gates to the enemy, over the walls, and prepared vigorously
for the defense of the places they occupied. During five successive
days the Romans stormed the walls, but were always obliged to fall back
before the missiles of the Judæans. It was only on the sixth day that
they succeeded in undermining a part of the northern wall in front of
the Temple. But this advantage was not followed up by Cestius. He did
not deem it advisable to continue the combat against heroic enthusiasts
and embark on a lengthy campaign at that season, when the autumn
rains would soon commence, if they had not already set in, and might
prevent the army from receiving provisions. On that account probably he
thought it more prudent to retrace his steps. It could hardly have been
cowardice which inspired the resolve.

As soon as the unexpected departure of the Romans became known to
the inhabitants of Jerusalem, they followed them, attacking the rear
and flanks of the army from the mountain crests, the Roman troops
being obliged to keep to the beaten ways in the valleys and passes. A
great number of Romans, among whom were many distinguished officers,
lay slain upon the line of march. When the army reached the camp in
Gabaot, it found itself surrounded by swarming hosts of Judæans, and
Cestius, not considering it safe to remain there any longer, hastened
his retreat, leaving the heaviest part of the baggage behind. In the
narrow pass of Bethoron the Roman army fared still worse; attacked on
all sides, it was brought into confusion and disorder, and the men
could not defend themselves from the arrows of the enemy, which fell
thick upon them from the vantage-ground of the mountain wall on either
side. Wildly the Roman troops hurried on towards Bethoron, and they
would have been almost completely destroyed in their flight had not
approaching night saved them from further pursuit.

The Judæans remained all night before Bethoron, but Cestius, leaving
four hundred brave soldiers in the camp, marched noiselessly out
with the whole of his army, so that at break of day, when the Judæans
perceived what had taken place, he had already obtained a considerable
start. The four hundred soldiers left behind succumbed to the Judæans,
who then vainly followed the Roman army as far as Antipatris. They
found, however, rich booty, consisting of arms and implements of war.
These they brought back as trophies to Jerusalem, making good use of
them later on against their enemies. The money chests of Cestius, which
contained the supplies for the war, fell also into their hands, and
helped to replenish the treasury at Jerusalem. In this first campaign
against the despised Judæans the army of Cestius lost nearly six
thousand men, both Romans and allies; and the legion which the governor
had brought from Antioch as a picked corps to fight against Jerusalem
had lost their eagles, a loss which was regarded by Rome as the
greatest dishonor that could befall an army, equivalent to a shameful

The Zealots, shouting exultant war songs, returned to Jerusalem (8th
October), their hearts beating with the joyful hope of liberty and
independence. The proud and happy time of the Hasmonæans seemed to
have returned, and its glory even to be surpassed. Had not the great
Roman army, feared by all the world, been defeated and forced to
ignominious flight? What a change had been effected in the brief space
of six months! Then every one trembled before the cowardly Florus and
his few soldiers, and now the Romans had fled! Had not God helped
them as mercifully as He had helped their forefathers? The hearts
of the Zealots knew no fears for the future. "As we have beaten the
two generals, Metilius and Cestius, so likewise shall we overcome
their successors." Any one who spoke of submission to Rome or of the
advantage of opening negotiations with her was looked upon as a
traitor to his country and an enemy to Judaism. The advocates of peace
had for the moment lost all influence, and the friends of Rome could
not venture to utter aloud their real sentiments. Many of them left
Jerusalem secretly, whilst others pretended to share the Zealots' love
of freedom and hatred of Rome. The two Herodian brothers, Costobar and
Saul, sought the presence of the Emperor Nero in Greece, attempting
to excuse the insurrectionary outburst and to throw the blame of it
upon Florus. While they were trying to vindicate the fidelity of the
Judæan nation, the Zealots, intoxicated with their victory, had coins
struck with the inscription--"For the deliverance of Jerusalem." Even
the Samaritans now put aside their old feeling of animosity against the
Judæans, and to gratify their hatred of the Romans made common cause
with their former enemies.

Stirring activity took possession of the capital, and gave it quite a
new appearance. Everywhere weapons were being forged and implements of
war manufactured, in preparation for any fresh assault. The walls of
Jerusalem were strengthened to a degree that promised to set the enemy
for a long time at defiance. The young men underwent daily military
exercise, and their enthusiasm made up for their want of experience.
In all parts of Judæa the warlike patriots and foes of Rome formed
provisional committees to prepare for the great struggle which they
felt must be approaching, and their glowing ardor was shared even by
the Judæans who lived in foreign lands.

Of the internal political arrangements introduced in Jerusalem
after the defeat of Cestius, only slight and uncertain indications
have come down to us. The historian friendly to Rome, who could not
sufficiently darken the rebellion of the Judæans, was not inclined to
record any of their acts. There can be no doubt, however, that the
Great Synhedrion again acquired its former supreme authority over all
political and military affairs. At the head of the great council was
Simon ben Gamaliel, of the House of Hillel, one who, even according
to the account of his enemy, must have been gifted with remarkable
discernment and energy, and who might, had his advice been followed,
have brought the impending struggle to a successful issue. Although he
did not belong to the party of extreme Zealots, he desired the contest
to be carried on with the most resolute activity, and upheld, with all
the strength given him by his eminence and position, those who were
determined that the revolution should be real and its effects lasting.
Upon coins dating from the first and second years of the newly-won
independence, appears the following inscription, "Simon, the Prince of
Israel," which doubtless referred to the Patriarch Simon ben Gamaliel.

After the victory gained over Cestius, the heathens became more and
more embittered against their Judæan neighbors; and either from fear of
an onslaught from them, or actuated by revenge for the defeat of the
Romans, they formed themselves into murderous bands, slaying without
pity Judæan men, women and children who were living among them. Such
cruel massacres must have incensed the patriots all the more, as they
frequently occurred among communities innocent of the remotest idea
of joining the rebellion, and now, as far as lay in their power, the
Judæans took their revenge upon their heathen neighbors. The savage
enmity of races rose higher and higher, and, spreading far beyond the
narrow boundary of Palestine, animated the Judæans on the one side and
the Greeks and Romans on the other. As all the nations around Judæa,
including Syrians, Greeks, Romans and Alexandrians, made common cause
with the Roman emperor, the ultra-Zealots thought themselves justified
in visiting upon them the wrath that inflamed them against Rome. To
cut off every link between them, the followers of the school of Shammai
proposed erecting a barrier which should effectually prevent any
communication, by prohibiting the Judæans in future from buying wine,
oil, bread, or any other articles of food from their heathen neighbors.
These regulations were known under the name of "The Eighteen Things."
Religious fervor and political zealotry, in those stormy times,
always accompanied each other. The Hillelites, more moderate in their
religious and political views, could not agree to such sharply defined
exclusiveness, but when the Synod was called together to decide upon
the laws before mentioned, the Zealots proved all-powerful. Eleazar ben
Ananias, probably the leader of the Zealots, who was himself a teacher
of the Law, invited the disciples of both schools to meet in his house.
Armed soldiers were placed at the door and were directed to allow every
one to enter but no one to go out, and during the fiery discussions
that were carried on there, many of the school of Hillel are said to
have been killed. On account of these acts of violence, the day on
which the severe decrees of the school of Shammai were brought forward
and agreed to, the 9th Adar, was regarded as a day of misfortune.

Meanwhile, the warlike activity of the Judæans had not ceased for a
moment. The urgent necessity of making a selection of generals and
leaders for the approaching strife was felt by all. The important
choice belonged, it appears, to the people themselves, who for some
cause or other had taken umbrage at the ultra-Zealots. Eleazar ben
Ananias, who had given the first impulse to the great uprising, was
only made governor of the unimportant province of Idumæa, and was even
obliged to divide his authority with another.

Eleazar ben Simon, an ultra-Zealot, who had been instrumental in
gaining the victory over Cestius and who was the treasurer of the
Temple, was, in spite of belonging to the class of nobles, completely
overlooked. Moderate men, even those who had been formerly friends of
Rome, obtained the preference. Joseph ben Gorion, and Anan the son of
Anan, who for a short time had held the office of high priest, received
posts of the greatest importance, the supervision of Jerusalem and the
defense of the fortresses. Besides these, five governors were appointed
over different provinces. To Joseph ben Matthias was entrusted the
most important place of all. The people, still dazzled by the magic
of aristocratic names, could not allow men of unknown origin, however
brave and devoted they might be, to fill high political positions. The
ruling power lay in the Great Synhedrion, and consequently in those who
presided over that assembly, Simon ben Gamaliel and his associates Anan
and Joseph ben Gorion.

Simon was at the head of the Pharisees, and Anan, the former high
priest, made no attempt to conceal his leaning towards Sadducæism;
but their antagonism in religious matters did not prevent them from
now acting together. The love of country outweighed the spirit of
partisanship. The apparent unanimity that reigned in the Synhedrion
was nevertheless deceptive. Great nobles, secret friends to Rome,
had a place and voice in that assembly, and often brought indecision
into its councils. Opposite and conflicting views resulted in halting
measures and diminished vigor. The Synhedrion was likewise often
swayed by the changing sentiments of the people, which always receive
attention in the hour of revolution. Thus deprived of united strength
and active energy, the Synhedrion ruled for barely two years, when it
succumbed through weakness, and was obliged to give up the reins to the



    Description of Galilee--Its Population and Importance--The
    Rising in Galilee--John of Gischala--Flavius Josephus,
    his Education and Character--His Conduct as Governor of
    Galilee--Commencement of the War--Overthrow of Gabara--Siege
    and Capture of Jotapata--Surrender of Josephus to the
    Romans--Cruelty of Vespasian--Siege and Capture of Gamala and
    Mount Tabor--Surrender of Gischala--Escape of John of Gischala
    to Jerusalem.

    66.67 C. E.

The territory entrusted for defense to Joseph ben Matthias, by reason
of its position, its astonishing fertility, its sturdy population,
and its various resources in time of danger, was looked upon as the
post of greatest importance next to the capital; it was, in fact,
the bulwark of Jerusalem. Galilee was divided into Upper and Lower
Galilee. This, the country of enthusiasts, the birthplace of the
Zealot Judas and of Jesus of Nazareth, did not receive the news of the
revolt of Jerusalem and the defeat of Cestius with indifference. It
assumed, on the contrary, with unreflecting ardor the jubilant spirit
of the victorious party. And how could the Galilæans have remained
indifferent? Had they not witnessed the cruel deaths of their own kin
at the hands of the heathen? Daily they had been in the habit of giving
shelter to unhappy Judæan exiles, and daily they had had to fear the
worst from their heathen neighbors. It was in the face of such dangers
that all the cities of Galilee had armed to be ready for action,
and were only awaiting a signal from the Synhedrion in Jerusalem.
Three cities above all others were longing to raise the standard of
revolt--Gischala in the extreme north, Tiberias in the south, and
Gamala, opposite Tiberias, on the eastern shores of the Sea of Galilee.
The Judæan inhabitants of Gischala were, to a certain extent, forced
into insurrection, for the neighboring cities had banded together, and,
after plundering the town, had partly destroyed it by fire. The enraged
Gischalites placed themselves under the leadership of a man destined to
carry on the war against Rome to its bitter end, and who, in company
with Simon bar-Giora, became the terror of her legions.

John ben Levi, of Gischala, commenced his career by collecting
under his flag all the rebellious Judæans of Upper Galilee, and by
preparing to lead them against the heathen populace. He was a man of
small means and of delicate constitution, but he possessed one of
those enthusiastic natures capable of rising above the depressing
influences of poverty and ill-health; besides which he had the art of
making the circumstances of his life subservient to his own aims. At
the commencement of the Galilæan rising, John's only ambition was to
strengthen the walls of his birthplace against the attacks of hostile
neighbors. Later on, he expended the considerable sums of money which
he earned by selling oil to the Judæans of Syria and Cæsarea Philippi
(for they would not use the unclean oil prepared by the heathens), in
paying for the services of patriotic volunteers. He had gathered around
him about four thousand of these, principally Galilæans, but partly
refugees from Syria, who were always increasing in number.

In Tiberias, the second focus of insurrection, the revolutionary
party were confronted by a faction with Roman proclivities. This
beautiful city by the sea had been in the possession of King Agrippa
for many years, and having enjoyed a tolerably easy condition under
his rule, had but little cause for complaint. But the greater part of
the populace were Zealots, clamorous to free themselves from their
monarch. The soul of the revolt was Justus, the son of Pistus, who
wrote the history of the war in which he was engaged, in the Greek
language. He was gifted with a persuasive tongue; but his great
influence was confined to the wealthy and refined inhabitants of the
city. Jesus ben Sapphia, a Zealot like himself, led the lower classes
of sailors and burden-carriers. Opposed to these insurgents was the
aristocratic party, which rallied loyally round the king and the Roman
army. They were represented by Julius Capellus, Herod ben Miar, Herod
ben Gamala, and Kompse bar Kompse, but they had no following amongst
the people, and were obliged to become the unwilling spectators of the
surrender of their city to the revolutionists.

The news of the defeat of Cestius was the signal for Justis and Jesus
ben Sapphia to commence operations against the heathen cities where
their co-religionists had been so barbarously massacred. The city of
Gamala, one of the most important on the southeast coast of the Sea
of Galilee, whose impregnable position made defense easy and conquest
difficult, was preparing for revolt.

In the neighborhood of Gamala lived a settlement of Judæan Babylonians,
who, under Herod I, had migrated to Batanæa, where they had built
several towns and the fortress of Bathyra. The Babylonians, for the
colony was called by this name, were devoted adherents to the Herodian
family, and Philip, a grandson of Zamaris, the first founder of the
colony, was the leader of the royal troops who fought against the
Zealots in Jerusalem. When, however, he had suffered defeat in that
city, his life had been spared, for he had promised to aid the Zealots
in their struggle against Rome. He lay concealed for a few days in
Jerusalem, and then effected his escape to a village of his own near
the fortress of Gamala.

Varus, who temporarily was taking the place of Agrippa in Cæsarea,
did not look favorably upon Philip, of whose influence with the king
he was jealous. For Varus hoped in time to supersede Agrippa, and, in
order to court popularity, resorted to the cruel device of putting many
Judæans in Cæsarea Philippi to death. But all the while he dreaded the
Babylonian colony and the wrath of Philip, who most certainly would
divulge his ambitious designs to Agrippa. Thus he tried to lure Philip
into his presence, but, happily for himself, that general was seized
with a severe attack of fever, which he had caught in his flight from
Jerusalem, and which prevented him from obeying the summons of Varus.

Varus succeeded, however, in tempting seventy of the most distinguished
Judæans into his power, the greater number of whom were murdered by
his command. At the news of this assassination, terror seized upon
all the Babylonian Judæans who were settled in the various cities of
Galilee. They rushed into Gamala for protection, breathing vengeance,
not only against Varus, but against all the Syrians who had supported
him. They were joined by Philip, who with difficulty restrained them
from some signal act of vengeance. But even after Agrippa had dismissed
the unscrupulous Varus from his office, the Babylonian Judæans still
evinced great eagerness to coalesce with the enemies of Rome, and
were therefore ordered to leave the fortress of Gamala and return to
Batanæa. But this caused so great a tumult and division in the city
that some of the inhabitants rose and attacked the Babylonians who were
about to leave them, whilst others, under the leadership of a certain
Joseph, revolted from the rule of Agrippa.

It was at this moment, when the volcano of revolutionary passions was
ever ready to burst forth in fresh eruptions, that Joseph ben Matthias
was entrusted by the Great Synhedrion with the command of Upper and
Lower Galilee. In those provinces the powerful city of Sepphoris alone
remained faithful to the Romans, and in all Galilee there reigned a
bitter feeling of enmity against Sepphoris. For the people of Tiberias
were angered that their city should have taken only a secondary place
in the province, in spite of Agrippa II's having chosen it for his
capital. It was the business of the governor to promote a spirit of
concord amongst the inhabitants of Galilee, and at the same time to win
the Sepphorites to the popular cause. Upon the shoulders of this man
rested a heavy responsibility. For it would naturally depend greatly
upon him whether this revolt, which had burst into life with such
extreme energy, would attain the end desired by the patriots, or would
have a tragic termination. Unfortunately, Joseph was not the man who
could successfully pilot so gigantic a scheme, but by his conduct he
materially contributed to the fall of the Judæan nation.

Joseph, the son of Matthias, better known as Flavius Josephus, was a
native of Jerusalem (born 38, died about 95), of illustrious priestly
descent, and related, on the female side, to the Hasmonæan house. He
and his brother Matthias received a careful education, and were taught
the tenets of the Law whilst very young, their father's house being
frequented by learned rabbis. At the age of sixteen Josephus became the
disciple of the hermit Vanus, following his master into the desert,
living on the wild fruits of the earth and bathing daily in cold water,
according to the habit of the Essenes. But, growing weary of this
life, he returned, after three years, to Jerusalem, where his fine
intellectual tastes led him to a profound study of Greek literature.
At the age of twenty-six he had occasion to undertake a journey to
Rome, in order to plead for two imprisoned Pharisees, in the presence
of the Empress Poppea, and he succeeded in obtaining their freedom.
The Empress, who entertained a friendly feeling toward the Judæans,
loaded him with gifts. Rome itself could not fail to exercise a great
influence upon the character of Josephus. The glitter of Nero's court,
the busy life of the capital of the world, the immensity of all the
imperial institutions, so dazzled him that he thought the Roman empire
would be an eternal one and that it was specially favored by Divine
Providence. He did not see concealed beneath the purple and the gold
the terrible disease of which that great empire was sickening. From
that moment Josephus became a fervent adherent of the Roman rule.

Filled with enthusiastic admiration for Rome, he must upon his
return have found the proportions of Judæa humble and dwarfed. How
sarcastically he must have smiled at the wild gestures of the frenzied
Zealots who dreamt of expelling the Romans from Judæa! Such an
expectation appeared to him like the dream of a madman. With all the
experiences that he had gathered in his travels he tried to shatter
the revolutionary projects of the Zealots. But it was useless; the
people determined upon war, seized their weapons, and rose to revolt.
Josephus, alarmed for his safety, took shelter with some of his
adherents in the Temple, whence he emerged only upon hearing that
the more moderate Zealots, under the leadership of Eleazer, were
placed in control of affairs. Apprehensive that his well-known Roman
proclivities might make him an object of suspicion, he simulated a
desire for national liberty, whilst secretly rejoicing at the prospect
of the advance of the Roman general Cestius, who, it was thought,
would soon put an end to this mad struggle for freedom. But the result
disappointed all his hopes. The retreat of Cestius resembled a defeat.

Why Josephus, the devoted adherent of Rome, should have been entrusted
with the governorship of the important province of Galilee is
inexplicable. Probably his friend, the former high priest Joshua,
son of Gamala, whose voice carried great weight in the Synhedrion,
may have urged his claims, and Josephus' dissimulation may have led
those about him to look upon him as a Zealot. But, at all events, the
heroic bearing of the insurgents and the victory that they had gained
over the army of Cestius, cannot have failed to make upon Josephus, as
upon other plain and matter-of-fact Judæans, a powerful impression.
Entire separation from the empire of Rome appeared to him an impossible
scheme; but he may have hoped that some concessions were to be extorted
from the imperial court; that perhaps Judæa might be handed over to
the control of Agrippa, and that he might be allowed to fill the post
in Jerusalem. To Agrippa himself the revolt was not quite unwelcome,
for he hoped to reap some benefit from it, and through the agency of
Josephus he was able to act in a way which he himself could not have
pursued as a vassal of Rome. Josephus had, in fact, been working for
Agrippa, and, in so far, there was nothing dishonest or traitorous in
his conduct.

Two coadjutors, Joaser and Judah, were sent by the Synhedrion to assist
Josephus. They were both learned in the Law, and were described by
him, now as pure and clean-handed, and again as open to bribery. But
they were quite unimportant and soon disappeared from the scene of
action. At first Josephus seems to have been anxious to promote the
revolutionary ardor of the Galilæans. He called a kind of Synhedrion
together, consisting of seventy men of repute, after the fashion of
the great council in Tiberias. He appointed seven judges in each city,
and officers of the law in different parts of Galilee. He raised an
army of a hundred thousand men, armed and drilled them according to the
Roman system, and inculcated order and discipline amongst his soldiers,
qualities indispensable to a nation of warriors, but less important to
a people enthusiastic for liberty. He even created a corps of cavalry
and supported them from his own means. He surrounded himself with a
body-guard of five hundred mercenaries, who were disciplined to obey a
sign from their master. He began to fortify a number of cities in Upper
and Lower Galilee; and stored them with provisions. Thus he seriously
contemplated the defense of his province against Rome. Upon his arrival
in Galilee, either inspired by the Synhedrion or impelled by his own
ardor, Josephus carried his religious zeal to the extent of ordering
the destruction of the palace inhabited by his ancestor Herod during
the time of Augustus, where images of animals were worshiped in direct
defiance of the Law. In order to carry out this design he invited the
most distinguished men of Tiberias to meet him at Bethmaon, but during
their discussion Jesus ben Sapphia set fire to the palace and divided
the spoil amongst his followers. This displeased Josephus, who hastened
into the town of Tiberias, and gathering up what remained of the
plunder, handed it over into the custody of King Agrippa's officers.

Peculiarly repugnant to Josephus was John of Gischala; his untiring
energy and intellectual superiority were enough to awaken the jealousy
of the former, although Josephus, as the representative of the
Synhedrion, assumed the higher position of the two. He took pains to
place obstacles in the way of the patriot. Thus John was at first not
permitted to carry off and sell the large quantity of corn stored by
the Romans in Upper Galilee, the sale of which was to have enabled
him to complete the fortification of his own city. Joaser and Judah
finally extorted from Josephus the requisite authorization. It was
on this occasion that John of Gischala was made painfully aware of
the duplicity of the governor, which for the future he determined to
baffle. Certain youths of a village called Dabaritta, near Mount
Tabor, had waylaid and plundered the wife of one of the king's
agents who was traveling through the land, and they brought the
precious metals and rich garments which they had taken from her to
Josephus, then at Tarichea. Out of too great a regard for the king,
Josephus undertook to return this booty to him, at the same time
falsely pretending that he had sent it to Jerusalem for the national
treasury. The inhabitants of the neighboring villages, roused to angry
displeasure at the news of Josephus' treachery, assembled at Tarichea
in crowds. They were led by Jesus ben Sapphia, who came with the holy
Book of the Law in his hand, charging the people, if not for their
own sakes, at least for the honor of their sacred writings, to punish
the traitor. Josephus' house was surrounded at daybreak by a furious
throng, who would have burnt it down over his head had he not saved
himself by one of his ingenious falsehoods. He rent his clothes, poured
ashes upon his head, hung a sword round his neck, and appeared as a
suppliant in the arena of Tarichea. As soon as he could gain a hearing
he made the Taricheans believe that he was not keeping the spoil,
either for the use of Agrippa or for the advantage of Jerusalem, but
that it was to enable him to fortify the walls of their own city.
The credulous Taricheans, who readily believed this explanation, now
declared themselves in favor of Josephus, and turned their weapons upon
the discontented strangers. The governor meanwhile, under cover of
the tumult, crept back to his own house, where, however, he was soon
roused by some hundreds of the infuriated crowd (not Taricheans), who
were utterly intractable, and were bent upon the destruction of his
dwelling-place. Nothing daunted, Josephus appeared upon the roof, and
begged of the ringleaders to enter and give him some reason for their
conduct. The men allowed themselves to be tempted within the doors,
whereupon they were instantly seized, cruelly scourged, maimed, and
then cast out to their followers, who, thinking Josephus must have some
hidden force of men concealed within, departed in consternation. From
that moment all hope of a manly defense of Galilee had to be abandoned.
Josephus was like a demon of discord, to whose lot had fallen the
task of promoting a spirit of harmony amongst the people. Galilee
was divided into two parties, the one composed of the more moderate
inhabitants of that province, who were the adherents of the governor,
the other numbering the fiery patriots, who could no longer doubt his
duplicity, and had selected John as their leader. The two leaders hated
each other cordially, but equaled each other in craft and dissimulation.

When John became aware that the greater number of the Galilæans were
under the impression that Josephus was a truthful and reliable man,
and were supporting him with all their might, he sent his brother
Simon, with a hundred chosen followers, to the Synhedrion at Jerusalem,
there to lodge a complaint against the governor, begging of the Great
Council to recall him from his post. The President of the Synhedrion,
Simon ben Gamaliel, who was a friend of John, and who entirely
discredited the sincerity of Josephus, as well as Anan, the former high
priest, supported this charge, and decreed that four envoys be sent
to Galilee, with orders that Josephus lay down his office, and that
they be invested with the power of bringing him, alive or dead, to
Jerusalem. The larger communities of Tiberias, Sepphoris, and Gabara
were instructed by the Synhedrion to afford no protection to Josephus,
who was an enemy to his country, but to support John of Gischala in his

Once more Josephus was in great peril. But, as usual, he saved himself
by his own ready wit and crafty policy. On the one hand, he would not
give up the post which had become dear to him; and, on the other,
he did not wish to disobey the orders of the Synhedrion. As soon as
the decrees of the Great Council were made known to him, through
his father, who was living in Jerusalem, he took his precautionary
measures. He pretended to be in active preparation for a revolt from
Rome, and perplexed the envoys by the evasive replies he gave them,
assuring them, with a resigned air, when they ordered him to depart
instantly for Jerusalem, that he was more than ready to lay down his
office. But all the while he was inciting the Galilæans to hatred of
the envoys, who, in traveling from one town to another, found that they
were not furthering their mission, but that, on the contrary, they
were often in danger of being roughly handled by Josephus' friends.
Weary of this useless journeying, the envoys, on the advice of John of
Gischala, sent secret messengers throughout Galilee, declaring Josephus
outlawed. A traitor revealed this resolution to the governor. With an
energy deserving of a better cause, Josephus sent his troops to guard
the passes leading from the Galilæan towns to Jerusalem, and had the
messengers seized and brought into his presence. He then summoned all
his devoted followers (who came streaming from all the small towns and
villages of Galilee) to appear armed before him, and told them he was
the victim of a fiendish plot. This was enough to lash them into a
frenzy of rage, and they would have torn the envoys to pieces had not
Josephus, with wonderfully assumed generosity, quieted their wrath.
He then sent for some of the most simple-minded and credulous men of
his province whom he easily persuaded into going to Jerusalem, there
to extol his government, to entreat of the Synhedrion to leave their
beloved governor at his post, and to recall the hated envoys.

Meanwhile, these latter, finding they could achieve nothing in Upper
Galilee, withdrew from that part of the province and appeared in
Tiberias. But Josephus was there before them, ready to frustrate
all their plans. In their extreme vexation and perplexity, they had
commanded the people to keep a day of fasting and humiliation, when
prayer was to be offered up for Divine help, without which no earthly
weapons were of avail. The people answered to this call by assembling
in great numbers in the arena of Tiberias, a place capable of holding
many thousands. Although every one was supposed to be unarmed, Josephus
and his soldiers managed to conceal weapons under their cloaks. Prayers
for Divine help were followed by angry discussions; at last, words gave
place to action, and Josephus' followers, drawing their arms, rushed
frantically upon his enemies. The populace sided with Josephus, who was
once more saved from deadly peril. Meanwhile, the Galilæan messengers
who had been sent to Jerusalem produced so favorable an impression for
Josephus in that city, that the envoys were recalled, and the governor
reinstated in his official post. Josephus revenged himself upon his
enemies by sending the envoys back to Jerusalem in chains, thus
treating the Synhedrion with contempt.

But whilst he was bringing civil war upon Galilee, contempt upon
the Synhedrion, disunion amongst the patriots, whilst he was urging
the important city of Tiberias to rebellion, the Galilæan capital,
Sepphoris, with its Roman proclivities, had ample time to make
overtures to the Empire. Josephus must bear the eternal opprobrium
of having unmanned and broken the one strong bulwark of Judæa, the
vigorous and warlike Galilee, and this he accomplished through
indecision, egotism, want of tact, and above all, his extraordinary
duplicity. He certainly did strengthen some of the fortresses, or
rather he did not prevent their garrisons from doing so, but when the
Romans appeared in the land they found neither an army nor a nation
to oppose them. Every fortress had to depend upon its own resources.
The Galilæans, without confidence in their leader, and exhausted by
constant strife, were becoming self-seeking if not cowardly.

It would indeed be difficult for us to believe the numerous instances
recorded of craft and duplicity on the part of Josephus, had he not
dwelt upon them himself with unexampled shamelessness. All that had
been gained during the four months' rebellion in Jerusalem was lost
during the five fatal months of his governorship of Galilee (from Nov.,
66, to March, 67), and this was before the enemy had even threatened
to appear, for the Romans during that time had been inactive in Judæa.
The Emperor Nero was courting popular favor in Greece, by appearing in
the arena as singer, player, and charioteer. Whilst engaged in these
engrossing pursuits, there came upon him like a thunderbolt the news
of the rising in Judæa and the defeat of the Roman army under Cestius.
Nero trembled, for the revolution in Judæa might be the precursor of
grave events. The emperor was then apprised of the death of his general
Cestius, and none could tell whether he had met with a natural death,
or had died heartbroken at his defeat.

Nero selected as his successor Flavius Vespasian, who had won his
laurels fighting against the Britons, and who was known to be one of
the ablest generals of his time. But so great was the alarm felt at
the Judæan rebellion and its possible consequences, that Licinius
Mucianus was chosen as special governor of Syria, and ordered to quell
all dangerous symptoms of disaffection that might appear among the
Parthians. Vespasian was not in the emperor's favor at that time, and
Nero would far rather have given some other general his post; but the
emperor had no choice, for the ability of Vespasian was unquestionable,
and Judæa required a strong hand. Vespasian started from Greece in
the winter season, and commenced his preparations for the campaign
in Ptolemais. His son Titus, who first won renown in fighting against
the Judæans, brought two legions from Alexandria, the fifth and
tenth, those wild Decumani whose cruelty, already experienced by the
Alexandrian Judæans, was now for the first time to be felt by their
Palestinean brethren. Vespasian was met in Ptolemais by all who wished
to express their feelings of friendliness towards the Romans; amongst
others came Agrippa with his sister Berenice. Agrippa had been accused
by the Tyrians of being in secret league with the rebellious Judæans,
and was therefore regarded with some suspicion by Vespasian; but he
came at the head of his troops as a loyal subject-prince, whilst his
beautiful sister Berenice, still beautiful in spite of having passed
her first youth, captivated the general's son Titus, and kept him
enslaved for many years to come.

Vespasian's army, consisting of Roman troops and mercenaries, amounted
to more than 50,000 men, besides the countless horde that was in the
habit of following in the wake of armies. Early in the spring the
army was equipped, and the campaign began by the despatch of small
bands to clear the way of Judæan scouts, on the roads leading to the
fortified places. Vespasian, far more prudent than his predecessor
Cestius, instead of displaying great energy, carried on the campaign
from beginning to end with extreme caution, seeking to cut the ground,
step by step, from under his enemies' feet. Josephus and his troops
were slowly but surely driven back; in open battle he was often
shamefully defeated, for his men had no confidence in his generalship,
and his army literally melted away at the sight of the enemy. With how
different a spirit were the followers of John of Gischala inspired! As
soon as the hostile forces approached Jotapata, the inhabitants of that
city offered desperate resistance, and although they could not break
through the serried ranks of the Romans, they fought so bravely that
they put the vanguard to flight.

Vespasian determined upon effecting the subjection of Galilee before
turning his steps towards the capital, and to accomplish this purpose
he marched upon the fortresses in the north of that province, Gabara
and Jotapata. The first, insufficiently fortified, was soon taken and
burnt. The entire population of the garrison were put to the sword,
to avenge the defeat of the Romans at Jerusalem. The unfortunate
inhabitants of the entire district suffered a similar fate, for they
were either cruelly butchered or sold into slavery. The war now became
one of revenge and extermination. But Josephus remained far from the
scene of action in his capital at Tiberias, which at his flight thither
was filled with terror.

Josephus would gladly have gone over to the enemy, but some remote
feeling of shame prevented him from taking this unpardonable step
at the beginning of the war. He proceeded to lay a statement of the
condition of his unhappy province before the Synhedrion, demanded
instruction as to his movements, whether he was to resist the enemy (in
which case he would require reinforcements), or whether he was to enter
into negotiations with Vespasian. The province of Galilee, although far
more thickly populated than Judæa, counting more than three millions
of souls, now already required military aid, so terribly had it been
weakened by Josephus' inefficient management.

Vespasian marched from Gabara to Jotapata, but his troops had to make
their way with the greatest difficulty, for the Judæans had endeavored
to bar the narrow passes and render the road impassable. The rock upon
which the fortress of Jotapata was built is surrounded by steep and
lofty hills, from which it is separated by abrupt precipices. There
existed only one practicable entrance to the fortress, and this was on
the north side, but it was firmly protected by a high wall bristling
with towers. Upon this wall were gathered all possible instruments for
repelling the enemy; great pieces of rock, slings for throwing stones,
bows and arrows, and weapons of countless sorts. Against this one
approach all the efforts of the Romans were directed. They confronted
it with sixty storming machines, from which, in one uninterrupted
volley, poured spears, stones, and slings containing ignitible matter.
But the besieged fought with such bitterness, and with such cool
contempt of death, that even the Romans grew weary. The Galilæans
not only repulsed the storming parties, and often destroyed their
machinery, but they also made successful sorties. The siege lasted more
than forty days, when at last, through the treachery of a Galilæan, the
fortress fell. Thus the Romans were able to surprise the besieged at
daybreak, when they fell upon the exhausted sentinels, and then put the
garrison to the sword. Many, however, of their devoted victims, rather
than fall into the hands of their terrible adversaries, sought death by
flinging themselves over the walls, or by falling on their own weapons.
Forty thousand men lost their lives in this siege, and more than a
thousand women and children were sold into slavery, whilst the fortress
was razed to the ground. But Jotapata had shown her unhappy country how
to fall with honor and glory. A few days previously Japha (Japhia) had
been taken, its men, both old and young, slaughtered, and its women and
children sold as slaves.

Josephus had been actually within the walls of the fortress of Jotapata
throughout the siege. He had arrived from Tiberias at the first news of
the enemy's approach, and placed himself at the head of the garrison.
But divining rightly enough that all resistance would eventually prove
hopeless, he had attempted to abandon his people, and had only been
prevented from doing this by the besieged. When the Romans entered
the fortress, Josephus sought concealment in a huge cistern, in which
hiding-place he found forty of his own soldiers. When their retreat
was discovered, Josephus was called upon to give himself up to the
Romans. This exactly coincided with his own wishes, as his person was
to be protected; but his companions, pointing their swords against his
breast, swore that sooner than allow him to dishonor the Judæans by
his cowardice they would instantly take his life. Entirely at their
mercy, he consented to their proposal that they should all die then and
there. Each soldier swore that he would fall by the hand of one of his
companions, and each in turn fell heroically. But Josephus broke his
word to the dead as he had broken it to the living. He and one comrade
being the only survivors, he succeeded, partly by persuasion and partly
by force, in disarming his companion, and in delivering himself into
the hands of the Romans. Vespasian treated him with extreme courtesy,
as if he had never looked upon him as an enemy. Although he bore the
semblance of a prisoner, he was allowed to wear a robe of honor.
Vespasian loaded him with presents, Titus was his constant companion,
and he was permitted to select a wife from the captive maidens.

Joppa's turn to fall before the conquerors soon followed upon that
of Japha and Jotapata, whilst the people of Tiberias, thoroughly
discouraged by the conduct of Josephus, were not long in opening the
gates of their city to the Romans.

Thus, one year after the revolt in Jerusalem, the greater part of
the province of Galilee, which had defended itself with all the fire
of patriotism, with all the zeal of a free country, and with all the
enthusiasm of its faith, was ruined, depopulated, and more thoroughly
than ever made subject to its conquerors.

It was upon this occasion that Agrippa proved that his conduct to
the Judæans was not solely influenced by his fear of the Romans. For
Vespasian gave him free control over them in his own province, and he
chose to sell those unfortunate people into captivity, when he might
either have chastised them or given them their liberty.

The Galilæan Zealots were in possession of only three fortified
places--Gamala, Mount Tabor, and Gischala--in the extreme north. Joseph
of Gamala and Chares were the leaders of the insurgents in Gamala.
All in vain had one of Agrippa's officers besieged the place for some
months; the Zealots held out, until at last Vespasian with his force
approached the fortress. The story of the siege constitutes one of
the most heroic pages in the whole account of the war. For many days
the besieged fought from their walls in a manner worthy of the first
great Zealot Judas. At the end of three weeks the battering-rams of the
Romans opened a breach in the walls, through which the enemy crept. As
the besieged retired, their assailants followed them into a labyrinth
of narrow streets, and found themselves suddenly attacked from the
house-tops. The Romans tried to save themselves by clambering on some
low-roofed houses, but these were too weak to bear their weight and
gave way, burying the men in their ruins. The besieged then seized upon
huge stones--their whole city, so to speak--and hurled them upon their
enemies' heads, so that flight was impossible.

This victory, falling upon the Feast of Tabernacles, was a glorious day
for the men of Gamala; but it was dearly bought, for the corpses of
the Romans lay upon the bodies of many Judæan warriors, who could ill
be spared. Chares, one of their leaders, was mortally wounded. At last
the Romans, after secretly mining one of the fortified towers, made a
feint of attacking it; the Judæans rushed to the battlements, and were
preparing for defense, when the walls gave way and fell with a fearful
crash, burying the besieged, amongst whom was the sole remaining
leader, Joseph, the son of the midwife. The siege was now practically
over, for the Romans poured in, and slaughtered every man they met.
Nearly five thousand died by their own hands; only two maidens were
left out of the whole population of Gamala.

Meanwhile the fortress of Mount Tabor was taken by the strategy of
Placidus. It stood isolated on an almost perpendicular height, rising
sixteen hundred feet from the plain of Jezreel. From its position it
was invincible. But Placidus tempted the greater part of the garrison
out of the fortress by feigned flight. When his pursuers were close
upon him, his cavalry wheeled around and threw themselves upon the
unfortunate Judæans, of whom some few fled to Jerusalem, whilst the
weakened fortress opened her gates to the enemy.

The small city of Gischala, garrisoned by very few men, under the
leadership of John, could not possibly hold out against the Romans.
Upon the approach of Titus, John begged for a twenty-four hours' truce
before the capitulation of his fortress, ostensibly to preserve the
sanctity of the Sabbath. Upon the acquiescence of the Roman general,
he made his escape from the city, followed by many thousands of his
people. On the morrow Gischala capitulated, her gates were thrown open,
and her walls razed to the ground. But, indignant at the conduct of the
Judæan leader, Titus ordered him to be hotly pursued. John succeeded,
however, in reaching Jerusalem with a remnant of his army, whilst
numbers of fugitives of both sexes and of every age were captured and
massacred by the Roman soldiery. This was the last death-struggle
of besieged Galilee. But the Romans were so thoroughly exhausted by
those desperate encounters, and their ranks were so much thinned by
their long warfare, that Vespasian was obliged to declare a truce to



    Galilæan Fugitives in Jerusalem--Condition of the
    Capital--Internal Contests--The Idumæans--Eleazer ben
    Simon, John of Gischala, and Simon Bar-Giora--Progress of
    the War--Affairs in Rome--Vespasian created Emperor--Siege
    of Jerusalem by Titus--Heroic Defense--Famine--Fall of the
    Fortress Antonia--Burning of the Temple--Destruction of the
    City--Number of the Slain.

    67.70 C. E.

Jerusalem was the rallying point of all the Galilæan fugitives.
Thither many thousands had been brought by John of Gischala, and
thither numbers fled from Tiberias; there, where the last stroke of
the nation's destiny was to fall, patriotism, ambition, revenge, and
despair were all duly represented. The Galilæan Zealots' burning
account of their desperate resistance to the Roman arms, and of
the massacre of the weak and defenseless by the soldiers of Titus,
had stirred the blood of the people of Jerusalem. The despondent
drew fresh courage, and the fearless still greater ardor from the
words of these enthusiasts. The defenders of their country, daily
growing in numbers, and heroic in deed as well as in word, considered
themselves invincible. When the Zealots looked upon the fortresses
of their capital, the last shadow of alarm melted away. The Romans,
they declared, must have wings to take those walls and those towers,
whose defenders were iron-hearted men. Had it not cost Rome a
desperate struggle to conquer Galilee; what then had the strongly
fortified capital to fear? This overwrought condition of the Judæans
was stimulated by their ardent belief that the Messianic period, so
long foretold by the prophets, was actually dawning, when every
other nation of the earth would be given into the dominion of Israel.
In spite of the loss of Galilee and of its brave defenders, coins
were struck, bearing this inscription: "In the first or second year
of the deliverance or freedom of Israel," and on the reverse side:
"Simon, Prince of Israel." But the Zealots were indulging in fatal
self-confidence, almost as dangerous to their cause as the treachery of
Josephus and the conquest of Galilee.

Never had Jerusalem been so populous, so beautiful, and so strong as at
the moment when she was doomed to destruction; it was as if she was to
learn the bitter lesson that outward strength and outward glory alone
are of but little avail. Within the fortifications, the circumference
of Jerusalem was nearly one geographical mile in extent, embracing
the suburbs of Bethany and Bethphage, where the worshipers who came
up thrice a year to the holy city found shelter. It is difficult to
compute the exact population of Jerusalem. From one source we learn
that it contained six hundred thousand souls; but then we must further
take into account the numbers that had streamed into the city for

The Zealots had not succeeded in imparting their enthusiasm to the
inhabitants of the country towns; many of the wealthiest and shrewdest,
seeing no possible advantage to themselves in the continuation of the
war, were ready to capitulate. Thus only the very young and men of no
worldly position devoted themselves to the cause of the revolutionists.
Every community, every family, was divided against itself, some
clamoring for war and others demanding peace; but as the former had
no rallying point in their own towns, they all sought kindred spirits
in Jerusalem, and increased the number of Zealots in that city. The
fortress of Masada alone, commanded by Eleazer ben Jair, was a
hotbed of insurgents; it was the Jerusalem of the Sicarii, who were
strengthened by the leadership of Simon Bar-Giora. This man, who was
to play a leading part in the war, was remarkable for his physical
strength, and distinguished for his reckless courage, a quality which
did not desert him until his last breath. At the flight of the Roman
troops under Cestius he followed amongst the very first upon the heels
of the fugitives. He then gathered a number of free-lances about
him, and led a wild life in the neighborhood of the Dead Sea, namely
in Acrabattine. When the inhabitants of that district complained
in Jerusalem that he imperiled their safety, the moderate party of
the Zealots sent a troop against him, obliging him to take refuge
in Masada. It was from this place that he and the Sicarii undertook
armed expeditions into Idumæa for the purpose of cattle-lifting and
forage-hunting. This roused the Idumæans to retaliate by opposing his
force with a large army numbering twenty thousand men. These rival
hosts outdid each other in patriotism, fierce courage, and recklessness.

The stream of patriots daily pouring into Jerusalem fanned the
excitement and warlike energy of the inhabitants, embittered as they
were by Josephus' duplicity and defection. For, as long as the Judæans
believed that he was buried under the ruins of Jotapata, his name was
mentioned with reverence, but as soon as the tidings spread that he
was in the Roman camp, and treated with consideration by the Roman
generals, their feelings of pity were changed into violent hatred. The
ultra-Zealots were filled with suspicion and distrust, and they looked
upon all who were not in favor of extreme measures as traitors to the

Eleazer ben Simon, the leader of the Zealots, and a man of great
penetration, nursed a special feeling of hatred against the Synhedrion,
a body that bound him, valiant and aspiring patriot as he was, to a
life of inaction. And who presided in the Synhedrion? Josephus' friend
and chosen companion, Joshua ben Gamala, who had not attempted to
depose the Governor of Galilee, even when his duplicity was clearly
proved. And who was the treasurer? Antipas, a Herodian, a near relative
of King Agrippa. Was it not more than likely that the Synhedrion and
the Herodians would throw open the gates of their city at the approach
of the Romans? This was the prevailing feeling of the Zealots, and they
believed themselves strong enough to take the government into their own
hands, and by desperate exertions to prosecute the war undisturbed.

It was not surprising that from day to day the feeling of enmity
between the Zealots and the more moderate Synhedrists should grow
in intensity, for it was a war of life and death in which they were
engaged. Matters were brought to a crisis by the Zealots falling upon
and imprisoning those persons whose relationship to the royal house
and whose doubtful opinions seemed to proclaim them to be secret
conspirators. But they did not halt at this step. They degraded those
belonging to the family of the high-priest from their position,
and replaced them by representatives chosen from the people. They
determined upon divesting the high-priest of his office (of late
years the Romans had held the conferring of this dignity in their own
hands), and raising to this exalted rank an unknown priest of the name
of Phineas ben Samuel, of the city of Aphta. It was said of Phineas,
probably to disparage him, that he had originally been a stone-mason
or an agriculturist. He was brought by the Zealots with due solemnity
from his homely surroundings, was invested with the priestly garments,
and was materially aided by his rich friends to maintain the dignity
of his state, whilst Matthias ben Theophilus, who had been chosen
high-priest by Agrippa, was deposed. The Synhedrists, whose leaders
belonged principally to the high-priesthood, and who looked upon the
instalment of Phineas as an outrage to their sacred calling, were
beside themselves with indignation at this step. Anan, whose audacity
of speech and great wealth entitled him to a prominent position in
the Synhedrion, induced the citizens of Jerusalem to rebel, and to
attack the Zealots sword in hand, and thus the civil war commenced.
The moderate party, who were numerically the stronger, drove their
antagonists step by step out of every district of the city up to the
Mount of the Temple, where they forced them to take refuge within
the second wall of the citadel. Meanwhile, a rumor spread that Anan
had called upon the Roman general for help. This was enough to bring
John of Gischala with his troops to the gates of the capital. Twenty
thousand Idumæans, men who rejoiced in an appeal to reckless and savage
soldiery, under the leadership of John, Simon, Phineas, and Jacob,
appeared likewise before Jerusalem, ready to wield their swords in
favor of the Zealots who were besieged in the Temple. Anan prepared
for the assault by barring the gates and doubling his sentinels. But
in the ensuing night his troops were seized with a panic. A terrific
storm of thunder, lightning, and drenching rain raged over Jerusalem.
The Idumæans, men of bold character and hardy nature, did not flinch
from their position, but many of the sentinels on the walls sought
shelter from the violence of the elements and deserted their posts.
The ever-watchful Zealots within the fortifications were thus able to
communicate with their Idumæan allies and to effect their entrance. The
besiegers threw themselves upon some of the unsuspecting watch, whilst
the Zealots overpowered others. The citizens were roused to arms and
a terrible battle ensued. The moderate party laid their weapons down
in despair, as the Idumæans pouring into the city massacred all those
whom they suspected of being friendly to Anan. The morning sun dawned
upon a hideous mass of corpses, for more than 8000 dead bodies were
found in the city.

The Zealots were now the victors, and their reign of terror began.
They committed to trial, not without some show of justice, and then
executed, all persons suspected of having been concerned in the
conspiracy. Anan and Joshua ben Gamala were necessarily amongst the
victims, and the bitterness which was felt towards them was so great
that their unburied bodies were thrown to the dogs. The Synhedrion
naturally ceased to exist, so many of its members having been executed;
but a new Synhedrion seems to have been called into being by the
Zealots, no longer of aristocratic and high-priestly elements, but
rather of a democratic order, also numbering seventy members.

The Idumæans were as heartily disliked by the Zealots as they were by
the moderate party, and many of them were courteously persuaded to
withdraw from Jerusalem. Meanwhile the reign of terror continued, and
amongst others fell Niger, the hero from Peræa, probably because he
had upheld the Synhedrists. In fact, this one case corroborates the
general rule that every revolution devours its originators. For Niger
was one of those who had strained every nerve to support the first
rising amongst the Judæans, and his death was a blot upon the rule of
the Zealots. In order to check the anarchy which followed the overthrow
of the Synhedrion, John of Gischala threw himself boldly into the
front ranks, and was warmly supported by the Galilæan fugitives. His
heroic bearing soon secured him the following of the most fiery of the
Judæans, whose devotion to himself rivaled that of his own Galilæans.
John was born to be a leader of men; for not only was he dauntless
as a commander, but he excelled others in penetration and fertility
of invention. This superiority naturally awakened the jealousy of
the Zealot leaders in Jerusalem, who were not a little afraid of his
becoming sole dictator and lawgiver.

Meanwhile the Romans were remaining absolutely quiet. Vespasian was far
too prudent to attack the lion in his lair, in spite of the repeated
assurances of his followers that the conquest of Jerusalem would be
an easy task. He chose to wait until the Judæans, weakened by their
internal strife, would be entirely at his mercy. His troops, after
spending an inactive winter (67-68), opened a new campaign in the
spring against Peræa and many distant parts of Judæa, where thousands
were slain in obstinate and hard fighting. Vespasian returned to
Cæsarea at the end of this campaign, and left Jerusalem undisturbed for
two years. He was led to this course by two different events: the fresh
outburst of civil war in Jerusalem, the death of Nero, and the fact
that his successor had been chosen and triumphantly installed by the
Spanish and Gallic legions.

The lawless Simon Bar-Giora, who had kindled the war in Jerusalem,
could not rest in Masada, where the Sicarii had received him, for he
was ambitious and eager for action. Thus he left the fortress, and
collecting a number of slaves, to whom he held out promises of freedom
and plunder, appeared before Jerusalem, ready to play an important part
in the war. But the Zealots were afraid of him, and wished to make
him powerless. They did not dare meet him in open battle, for he had
already been their conqueror; so they waited in ambush, and made his
wife and some of his soldiery prisoners, hoping to crush him by this
cowardly action. But Bar-Giora was a stern-hearted warrior, and, in
retaliation, threw himself upon the defenseless Judæans who ventured
outside the walls to procure the necessaries of life. The Judæans,
alarmed at this revenge, sent back his wife, while Bar-Giora was more
determined than ever to make himself master of the capital. Day and
night he waited and watched for some means of ingress, and at last he
obtained what he wished through the party of the aristocrats.

In spite of the loss of their most prominent men, this party had not
really ceased to exist, but was secretly working to destroy the power
of the Zealots. At their head stood the high-priest Matthias, the son
of Boëthus, and others belonging to the great priestly families. They
knew how to enlist upon their side many of the populace who were unable
to leave the city, and who were afraid of the consequences of the civil
war. In league with the Idumæans, they suddenly made a well-directed
attack upon the Zealots, over whom they gained a signal, but only a
momentary advantage, for, recovering themselves from this defeat, the
Zealots assembled upon the Mount of the Temple, and prepared to show a
bold front to their opponents. The latter, much discomfited, appealed
to Bar-Giora for assistance, and thus a fatal division was brought
within the very walls of Jerusalem.

With the entry of this commander, civil war began in its most terrible
form. Bar-Giora commanded his followers to surround the Mount of the
Temple, where the Zealots lay entrenched. From the galleries and from
the roofs the besieged were able not only to defend themselves, but
also to repulse their assailants. In spite of his impatience, Bar-Giora
was obliged to withdraw and to take up a safer position in the town.

Vespasian, who was informed of all these movements, quietly bided his
time, convinced that the losing side would sooner or later demand his
help, and that then victory would be easy. He felt indisposed, through
various circumstances, to undertake a long and difficult siege, but
was inclined rather to keep his hands free for the final struggle.
Nero had ended his shameful life with a shameful death (68), and Galba,
who succeeded him as emperor, held the reins of power with an aged
and trembling grasp. Old and childless, he had to think of choosing
a successor. At this critical time, when every day was pregnant with
some important event, Vespasian did not think it prudent to devote
himself to the siege of Jerusalem. He adopted a waiting, watchful
policy, and sent his son Titus with King Agrippa to Rome to receive
the new emperor, and, as people said, to be adopted by him as heir
to his vast empire. But when Titus heard, upon arriving in Corinth,
that Galba had been murdered (5 Jan., 69), and that two emperors had
been elected by the legions in his stead--Otho in Rome, and Vitellius
in Lower Germany, he hurried back to Judæa, not only buoyed up by
the secret hopes of seeing his father created emperor in the general
confusion which was pending, but also attracted by a powerful magnet,
the beautiful Princess Berenice, who, in spite of living according to
orthodox Judæan custom, did not hesitate to carry on an intrigue with
the heathen Titus. Otho could retain possession of the purple only for
one hundred days, at the end of which time he found himself forced
to fight against Vitellius, whom the German legions had borne upon
their shields, by way of teaching the Spanish legions that they were
fittest to choose and instal an emperor. They also wished to make it
evident that the emperor need not owe his election only to Rome and the
Prætorian Guard, but should be the choice also of the legions in the
provinces. Vitellius' army gained the victory, and Otho, after brave
resistance, fell by his own hand. Meanwhile Vespasian was dreaming of
the moment when he should drape himself in the stained imperial mantle,
but he hesitated before putting his scheme into execution. He wished
to be driven to it. Partly, he feared Licinius Mucianus, governor of
Syria, who commanded more legions than he did, and with whom he was not
on very friendly terms. But Vespasian's son Titus, who made no secret
of his ambition, won over Mucianus to urge his father into allowing
himself to be proclaimed emperor. It was also absolutely essential to
obtain the support of Tiberius Alexander, the son of the Alabarch and
the governor of that most important province--Egypt. This move in the
great game was due to the hand of a woman. The Princess Berenice was a
friend of the Egyptian governor, and she was furthering the imperial
election as an affair of the heart. Titus' love for her was so openly
avowed that all her court were convinced that he had promised her
marriage. It was therefore not unnatural that she should employ all the
means suggested by her imagination, and made possible by her personal
charms, to attain this end. The most important step was to gain
Tiberius Alexander's support for Vespasian, and in this she succeeded
admirably. The governor of Egypt responded to her appeal by making his
legions swear fealty to him whom they now called emperor. A few days
later the legions stationed in Judæa, and the Syrian troops under the
command of Mucianus, also tendered their allegiance to Vespasian. The
possession of the coveted purple was enough to make Vespasian for the
time being forgetful of the conquest of Judæa. Accompanied by his son
Titus, he repaired to Egypt, where they received the news of Vitellius'
death (Dec., 69), an event which had drawn forth but the contemptuous
scorn of his people.

And how did Jerusalem spend the two years of peace that Vespasian
granted her? There were originally four distinct factions in the
city, without counting the more moderate. These were the Jerusalem
Zealots under Eleazer ben Simon and Simon ben Ezron, consisting only
of two thousand four hundred members, the Galilæan Zealots under
John, numbering six thousand armed men, the Simonists and Sicarii
outnumbering the rest by their army of ten thousand, and the Idumæans
under Jacob ben Sosa and Simon ben Kathla, a troop of five thousand
men. These twenty-four thousand heroic patriots might have put their
valor to some account in one decisive battle could they but have acted
in harmony. But not one of their leaders was capable of sacrificing
his own ambition to the general good. The followers of Eleazer claimed
precedence on the grounds of their being natives of Jerusalem and of
having thus given the first impulse to the movement. John insisted upon
his superiority on account of his quickness of perception and readiness
in action, and Simon felt revengeful towards the Zealots, who had
dared quell his disorder. Members of the four different factions were
perpetually meeting and fighting in the streets, giving the enemy both
the time and the opportunity to devastate the surrounding country; for
it was almost certain that no one faction would dare oppose the Romans,
and equally certain that the four factions would not combine in arms
against them.

Titus, the new heir to the imperial throne, at last made his appearance
before Jerusalem (February, 70), fully expecting that he would be
able to force the city into submission; for it was almost a reproach
to the Romans that this rebellious capital should have maintained
her independence for four years. The prestige of the new imperial
house seemed in some measure to depend upon the fall of Jerusalem; a
protracted siege would necessarily imply weakness in the military power
of Vespasian and his son.

Although Titus was eagerly looking forward to the subjection of Judæa,
he could not complete his preparations for the siege of Jerusalem
before the spring. He collected an army of not less than eighty
thousand men, who came, bringing with them the largest number of
battering machines that had been used in the warfare of that time.
Three traitors amongst the Judæans were most useful to him in his
laborious undertakings--King Agrippa, who not only brought a contingent
of men, but who also tried to influence the inhabitants of Jerusalem in
favor of the Romans; Tiberius Alexander, who sealed his apostasy from
Judaism by going into battle against his own nation; and Josephus, the
constant companion of Titus, who, from being a prisoner, had become a
guide in the country which he knew so well. Titus was not experienced
enough in the art of war, and so bade the Judæan apostate stand by
his side, and gave him the command of his own body-guard (Præfectus
prætorio). But the hostile factions had drawn together when this new
danger threatened them. Shortly before the Passover festival numbers
of devoted men streamed into Jerusalem to defend their holy city. The
elders and chiefs had sent messengers to the people living in the
outlying provinces, praying for help, and their request was not made in
vain. The walls of Jerusalem were fortified more strongly than ever.

At last Titus assembled his huge army from all sides and encamped
at Scopus-Zophim, north of Jerusalem. He summoned in the first
instance the inhabitants to surrender; he demanded only submission,
acknowledgment of the Roman rule, and payment of the taxes. Eager as
he was to return to Rome, where all the enjoyments belonging to his
great position were awaiting him, he was ready to deal gently with the
Judæans. Besides which, his devotion to a Judæan princess, who, in
spite of her errors, still clung faithfully to the holy city, made him
anxious to spare that city from destruction. But the Judæans refused
all negotiation. They had sworn to defend their city with their lives,
and would not hear of surrender. Then the siege began in earnest. All
the gardens and groves to the north and west of Jerusalem, the first
points of the attack, were unsparingly destroyed.

Titus, anxious to reconnoitre the ground, advanced with a few followers
to the north wall, where he narrowly escaped being taken prisoner.
The first feat of arms upon the part of the Judæans was crowned with
success, and seemed a good omen for the future. A few days later they
surprised and totally discomfited the Tenth Legion, who were pitching
their tents on the Mount of Olives. But, unfortunately, this skirmish
proved fruitless, for the Judæans were always obliged to retreat to
their fortresses, not, however, without having convinced the Romans
that they would have a desperate foe to encounter. The besiegers
succeeded in pitching their camps on three sides of the city, and
in raising their engines against the outer wall. Titus commenced
operations during the Passover festival (March or April, 70), when
he believed that the Judæans would not be willing to fight. But as
soon as the engines were in working order, they rushed like demons
from their retreat, destroying the battering-rams, scattering the
workmen, and bringing alarm and confusion upon the enemy. Not only the
Zealots, but all who could carry arms took part in the defense, the
women setting splendid examples of heroism to the men. The besieged
threw masses of stone upon their assailants, poured boiling oil upon
their heads, seized the ponderous missiles that were hurled into the
city, and turned them into tools of destruction against the Romans.
But the latter succeeded in repairing their broken battering-rams, and
in forcing the Judæans, after fifteen days of conflict, back from the
outer wall. This wall, the scene of a desperate struggle, was at last
taken by the Romans, who, while making themselves masters of it, seized
the suburban town of Bezetha.

The skirmishes were now carried on daily, and with increasing
bitterness. After seventeen days of unremitting labor, the Romans
succeeded in raising their banks opposite the Antonine tower. But John
of Gischala and some heroic followers of Bar-Giora, creeping through a
subterranean passage, destroyed these works by setting fire to them.
With the ever-increasing danger grew the heroism of the besieged. All
Josephus' persuasive words, prompted by Titus, were useless. There were
but two courses left open to them--victory or death. At the very outset
of the siege they had learned what they would have to expect from the
Romans. Titus, surnamed "Delight of all Mankind," crucified, at times,
five hundred of his prisoners in a day. Again, he would send them back
into the city after cutting off their hands. He was, however, forced to
acknowledge to himself that the siege would be one of long duration.
But the horrors of famine were soon to come to his assistance. All
egress from and ingress into the besieged city being rigorously
prevented, the provisions began to fail amongst the thickly-crowded
populace. Houses and streets were filled with unburied corpses, and
the pangs of starvation seemed to destroy all feelings of pity in
the unfortunate survivors. The prospect--a terrible one indeed--of a
lingering death sent numbers of deserters to the Romans, where they
met with a pitiful fate. As the number of these unfortunate fugitives
increased, the Zealots treated those whom they suspected of defection
with still greater severity. A conspiracy being discovered amongst
Bar-Giora's followers, that leader relentlessly punished the guilty
with death. They were all beheaded in full view of the Roman camp,
amongst them being Matthias Boëthus, of priestly family.

But in spite of the watchfulness of the Zealots, they were unable to
circumvent the traitors in all their designs. Those who were secretly
friendly to Rome shot off on their arrow-heads written accounts
concerning the state of the city, which fell into the enemy's camp.
The Zealots struggled manfully to prevent the Romans from completing
their earthworks, but at the end of twenty-one days, the battering-rams
were again pointing at the Antonine tower. The wall surrounding the
fortress fell at length under the tremendous blows from without.
What was the surprise and horror of the Romans, however, when they
discovered that a second and inner wall had been erected behind the
one they had succeeded in destroying. They tried in vain to storm it,
the Judæans repulsing a nocturnal attack. The battle lasted until the
following morning. It was at about this time that the daily sacrifices
ceased, on account of the scarcity of the animals. Titus seized this
opportunity again to summon the besieged to surrender, but the mere
sight of the interpreter who bore the message aroused the indignation
of the besieged. John of Gischala replied that the holy city could not
be destroyed, and that God held her fate in His hands. The Judæans then
withdrew to their last point of defense, the Temple. The battering-rams
were raised against the sacred walls. The unfortunate people were
compelled to destroy the colonnades leading to the Antonine tower, thus
cutting off all connection with that fortress. They spared no craft to
tire out the Romans, even setting fire to some of the pillars attached
to the Temple, and then pretending to take flight. This stratagem
succeeded in making the Romans climb over the walls, beyond which the
Judæans lay in ambush to receive them, putting them to the sword or
casting them into the flames. But the fire could not be extinguished,
and the beautiful colonnade of the western side was entirely destroyed.

Meanwhile, the inhabitants of the city were suffering cruelly from
famine, which was sapping their life, obliterating all distinctions
between rich and poor, and giving free scope to the lowest passions.
Money had lost its value, for it could not purchase bread. Men fought
desperately in the streets over the most loathsome and disgusting food,
a handful of straw, a piece of leather, or offal thrown to the dogs.
The wealthy Martha, wife of the High Priest Joshua ben Gamala, whose
wont it had been to step on carpets from her house to the Temple, was
found searching the town like the very poorest for a morsel of food,
of even the most revolting description. As if not one line of the old
prophecy concerning the doom of Judæa was to remain unfulfilled, a
terrible scene was enacted, which struck even the enemy with horror. A
woman by the name of Miriam, who had fled from Peræa to the capital,
actually killed and devoured her own child.

The rapidly increasing number of unburied corpses made the sultry
summer air pestilential, and the populace fell a prey to sickness,
famine, and the sword. But the army of the besieged fought on with
unbroken courage, they rushed to the battle-field, although fainting
with hunger and surrounded by grim pictures of death, as bravely as had
been their wont in the early days of the siege. The Romans were amazed
at the unflinching heroism of the Zealots, at their devotion to the
Sanctuary and to the cause of their people. In fact, they grew to look
upon them as invincible, and stimulated by this belief, some few of
their number were actually known to desert their colors and their faith
and to accept Judaism, persuaded, in their turn, that the holy city
could never fall into the hands of the enemy. Proud as the Judæans well
might be of these voluntary proselytes, at this the supreme moment of
their history, they volunteered to guard them as best they could from
the horrors of starvation.

Meanwhile, the Romans had begun to batter the outer walls of the courts
of the Temple. For six days they had been working in vain, and had
then tried to fix their scaling ladders and storm the walls. But as
they were repulsed with great loss of life, Titus relinquished his
hope of sparing the sacred edifice, and ordered his men to set fire to
the gates. For a whole night and the next day the fire raged fiercely;
then Titus commanded that it should be extinguished, and that a road
should be leveled for the advance of his legions. A council of war
was hastily summoned to decide upon the fate of the Sanctuary. This
council consisted of six of the chief generals of the army, three of
whom advised the destruction of the Temple, which, if spared, would
inevitably remain as a focus for rebellion. Titus was opposed to this
decision, partly on account of the Princess Berenice's feelings, and
three of the council agreeing with their leader, it was decided to take
the Temple, but not to destroy it.

On the 9th Ab, the Judæans made another desperate sally, but were
driven back by an overpowering force of the besiegers. But the hour of
the city's doom was about to strike, and in striking, leave an echo
that would ring through the centuries to come. The besieged attempted
one more furious onslaught upon their enemies. They were again
defeated, and again driven back to their sheltering walls. But this
time they were closely followed by the Romans, one of whom, seizing a
burning firebrand, mounted upon a comrade's shoulders, and flung his
terrible missile through the so-called golden window of the Temple.
The fire blazed up; it caught the wooden beams of the sanctuary, and
rose in flames heavenwards. At this sight the bravest of the Judæans
recoiled terror-stricken. Titus hurried to the spot with his troops,
and shouted to the soldiers to extinguish the flames. But no one
heeded him. The maddened soldiery plunged into the courts of the
Temple, murdering all who came within their reach, and hurling their
firebrands into the blazing building. Titus, unable to control his
legions, and urged by curiosity, penetrated into the Holy of Holies.

Meanwhile, the Judæans, desperate in their death agonies, closed wildly
with their assailants. The shouts of victory, the shrieks of despair,
the fierce hissing of the flames, making the very earth tremble and the
air vibrate, rose in one hideous din, which echoed from the tottering
walls of the Sanctuary to the mountain-heights of Judæa. There were
congregated clusters of trembling people from all the country round,
who beheld in the ascending flames the sign that the glory of their
nation had departed forever. Many of the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
unwilling to outlive their beloved Temple, cast themselves headlong
into the burning mass. But thousands of men, women, and children, in
spite of the fierce onslaught of the legions and the rapidly increasing
flames, clung fondly to the inner court. For had they not been promised
by the persuasive lips of false prophets, that God would save them by
a miracle at the very moment of destruction? They fell but an easier
prey to the Romans, who slew some six thousand on the spot. The Temple
was burnt to the ground, and only a few smouldering ruins were left,
rising like gigantic ghosts from the ashes. A few of the priests had
escaped to the tops of the walls, where they remained without food for
some days, until they were compelled to surrender. Titus ordered their
instant execution, saying, "Priests must fall with their Temple." The
conquering legions raised their standards in the midst of the ruins,
sacrificed to their gods in the Holy Place, and saluted Titus as
emperor. By a strange coincidence the second Temple had fallen upon
the anniversary of the destruction of the first Temple (10th Ab, 70).
Titus, who could no longer feel bound to respect the feelings of the
Princess Berenice, gave orders that the Acra and the Ophla, different
parts of the city, should be instantly set on fire.

But the struggle was not yet over. The leaders of the rebellion had
retreated to the upper city with some of their followers. There they
conferred with Titus. John and Simon, having sworn that they would
never lay down their arms, offered to surrender upon the condition
that they would be permitted to pass armed through the Roman camp. But
Titus sternly bade them throw themselves upon his mercy; and so the
fierce strife blazed out anew. On the 20th of Ab, the Romans began to
raise their embankments, and after eighteen days of labor the siege
of the upper city commenced. Even then the Zealots would not think
of surrender. Discovering that the Idumæans were secretly making
terms with Titus, they threw some of the ringleaders into prison,
and executed others. But the Judæan warriors were exhausted by their
super-human resistance and by the long famine, and the Romans were at
last able to scale the walls and to seize the fortresses, a prelude to
their spreading through the city, plundering and murdering the last of
the wretched inhabitants. On the 8th of Elul they set fire to all that
remained of Jerusalem, the upper city, known by the name of Zion. The
walls were entirely leveled, Titus leaving only the three fortresses of
Hippicus, Mariamne, and Phasael to stand as lasting witnesses of his
victory. Under the ruins of Jerusalem and her Temple lay buried the
last remnant of Judæa's independence. More than a million of lives had
been lost during the siege. Counting those who had fallen at Galilee,
Peræa, and the provinces, it may be assumed that the Judæans who
inhabited their native land were almost all destroyed.

Once more did Zion sit weeping amongst the ruins, weeping over her sons
fallen in battle, over her daughters sold into slavery or abandoned to
the savage soldiery of Rome; but she was more desolate now than in the
days of her first captivity, for hushed was the voice of the prophet,
who once foretold the end of her widowhood and her mourning.



    Sufferings of the Prisoners--The Arena--Cruelty of
    Titus--Enmity of the Antiochians--Triumph of the Emperor
    on the occasion of the Conquest of Judæa--End of Simon
    Bar-Giora and John of Gischala--Coins to Commemorate the
    Roman Triumph--Fall of the Last Fortresses: Herodium, Masada,
    and Machærus--Resistance of the Zealots in Alexandria
    and Cyrene--End of the Temple of Onias--The Last of the
    Zealots--Death of Berenice and Agrippa--Flavius Josephus and
    his Writings.

    70-73 C. E.

It would, indeed, be difficult to describe the sufferings of those who
were taken captive in the war, estimated at the number of nine hundred
thousand. The surviving inhabitants of Jerusalem were driven into the
site of the Temple, and placed under the guardianship of a certain
Fronto and a freed slave. All those who were recognized as insurgents
were crucified, the princes of Adiabene alone being spared and sent
as hostages to Rome, to secure the loyalty of the king of Adiabene.
Seventeen thousand prisoners died of hunger, many of them being
neglected by Fronto, whilst others indignantly refused the food which
their conquerors offered them. From amongst the youths above seventeen
years of age, the tallest and handsomest were selected for the Roman
triumphs, whilst others were sent to labor in the mines for the rest of
their lives, or were relegated to the Roman provinces, to take their
part in the fights of the arena. Youths under the age of sixteen and
most of the female captives were sold into slavery at an incredibly low
price, for the market was glutted. How many scenes of horror must have
been witnessed and enacted by those unfortunate ones! They had, it is
true, one ray of comfort left. Possibly they might be carried to some
Roman town where a Judæan community existed; their own people would
assuredly give any sum to purchase their freedom, and would then treat
them with brotherly sympathy.

Vespasian now declared that all Judæa was his property by conquest, and
bade the Roman officials divide the country into lots, offering them to
the highest bidder. And why should he not do so? Had he not fertilized
the land with blood? Besides which, the sale would realize great
profits, and Vespasian cared even more for gold than for honor.

And what was the work of the merciful Titus after ordering the
execution of thousands, and consigning thousands to slavery? In his
march through Syria he was followed by the most vigorous of his
captives in chains. When he held his court in Cæsarea, and entertained
his friends in true Roman style, wild beasts were brought into the
arena, and Judæan captives fought with them until they were torn to
death; or they were forced to fight one against another, dying by
each other's hands. Thus at Cæsarea, two thousand five hundred brave
Judæan youths perished in this manner to celebrate the birthday of
Domitian, the brother of the conqueror. And at Cæsarea Philippi, on
Mount Hermon, the residence of King Agrippa, this terrible spectacle
was renewed before the eyes of that monarch and of the Princess
Berenice. Vespasian's birthday was honored in the same way at Berytus,
the sand of the arena being literally soaked with Judæan blood. In
fact, the gentleness and humanity of Titus were strangely displayed in
all cities of Syria by a repetition of these barbarities. The Judæan
communities in Syria, Asia Minor, Alexandria, and Rome, very nearly
shared the fate of their brethren in Judæa. For the war had aroused the
hatred of the entire heathen world against the unfortunate children
of Israel--a hatred which was fanatical in its intensity, its object
being the entire destruction of the whole race. Titus' inmost feelings
must have coincided with those of his people. But strange to say, his
love for Berenice, so deeply implanted in his heart, made him, upon one
occasion, extend his mercy to her race. When he approached the city of
Antioch, the whole populace turned out to meet him and demanded nothing
less than the expulsion of the Judæan colony. But Titus replied that
"The Judæans having no country left to them, it would be inhuman to
expel them from Antioch--they had no retreat." He even refused sternly
to cancel their existing privileges. The Alexandrian Judæans also were
left undisturbed in their adopted city.

Titus determined to celebrate his triumph over Judæa in the capital
of the empire. For this purpose seven hundred of the flower of the
Judæan captives and the two leaders of the Zealots, John of Gischala,
who had surrendered to the enemy when fainting with hunger, and Simon
Bar-Giora, were sent to Rome. At the close of the siege of Jerusalem
the dauntless Simon had leaped, with some of his followers, into one
of the vaults beneath the city, and provided with workmen's tools,
had attempted to hew his way out; but coming upon a great rock he was
prevented from accomplishing his purpose, and his slender stock of
provisions failing him, he determined to die as became a hero. In a
white robe, covered with a purple mantle, he suddenly appeared before
the Roman sentinels who were reposing amongst the ruins of the Temple.
They gazed at him with terror. He merely addressed them with the
following words: "Take me to your general." When Rufus appeared at the
sentinels' call, the leader of the Zealots presented himself before
his astonished gaze, saying: "I am Simon Bar-Giora." He was instantly
thrown into chains, and calmly awaited the fate that he knew was in
store for him.

Vespasian and his two sons, Titus and Domitian, celebrated their
triumph over Judæa, in the imperial city of Rome. In front of the
emperor were borne the vessels of the Temple, the seven-branched
candlestick, the golden table, and a roll of the Law. The Romans were
further gladdened by the pageant of a long train of Judæan captives
heavily chained, and by the wonderful representations of all the
horrors and misery of the war--a kind of theatrical entertainment,
devised with much ingenuity for the occasion. Simon Bar-Giora (the
terrible foe of the Roman legions), with a halter round his neck, was
dragged through the streets of Rome, and finally hurled as a human
sacrifice to the gods, from the Tarpeian rock. John of Gischala met
with his fate in a dungeon. Tiberius Alexander, the conqueror of his
own race, shared in the triumph, and a statue was erected in his
honor in the Forum. Josephus was but a spectator of the scene. This
magnificent triumph, the like of which had not been witnessed for many
years in Rome, was a proof of the exultant joy, which passed like
a wave over the heathen world, at the fall of Judæa, for the Roman
legions had but rarely met with so obstinate a foe. To commemorate
this great victory, coins were struck, upon which Judæa was variously
represented, as a sorrowing woman under a palm tree, either standing
with fettered hands, or seated in a despairing attitude upon the
ground. The coins bore these inscriptions, "the Conquered" or "the
Captive Judæa" ("Judæa devicta," "Judæa capta"). Later on, a beautiful
arch was erected to Titus, which is still standing, and upon which the
carved reliefs of the candlestick and vessels of the Temple are plainly
visible. The Roman Judæans, not only at that time, but in years to
come, would take a longer or more circuitous route, to avoid seeing
this trophy. The rich spoils of the Sanctuary were deposited in the
Temple of Peace, and the roll of the Law in the imperial palace; but at
a later time, when Rome was expiating her heavy sins, these relics of
the glory of Jerusalem were carried to other countries.

Judæa was not yet entirely subjugated, for three strong fortresses were
still in arms: Herodium, Machærus, and Masada. The governor, Bassus,
sent by Vespasian to Judæa, was commanded to take them. Herodium
surrendered immediately, but Machærus offered a stubborn resistance.
This fortress, built by Alexander Jannæus, was well defended from the
enemy by its natural position. Steep precipices and yawning ravines
made it impregnable. But it fell--and in this way: The young commander,
Eleazer, a valiant hero, was captured by the Romans, whilst fearlessly
standing without the gates, proudly reliant upon the terror of his
arms. Bassus ordered him to be scourged within view of the besieged,
and then made semblance of having him crucified. A wail of despair went
up from the fortress; the besieged, determined to save their beloved
comrade, offered to give up their citadel if his life were spared.
Bassus agreed to this proposal, and the garrison was saved; but of
the inhabitants of the lower town, the men and youths were inhumanly
butchered, to the number of 1700, and the women and children sold into

Three thousand Zealots, under Judas ben Jair, who had escaped by one
of the subterranean passages from Jerusalem, were hiding in a wood
on the outskirts of the Jordan. There they were, however, discovered
and surrounded by the Romans, who mercilessly destroyed them. The
death of Bassus, taking place at this time, caused the difficult task
of the conquest of Masada to devolve upon his successor Silva. This
hill-fortress was, if possible, still more inaccessible than that of
Machærus. The garrison consisted of 1000 Zealots, with their wives
and children, commanded by Eleazer ben Jair, a descendant of Judas
the founder of the Zealots. They were amply provided with provisions,
water and weapons, and were, moreover, men of heroic resolve. But a
Roman battering-ram destroyed one of the protecting walls, and a second
wall of wooden beams, built by the besieged, was set on fire by the
assailants. The situation was a hopeless one. Eleazer realized this,
and determined upon persuading the garrison to die by their own hands
rather than to fall into the power of the Romans. The heroes agreed
to this proposal, even with enthusiasm, and on the first day of the
great Feast of Passover, after slaying their wives and children, they
all perished on their own swords. When the Romans entered the citadel,
prepared for the last desperate struggle with their victims, they stood
amazed at the ominous silence, and their shouts brought forth only two
trembling women and five children, who came creeping out from a cavern.
And it was thus that the last Zealots fell on Judæan ground.

The Judæans who had tried to shake off the Roman yoke had, indeed,
been severely punished. Not only the inhabitants of Judæa, but also
the Judæan community in Rome were made answerable for the rebellion.
The two drachmæ which they had annually given to their Sanctuary were
now demanded for the Capitoline Jupiter. Vespasian's greed soon caused
this tax to be swept into his private treasury; and this first tax,
inaugurated and imposed by the emperor upon the Judæans, was called the
Judæan fiscal tax (Fiscus Judaicus). On the other hand, those Judæans
who had been friendly to Rome, and had given Vespasian assistance
during the war, were richly recompensed. Berenice was received with the
highest honors at the Imperial court. Titus' passion for this beautiful
woman was so great that once, in a fit of jealousy, he ordered the
strangulation of a Roman Consul, Cacina, his own table-companion. To
flatter his vanity the Council of the Areopagus, the Six Hundred and
the people of Athens erected a statue to Berenice, dedicated to "the
great Queen, daughter of the great King, Julius Agrippa." He was on the
eve of making her his wife, when an indignant outburst from the people
of Rome forced him to let her depart. Her brother Agrippa shared her

More fortunate was Josephus, whom Vespasian and Titus could not
sufficiently reward for his services. He accompanied the emperors
on their triumphal processions, looked on the humiliation of his
nation with revolting coldness, and showed undisguised delight in the
death of her heroes. Vespasian not only granted him extensive landed
possessions, but also placed his private palace at his disposal, and
raised him to the citizenship of Rome. So high did he stand in the
favor of the imperial house, that he was anxious to adopt their name,
and is known to posterity as "Flavius Josephus." On the other hand, he
was hated by the Judæan patriots, who exerted themselves to disturb him
in the tranquil enjoyment of his possessions.

But the war against the Zealots did not terminate with the fall of the
last fortress. They transplanted their hatred of Rome whithersoever
their flying feet carried them--to the provinces of the Euphrates,
to Arabia, Egypt, and Cyrene. The Zealots who had taken refuge in
Alexandria persuaded their co-religionists of that city to revolt
against their rulers. Many of the Alexandrian Judæans, still smarting
from the severe persecutions which they had suffered some years
previously from the Romans, were ready for revolt; but this mad scheme
was opposed by the wealthy members of the community and the Council.
They turned indignantly upon the Zealots, delivering six hundred into
the hands of the governor, Lupus, who executed them upon the spot.
Others fled to Thebes, where they were pursued, seized, and put to
the torture to make them acknowledge the emperor's authority. But
unflinchingly they bore the most horrible agonies, men and boys vying
with each other in steadfast adherence to their Zealot principles, and
dying at last under torture. Vespasian, fearing that Egypt might become
a new center of revolt, ordered the Temple of Onias to be closed,
thus taking from the people their religious focus. The annual gifts,
dedicated to the service of the Sanctuary, found their way, as a matter
of course, into the imperial treasury.

Some of the Zealots who had fled to the towns of Cyrenaica, now
attempted to endanger their peace. Jonathan, one of their number,
collected a multitude of the lower classes about him, and leading them
into the Lybian Desert, announced some miraculous interposition. But
here, again, the chief Judæans denounced their fanatical brethren to
Catullus, the Roman governor, who seized them, and had many of them
executed. Jonathan, however, evaded their pursuit for some time, and
at last, when captured, revenged himself by accusing many of the
wealthy Judæans of being his accomplices. He was thrown into chains
and sent to Rome. In the imperial city he ventured to declare that
Josephus and some of the Roman Judæans were disloyal to the emperor.
Titus indignantly refused to believe this, and appeared to defend his
favorite, whose innocence, together with that of his co-religionists,
he clearly established. Jonathan was then scourged and burnt alive.

Thus ended the Zealot movement which had spread with evil results among
a large portion of the Judæan people in the Roman Empire. But the
Zealots who had escaped to North Arabia to the vicinity of Medina were
the most fortunate; for they succeeded in founding a community of their
own, which lasted until the seventh century. Upon another occasion,
they played no unimportant part.

So great was the sensation produced throughout the Roman Empire by this
long and desperate resistance of the Judæans, that several writers
felt themselves called upon to give a detailed description of the
war. The heathen authors were, of course, partial in their treatment
of the subject; and, with due deference to the feelings of the Roman
generals, underrated the heroism of the Judæans. But Josephus, who,
in spite of his Roman proclivities, had some spark of patriotism
left, could not brook hearing his people stigmatized as cowards; so,
collecting all the facts of the long struggle that had come under his
own notice, he wrote an account of the war in seven books, at first in
the Syro-Chaldaic tongue, and afterwards in Greek (75-79). But this
version could not turn out to be any more impartial, seeing how deeply
his own interests had been involved. He laid his work before Titus,
who gave him permission to offer it to the public, a clear proof that
the Emperor was satisfied with its tendency. Justus of Tiberias had
preceded Josephus with a history of the Judæan war, in which he accused
that historian of hostility to Rome, of having been party to the revolt
in Galilee, and of having invented his descent from the Hasmonæan house.

When the war of the sword was at an end, the war of the pen was carried
on by the two writers. But Justus can hardly be commended for exemplary
conduct; for he had once led a revolt in Galilee, and had then headed
a sally against the neighboring Greek population; after which he
presented himself boldly before Agrippa. Berenice having obtained
his pardon, he was taken into the king's service and most generously
treated. But for some later offense he was imprisoned, and banished,
then recalled, pardoned, and made the king's secretary. He was at
length banished again for some unknown reason. Justus, having received
a thoroughly Greek education, was able to write the history of the war
in a more correct and elegant style than it was possible for Josephus
to do.

Jeremiah, uttering his lamentations amidst the ruins of Jerusalem,
fitly ends the first period of Jewish history; whilst Flavius Josephus,
writing the story of his people in the quiet of Cæsar's palace,
concludes the second period.




    Foundation of the School at Jabne--Jochanan ben
    Zakkai--The Last of the Herodians--Judæa and Rome--The
    Tanaites--Gamaliel II. appointed Patriarch--The Power
    of Excommunication--Deposition and Restoration of the
    Patriarch--Steps towards Collecting the Mishna--Eliezer
    ben Hyrcanus--Joshua ben Chananya--Akiba and his
    System--Ishmael--Condition of the Synhedrion.

    70.117 C. E.

The disastrous result of the war which had been waged against the
Romans during a period of four years, the destruction of the State,
the burning of the Temple, the condemnation of the prisoners to labor
in the lead-works of Egypt, to be sold in the slave-markets, or to
become victims in the fights with wild beasts in the arena--all
these calamities came with such crushing force on the remaining Jews
that they felt utterly at a loss as to what they should do. Judæa
was depopulated; all who had taken up arms, whether in northern or
southern, whether in cis- or trans-Jordanic Judæa, were either dead or
enslaved and banished. The infuriated conquerors had spared neither the
women nor the children. The third banishment--the Roman Exile (Galut
Edom), under Vespasian and Titus--had commenced amid greater terror
and cruelty than the Babylonian Exile under Nebuchadnezzar. Only a
few were spared--those who openly or secretly sided with the Romans,
partisans of Rome, who, from the very commencement, had been devoid
of patriotic feelings; the friends of peace, who thought that Judaism
had a different task from that of combating the Romans by force of
arms, thoughtful and careful men, who looked upon a contest with Rome
as national suicide; and lastly those who, through party strife, had
been forced to lay down their arms and to make separate terms with the
Romans. This small remnant in the land of Judæa and the Jews of Syria,
who had always hoped that Titus would respect the Temple (the center of
worship and religion), were moved deeply, and thrown into despair at
the destruction of the sanctuary protected by God. Their despair led
to various results. Some were driven to lead an ascetic life, to deny
themselves meat and wine; others were led thereby to join Christianity,
seeking thus to fill the void in their hearts which was caused by the
cessation of burnt-offerings. Judaism was threatened by the greatest
danger; deprived, as it was, of its support and rallying-point, it
appeared in imminent danger of stagnation or of falling to pieces. The
communities in Syria, Babylon, and Persia, in Asia Minor, Rome, and
in Europe generally, had until now turned their eyes to Jerusalem and
the Temple, whence they drew their instructions and laws. The only
independent congregation, that of Alexandria, had become helpless
through the destruction of the Temple of Onias. What was to be the
future of the Jewish nation, of Judaism? The Synhedrion, which had
given laws to the entire community, and had regulated its religious
life, had disappeared with the fall of Jerusalem. Who would step into
the breach, and render a continued existence a possibility? There now
appeared a man who seemed made to save the essential doctrines of
Judaism, to restore some amount of strength to the nation, so that it
might continue to live, and the threatened decay be averted.

This man was Jochanan, the son of Zakkai. He labored, like the prophets
during the first exile in Babylon, but by other means, to maintain
the life of the Jewish nation; he reanimated its frozen limbs, and
infusing fresh energy into its actions, consolidated its dispersed
members into one whole. Jochanan, if not a disciple of Hillel, was
yet an heir to his mind. For forty years he is said to have been a
tradesman. In other cases, too, we shall see that the great leaders
in Jewish history did not follow the study of the Law as a means of
subsistence or of gain. During the existence of the State, Jochanan
sat in the Synhedrion, or taught within the shadow of the Temple: his
school at Jerusalem is said to have been an important one. He was the
first man who successfully combated the Sadducees, and who knew how
to refute their arguments. During the stormy days of the revolution,
he, owing to his peaceful character, joined the party of peace, and on
several occasions he urged the nation and the Zealots to surrender the
town of Jerusalem, and to submit to the Romans. "Why do you desire to
destroy the town, and to give up the Temple to the flames?" he would
say to the leaders of the revolution.

Notwithstanding the respect in which he was held, his well-meant
admonitions were ignored by the Zealots. The spies whom the Roman
general placed in the besieged city of Jerusalem, and who reported to
him what took place, did not fail to announce that Jochanan belonged to
the friends of Rome, and that he counseled the chiefs to make peace.
The news from the town was conveyed on small pieces of paper, which
were shot on arrows into the Roman camp. Induced either by fear of
the Zealots, or by the desire of obtaining a place of safety for the
Law, Jochanan formed the idea of taking refuge in the camp of Titus.
To depart from the town was, however, very difficult, as the Zealots
kept up a constant watch; Jochanan, therefore, aided by a leader of the
Zealots, named Ben-Batiach, determined to have himself conveyed out
of the town as a corpse. Having been placed in a coffin he was carried
out of the city gates, at the hour of sunset, by his pupils Eleazer and
Joshua. Titus received the fugitive in a friendly manner, and gave him
permission to make some request of him. Jochanan modestly requested
that he might be permitted to establish a school at Jamnia (Jabne),
where he could give lectures to his pupils. The district in which this
town lay belonged to the private domains of the imperial house, to
which it had been bequeathed by the last will of Salome, the sister of
Herod. Titus had nothing to urge against the harmless wish of Jochanan,
for he could not foresee that by this unimportant concession he was
enabling Judaism, feeble as it then appeared, to outlive Rome, which
was in all its vigor, by thousands of years.

Jochanan settled with his disciples in Jamnia, a city not far from the
Mediterranean Sea, and situated between the port Joppa, and the former
city of the Philistines, Ashdod. Jochanan was unable to settle down to
his occupation for some space of time, during which the bitter strife
was raging before the walls of Jerusalem, and within its streets and
its Temple. When the news arrived that the city had fallen, and that
the Temple was in flames, Jochanan and his disciples mourned and wailed
as if they had lost a dear relative through death. Jochanan, however,
unlike his followers, did not despair, for he recognized the truth
that Judaism was not indissolubly bound up with its Temple and its
altar. He rather consoled his mourning disciples for the loss of the
place of expiation with the fitting remark that charity and love of
mankind would take the place of burnt-offerings, as it is said in the
Bible--"for I take pleasure in mercy and not in burnt-offerings." This
liberal view of the value of burnt-offerings made it clear, however,
that it was absolutely necessary for a fresh center to be established
in lieu of the Temple. Jochanan therefore formed a sort of Synhedrion
in Jabne, of which he was at once recognized as the President. The
newly created Synhedrion was certainly not composed of seventy members,
and no doubt had a totally different sphere of action from the one in
Jerusalem, which during the revolution had exercised control over the
most important political events. The Synhedrion of Jamnia in the first
place gave to its founder plenary power in all religious matters such
as the Council had possessed in Jerusalem, and with this were connected
the judicial functions of a supreme court. It was only by unbounded
authority that Jochanan could compass the formation and consolidation
of a Synhedrion, under the unfavorable conditions of the time. Jochanan
had to oppose the general opinion that the Synhedrion as a body should
have control only in the hewn-stone hall of the Temple, and that
outside this spot it lost its judicial character and ceased to be the
representative of the nation. When, therefore, Jochanan dissociated the
functions of the Synhedrion from the site of the Temple, and removed
it to Jabne, he had actually released Judaism from the observance of
the rite of burnt-offerings, and rendered it independent. Without any
opposition whatsoever, Jabne by this means took the place of Jerusalem,
and became the religious national center for the dispersed community.
The important functions of the Synhedrion, by which it exercised a
judicial and uniting power over the distant congregations, such as
the fixing of the time for the new moon and the festivals, proceeded
from Jabne. It enjoyed some of the religious privileges of the Holy
City. The Synhedrion now bore the name of the Beth-Din (Court of
Justice)--the President was called Rosh-beth-din, and was honored by
the title of Rabban (general teacher). Jochanan gave over to the Court
of Justice the supervision of arrangements for the calendar, which
had formerly been one of the offices of the President. By this means
the watchers who were looking out for the reappearance of the new moon
needed no longer follow the President about in order to give him the
information, but had only to attend the sittings of the assembly. This
change was an important step, as it rendered the Synhedrion independent
of the person of its President.

Jochanan made altogether nine changes, most of which affected such
arrangements as had been rendered valueless through the destruction
of the Temple. He, however, retained various religious customs as a
remembrance of the Temple. He promoted the continuance and preservation
of Judaism through the renewal of the study of the Law, and thus
rendered firmer the weakened foundations of Jewish communal life.
The school at Jabne he influenced through his disciples, whom he
imbued with his spirit and his learning. Five of his distinguished
pupils are known to us by name, but only three of them won lasting
renown--Eliezer, and Joshua (who had carried Jochanan in a coffin out
of Jerusalem), and also Eleazer ben Arach. The latter was the most
eminent and important amongst them, and of him it was said, "If weighed
in the scale, he would outweigh all his fellow-scholars." Jochanan
loved to incite them to independent thought by deep-reaching questions.
Thus he gave them as a theme for thought, "What should man endeavor
most eagerly to obtain?" The one answered "a genial manner," the other
"a noble friend," a third "a noble neighbor," the fourth "the gift of
knowing in advance the result of his actions." Eleazer answered that
"man's best possession is a noble heart." This remark won the approval
of his master; it was an answer after his own mind, for in it all else
was included.

What was the character of the teachings which Jochanan imparted to
his pupils in the school? Hillel, the most respected of the teachers
of the Law, the highly-honored ideal in times to come, had given to
Judaism a special garb and form, or rather had given it the character
of the Law, which had always been peculiar to it. He was the first to
develop and confirm a special theory, a sort of Jewish theology or
nomology (science of religious laws). He was the founder of Talmudic
Judaism. From the midst of contending parties, which were tearing one
another to pieces, Hillel had drawn the Law into the quiet precincts
of the school-house, and had endeavored to bring into harmony those
precepts which were apparently opposed to the Law. Those which had been
considered as only customary and traditional were regarded as human
laws, and were looked upon by the Sadducees as innovations. Hillel had
shown these to be of Biblical origin. His seven explanatory rules, or
laws of interpretation, had on the one hand confirmed the laws which
had been introduced by the Sopheric and Pharisaic teachers, and on the
other hand had given them new scope to develop.

The written Law (that of the Pentateuch) and the oral Law (the
Sopheric) from his time ceased to be two widely sundered branches, but
were brought into close relations with each other, although the new
rendering certainly did violence to the words of Scripture. But as
the text was explained, not on a philological basis, but in order to
elucidate the laws, it was not possible to keep simply to the written
words; it was necessary to interpret them so as to render them suited
to the new conditions of life. Under the term Oral Law was included
everything which had been handed down from the Fathers, and it formed
to a certain extent a hereditary law. The various restrictions which
the Sopheric teachers had placed around the Law, the legal decisions
which had been introduced by the Synhedrion, the customs which had been
observed from generation to generation, the extensions deduced from
meager verses of the Pentateuch, all these elements were not written
down, but were committed to memory. They were put into the form of
short sentences, called "Halacha." They were not arranged or classified
according to subjects, but were strung together without connection, or
handed down separately, sometimes joined to the name of the authority
from whom they were derived. A marvelous memory was needed to retain
these Halachas or oral teachings. Jochanan ben Zakkai was the man who
best knew these laws. He handed them down to his pupils, and pointed
out to them their connection with the written law; he showed them how
to draw deductions therefrom, the laws handed down being the material,
and their mode of treatment the form. These deductions were obtained
by two methods, the one showing how the ordinances of the Law were
to be obtained from the words of Scripture (Midrash), and the other
served to apply the oral Law to new questions as they arose (Talmud).
Thus a fruitful field for the extension of the Law and for ingenious
combinations was opened, which was later on freely cultivated. Jochanan
ben Zakkai, however, thought much more of the material of the Law than
of its form.

He taught not only those doctrines of Judaism which appertained to
the Law, but also those portions of the Holy Scriptures which had no
direct bearing on the Law. He gave lectures on the writings of the
prophets and historians in the form of discourses, which had for some
time past been in use both in and out of the synagogue. These lectures
were either edifying, comforting, or bitter, sharp, and ironical, and
applied the words of the prophets about Edom and Esau, to hated Rome
and its tyranny. This kind of exposition of Scripture had a name,
"Agada" or "Hagadah." Its chief subjects consisted in explaining
historical events, prophetic utterances, and in bringing to mind the
past, and treating of the future of Judaism. The Agada investigated
the meaning of the Law, examined into the general moral truths of
Judaism, deftly united the present with the past, and shadowed the
present conditions of life in past experiences. The Halacha forms the
chief trunk of the Law, the Midrash the suckling roots, which drew
their nourishment from the words of Scripture. The Talmud formed the
wide-spreading branches, and the Agada was the blossom which scented
and colored the simple fabric of the laws.

In his Agadic dissertations Jochanan endeavored to illuminate the
ordinances of the Law by the light of the understanding, and to combine
them into general truths, but in a clear and simple manner, utterly
dissimilar from the exaggerated method of the Alexandrian-Jewish
teachers, who endeavored to extract the dazzling light of the Grecian
mode of thought from Holy Writ.

Amongst other things, Jochanan explained very quaintly why the use of
iron is forbidden in erecting an altar. Iron is the symbol of war and
dissension; the altar, on the contrary, is the symbol of peace and
atonement; therefore iron must be kept away from the altar. He deduced
therefrom the high value of peace, the advantages of peace between
man and wife, between one city and another, and between one nation
and another. These were the principles which had induced him to side
with the Romans against the revolutionaries. In this way he explained
various laws, and rendered them comprehensible, when they seemed
obscure or in any way extraordinary. Jochanan was wont to hold converse
also with Pagans who had knowledge of the Jewish Law, either from the
Greek translation or from their intercourse with the Jews, refuting
the objections which they raised, and dispelling or making clear by
suitable comparisons the peculiarities which occur in the Holy Writings.

Besides Jochanan, who was the most influential and the chief personage
of his time, there was a group of teachers of the Law. They were all
at an advanced age at the period of the destruction of the State, and
were without doubt members of the Jamnian Synhedrion. Most of them, of
whom nothing important is recorded, are known only by name. Among these
were Chanina, the deputy of various High Priests (_Segan ha-Cohanim_),
who has preserved for us traditions from the time of the Temple. He
belonged to the lovers of peace, and exhorted his contemporaries to
pray for the well-being of the ruling power (that of the Romans), "for,
if no fear thereof existed, then one man would swallow another alive."
Zadok, another teacher, was a disciple of Shammai, and in anticipation
of the fall of the Temple he fasted for forty years, whereby he ruined
his health. Nachum, the Mede, who had been previously member of a
college of the Law in Jerusalem, Dossa ben Archinas, with his brother
Jonathan, the latter a clear-headed and argumentative youth, and Abba
Saul must also be mentioned.

Lastly, there belonged to this circle Nachum of Gimso (Emmaus), and
Nechunya ben Hakana. The first has been recorded by tradition as the
hero of strange adventures, and even the name of his birthplace Gimso
has been explained, so as to put into his mouth the words "This also is
for good" (Gam-su-l'-toba). He is represented in the world of legend as
a scholar to whom many disagreeable experiences happened, all of which
proved of good to him. Nachum developed a special mode of teaching,
which consisted in explaining the oral law from the written text,
according to certain particles which the lawgiver had purposely used
as indications when drawing up the Law. These particles, according to
his idea, not only served as syntactical signs in the sentences, but
as signs for enlarging and diminishing the circle within which each
law should work. Nachum's rules formed a new and fruitful addition
to those laid down by Hillel; they were carefully cultivated and
developed, and received the name "the rules of extension or exclusion"
(Ribbuj-u-m'ut). Nechunya ben Hakana was, however, an opponent of
Nachum's system; he approved only the explanatory rules as propounded
by Hillel.

Jochanan ben Zakkai, the head not of the State but of the community,
appears to have acted as a shield from a political point of view.
His kindly and gentle disposition, in which he resembled Hillel, he
displayed even to the heathens. It is related of him that he always
greeted them in a friendly manner. Such friendliness offers a striking
contrast to the hatred felt by the Zealots towards the heathens, both
before and after the revolution, which increased after the destruction
of the Temple. The verse (Proverbs xiv. 34), "The kindness of the
nations is sin," was taken literally by the people of that time, and
was specially applied to the heathen world. "The heathens may do
ever so much good, yet it is accounted to them as sin, for they do
it only to mock us." Jochanan alone explained this verse in a sense
expressive of true humanity: "As the burnt-offering atones for Israel,
so mercy and kindness atone for the heathen nations." This kindliness
of Jochanan may have contributed to the result that, notwithstanding
the fresh outbreaks amongst the Jews in Cyrene and Egypt, which the
Emperors Vespasian and Titus had to put down, they did not persecute
the Jews in any extraordinary degree. It is expressly stated in ancient
records that the Roman authorities removed the contempt which formerly
attached to the Jews, and that the murder of a Jew was punished by
death. The personality of Jochanan may have served them as a guarantee
for the peaceful disposition of the mother-country.

Hope alone gave to him and his circle of fellow-pupils and disciples
fresh courage, the hope or rather the assurance that Israel should
not be lost. The dreary present did not veil from him the promised
and brighter future. The present was in truth sufficiently overcast.
The pasture lands had been taken away from those who had survived the
national disasters, and given to strangers. Thereby those who had
formerly been rich had fallen into poverty. The very poorest had to
pay the Jews' tax (Fiscus Judaicus). The land, which before the war
had been so flourishing, was strewn with ruins. Every joy had departed
from Israel; even weddings were performed in a silent manner. Jochanan
described the comfortless position of the times in an address to the
people. He once saw a Jewish maiden of a rich house, picking up a
scanty nourishment of barley-corn from amongst the horses' hoofs.
At this he exclaimed, "Unhappy nation, you would not serve God, and
therefore you must serve foreign nations; you would not offer half a
shekel for the Temple, and therefore you must pay thirty times as much
to the State of your new enemies; you refused to keep the roads and
paths in order for the pilgrims, and, therefore, you must now support
the watch-lodges in the vineyards, which the Romans have seized."

Agrippa and Berenice, the remaining members of the house of Herod,
who kept up close connections with those in power, appear to have
contributed greatly to the alleviation of the sorrows of the conquered
Jews. Princess Berenice, whose beauty seemed to bid defiance to time,
long held Titus captive by her charms, and it wanted but little for the
Jewish princess to become a Roman empress. The prejudice of Roman pride
disturbed the project of a marriage between Titus and Berenice, and
compelled the Emperor's son to break the bonds which had bound him for
years. Berenice had to leave the royal palace, and probably returned to
her brother in Palestine. But as Titus had not yet given up the hope
of making her his wife, her voice still had weight with him, and it
probably was often raised in favor of her co-religionists, to whom she
was attached. The last Jewish king, Agrippa, also stood in favor with
Vespasian, for the great services which he had rendered to his house.
It appears that the Emperor had added Galilee to his territories;
Agrippa had a Jewish governor, whom he sent alternately to the two
Galilæan capitals, Tiberias and Sepphoris. To this ruler it was no
doubt due that the district of Galilee recovered itself more rapidly,
and became sooner repeopled than Judæa, which was governed by a Roman

The period during which Jochanan worked in his new sphere of action
cannot be stated with certainty. He united in himself the qualities
of the prophet Jeremiah and the prince Zerubbabel, who had been in
exile. Like Jeremiah he mourned over the destruction of Jerusalem, and
like Zerubbabel he unrolled a new future. Both Jochanan ben Zakkai
and Zerubbabel stood at the threshold of a new epoch, both laid the
foundation-stone of a new edifice in Judaism, for the completion of
which the subsequent generations have worked. Jochanan died on his bed
in the arms of his pupils. He had previously had a conversation with
them, which gives an insight into his mind. His pupils were surprised
to find their courageous master frightened and depressed in the hour of
his death. He remarked that he did not fear death, but the having to
appear before the Eternal Ruler, whose justice was incorruptible. He
blessed his pupils before his death with these words--"May the fear of
God influence your actions as much as the fear of man."

Immediately after the death of their master, his chief disciples held
council as to the place where they might continue the work of teaching
the Law. Most of them thought of remaining in Jabne, where there lived
a circle of men acquainted with the traditions of the past. Eleazar ben
Arach, the favorite pupil of Jochanan, however, insisted on removing
the school to Emmaus (Gimso), a healthy and pleasant town, three
geographical miles distant from Jabne. Believing that he was absolutely
needful to his fellow-students, and being persuaded by his wife that
they would soon follow him, he separated from them, and remained in
Emmaus. Solitary and cut off from the opportunity of exchanging ideas
with others, he is said to have so utterly forgotten what he once knew,
that amusing anecdotes are related of his subsequent ignorance. To
Arach was applied the saying, "Repair to the place of the Law, and do
not fancy that thy comrades will follow thee, and that they can uphold
the Law only through thee; do not rely too much on thy penetration."
Whilst Arach, from whom so much was hoped, was thus forgotten, his
companions continued the work of their master, and became renowned in
generations to come. Gamaliel, Joshua, and Eliezer came to the fore as
important personages.

It was first necessary to give a chief to the community, which, though
small, was yet respected by the Jews of all countries. Gamaliel was
chosen; he was the descendant of Hillel, and his ancestors had presided
over the Synhedrion throughout four generations. It must have been
necessary to remove political difficulties to enable the son of the man
who had been concerned in the uprising against the Romans, to attain so
high a rank. Gamaliel took the title Nasi (Prince--among the Romans,
Patriarch). He had his seat in Jabne, and was also sufficiently versed
in traditions to preside in the school. Although the town of Jabne was
of first importance, the members of the new college established some
schools outside of the town of Jabne, but in its neighborhood. Eliezer
taught at Lydda; Joshua at Bekiin, on the plains between Jabne and
Lydda; other pupils of Jochanan also opened schools; and each attracted
a circle of disciples, and was called by the title Rabbi (Master).
The Patriarch was called Rabban (General Master), to distinguish him
from the other teachers. The Law therefore was not left unheeded after
the death of the founder of the Jabne Synhedrion; it received, if
possible, even more attention; but the unity which had hardly been
established threatened to disappear altogether. The disputes between
the adherents of the schools of Hillel and Shammai, over which blood
had been shed before the destruction of the Temple, and which had only
been quelled by the war of the revolution, broke out afresh, and the
more severely, as the uniting influence proceeding from the Temple now
no longer existed. The contentions between the schools, which extended
to various practical matters, brought about wide divergence in the
views with regard to the Law and life. One teacher held some things
to be permissible which another forbade; and in one place things were
done which were not allowed in another. Thus Judaism seemed to have
two bodies of laws, or, according to the words of the Talmud--"The one
Law had become two." Important questions of life, sometimes involving
serious consequences, such as those concerning marriage, were affected
by these differences. The younger generation, relieved from the
necessity for mutual forbearance occasioned by the late war, had no
very strong desire to make peace, but contested the disputed questions
with great acrimony. The endeavor to terminate these quarrels, which
threatened the destruction of all unity, was the life-task of Gamaliel,
but his policy brought him into open collision with his friends.

Little is known of his private affairs, but this little shows him to
have possessed a high moral character and a powerful mind. Gamaliel
owned land, which he lent to be cultivated on condition that he
received a part of the harvest. He also gave corn for sowing purposes,
but when he was repaid he only accepted the lowest prices, in order
to avoid even the appearance of taking interest. He displayed great
tenderness to his favorite slave Tabi, whom he would willingly have
set free could he have done so, and had not the Law disapproved of
manumission. On the death of the slave he mourned for him as for a
relative. Gamaliel appears to have had some mathematical knowledge. In
fixing the new moon and the holidays dependent on it, he was guided
more by astronomical calculations than by the evidence of witnesses
that they had or had not seen the new moon. Such reckonings, exact even
to a fraction, were handed down in the house of the Patriarch. Gamaliel
often made journeys in order to visit the various congregations, to
be an eye-witness of their condition, and to keep them all in order.
His journeys took him over Judæa, into Galilee, and as far as Acco
(Ptolemais). Although he was not of robust health, he did not spare
himself the greatest exertions, when he could benefit his people. His
rule as Patriarch occurred in a very troubled time, both within and
without, and this circumstance caused him to insist on his dignity
most strictly. His character was thereby misunderstood, and he was
accused of forming selfish and ambitious plans. Gamaliel directed
his chief energies to raise the patriarchal dignity that it should
become the center of the Jewish community, so as to maintain by his
authority the threatened unity of the Law, and the religious and moral
condition of the people. In the contests between the disciples of the
schools of Shammai and Hillel he decreed that votes should be taken
with regard to each law in question, and that the decision should be
determined by the majority of votes in the college, in order to protect
by authority the threatened unity of the Law against all attacks. The
desire for unity seems to have been more generally felt, the more the
opposition between the two schools increased, and the more the two
sets of followers, who clung to the Halachas bequeathed to them by
their teachers, sought to develop their doctrines. Contemporaries did
not disguise from themselves the fact that the Law might easily be
subject to confusion through these differences. A fear was expressed
that the time would soon come when men would refer in vain to the
Holy Writings or to the Oral Law for a decision, and when one account
would contradict the other. The Synhedrion of Jabne, therefore, once
more subjected contested matters to discussion and decision. It began
with the fundamental propositions of Hillel and Shammai, in order to
fix by voting such rules as should hold good in all cases. But it was
not easy to obtain unity; for three and a half years the contest is
said to have lasted in the vineyards of Jabne, both parties insisting
on the exclusive correctness of their own traditions--the Shammaites
being especially stubborn and immovable, and, like the founder of
their school, not disposed to yield. Then a voice, heard by chance
(Bath-Kol), which was usually considered as a communication from heaven
in difficult cases, is said to have sounded through the school-house in
Jabne--a voice which said, "The teachings of both schools are the words
of the living God, but practically the laws of Hillel only are to carry
weight." Joshua, a man of calm disposition, alone expressed himself
against any decision arrived at by the Bath-Kol. "We do not require
a miraculous voice," he said, "for the Law is not given for heavenly
beings, but for men, who in questionable cases can decide by taking
a majority, and a miracle cannot in such cases give the decision."
Eliezer also was not satisfied with the conclusion arrived at, but this
opposition had only slight results. Hillel's expositions, deductions,
and explanatory rules at length attained the authority due to them.
As the followers of Shammai held with the Zealots, the enemies of the
Romans, and the Hillelites with the peace party, the revolution was
in some measure ended by this act of the Synhedrion of Jabne. But it
was not intended to exercise compulsion against the Shammaites, and so
entirely to reorganize their religious life according to the decision
arrived at; on the contrary it permitted them to follow their own
convictions. "Every man according to his choice may follow the school
of Hillel or of Shammai, but the decisions of the school of Hillel
shall be the only accepted interpretation of the Law." Rabbi Gamaliel
watched most carefully over the union of the two parties, which was
probably his work, and withstood any attempt to oppose the decisions
of the Synhedrion; he was supported by the venerable Zadok, to whom he
gave the place of honor at his right hand at all meetings, and who,
having beheld the Temple in its glory, was considered as an authority.

There seems to have been another regulation in use besides the above,
but the connection of the two is not very clear. The Patriarch of
Jabne made a rule that only such persons should be admitted to the
school-house whose uprightness had been proved; and for this purpose
he placed a porter at the doors of the school, in order to prevent the
admission of those who were unworthy. It appears that he desired to
exclude such as pursued the study of the Law with wrong intentions;
some, perhaps, had sought admission to the school from vanity or other
ignoble motives. Two warnings, the one by Jochanan ben Zakkai, and the
other by Zadok, against those who took part in the study of the Law
from self-interest, appear to confirm this supposition. The former
said, "If you have acquired much of the Law, do not be proud of it, for
you are made for that purpose." The latter said, "Do not use the Law as
a crown in order to shine with it, nor as a spade in order to dig with
it." Such low ideas Gamaliel endeavored to keep out of the circle of
the school.

Both arrangements, the employment of the authority of the Patriarch in
maintaining the Halachic decisions, and the precautions for admitting
members and disciples, met with opposition, which at first was only
timidly expressed. The Patriarch endeavored to keep down contests by
the use of excommunication, which he employed with great energy, and
with that entire disregard of consequences which arises from deeply
rooted conviction. The excommunication (Nidui) had not at that time
the gloomy severity of later ages, but was of a mild form; forbidding
the interdicted man to hold any close intercourse with others until
he had penitently submitted to the required demands. During the
interdict, which lasted at least thirty days, the sinner wore a black
mourning-garb and kept several mourning observances; if he died
during this period without having submitted or repented, the Court of
Justice had a stone laid on his coffin. Gamaliel had the courage to
excommunicate several of the most important personages of his time,
whereby he made many bitter enemies. He acted thus even towards his
own brother-in-law, Eliezer ben Hyrcanus. Deeply impressed by the
unfortunate results which disunion must bring to Judaism, threatened as
it already was by various half-Jewish, half-Christian sects, Gamaliel
did not hesitate to proceed with severity against trifling offenses,
in order to avoid the destruction of religious unity. There was once
a discussion about an oven of peculiar structure, which a decision of
the majority had pronounced liable to become unclean, like earthenware
vessels. Eliezer, following a special tradition, did not wish to
yield to this decision, and acted in opposition to it; at Gamaliel's
instigation, Eliezer was excommunicated.

Gamaliel thought that he had united the two schools, and had brought
about peace, when his power was destroyed by a man from whom he had
not expected any energetic opposition. Joshua, who was of a yielding
disposition, and apparently the least dangerous of the opponents
of the severe Patriarch, became his worst enemy. Joshua was just
as discontented with some of Gamaliel's regulations as Eliezer had
been, but he did not venture to show his disapproval on account of
his poor and miserable condition, and when he happened to utter any
contradictory opinion he quickly withdrew it again. Gamaliel had
received the report of two untrustworthy witnesses in order to fix the
commencement of the month of Tishri, on which depended the dates of the
chief festivals, including the Day of Atonement. Joshua showed that
the Patriarch had committed an error in this act, and demanded that
the college should change the date of the holiday. Gamaliel remained
firm, and sent an order to Joshua that on the day which, according
to Joshua's calculation, was the Day of Atonement, the latter should
appear before him in workaday clothes, with his staff, knapsack, and
money-bag. This dictatorial proceeding seemed so harsh to Joshua, that
he complained of it to his most important colleagues, and appeared
determined to oppose it. Those, however, who saw the necessity for
unity persuaded him to yield. The venerable Dossa ben Harchinas
convinced him that the arrangements of a religious chief must be
uncontested even if they are erroneous, and that every man must follow
them. Joshua allowed himself to be persuaded, and submitted to the
Patriarch. His appearance filled Gamaliel with astonishment. He greeted
him heartily, and said to him, "Welcome, my teacher and pupil--my
teacher in wisdom, my pupil in obedience. Happy is the age in which
great men obey inferior ones." But this reconciliation was not of long
duration. The severe proceedings of the Patriarch had raised a hostile
party against him, which began secretly to act in opposition to him. He
knew of this opposition party, and referred to it in public addresses.
It is related of him that his mode of opening the sittings of the
Synhedrion varied. If none of his opponents were present he would ask
the assembly to propound questions; if, however, any of his enemies
were present he would not give this invitation. The opposition party
seem therefore to have put him in a dilemma at these meetings. Gamaliel
may have had reason to consider Joshua as the chief of this party, and
often made him feel the power of his own higher position by offensive
demeanor and severe treatment. One day the mutual ill-feeling led to
an outbreak, and caused a change in the Synhedrion. The Patriarch had
once again offended Joshua by his severe manner, and accused him of
secret opposition to one of the Halachas. As Joshua at first denied
the fact, Gamaliel was so angered that he cried out, "Then stand, so
that witnesses may give evidence against you." This was the form of an
indictment. The school-house was full of people, amongst whom there
arose a tumult at this contemptuous treatment of a member who was
respected and loved by the people. The opposition party took courage,
and gave utterance to their dissatisfaction. They called out to the
Patriarch, "Who is there that has not constantly felt thy severity?"
The school was turned into a tribunal, and the college deposed Gamaliel
on the spot from the dignity of Patriarch. With his fall ended the
regulations made by him. The porter was removed from the door of the
school, to which all could now gain unobstructed admission. The
members of the Synhedrion immediately sought for another Patriarch, so
that this important office might not be unoccupied. They had too much
tact to heap fresh contumely on the late Patriarch by choosing Joshua,
his chief opponent, and Eliezer, who had a claim to the honor, lay
under an interdict. Akiba seemed fitted for the post by his intellect
and character. He had quickly risen from ignorance and poverty, had
rapidly passed the intervening steps between the degrees of pupil
and master, and had obtained admiration even from the profoundest
teachers of the Law. But his greatness was only of yesterday; he had no
distinguished ancestors to show that he was worthy of the dignity of
Patriarch. The college therefore chose a very young member, Eleazar ben
Azariah, who at that time must have been only in his sixteenth year.
The choice was made on account of his noble descent from a long line of
ancestors, which reached to Ezra, the regenerator of Judaism, a further
motive for his election being his immense riches and the consideration
in which he was held by the Roman authorities. Eleazar was not wanting
in character and understanding, and was therefore considered worthy to
succeed Gamaliel.

This deposition and election had great results, and the day on
which these events took place was considered of such importance by
after-comers that it was known by the simple designation, "that
day." It seems that the college of the Synhedrion, perhaps on the
suggestion of Joshua, again revised those laws which, through the
influence of Gamaliel, had been decided according to the spirit of
the school of Hillel. The college, which at that time consisted of
the extraordinary number of seventy-two members, therefore undertook
the revision of one-sided laws, and examined those who were in
possession of traditions. More than twenty persons are recorded to
have given testimony before the college as to the traditions which
had been handed down. In many points the majority of the college
took middle ground between the opposing doctrines of the schools of
Shammai and Hillel, and they decided "neither like the one nor like
the other." With regard to other contested questions it appeared that
Hillel himself, or his school, had renounced their own views, and had
been inclined to follow the Shammaites. The witnesses with regard
to the Halachas seem to have been formally examined, and perhaps
their evidence was even written down. The testimony of witnesses on
this day bears the name Adoyot (evidence of witnesses), or Bechirta
(best choice), and the code drawn up is without doubt the earliest
collection. One recognizes in its contents the ancient and primitive
form of the traditions. The laws are put together quite promiscuously,
and without any other connection than the name of the person who handed
them down.

The day of the assembly of witnesses was also of general importance,
on account of two questions which were discussed. The first question
arose thus. A heathen of Ammonite descent came before the meeting,
asking whether he could be legally accepted as a proselyte. Gamaliel
had turned him away with the sentence of the written law, "Moabites and
Ammonites may not be received into the congregation of God, even in the
tenth generation." The disputants treated the question with warmth, and
Gamaliel endeavored to have his view carried. Joshua, however, carried
his view that the sentence of the Law no longer applied to those times,
as, through the aggressions of their conquerors, all nations had become
mixed together and confused beyond recognition. The second question
concerned the holiness of the two writings ascribed to King Solomon,
Ecclesiastes (Kohelet), and the Song of Songs (Shir Hashirim). The
school of Shammai had not recognized them as holy. This old contest
was now taken up by the College of Seventy-two, which had not approved
of the decisions of Hillel, but it is not clearly known with what
result. Later on these Halachas were included in the collection (Canon)
of the Holy Writings, after which the Canon was completed and several
writings in the Hebrew language were rejected as Apocrypha, such as the
proverbs of Sirach, the first book of the Maccabees, and several others.

It is a noble characteristic of Gamaliel, which his contemporaries
readily recognized, that notwithstanding the many insults he received
on "that day," he did not for one moment feel a desire, from petty
revenge, to retire from his office of teacher. He took part in the
discussions as before, little prospect as there was for him to carry
through his ideas in the midst of an assemblage which was so opposed
to him. But in the eager controversies of the day he no doubt became
convinced that his great severity had estranged the others from him,
and that he had thereby suppressed many a true opinion; he felt his
courage broken and he determined to yield. He therefore went to
the most respected members of the Synhedrion, to apologize for his
offensive demeanor. He visited his chief opponent, Joshua, who was
following his handicraft of needle-making. Gamaliel, who had grown
up in riches, could not suppress his surprise at seeing so learned a
man engaged in such heavy work, and said, "Is it thus thou makest thy
living?" Joshua took the opportunity frankly to put before him the
indifference shown to the sad condition of several worthy men--"It is
bad enough," said Joshua, "that thou hast only just discovered it. Woe
to the age, whose leader thou art, that thou dost not know of the cares
of the learned and what difficulty they have to support themselves."
Joshua had uttered the same reproach when Gamaliel had admired his
astronomical knowledge; he had modestly repudiated his admiration,
and pointed out two pupils who possessed distinguished mathematical
attainments, but who hardly had bread and clothes. Gamaliel at last
besought his enraged opponent to forgive him, out of consideration for
the highly honored house of Hillel. Joshua thereupon expressed himself
as satisfied, and promised to work for Gamaliel's reinstatement in the
position of Patriarch. The next step was to induce the newly-elected
Nasi to give up his dignity, upon which he had only just entered. There
was a certain amount of delicacy in making the suggestion to him.
Akiba, who was ever ready to be of service, undertook the delicate
commission, the execution of which, however, was not made at all
difficult for him. For hardly had Eleazar, the newly-elected Patriarch,
heard that peace was made between Gamaliel and his chief enemy, than he
was immediately prepared to return to private life; he even offered to
pay a visit to Gamaliel, attended by the whole College. The arrangement
made between the Patriarch and Eleazar was that the former should
always preside for the first two weeks, and hold the classes, and that
the latter, as Vice-President, should do the same in the third week.

In this way the strife ended; it had arisen neither from ambition nor
pride, but only from an erroneous view of the Patriarch's functions.
These disagreements were soon forgotten, and thenceforward Gamaliel
lived in peace with the members of the Synhedrion. Perhaps the position
of affairs under the Emperor Domitian had diverted the public attention
from internal matters, and caused the necessity for union to be felt,
in order to avert the dangers which threatened from without.

Gamaliel represented in this circle of scholars that desire for
unity and authority which might regulate from one center the entire
religious and national life of the people. His brother-in-law,
Eliezer, son of Hyrcanus, represented the other party, namely, those
who maintained their own views and refused to submit to universally
binding enactments. From his earliest youth Eliezer had devoted himself
to the acquirement of Halachas, and these he impressed so firmly on
his memory that, as he himself said, not a grain of them should be
lost. His teacher, Jochanan, therefore called him "a sealed cistern
which lets no drop pass." It was in accordance with this method that
Eliezer taught at Lydda (Diospolis), a place which had formerly been a
race-course. When he was questioned as to a law, he either replied as
he had been taught by his teachers, or openly acknowledged "I do not
know; I have not been told." During his stay once in Cæsarea Philippi
in Upper Galilee, thirty questions were put to him for decision, to
which he replied, "To twelve of these I can give the decision which has
been handed down to me; for the other eighteen I have no tradition."
Being asked whether he only taught what had been handed down to him,
he replied, "You compel me now to impart something which has not been
communicated to me; for know that in my whole life I have never taught
a single word which has not been handed down to me by my teachers."
In order to escape troublesome questions which he did not know how
to answer, he would put cross-questions from which could be seen his
disinclination to discuss the matter. He was once asked whether an
illegitimate child could succeed to property, and he asked in return,
"Whether it would be legally considered as a brother." To the question
whether one might paint a house white after the destruction of the
Temple, he put the cross-question whether one would paint a grave, thus
keeping firm to his rule never to pronounce a decision which had not
been made certain to him by oral tradition. To the keenest deductions
he usually opposed the simple reply, "I have not heard it." In order
to maintain this peculiar view, he seems to have impressed on his
pupils, "Keep your children from searching (Higayon); let them rather
be brought up on the knees of the wise."

Eliezer was therefore the conservative element in the Synhedrion; he
was the organ of tradition, which retained the Halachas precisely as
it received them; he was the "sealed cistern" which did not permit one
drop of water to run away, nor one fresh drop to find entrance. His
contemporaries and successors gave him the honored name of "Sinai," a
living tablet of the Law, inscribed with unchangeable precepts. Greatly
as he was respected, however, as a faithful keeper of the traditional
Law, he nevertheless was somewhat isolated on account of his clinging
exclusively to traditions. His colleagues had gone too far on the road
pointed out by Hillel to be satisfied with merely keeping the Law;
they desired also to extend and develop it. Eliezer necessarily came
into collision with the tendency of the times. He was most strongly
opposed to his brother-in-law, Gamaliel, and his method of exclusion
in striving for unity. On the one side was authority supported by a
powerful will, which kept down any revolt against the law adopted; and
on the other side was the secure knowledge which finds its sanction
in the past. Such opposites could not be easily reconciled, nor was
Eliezer the man to give up his convictions. He was in fact reproached
for his unbending character, which refused to submit to others, and
which made him express his opinions in harsh terms. The respect which
was felt for him personally made it difficult to inform him of the
fact that he was excommunicated, but Akiba once more undertook the
office of conveying the unpleasant news. Dressed in black, he went to
Eliezer and gently broke to him the sentence, and addressed him in
these words, "It appears to me that thy comrades shun thee." Eliezer
understood the hint, and took the blow without murmuring; he submitted
to the excommunication, and lived apart from his friends. He took only
a distant interest in the discussions pursued in Jamnia. When he heard
any important decision, he used to look among the treasures of the
Halachas in order to confirm or dispute it.

Without exercising any influence over affairs or taking part in the
development of the Law, Eliezer lived his last years in flourishing
material circumstances, but in a dreary state of mind. In his misery
he gave utterance to a sentence which is in marked contrast to the
sentiments of his comrades. "Warm thyself," he said, "at the fire of
the wise, but beware of the coals that thou dost not burn thyself, for
their bite is as that of the jackal, their sting like the scorpion's,
their tongues like the tongues of snakes, and their words are burning
coals." These are the bitter words of a pained spirit, but they do not
deny to his opponents a measure of justification.

A striking contrast to the stubbornness of Eliezer, and the no less
unbending despotism of Gamaliel, is offered by Joshua ben Chananya. He
was the yielding, pliable, peaceable element in this newly constituted
Jewish body. He protected the Law and the people from one-sided and
exaggerated ideas, and became the promoter of the study of the Law and
the benefactor of his people. As a young Levite of the choir he had
seen the glory of the Temple, and had sung the psalms in its halls.
Together with his teacher he had left Jerusalem, and after the death of
the latter had founded a school in Bekiin. Here he taught his pupils,
and carried on the humble handicraft of making needles, by which he
maintained his family. Through his twofold occupation Joshua was
brought into communication both with scholars and the common people;
and he endeavored to unite the two, and was the only man who possessed
power over the minds and will of the masses. He was personally so ugly
that an empress's daughter once asked him how it was so much wisdom was
incorporated in so ugly a form. Whereupon Joshua answered that wine was
not kept in casks of gold.

Besides an acquaintance with tradition, he seems to have possessed some
astronomical knowledge, which enabled him to calculate the irregular
course of the comets. This knowledge was once of great use to him
when he was on a journey. He had started on a voyage with Gamaliel,
and had laid in more provisions than were usually necessary for the
journey. The ship took an erratic course for some time, because its
captain, deceived by the sight of a certain star, had steered in a
wrong direction. Gamaliel's provisions having been consumed, he was
astonished that this was not the case with his companion, but that,
in fact, he could even spare some for him. Thereupon Joshua informed
him that he had calculated on the return of a star (a comet), which
reappeared every seventy years, and which would mislead the ignorant
sailor, and that therefore he (Joshua) had provided himself with extra
food for this emergency. This astronomical knowledge of Joshua appears
the more surprising, as the cycles of the comets were known not even
to the learned of antiquity. But Joshua was yet more distinguished
for his modesty and gentleness than for knowledge and wisdom, and
these qualities he displayed also in teaching. He was opposed to all
exaggeration and eccentricity, and gave heed to the circumstances of
daily life when making a legal decision.

Joshua warmly expressed his disapproval of the numerous measures which
the school of Shammai had introduced before the destruction of the
Temple, under the name of "the eighteen rules," and which rendered
impossible all closer relations or friendly communications with the
heathens. He said, "On that day, the school of Shammai went beyond all
bounds in their decisions; they behaved as one who pours water into a
vessel containing oil; the more water one pours in, the more oil runs
off," which meant that, by introducing a number of superfluous details,
the really important things were lost. Joshua seems also to have
opposed the unmeasured deductions of the Hillelite school. He said that
the regulations respecting the Sabbath, festive offerings, and misuse
of holy things, have but slight foundation in Holy Writ, but have many
Halachas in their support.

The balanced and calm character of Joshua rendered him especially
fitted for the part of intermediary between the Jewish nation and
Roman intolerance. He was the only teacher who sought and enjoyed
the confidence of the Roman rulers; without betraying his trust to
the Romans, he yet persuaded the opposing forces to be mutually more
yielding. The death of Gamaliel, and the hostile attitude of the Jews
towards the Romans during the last years of the Emperor Trajan and the
early years of Hadrian's reign, seem to have torn Joshua away from his
petty trade, and to have put the public leadership into his hands.
It is not improbable that he assumed the patriarchal position; at
least the circumstance that he removed the ban from Eliezer after the
latter's death, an act which could be performed only by a patriarch,
or one equal in authority, affords some ground for this supposition.
Joshua's activity during the last years of his life forms an important
part of the history of his times.

Amongst the personages of this period, Akiba ben Joseph was
unquestionably the most talented, original and influential. His
youthful days and mental development are shrouded in darkness, as
is often the case with characters who leave their mark in history;
but legends have cast sufficient light to show the obscurity of his
descent. According to one legend, he was a proselyte, and a descendant
of Sisera, who fell through a woman's deceit. Another legend represents
him as a servant of Kalba-Sabua, one of the three richest men of
Jerusalem, who, by their provisions, wished to prevent for many years
the famine occasioned by the siege. The legend adds that the daughter
of one of these wealthy men of Jerusalem, named Rachel, had bestowed
her love on Akiba, on the condition that he should follow the study
of the Law. In those days this meant to acquire culture, and thus, in
his fortieth year, Akiba entered a school, in order to take his first
lessons to obtain the knowledge in which he was deficient. During the
period of his studies the daughter of Kalba-Sabua had remained faithful
to him, living in the greatest poverty, to which her father in his
anger had reduced her by casting her adrift. Of these stories so much
is certain, that Akiba was very ignorant until he was well advanced in
years, that he and his wife lived under very straitened circumstances,
and he related later on that during the period of his ignorance, he
hated those who were versed in the Law.

Meanwhile his slumbering mind did not develop so quickly as the
legend relates. One source declares that he was one of the pupils of
Eliezer during many years, without ever showing himself worthy of
receiving an instructive reply from him. His teacher appears to have
regarded him with a certain amount of contempt. Perhaps the peculiar
system, pursued by Rabbi Akiba with regard to the newer Halachas, also
excited Eliezer's disapproval. Akiba had learned this new system under
Nachum of Gimso (or Emmaus), under whom he studied, not, indeed, for
two-and-twenty years, as the legend relates. Akiba raised what was
incomplete and fragmentary in this school to a complete system, and
thus he stands at a turning-point in Jewish history.

The peculiar system of Akiba was built on certain principles, and in
fact he may be considered as the only systematic Tanai. In this system
the law was not considered as a dead treasure incapable of growth or
development, or, as it was in the eyes of Eliezer, a wealth of mere
memories, but it formed an everlasting quarry in which, with proper
means, new treasures might always be found. New laws were also no
longer to be formulated by the voice of a majority, but were to be
justified by and founded on the written documents of the Holy Word. As
the fundamental doctrine of his system, Akiba maintained that the style
of the Torah, especially in parts relating to the laws (Halachas), was
quite different from that of other writings. Human language, besides
the indispensable words employed, requires certain expressions,
figures of speech, repetitions, and enlargements--in fact it takes a
certain form which is almost unnecessary for conveying the writer's
meaning, but which is used as a matter of taste, in order to round
off the sentences and to make them more finished and artistic. In the
language of the Torah, on the other hand, no weight is put on the form;
nothing is superfluous, no word, no syllable, not even a letter; every
peculiarity of expression, every additional word, every sign is to be
regarded as of great importance, as a hint of a deeper meaning that
lies buried within. Akiba added a number of explanatory and deductive
rules to those of Hillel and Nachum, and his additions afforded fresh
means of development for the traditional law. When a deduction had been
obtained by the correct use of the rules, such conclusion might again
be employed as the foundation for fresh deductions, and so on, in a
continuous chain.

Akiba was not to be restrained in this course by any consequences
whatsoever. He had opened up a new path with his system, and a new
point of view. The Oral Law, of which it had been said that it hung
on a hair and had no firm ground in Holy Writ, was thus placed on a
firmer basis, and the dissensions concerning the Halachas were to a
considerable degree diminished. Akiba's contemporaries were surprised,
dazzled, and inspired by his theories, which were new and yet old.
Tarphon, who had at one time been the superior of Akiba, said to
him, "He who departs from thee departs from life eternal; for what
has been forgotten in the handing down, that dost thou give afresh
in thy explanations." It was acknowledged that the Law would have
been forgotten or neglected, had not Akiba given it his support. With
exaggerated enthusiasm, it was said that many enactments of law, which
were unknown to Moses, were revealed to Akiba.

Just as Akiba had recognized and confirmed the worth of the traditional
law, he also assisted in reducing it to a methodical system and order.
He laid the foundation for the possible collection of the rich material
at hand. It has already been stated that the Halachas were strung
together without connection or systematic grouping; it was therefore
necessary, in order to retain the entire mass, to maintain years of
intimacy with those who were acquainted with the Halachas, to be
untiringly industrious, and to have a faithful memory. Akiba, however,
facilitated the study of the Halachas by arranging them in groups, and
thus assisted the memory. The arranging of the Halachas he carried
out in two ways. He put them together according to their context, so
that all Halachas concerning the Sabbath, marriage laws, divorces, and
property should form independent wholes. Thus the entire matter was
divided into six similar parts, each part bearing the name Masechta
(Textus--Division). These divisions he arranged according to numbers,
so as to give a useful aid to the memory; thus, from four causes
injuries to property might occur; five classes of men could be excluded
from the tithes of the priests; fifteen classes of women were prevented
by consanguinity from intermarrying with their brothers-in-law;
thirty-six kinds of sins are recorded in the Holy Writings as being
punished by extermination. The collection of the Halachas, instituted
by Akiba, was called the Mishna, or more fully Mishna of Rabbi Akiba,
to distinguish it from the later collection; in Christian circles it
was known under the name of Akiba's Deuterosis. It was also called
Midoth (Measures), probably on account of the numbers which form the
basis of arrangement. This Mishna or Midoth, though arranged, was not
written down; the contents remained as before traditional, but an
easier method was employed in classifying them. It is hardly probable
that Akiba alone completed and arranged all this material. His pupils
no doubt assisted in this collection which, later on, formed the
foundation of the code that terminated the whole traditional system.

The older Mishnas (Mishna Rishona) were often separated from the later
(Mishna Acharona, or Mishna of Rabbi Akiba), and the latter were taken
as the norm. The name of the new founder of the Oral Law became,
through his peculiar mode of teaching, one of the most celebrated in
the Jewish communities far and wide. His mysterious descent and his
lowly origin only heightened the interest felt in him. The number of
his hearers is exaggerated by tradition, which fixes it at twelve
thousand, and even double that number, but a more modest record
represents them as amounting to three hundred. Accompanied by this
numerous band of disciples, Akiba again visited his wife Rachel, who
for some years had lived apart from him in the greatest poverty. The
scene of their meeting is touchingly described, and her hard-hearted
father, Kalba-Sabua, proud of such a son-in-law, is said to have
bequeathed to him his whole property. From this time Akiba lived in
great riches with his wife, who had previously been so poor that she
slept on a bed of straw. His gratitude to his sorely tried wife was in
proportion to the sacrifices which she had made for him.

Akiba had his fixed domicile in Bene-Berak, where his school was
situated. The position of this spot, which, through him, became so
celebrated, is supposed to be southeast of Joppa. Others place it
yet more to the south, near Ashdod; but Akiba was a member of the
Synhedrion in Jabne, and it was but seldom that any measure was
determined without him.

In the development of Jewish law, in which Akiba had wrought such
changes, Ishmael ben Elisha took an important part. He demanded the
explanation of the written law from the common-sense view, and was thus
one of the chief opponents of Akiba's system. According to Ishmael,
the divine precepts of the Torah are expressed in human language, in
which various figures of speech, linguistic repetitions and oratorical
modes of expression occur, on which, however, no weight should be
laid, as they are a mere matter of form. He thus put aside the various
deductions of Akiba, which were based on an apparently superfluous
(pleonastic) word, or even letter of the alphabet. Akiba deduced, for
example, the punishment of death by fire against the adulterous married
daughter of a priest from one letter of the alphabet, on which Ishmael
remarked--"On account of one letter of the alphabet thou wouldst
inflict death by burning!" Ishmael had his own school, which was known
under the name of Be-Rabbi Ishmael. He there developed the rules
which were to be employed in explaining and applying the Written Law.
He amplified Hillel's seven rules of interpretation into thirteen, by
subdividing one into several, while he rejected another, and on his own
authority added one which was quite new.

The thirteen deductive rules of Ishmael are recognized as the complete
form, but the system of Akiba, although partly opposed to it, was not
thereby excluded from use, for both were equally employed by succeeding
teachers. There is but little else known of Ishmael. He belongs to a
circle which, doubtless for political reasons, was relegated by the
Synhedrion from Jabne to Usha. He subsequently paid for his love for
his nation and the Law with his life. Akiba, though an opponent of the
theories held by him, gave a funeral address in praise of him, and was
impressed with the idea that a similar fate would soon befall himself.

These five men--Gamaliel, the arranger; Eliezer, the strict upholder
of tradition; Joshua, the conciliator; Akiba, the systematizer; and
Ishmael, the clear thinker, were the center-point of that period; they
formed the rays which, starting from one point, diverge in order to be
finally reunited in another.

The maintaining and cultivation of the inherited Law was a point of
union for all men of activity and intelligence, and to it they turned
all their energy, mind and power. The numerous teachers of this second
generation of Tanaites were called the Armed (Baâle Trêssin), because
the Synhedrion and schools constituted a battle-field on which the
combatants contested for the Law (machai nomikai). The group was
composed partly of members of the Synhedrion who had a voice in every
decision; partly of ordained members who, through the ceremony of
"laying on of hands," were elevated to the rank of "wise men," from
whose midst the college was wont to fill up vacancies; and, lastly,
there were disciples who sat on the ground as listeners at "the feet
of the masters."

Amongst the most important members was Tarphon of Lydda; he was rich
and generous, passionate and hasty--a zealous enemy of the Jewish
Christians. Further, there were Eliezer of Modin, an authority on
Agadic explanations; and José, the Galilæan, whose heart was soft
and full of love for humanity. There was also Isebab, the clerk of
the Synhedrion; Chuzpit, the public orator or interpreter; Judah
ben Baba, the Chassidæan (he probably belonged to the order of the
Essenes); Chananya ben Teradion, who, together with those just named,
suffered the death of a martyr. Besides these were Eleazar Chasma
and Jochanan ben Gudgada, both of whom were celebrated on account of
their deep mathematical knowledge and their poverty, but they were
put in possession of lucrative posts by the patriarch at the express
intervention of Joshua; Jochanan ben Nuri, a zealous disciple of
Gamaliel; Joseph ben Kisma, an admirer of the Romans; and, lastly,
Ilai and Chalafta, both of whom became better known through their
sons. From the class of disciples only four distinguished themselves
in history, Samuel, the younger, and three others--all of whom were
named Simon. The disciples consisted of those who, for some reason,
had not been amongst the ordained, and who were thus excluded from
certain functions, such as membership of the Synhedrion and the
holding of certain judicial offices. To these was denied the title
of Rabbi--equivalent to the title of doctor in our times, but not
corresponding to the title of Reverend. The title of Rabbi was, in
fact, first used from the time of the destruction of the Temple, and
was probably introduced by the disciples of Jochanan ben Zakkai, who
were called master by their adherents.

Samuel the Younger (Hakaton) was a man of rare modesty and abnegation,
a "true disciple of Hillel"; he was chiefly known for his condemnation
of the Jewish Christians, and for the prophetic glance, which, when on
his death-bed, he cast into the gloomy future. He uttered the prophetic
words: "Simon and Ishmael are doomed to destruction; the nation is
threatened with anarchy, and heavy persecutions will follow." Those
around knew not what to make of his utterances, but he foresaw the
coming troubles under Hadrian. Samuel died childless, and the Patriarch
himself delivered an address in his memory.

Simon ben Nanos was renowned on account of his intimate acquaintance
with the law of the individual, and Ishmael recommended all those who
were learned in the Law to cultivate an acquaintance with ben-Nanos.
Simon ben Asai was an enemy to marriage, and, together with Simon ben
Zoma, he became absorbed in the theosophic speculations of the times.
Amongst the great number of teachers of the Law, of whom many lost
their lives, only one is named as having deserted his people, and thus
having attained to undesirable notoriety. This was Elisha ben Abuya,
better known by his apostate name Acher, who became a persecutor of the
Law and of those who adhered to it. Outside of Judæa, and particularly
in Babylon, there existed centers for the growth of spiritual activity.
Judah ben Bathyra, who taught in Nisibis, a town in Babylon, was
probably a descendant of the family Bene Bathyra, which, in the time
of King Herod, had been at the head of the Synhedrion. In Nahardea,
Nehemia is named as the teacher of the traditional Law in Beth-Deli.
From this center there seems to have originated, as will be shown later
on, the chief opposition to Trajan's plans for conquest in the district
of the Euphrates. In Asia Minor, likewise, the study of the Halachas
was pursued, though the names of its teachers have not been preserved.
Cæsarea, the capital of Cappadocia (also called Mazaca), appears to
have been the chief seat of this branch of study. Rabbi Akiba, during
his journey in Asia Minor, found in the latter place a man learned in
traditions, who held a discussion with him concerning the Halachas.
The Jews of Egypt, who had closed the temple of Onias at the command
of Vespasian, and had thus lost their seat of learning, appear to have
pursued their studies of the Halachas in Alexandria. They continued to
occupy themselves with the translation of such writings as resembled
the Holy Writ or the Apocryphal Literature. Sirach translated the
sayings of his grandfather into Greek, and others translated the book
of Susannah and the Letter of Baruch. Additions were also made to the
Books of Esther and Daniel. These later additions to Hebrew poetry
were considered by Christians as part of the Bible. In Judæa, however,
no attention was paid to these foreign schools, but the Synhedrion of
Jabne was regarded as the supreme authority.



    Inner Life of the Jews--Sphere of Action of the Synhedrion
    and the Patriarch--The Order of Members and Moral
    Condition of the Common People--Relation of Christianity
    towards Judaism--Sects--Jewish Christians--Pagan
    Christians--Ebionites--Nazarenes--The Gnostics--Regulations
    of the Synhedrion against Christianity--Proselytes at
    Rome--Aquilas and his translation of the Bible--Berenice and
    Titus--Domitian--Josephus and the Romans.

The Synhedrion of Jamnia had become the heart of the Jewish nation,
whence life and activity streamed forth to the most distant
communities. Thence proceeded all arrangements and decisions relating
to religious matters, which were to become popular, and the observance
of which was to be ensured. The nation regarded the Synhedrion as
a remnant of the State, and paid to the Nasi (the President), a
member of the house of Hillel and a descendant of David, an amount of
reverence such as might be shown to royalty. The Greek title Ethnarch,
which means Ruler of the People, and which approaches nearest to the
description of a king, seems to show that with the Patriarchate was
associated the princely dignity. Therefore the people were proud of the
house of Hillel, because through its members the ruling power remained
in the house of David, and thus the prediction of the patriarch Jacob
was verified, "that the scepter should not depart from the tribe of
Judah." After the Patriarch came his representative Ab-beth-din,
and the Chacham (the Wise), whose special office is not known. The
Patriarch had the right of appointing judges and the officers of
the congregation, and probably supervised their actions. The Roman
government had not yet interfered with the communal arrangements of
the Jews so far as to cause the judicial offices to be performed by
Romans. The authority of the Patriarch left the power of the teacher,
however, undiminished in certain of the schools; they could confer on
their disciples the dignities of judge or teacher of the people, and
the assent of the Patriarch was not required. The master laid his hand
on the head of the pupil, and this ordination was called _Semicha_, or
_Minui_, and meant Nomination, Ordination, or Promotion. The ordained
bore the title _Zaken_ (Elder), which was almost equivalent to that
of Senator, for through this ordination they obtained the right of
membership of the Council when the choice should fall on them.

The chief activity of the Patriarch was felt at the public meetings of
the Synhedrion. He occupied the highest place, supported by the chief
members who were seated around in a half-circle. Behind these members,
whose number at this time was probably seventy, there were several rows
of the ordained, behind whom stood the pupils, and at the back the
people seated on the ground witnessed the proceedings.

The Patriarch opened the meeting either by introducing some subject of
discussion from the Laws, or by inviting the members to speak by the
formula "Ask." If he himself spoke first, he uttered some sentences
softly to the Meturgeman, who then developed and explained them in an
oratorical manner. Any person had the right to put questions: while
the discussion was being held the assembly would divide into groups
and debate on the matter. The president had the right to close the
discussion, and to bring about its conclusion by saying, "The subject
has been sufficiently discussed." After the conclusion no one was
permitted to return to theoretical discussions. It appears that the
ordained members also had the right of voting. In voting on criminal
cases all votes were taken, the youngest members beginning, so that
they, by coming first, might not be guided by the most influential men;
in other matters this method was reversed. Such was the procedure at
meetings of the Synhedrion when questions were to be answered, disputed
laws to be settled, new arrangements introduced, or old ones to be set

The Patriarch also exercised an important function in fixing the dates
of the festivals. The Jewish Calendar was not permanently fixed, but
had to be regulated from time to time. The year was in fact partly
solar, partly lunar, the festivals being dependent on the course of the
moon, and on the influence of the sun on the harvests, and the varying
course of the solar and lunar years had to be equalized. Thus, when
the solar year exceeded the lunar by a month, which occurred every two
or three years, a month was inserted, and this leap-year contained
thirteen lunar months. The length of the months was also uncertain;
a month, according to tradition, was to commence when the new moon
became visible, and this period was decided partly by astronomical
calculations and partly by the evidence of actual witnesses. As soon
as the witnesses reported to the Synhedrion that the first streak of
the young moon was visible, that day was fixed as the first day of the
month, provided it concurred with calculations made. If no witnesses
presented themselves, the doubtful day was counted in the current
month. The month thus contained twenty-nine or thirty days. The new
moon was celebrated in a solemn manner, and was announced in earlier
times by means of bonfires, which could easily be used in a mountainous
country throughout the land. Burning torches were seen on the Mount of
Olives, as also on Mount Sartaba (Alexandrion), and on Mount Tabor,
and so on, as far as Beth-Beltis, on the Babylonian frontier. On the
doubtful day between the two months the Babylonian community looked
out for the signal, and repeated it for the benefit of those who lived
afar. The congregations in Egypt, in Asia Minor and in Greece, however,
could not use bonfires, they were uncertain as to the day on which the
new moon fell, and, therefore, they kept two days instead of one. The
intercalary month was announced by the Patriarch in a circular letter
to the community.

The Patriarch Gamaliel introduced the use of set prayers. Although some
of the prayers were very ancient, and were used in the Temple at the
time of the burnt-offerings, yet the chief prayers of those days were
not formulated, but each man was left to pray in whatever words his
feelings dictated to him. Gamaliel introduced the daily prayers, the
eighteen _Berachoth_ (blessings), which are used in the synagogues at
the present day. It is not known by whom the prayers were introduced
for the Sabbath and the Festivals. Prayers were universally considered
as a substitute for offerings, and were called "the offerings of the
heart." The public service was very simple; there were no official
readers, any one who had attained a certain age and was of good repute
could pray; the congregation called on him to do so, and he was named
"the delegate of the community." He stood before the ark in which lay
the scrolls of the Law, and, therefore, to pray was called "to go
before the ark."

The Law, with the exception of the sacrificial system, was strictly
enforced. The tithes were paid to the descendants of Aaron, the corners
of the fields were left standing for the poor, and every three years
the poor-tithes were paid. In remembrance of the Temple, for whose
restoration the most earnest hopes were awakened, many observances
were retained, which could only be of meaning there. All those who
fulfilled strictly the requirements of the Law, giving up the tenth
part of all the fruits which they possessed, formed a sort of order
(_Chaburah_), the members of which were called fellows (_Chaberim_).

In contradistinction to this order were the peasants--the slaves of
the soil. A striking picture is given of the neglected mental and
moral state of these peasants, to which the frequent rebellions during
the last years of the Jewish state no doubt contributed. They only
observed such laws as appealed to their rude senses, and knew nothing
of a higher life. The members of the order would not eat or live with
them, and even kept aloof from them, that their clothes might not be
made unclean by contact. It was said by contemporaries that the hatred
between the two classes was stronger than that felt between Jews and

Thus left to themselves and cut off from the higher classes and from
all share in communal life, without a leader or adviser, the peasants
easily fell under the influence of young Christianity. Jesus and his
disciples had especially turned towards the unprotected class, and had
there found the greater number of their followers. How flattering it
must have been to these neglected beings to hear that on their account
the Messiah had come, that he had been executed so that they might
have a share in the good things of which they had been deprived, more
especially of happiness in a better world. The Law deprived them of
their rights, while Christianity opened the kingdom of heaven to them!

The teachers of the Law, absorbed in the task of upholding the Law and
Jewish life, overlooked the element from which a mighty foe to the Law
would arise. Before they realized it they found an enemy on their own
ground, who was desirous of obtaining the treasure which they had
watched with such devotion. The development of Christianity as a branch
of Judaism, drawing sustenance from its roots, constitutes, so long as
its followers belonged to the Jewish people, a part of Jewish history.

Of the small group of a hundred and twenty persons, who, after the
death of Jesus, had formed his sole followers, a Christian community
had been formed, especially through the energy of Paul. He endeavored
to win over the heathens by the belief in the resurrection of Christ,
and the Jews by the belief that the actual appearance of the Messiah
had proved the inefficacy of the Jewish Law. Christianity could no
longer be contemptuously overlooked, but began to be a new element in
history. But the doctrine of Paul that the Jewish Law was unnecessary,
had sown the seed of dissension in primitive Christianity, and the
followers of Jesus were divided into two great parties, which were
again divided into smaller sects, with special views and modes of life.
Sectarianism did not show itself for the first time in Christianity,
as is supposed, in the second century, but was present at its very
commencement, and was a necessary result of fundamental differences.
The two great parties, which were arrayed in sharp opposition, were, on
the one hand, the _Jewish_ Christians, and, on the other, the _Pagan_
Christians. The Jewish Christians, belonging to the original community,
which was composed of Jews, were closely connected with Judaism. They
observed the Jewish laws in all their details, and pointed to the
example of Jesus, who himself had lived according to Jewish laws. They
put these words into the mouth of the founder of the religion, "Sooner
shall heaven and earth disappear, than that an iota or a grain of the
Law shall not be fulfilled"; further, "I have not come to destroy the
Law of Moses, but to fulfil it." They entertained a hostile spirit
towards the Pagan Christians, and applied to them one of the sayings
of Jesus, "He who alters any, even the most trivial of the laws, and
teaches mankind accordingly, shall be the last in the kingdom of
heaven; but he who obeys them, and teaches them, shall be considered
great in the kingdom of heaven." Even the devotion of Jewish Christians
to Jesus was not of a nature to separate them from Judaism. They
considered him as a holy and morally great man, who was descended in
the natural way from the race of David. This son of David had advanced
the kingdom of heaven because he taught men to live modestly and in
poverty, like the Essenes, from whose midst, in fact, Christianity had
sprung. From their contempt of riches and preference for poverty they
bore the name of Ebionites or Ebionim (poor), which was travestied by
their Christian opponents into a nickname meaning "poor in spirit."
Fearing to be eclipsed by the other party, the primitive Jewish
Christian community sent out messengers to the foreign communities, in
order to impress on them not only the Messianic character of Jesus,
but also the duty which they owed to the Law. Thus they founded
Judæo-Christian colonies, of which that at Rome in time became the

In opposition to these were the heathen Christians. As the term "Son
of God," as used in the language of the prophets, contained an idea
entirely incomprehensible to them, they interpreted it according to
their own mode of thought, as meaning God's actual Son, a conception
which was as clear and acceptable to the heathen as it was strange
and repulsive to the Jews. When once the idea of a Son of God was
accepted, it became necessary to eliminate from the life of Jesus
all those traits which appertained to him as a human being, such as
his natural birth from parents, and thus the statement developed
that this Son of God was born of a virgin through the Holy Ghost.
The first great difference between the Ebionites and the heathen
Christians lay in their views concerning the person of Jesus; the one
honoring him as the son of David, the other worshiping him as the Son
of God. The second point turned on the stress to be laid on the laws
of Judaism. The heathen party paid but little attention to the laws
relating to the community of property and contempt for riches, which
were the chief ends of Ebionite Christianity. The heathen or Hellenic
Christians had their chief seat in Asia Minor, namely, in seven cities,
which, in the symbolical language of that time, were called the seven
stars and the seven golden lamps. Ephesus was the chief of these
heathen Christian congregations. Between the Ebionite and Hellenic
congregations, which possessed in common only the name of the founder,
there arose strained relations and a mutual dislike, which became
more bitter with time. Paul and his disciples were fiercely hated by
the Jewish Christians. They did not cease, even after his death, to
use expressions of contempt against the circumcised apostle who only
spread error. Admiring the unity and solidarity which prevailed in the
Jamnian Synhedrion, in contrast to the dissensions which reigned in the
Christian community, a Jewish Christian wrote: "Our fellow-tribesmen
follow to the present day the same law concerning the unity of God and
the proper mode of life, and cannot form a different opinion of the
meaning of the Scriptures. It is only according to prescribed rules
that they endeavor to bring into agreement the sayings of Scripture,
but they do not permit a man to teach unless he has learnt beforehand
how to explain the Holy Scriptures. They have but one God, one Law,
one hope. If we do not follow the same course, our word of truth will,
through the variety of opinion, be shattered. This I know, not as a
prophet, but because I see the root of the evil; for some of the
heathens have put aside with the Law the prophecies in agreement with
it, and have adopted the unlawful and absurd teachings of an enemy
(Paul)." These words are placed in the mouth of Peter, the second of
the apostles. But the Ebionites not only called Paul's predictions and
instructions, of which he thought so much, unlawful and absurd, but
gave him a nickname, which was meant to brand him and his followers.
They called him Simon Magus, a half-Jewish (Samaritan) wizard, who is
said to have bewitched all the world with his words. He was said also
to have been baptized, but it was asserted that he had not received
his position as apostle through the Holy Ghost from Jesus' disciples,
but had sought it through bribes to the Ebionite community. The honor
was not only absolutely refused to him, but Simon Peter had threatened
him with damnation, for his heart was full of deceit, bitterness, and
injustice. The freedom from the Jewish Law inaugurated by Paul was
characterized as unbridled license, as the teaching of Balaam, which
brought in its train the worship of idols and the pursuit of vice.
The leaders of the heathens did not hesitate to reply in a similar
strain, and perhaps repaid their opponents with even greater hatred
when, to religious opposition, there was added the dislike of the
Romans and Greeks to the Jews, even after they had become followers
of Jesus. In the larger Christian congregations the two sects often
fell into distinct groups and became isolated from each other. In the
circular letters, which the chiefs of the various Christian parties
were accustomed to send to the communities, they made use of sharp
or condemnatory observations against the opponents of the opinions
which they held to be the only true ones. Even the stories of the
birth of Jesus, his works, sufferings, death and resurrection, which
were written down, under the title of the Evangels, only in the first
quarter of the second century, were colored by the views of the two
parties, who put teachings and sayings into the mouth of the Founder
of Christianity, not as he had uttered them, but according to their
own views. These narratives were favorable to the Law of the Jews and
to the Jews themselves, when they emanated from the Ebionites, and
inimical towards both in the accounts written by the followers of Paul,
the heathen Christians. The evangelists were thus polemical writers.

The division between the Ebionites and the heathen Christians was by
no means confined to religious belief, but had a political background.
The Jewish Christians hated Rome, the Romans, the Emperor, and their
officials as much as the Jews did. One of their prophets (said to be
John, an imitator of the visions of Daniel), who had composed the first
Christian Revelation or Apocalypse, was inspired with the deepest
hatred towards the town of seven hills, the great Babylon. All the
evil in the world, all the depredations and plagues, all the contempt
and humiliation were announced and invoked in this first Christian
Revelation against sinful Rome. They did not imagine that she would,
at a future time, become the capital of Christianity. On the other
hand, the followers of Paul not only recommended subjection to the
Roman Empire, but even declared it to have been appointed by God. The
Christian party, without any regard for those Jews who were imbued with
a love of liberty, continually recommended that taxes and tithes should
be handed to the Romans. This submission to the existing power, this
coqueting with sinful Rome, which the Jewish Christians thought doomed
to destruction, was another source of disunion amongst various sects of

Between the Jews and the Jewish Christians there existed at first
tolerable relations. The former called the latter Sectaries (Minim,
Minæans). Even the Tanaite and Ebionite teachers mixed freely with
each other. The strict Rabbi Eliezer, who refused to the heathens
their share and part in life everlasting, had had an interview with
the Jewish Christian, Jacob of Kephar-Samia, and quietly listened to
his version, as he had received it from Jesus. Once, Bendama, a nephew
of Ishmael, having been bitten by a snake, determined to let himself
be cured by means of an exorcism uttered by Jacob. The transition from
Judaism to Christianity was not a striking one. It is probable that
various members of Jewish families belonged to the Jewish-Christian
belief without giving rise to dissensions or disturbing the domestic
peace. It is related of Hanania, the nephew of Joshua, that he had
joined the Christian congregation at Capernaum; but that his uncle, who
disapproved, removed him from Christian influences, and sent him to

But the Jewish Christians, also, did not remain content with the
simple idea of Jesus as the Messiah. They gradually and unconsciously,
like the heathen Christians, adorned him with God-like attributes,
and endowed him with miraculous powers. The more the Jewish-Christian
conception idealized Jesus, the more it became separated from Judaism,
with which it still thought itself at one. There arose mixed sects from
among the Ebionites and Hellenites, and one could perceive a gradual
descent from the law-abiding Ebionites to the law-despising Antitaktes.
The Nazarenes came next to the Ebionites. They also acknowledged
the power of the Jewish law in its entirety; but they explained the
birth of Jesus in a supernatural manner--from the Virgin and the Holy
Ghost--and ascribed to him God-like attributes. Other Jewish Christians
went further than the Nazarenes, and gave up the Law, either in part
or altogether. After such proceedings, a total breach between Jews
and Jewish Christians was inevitable. At length a time arrived when
the latter themselves felt that they no longer belonged to the Jewish
community, and therefore they entirely withdrew from it. The letter of
separation which the Jewish community sent to the parent body is yet in
existence. It calls on the Jewish followers of Jesus to separate wholly
from their fellow-countrymen. In the Agadic method of that period, the
Epistle to the Hebrews sets forth that the crucified Messiah is at the
same time the expiatory sacrifice and the atoning priest. It proves
from the Law that those sacrifices whose blood was sprinkled in the
Holy of Holies, were considered the holiest, and the bodies were burnt
outside the Temple. "Therefore"--thus continues the Jewish-Christian
monitor--"Jesus, also, that he might sanctify the people through his
own blood, suffered without the gate (of Jerusalem). Let us, therefore,
go forth unto him without the camp (the Jewish community), bearing his
reproach, for we have not here an abiding city (Jerusalem as the symbol
of the Jewish religion), but we seek after the city which is to come."
When once a decided step had been taken to divide the Nazarenes and the
cognate sects from the Jewish community, a deadly hate arose against
the Jews and Judaism. Like the heathen Christians, the Nazarenes
reviled the Jews and their ways. As the written Law was holy to them
also, they directed their shafts against the study of Halachas amongst
the Tanaites, who in those days were the very life of Judaism. In
Jewish-Christian, as in Jewish circles, men were accustomed to view
all events from the point of view of Holy Writ, and to draw counsel
from the explanations and references in the prophecies. The Nazarenes,
therefore, applied to the Tanaites, whom they called Deuterotes, and
more especially to the schools of Hillel and Shammai, a threatening
verse of Isaiah (viii. 14): "It shall be a stone of stumbling and the
downfall of both the houses of Israel." "By the two houses the prophet
meant the two scholastic sects of Shammai and Hillel, from whose midst
the Scribes and Pharisees had arisen, and whose successors were Akiba,
Jochanan, the son of Zakkai, then Eliezer and Delphon (Tarphon), and
then again Joseph the Galilean and Joshua. These are the two houses
which do not recognize the Savior; and this shall, therefore, bring
them to downfall and destruction." Yet another verse from the same
prophet, which runs, "They mock the people through the word" (Is. xxix.
21), the Nazarenes applied to the teachers of the Mishna, "who contemn
the nation through their bad traditions." They place taunts in the
mouth of Jesus against the teachers of the Law, which might, perhaps,
apply to one or another of them, but which as applied to the whole body
were a calumnious libel. They make him say, "On the seat of Moses (the
Synhedrion) sit the Scribes and Pharisees; all that they say you must
follow and do; but their works ye shall not do, for they speak and do
not act in accordance.... All their works they do so that people may
notice them. They use wide phylacteries and fringes on their garments.
They love to have the chief place at meals and in the synagogues, to
be greeted by other men in the public places, and to be called Rabbi,
Rabbi.... Woe to you, ye hypocritical Scribes and Pharisees, who devour
the substance of the widow under the pretense that ye pray long;
therefore shall ye receive punishment; ... woe to you, that ye tithe
the herbs of the ground--both dill and cummin, and that ye leave undone
the weightier matters of the Law, judgment, mercy and faith. The one
must be done, but the other should not be omitted. You blind souls who
strain at gnats and swallow camels, ... who cleanse the outside of the
cups and platters and leave them within full to the brim with extortion
and corruption."

Thus the leaders of the Jewish Christians were opposed to the Judaism
of the Torah, and thus, without actually desiring it, they played into
the hands of the Hellenes. The teaching of Paul thus gained more and
more ground, and came at last to be considered as true Christianity, as
the catholic, the universal religion. It was, therefore, natural that
the various sects of Ebionites and Nazarenes should gradually disappear
amongst the ever-increasing numbers of the heathen Christians, and
that they should become few in numbers and miserable in condition--an
object of contempt both to Jews and Christians. A peculiar phenomenon
was offered in this contest of opinions, that the further the Jewish
Christians departed from the Law, the nearer did the Hellenes approach
to it. In the various epistles and letters which the Christian teachers
sent to the congregations, or to their various representatives, they
could not sufficiently denounce those who sought to make way for the
Law and the Jewish teachings.

Meanwhile, Christianity developed a number of sects with most curious
titles, and of the most eccentric tendency. Half a century after the
destruction of the Temple, the two forms of religion in the Old World
(Judaism and Paganism) underwent a transformation and partial union.
Judaism being without a state or point of centralization, endeavored
to consolidate itself, whilst the Pagan world, in the full flush of
its power, became disintegrated, and a disturbance was caused in men's
minds which led to the most extraordinary results.

To the two elements borrowed from Judaism and Christianity there were
added others from the Judæan-Alexandrian system of Philo, from Grecian
philosophy, and, in fact, from all corners of the earth, whose source
can hardly be determined. It was a confusion of the most opposite modes
of thought and teachings, Jewish and heathen, old and new, true and
false, the lofty and the low, all in close juxtaposition and fusion.
It seemed as though on the advent of Christianity into the world,
all the most decided teachings of ancient times had bestowed a part
of their contents on it, in order to obtain thereby importance and
duration. The old question--whence did evil arise in this world--and
how its existence could be reconciled with the idea of a good and just
providence, occupied in the liveliest manner all minds which had been
made acquainted with Jewish dogmas by means of the Christian apostles.
It was only through a new conception of God that it seemed possible
to solve this question, and this new belief was pieced together from
the most varied religious systems. The higher knowledge of God, His
relation to the world and to religious and moral life, was called
Gnosis; those who thought that they possessed it called themselves
Gnostics, and understood thereby highly gifted beings, who had
penetrated the secrets of creation.

The Gnostics, or more correctly, the Theosophists, who hovered between
Judaism, Christianity and Paganism, and who borrowed their views and
forms of thought from these three circles, were drawn also from the
adherents of these three religions. So powerful must have been the
charm of the Gnostic teaching, that the authorities of the Synagogue
and the Church enacted numberless rules and ordinances against it,
and were yet powerless to prevent Gnostic teachings and formulæ
from gaining ground amongst the Jews and the Christians. Gnosticism
spread throughout Judæa, Egypt, Syria, Asia Minor, and flourished
especially in Rome--the capital of the world--where all religious views
and creeds found followers. The language of the Gnostics was of a
mystic-allegorical character, often borrowed from Jewish and Christian
confessions of creed, but treated in an entirely different manner. Some
of the Gnostic sects exemplified the peculiarities of the tendency
of those times. One sect called themselves Cainites, for no other
reason than that its disciples, in defiance of the Biblical narrative,
regarded the fratricide Cain as superior to Abel. The Cainites also
honored the depraved Sodomites, Esau, in spite of his savagery, and
the ambitious Korah. The Ophites and Naasites were filled with similar
love of opposition to the Biblical accounts, but they assigned to it
a better motive than that of the Cainites. They took their name from
the Greek word Ophis and the Hebrew Nahash (Naas) serpent, and honored
this animal very highly, because in the Bible the serpent is considered
as the origin of evil, and, according to the ideas of those times, was
looked upon as the symbol of evil, and as the form taken by Satan. The
Ophites gave thanks to the serpent, by whose means the first human pair
were led into disobedience against God, and thus to the recognition of
good and evil and of consciousness in general.

Varied and contradictory as were the tendencies of the Gnostic sects,
they yet had doctrines in common. The fundamental Gnostic doctrines
concerned the actual knowledge of God, which its founders developed
in opposition to the idea of God formulated by Judaism. The Gnostics
pictured to themselves the Divine Being as divided into two principles
of a God and a Creator, the one subordinate to the other. God they
called Silence or Rest, and depicted him as enthroned in the empyrean
heights, without relation to the world. His fundamental attributes
were grace, love, mercy. From him proceeded emanations which revealed
a portion of his essence; these emanations were called æons (worlds).
Beneath this highest of all beings they set the Creator of the world
(Demiurge), whom they also called Ruler. To him they assigned the
work of creation; he directed the world, he had delivered the people
of Israel, and given them the Law. As to the highest God appertain
love and mercy, which harmonize with freedom, so to the fundamental
character of the world's creator appertain justice and severity, which
he causes to be felt through laws and obligations. According to the
usual practice of the age, the Gnostics found a passage of Scripture to
illustrate these relations between the God of justice and the God of
grace. Isaiah vii. 6 reads: "We will go up to Judah, and instal another
king, the son of the good God (Tab-El)." They depict the Creator as
forming the world out of primeval matter by means of wisdom (Achamot).
"Wisdom," as it is expressed in their allegorical language, "became
allied with primeval matter which existed from eternity, and a variety
of forms were brought forth; but wisdom became thereby bedimmed and
darkened." According to this exposition, the Gnostics assumed that
there were three original Beings--the highest God, the Creator, and
Primeval Matter, and from these they developed the various conditions
and stages in the spiritual and actual world. All that is good and
noble is accounted an emanation from God; justice and law come from the
Creator; but what is imperfect, bad, or crippled in this world is the
result of the primeval matter.

In correspondence with this Gnostic division of the three powers of the
world, there are also amongst mankind three classes or castes, which
are in the service of these three principles. There are spiritual men
(Pneumatics); they are as a rule and law to themselves, and do not
need guidance or guardianship; to this class belong the prophets, and
the possessors of the true Gnosis. There are, secondly, material men
(Psychics), who are in the service of the lawgiving Demiurge; they
stand under the yoke of the Law, by means of which they keep themselves
aloof from what is worldly, without, however, rising to the height of
spiritual men. Lastly, there are earthly men (Choics), who, like the
lower animals, are bound in the fetters of earth and matter. As types
of these three classes of men the Gnostics gave the three sons of Adam;
Seth was the origin of the Pneumatic, Abel the type of the law-abiding
man, and Cain the picture of the earthly man. Some of the Gnostics also
classified the three religions according to this scheme--Christianity
was the offspring of the highest God, Judaism of the Demiurge, and,
lastly, Paganism was a product of earthly matter.

A by no means insignificant number of Jews allowed themselves to be
blinded by the uncertain light of the new teachings, in which truth
and falsehood were so wonderfully commingled, and to be thus drawn
away from the parent body. The secession of one man, Elisha ben Abuya,
subsequently had very sad results. The reasons which induced this
teacher of the Law, who was not behind his fellows in knowledge, to
fall away, give proof of the important influence exercised by the
false teachings of theosophy on Jewish circles. Legend has, however,
embellished the story, in order to explain how one who was versed in
the Law could take so strange a step as to despise the Law. It is not
to be doubted that Elisha ben Abuya was well acquainted with Gnostic
literature, as also with Grecian songs, and with the writings of the
Minæans. It is also certain that he knew of the fundamental doctrine of
the Gnostics, which represented God as a dual being, and that, like the
Gnostics, he despised the Jewish Law. He is also said to have adopted
practically the evil Gnostic morality, and to have given himself up to
a dissolute life. Having thus fallen away from Judaism he received, as
a mark of his apostasy, the name Acher (another), as though by going
over to other principles he had really become another man. Acher was
considered in Jewish circles as a striking example of apostasy--as a
man who employed his knowledge of the Law to persecute it the more

Against such incursions as were committed by Christianity Judaism had
to defend itself, in order to maintain its existence and continuance.
Inimical powers thronged its Temple, desecrated the holy things, dimmed
its clear belief in God, falsified and misapplied its teachings,
turned away its disciples, and filled them with hate and contempt for
what they had formerly honored. The time of the Hellenists in the
Maccabean period, who had first brought dissension into the house of
Israel, seemed to have returned with renewed horror. Once again sons
conspired against their own mother. The narrow circle of the Tanaites
felt the danger most severely; it hoped for nothing good from the
teachings of the Minæans, and recognized that their writings exercised
a seductive influence on the masses. Tarphon (Tryphon) spoke of
this dangerous influence with the deepest conviction. "The Evangels
(Gilion), and all the writings of the Minæans deserve to be burnt,
even with the holy name of God, which occurs therein; for Paganism is
less dangerous than the Jewish-Christian sects, because the former
does not recognize the truths of Judaism from want of knowledge,
whilst the others, on the contrary, deny what they fully know." He
would therefore rather flee for safety to a heathen temple than to the
meeting-house of the Minæans. Ishmael, whose character was less violent
than that of Tarphon, displayed the same feeling against that Jewish
Christianity which had shown itself so false to its origin. He said
that one need not hesitate to burn the name of God in the Evangels,
for these writings only stir up anger between the Jewish people and
its God. Those who professed Christianity were also reproached with
seeking to damage their fellow-countrymen with the Roman authorities
by tale-bearing and accusations. Perhaps by this means the Jewish
Christians sought to recommend themselves to their superiors, and to
show that they had no connection with the Jews. Their contemporaries
therefore always considered the name Minæans as meaning tale-bearers.

It is related as a fact that high officers of one of the emperors,
probably Domitian, came into the school of Gamaliel, in order to
find out what instruction was given with regard to the heathens. The
Synhedrion of Jamnia must have occupied itself with the question
what position the Jewish Christians should occupy in the Jewish
community, and whether they should in fact be considered as Jews at
all. There is no resolution of the Synhedrion extant with regard to
the Minæans, but the regulations which were introduced with regard to
them give evidence as to its existence. An actual line of separation
was drawn between Jews and Jewish Christians; the latter were placed
below the sect of Samaritans, and in some respects below heathens.
It was forbidden to partake of meat, bread, and wine with the Jewish
Christians, as had been the case shortly before the destruction of
the Temple with regard to the heathens, and to the same end--that of
preventing closer intercourse with them. The Christian writings were
condemned, and were put on a par with books of magic. Even to enter
into business relations, or to receive menial services, was strictly
forbidden, especially the use of magical cures which the Christians
performed on animals or men in the name of Jesus was prohibited. A
form of curse (which bore the name of Birchath ha-Minim) was likewise
employed against the Minæans in the daily prayers, as also against
the informers. The Patriarch, Gamaliel, confided the composition of
this prayer to Samuel the Younger. This circumstance confirmed the
idea that the various ordinances against the Jewish Christians, even
if not proceeding direct from the Patriarch, yet had his consent.
The form of curse appears to have been a sort of trial of faith in
order to recognize those who secretly adhered to Christianity. For,
in connection with it, it was decreed that whosoever refrained at the
public prayers from pronouncing the curse, or from praying for the
restoration of the Jewish State, was to be dismissed from his office
of precentor. The Synhedrion published all the enactments against the
Jewish Christian sects by circular letters to the communities. On the
part of the Christians the Jews were accused of cursing Jesus three
times a day--namely, at the morning, afternoon, and evening prayers.
This reproach is quite unfounded, and, like many another made against
the Jews, is based on a misunderstanding. The curse uttered in the
prayers was not directed against the founder of the Christian religion,
nor against the entire body of Christians, but against the Minæan

The separation of the Jewish Christian sects from the Jewish community
did not efface the results of the influence which for a time they had
exercised. Certain Gnostic, that is to say semi-Christian views, had
found their way into Jewish circles. Ideas regarding the primeval
forces, the æons, the predestined differences of caste among men, even
the teaching as to the two-fold existence of God as a God of kindness
and a God of justice, had been adopted by many, and had become so
firmly fixed as to find expression in the prayers. Certain expressions
were employed in the prayers which bore reference to the Gnostic or
Christian ideas. Forms of prayer as, "The good praise thee, O God; Thy
name is named for good"; the repetition of the expression, "Thee, O
God, we praise"; the use of two names,--all these bore a reference to
the Theosophic theory, which dwelt on the grace of God at the expense
of His justice, and thus endangered the fundamental principles of
Judaism. An impetus was given to this train of thought by researches
into the chapter concerning the creation of the world, and the throne
of God as described in the Prophet Ezekiel, (_Maas'se Bereshith_,
_Maas'se Merkaba_). The exploration of this dubitable ground gave
full scope to the imagination, and, with the assistance of the Agada,
allusions were detected and made to apply to any subject, however far
it might lie outside the true meaning of the text. Researches into such
themes, the darker the more attractive, became a favorite occupation;
such profound meditations, in the mystic language of metaphor, were
called "entering into paradise." Various teachers of the Law are said
to have been admitted to this higher wisdom, but it was not denied that
this occupation brought with it many dangers for the Jewish religion.
These dangers are hinted at in the statement that of those who devoted
themselves to the study, Ben Soma and Ben Asai brought upon themselves
respectively the one an attack of madness, the other early death, Acher
fell away from Judaism, and Akiba alone fortunately escaped the danger,
as, in spite of his theosophic researches, he yet remained on the
territory of Judaism.

In point of fact Akiba had formed the purest conception of God, of his
rule, and of the duty of man; and thus offered a sharp contrast to
the ideas of the Gnostics. He uttered a saying which is noteworthy on
account of its comprehensiveness and its brevity. He said: "There is a
providence in all things; free will is given to man; the world is ruled
by kindness, and the merit of man consists in the multitude of good
deeds" (that is to say, not merely in knowledge). Every word in this
saying bears witness against the errors of that time. As the far-seeing
Tanaites did not shut their eyes to the dangers arising to Judaism from
these inquiries into the highest truths, they made preparations to
avert the same. Akiba especially insisted on placing boundaries to the
unregulated theories which led to a falling-off from Judaism and to
the wildest immorality. He was of opinion that the passages concerning
the theory of creation and the cloud-chariot of Ezekiel should not be
expounded before the whole people, but should be reserved for a few
chosen hearers. Those who could be initiated into higher wisdom must
have the knowledge to understand hints and dark sayings, and, above
all, must have passed their thirtieth year. Akiba endeavored to put an
end to the study of literature which was opposed to Judaism, by denying
to those who took part in it a portion in the future world, as was
decreed against those who denied the resurrection and the divinity of
the Jewish Law. The introduction of such forms of prayer as bore the
impress of the teachings of the Minæans was wholly repressed. These
measures against the introduction of Gnostic Christian theories bore
fruit; the pure beliefs of Judaism, with regard to God, His relation to
the world, and the moral conditions of men, remained in Jewish circles
untainted, as fruitful ideas for the future. To the Tanaites of this
period must be given the credit that, like the prophets of old, they
protected Judaism from the falsehoods and errors which threatened to
overwhelm it. Following the natural instinct of self-preservation,
they, on the one hand, shut out the Jewish Christian sects from the
Jewish community, and, on the other hand, strengthened Judaism, and
armed it with a strong power, which upheld it in the storms which,
through centuries, threatened it with destruction.

Thus strengthened and concentrated, Judaism was enabled to exercise
some external influence. If Christianity, which had sprung from such
slight elements, was proud of the vast number of Pagans who had joined
it, and given up their national deities for the sake of an unknown
God, Judaism had yet more reason to be proud. A great part of the
conquests which Christianity gained in the Pagan world were due to
the Jewish religion, whose fundamental truths and moral teachings had
often facilitated the conversion of the heathens. It was only through
the truths of Judaism that those apostles who desired to convert
the heathens laid bare the inconsistent perversions of the Greeks
and Romans, for they made use of the words of scorn employed by the
prophets against the worship of idols, and the immorality arising
therefrom. But Judaism celebrated its independent triumphs over
Paganism, which appear the more brilliant when it is remembered that it
lacked all the means and advantages which facilitated the conversions
from Paganism to Christianity. The Christians sent out zealous
messengers, and, following the example of Paul, sought to make converts
by eloquence and so-called miraculous cures. They imposed no heavy
duties on the newly-made converts, and even permitted them to retain
their former habits of life, and, in part, their old views, without
separating themselves from their family circle, their relations, or
from intercourse with those dear to them.

With Judaism it was different; it possessed no eloquent proselytizing
apostle; on the contrary it dissuaded those who were willing to come
over, by reminding them of the heavy ordeal through which they would
have to pass. Jewish proselytes had to overcome immense difficulties;
they were not accounted converts unless they submitted to the operation
of circumcision; they had to separate from their families and from the
friends of their youth in eating and drinking and in daily intercourse.
Nevertheless, it is an extraordinary fact that during the half-century
after the destruction of the Jewish State, there were everywhere
conversions of heathens to Judaism, both in the East and in Asia
Minor, but especially in Rome. The question arose as to whether the
Ammonites could be admitted to the community, or whether the Biblical
command with regard to the Moabites and Ammonites, which forbade their
admission into a congregation of God, still held good. Further, a
contest arose as to whether proselytes from Tadmor (Palmyra) could be
admitted, the prejudice against them being strong. An entire portion
of the Law treats of proselytes (_Masechet-Gerim_), and in the daily
prayers the true converts were included (_Gere-ha-Zedek_). Several
converted Pagans acquired a knowledge of the Halachas. Akiba had two
proselytes amongst his disciples.

The greatest number of converts were to be found in Rome, and this in
spite of the hatred felt for the Jews by the Romans. The clear-headed
historian, Tacitus, could not explain the fact that the Romans of
his time could submit to circumcision, could renounce their country,
disregard their parents, their children and relations, in order to
go over to Judaism. The severe laws of the Emperor Domitian against
proselytes suggest an inference as to their frequent occurrence.
Josephus relates, as an eye-witness, that in his time, amongst the
heathens, there arose great enthusiasm for Jewish customs, and that
many of the people observed the Feast of Dedication (Chanuka), the
Sabbath, and the dietary laws, and that a strong feeling existed in
favor of the Jewish religion. "If each man thinks of his own country
and his own family," says Josephus, "he will find that my assertion is
correct. Even if we do not fully value the excellence of our laws, we
should respect them, on account of the numbers of people who respect
them." Different opinions were held as to the admission of proselytes
by the severe Eliezer and the mild Joshua. Whilst the former held
circumcision to be absolutely necessary for admission to Judaism,
the latter considered a baptism, that is, bathing in the presence of
qualified witnesses, to be sufficient. The milder view seems to have
prevailed. Many of those Romans who joined Judaism, probably did not
undergo the operation. The historian, Josephus,--who, in his "Apology
for Judaism and the Jewish Race," and, perhaps, also by his intimacy
with the higher grades of Roman society, endeavored to gain over the
heathens to the Jewish religion, and was, probably, successful in his
attempts,--did not consider circumcision as imperative.

The pride of Judaism was the proselyte Akylas (Aquila). He came from
the district of Pontus, and owned rich estates. Well acquainted with
the Greek language, and with philosophy, Akylas, at a mature age,
forsook the heathen customs in order to join the heathen Christians,
who were proud of such a disciple. Soon, however, he gave up
Christianity, in order to go over to Judaism. This secession was as
painful an event to the Christians as his former conversion had been
a joyful one, and they spread evil reports concerning him. As a Jew,
Akylas associated with Gamaliel, Eliezer and Joshua, and with Akiba,
whose disciple he became. The proselyte of Pontus became strongly
attached to Judaism, and observed a yet higher degree of Levitical
purity than even the Patriarch. After the death of his father, when
the heritage was divided between him and his brothers, he would not
take the equivalent for the idols which became his brothers' share, but
threw the money into the sea.

Akylas became celebrated through his new Greek translation of the Holy
Scriptures. The license with which the Christians treated the old Greek
version appears to have awakened him to the necessity of a simple but
fixed form of translation. As the Christians read the Holy Scriptures
at their service, and employed the Alexandrian translation of the
so-called Seventy (Septuaginta), they were anxious to deduce from this
text numerous references to Christ. They changed various sentences and
added others, in order to obtain the desired prophecies about Christ
from the Greek text, which they held sacred. Several passages may be
found employed by the teachers of the Church in confirmation of the
teachings of Christ, which cannot be found either in the Hebrew or
in the original form of the Greek text. The Gnostic sects, for their
part, did not fail to make the needful additions, so as to give their
teachings the authority of the Bible. The school of one Artemion is
expressly named as having defaced the Greek translation. The Jews, on
the other hand, startled at the alterations made in order to confirm
the Christian point of view, did not hesitate to introduce changes of
their own in order to remove all apparent allusions to Christ. The
Septuagint was, therefore, the meeting-place for violent encounters,
and the traces of the contest are plainly to be seen in the maimed
condition of the text.

A good Greek translation of the Bible was likewise a necessity for
every Greek-speaking Jew. At that time it was a universal custom to
interpret the portions read from the Bible into the language of the
country. On these grounds, Akylas, who had a perfect knowledge of
the Hebrew and Greek languages, began a new translation, in order to
counteract the unlicensed violence done to the text. For this purpose,
while translating, he kept strictly to the original Hebrew text, and
with excessive caution rendered word for word, without regard to the
fact that thereby the sense became incomprehensible to the Greek
readers. The literalness of Akylas' translation, which has become
proverbial, extended to such particles as have a twofold sense in
Hebrew, and these ambiguities he desired to retain in his rendering. He
wished to make the meaning contained in the Hebrew perceptible in its
Greek form. It was known in Greek as the "Kat' akribeian" (the perfect
fitting). This translation, on account of its exactness, set at rest
all doubts, and comforted the consciences of the pious. The teachers of
the Law used it universally for public readings. The Ebionites, to whom
the older translation was also objectionable, employed that of Akylas
in their services. An Aramæan translation was made partly from that of
Akylas on account of its simplicity, and was called Targum Onkelos.

A great sensation was at that time created in Rome by the conversion to
Judaism of Flavius Clemens and his wife Flavia Domitilla. Flavius was
a cousin of the Emperor Domitian; he was also a member of the Senate,
and Consul. His wife was also a near relative of the Emperor. Their
two sons had been named as Cæsars by Domitian, therefore one of them
would have become emperor. What a brilliant prospect for the Jews that
a near relative of the Emperor Titus should reconstruct the Temple
which the latter had destroyed! Although Clemens probably kept his
adherence to Judaism secret, yet it was known to the Jews in Rome, and
to the leaders in Palestine. On receipt of the news, together with the
information that a decree of extermination had been passed against the
Jews residing in the provinces of the Roman Empire, the four chiefs,
the Patriarch Gamaliel and his coadjutor Eliezer, the son of Azariah,
Joshua and Akiba, set out on the journey to Rome. When not far from
the capital of the world they heard the thousand-voiced noises of the
city, and were painfully affected when they thought of the desolate
silence which reigned on the Mount in Jerusalem. They shed tears at the
contrast. Akiba alone maintained his cheerful demeanor, and consoled
his sorrowing friends with the words: "Why do you weep? If God does so
much for His enemies, what will He not do for His favorites?"

In Rome they were treated with great reverence, both by the Jews
and the proselytes, and they had an opportunity of answering many
religious questions. But they had arrived at an unfavorable moment.
Domitian was at the height of his bloodthirsty tyranny.

The period of favor towards the Jews on the part of the Flavian house
was at an end. Even Titus, Domitian's predecessor, had already wiped
away from his mind the recollection of all he owed to them. His love
for the Jewish Princess Berenice he suppressed. When Titus became sole
ruler, Berenice journeyed a second time to Rome to remind him of his
promise of marriage; but she came too soon or too late. Titus at that
time played the part of a reformed sinner, and wished to show the
Romans that he had put aside the past. He banished Berenice from Rome,
who, as was said, left, but with a broken heart. Berenice personified
the relation of Rome to the Jewish people, who were first in high
favor, and afterwards cast into banishment and misery. It is not known
for how long a time the Jewish Princess survived her disgrace. Titus
showed no more gratitude to her brother, Agrippa II. He left to Agrippa
his kingdom or principality as it had hitherto existed, but did not
enlarge it as his father had done. Domitian, the third of the Flavians,
had no reason for displaying any favor to Agrippa. When the latter,
the last of the Judæan kings, died (92), the Emperor appropriated his
territories, and made them into a province of Syria.

Domitian, who, like Titus at his accession, had promised to bring back
a golden era, became, during the course of his government, just as
sinful and bloodthirsty as Tiberius, Caligula, and Nero. He was worthy
of his nation and his times, of which the poet Juvenal said--"It would
be difficult to avoid satirizing them." The Jews had to suffer bitterly
under this reign of blood. Domitian insisted on the payment of the
Jews' poll tax, and levied it in the most humiliating manner, and
under circumstances of peculiar severity. Severe, however, as he was
towards the Jews, Domitian was doubly hard towards the proselytes, and
suffered them to feel the full weight of his tyrannical power. Those
who were accused of a bias for Judaism were, by the emperor's command,
dragged before a tribunal, and if their fault was proved against them,
they were visited with the full punishment of the Roman law against
irreligion. Proselytes were, therefore, despoiled of their property,
sent into exile, or condemned to death. Tacitus relates, in his
inimitable style, that executions not only took place from time to time
and at long intervals, but that they occurred in continuous succession.
At this time (95) Flavius Clemens was condemned to death, Domitian
having heard of his leaning towards Judaism. Neither his relationship
with Domitian nor his high rank could protect him. The four teachers
of the Law from Palestine, who had come to Rome on his account, and
who expected a brighter future from him, were witnesses of his death.
His wife, Domitilla, who was exiled to the island of Pandataria, is
said to have declared to the teachers of the Law that Clemens had been
circumcised before his death.

Josephus, the Jewish historian, with his friendly feelings towards
Rome, appears to have taken part in the lawsuit against Flavius Clemens
and the other Jewish proselytes. He stood in high favor with the
Emperor Domitian and the Empress Domitia; but owing to the position
which, during the last Jewish war, he assumed towards the Romans,
he became so hated by his countrymen that constant complaints about
him were made to the emperor. Once he was even accused of treason to
Domitian by the teacher of his own son. In his spare time Josephus
occupied himself with a comprehensive work on Jewish history from its
commencement to the period before the war, and this he completed in
twenty books in the thirteenth year of Domitian's reign (93). With
much trouble and at great expense he had collected and used non-Jewish
sources, had brought them into unison with the historical accounts of
Holy Writ, and thus erected a national monument, by which the deeds
and thoughts of the Jewish nation became known to the cultured world.
But soon after he erected for himself a monument of shame. Justus
of Tiberias, his former enemy, had meanwhile written his history of
the Judæan wars, in which he represented Josephus as an enemy to the
Romans, a statement which might have led to unpleasant consequences.
Josephus felt that his honor was attacked and his life threatened. Not
much was needed for the suspicious tyrant Domitian to cast a man from
the highest grade of his favor to the abyss of a disgraceful fall.
In order to justify himself against the accusations of his enemy,
Justus of Tiberias, Josephus appended to his history a description of
the events of his own life, describing his conduct during the war.
To clear himself from the imputations cast on him, he represents his
own character in a most unfavorable light, as though he had always
held with the Romans and betrayed his own people. But in his fourth
work, published in 93 or 94, Josephus, though he could not entirely
redeem his character, yet clearly evinced his deep love for his
religion and his race, and thereby earned for himself the thanks of
his people. In two books against the Greeks and against Apion, he
opposes, with deep conviction, the accusations made against Judaism
and the Jewish race, and upholds the religious and moral superiority
of the Jewish law. These two books are probably intended to win over
enlightened heathens to Judaism. Josephus points out with joy that
many of the heathens amongst the Greeks and Romans already honored the
God of Israel and followed His laws. These books were dedicated to
his friend Epaphroditos, a learned Greek, who was strongly inclined
towards Judaism. No doubt Josephus endeavored personally to win over
proselytes. He must have associated with Flavius Clemens, as he lived
in the Flavian palace. When Domitian carried into effect the sentences
pronounced against his cousin Clemens and the followers of Judaism,
it is probable that a prosecution was commenced against Josephus for
having led them astray. A philosophical essay concerning the laws of
Judaism, which he promised to publish in his last books, remained
unwritten, as his thread of life was cut short probably by Domitian.
The Jewish patriots, however, were so embittered against Josephus that
they did not express any sorrow at his death, which was probably that
of a martyr. Nor was it referred to by the four teachers of the Law,
who left oral traditions as to the death of Flavius Clemens.

A complete contrast to the character of Domitian was presented by his
successor Nerva. Just, wise and humane, he was only wanting in the
freshness and courage of youth, in order to give effect to his wise
ordinances, and to restore the Roman empire, shattered as it had been
by Domitian's cruelty and caprice.

The Jews and proselytes immediately felt the effect of the change
of ruler. During the short period of his reign--which only lasted
sixteen months, from September 96, till January 98--Nerva, who had
to put an end to various perversions and abuses in the constitution,
yet found time to occupy himself with the Jews. He permitted every
man to acknowledge his faith as a Jew, without thereby incurring the
punishment of an atheist. The Jews' tax also, if not quite set aside,
was levied with kindness and forethought, and accusations against those
who avoided this tax were not listened to. This act of toleration
on Nerva's part appears to have been of so great importance that a
coin was struck in order to commemorate it. This coin, which is still
preserved, represents on the one side the Emperor Nerva, and on the
other a palm-tree (symbol for Jews), with the inscription, "Fisci
Judaici calumnia sublata" ("Accusations on account of the Jews' tax
are at an end"). It is probable that the four Tanaites, who were still
in Rome at the time of the death of Domitian and the accession of
Nerva, had furthered this favorable turn of events by opposing the
complaints against Judaism, and by inducing those in power to form a
better opinion of it. This reign, which was of but too short duration,
terminated the period of favor shown towards the Jews, and with Nerva's
successor there began afresh the old hatred between the Romans and the
Jews, and soon both nations again stood, sword in hand, arrayed against
one another.



    Trajan and Asia--Revolt of the Jews--Hadrian--The Jewish
    Sibylline Books--The Attempted Rebuilding of the Temple--The
    Ordinances of Usha--Bar-Cochba--Akiba's Part in the
    War--Bar-Cochba's Victories--Suppression of the Revolt--Siege
    and Fall of Bethar.

    96-138 C. E.

Nerva had chosen the Spaniard Ulpianus Trajan as his successor.
This emperor, who was nearly sixty years old, set about realizing
his favorite idea of annexing the territories lying between the
Euphrates and Tigris and the Indus and Ganges to the Roman Empire, so
as to win laurels similar to those obtained by Alexander the Great.
In the Parthian lands he had an easy conquest; for this ancient
kingdom--partly of Greek and partly of Persian origin--was torn
asunder by the various pretenders to the throne, and offered but
little resistance to the conqueror. Only the Jews, who lived in great
numbers in this district, under the leadership of the Prince of the
Captivity, possessed a certain amount of independence, and offered
resistance to the Roman conqueror. The Babylonian Jews beheld in Trajan
the descendant of those who had destroyed the Temple and condemned
their brethren to miserable slavery, and armed themselves as if for a
holy war. The town of Nisibis, which had always possessed a numerous
Jewish population, displayed such obstinate resistance that it could be
subdued only after a lengthy siege. The district of Adiabene, on the
center branch of the Tigris, obeyed a ruler whose ancestors, scarcely
a century before, had adopted Judaism. Mebarsapes, who was now on the
throne of Adiabene, was, perhaps, also inclined towards Judaism. He
fought bravely against Trajan, but was overcome by the Roman forces.
Trajan, unlike any of his predecessors, witnessed after a very short
space of time the glorious results of his campaign. Conquests seem to
have met him half-way. When he withdrew into his winter quarters in
Antioch (115-116), in order to receive homage, the chief campaign was
almost at an end. In the spring he again set forth, in order to crush
any opposition, and to carry into effect the long-cherished plan of
conquering the Jews. But hardly had Trajan set out when the conquered
people on the twin rivers revolted again. The Jews had a great share
in this uprising; they spread anarchy through a great portion of
the Roman Empire. Not alone the Babylonian Jews, but also the Jews
of Egypt, Cyrenaica, Lybia, and those in the island of Cyprus were
seized with the idea of shaking off the Roman yoke. As if possessed
by an overwhelming power, the Jews of this far-lying district seized
their weapons, as though to show the enemy that their power was not
destroyed nor their courage broken, and that they were not willing to
share the weakness and degradation of the times, and to sink without an
effort amongst the masses of enslaved nations. Such unanimous action
presupposes a concerted plan and a powerful leader. From Judæa the
rebellion spread through the neighboring countries to the Euphrates
and Egypt (116-117). In half a century after the fall of the Jewish
State a new race had arisen, who inherited the zealous spirit of their
fathers, and who bore in their hearts a vivid remembrance of their
former independence. The hope of the Tanaite teacher, "Soon the Temple
will be rebuilt," had kept alive a love of freedom in the Jewish
youths, who had not lost the habit of using weapons in the schools.
A legend relates that Trajan's wife (Plotina) had given birth to a
son on the ninth of Ab, and lost it on the feast of Dedication, which
the Jews kept in memory of the victory of the Hasmonæans, and she
had interpreted their sorrowing as the hatred of an enemy, and their
rejoicing as joy for her loss. The Empress therefore wrote to Trajan,
"Instead of subduing the barbarians, you should rather punish the Jews
who revolt against you."

In Judæa the leaders of the rebellion appear to have been two
courageous men from Alexandria, Julianus and Pappus. The former seems
to have been the Alabarch of Alexandria, or his relative, and a
descendant of the celebrated Alexander Lysimachus. He and his companion
enjoyed a princely position amongst the Jews. The meeting place of the
revolutionary troops in Judæa was the plain of Rimmon, or the great
plain of Jezreel. There exists but a dim picture of the proceedings,
and only the issue of the revolt is known with certainty. In Cyrene,
whose Jewish inhabitants had been encouraged to revolt against the
Romans immediately after their defeat, the rebellion was at its height.
They had a leader named Andreias, also called Lucuas, one of whose
names was, perhaps, of an allegorical nature.

The Egyptian Jews, who in former times had been loyal to the Romans,
this time made common cause with the rebels, and conducted operations
as in every other revolution. They first attacked the neighboring
towns, killed the Romans and Greeks, and avenged the destruction of
their nationality on their nearest enemies. Encouraged by the result,
they collected in troops and attacked the Roman army under the Roman
general Lupus, who commanded the legions against the Jews. In the
first encounter the wild enthusiasm gave the Jews an advantage over
the Romans, and Lupus was defeated. The results of this victory were
scenes of horror and barbarity on both sides, as was naturally the
case in a racial war between people who carried in their hearts an
ancient hatred which, when it came to a fiery outburst, could only be
quenched by blood. The heathens who had taken flight after the defeat
of the Roman army marched against Alexandria. The Jewish inhabitants
who could bear arms, and who had joined in the revolt, were taken
prisoners and killed amidst fearful tortures. The conquering Jewish
troops felt themselves filled with a desire for revenge. In despair
they invaded the Egyptian territories, imprisoned the inhabitants, and
repaid cruelties with fresh cruelties. The Greek and Roman fugitives
took to their boats, in order to escape pursuit on the bosom of the
Nile; but armed Jews followed close behind them. The historian Appian,
at that time an official in Alexandria, sought safety by taking flight
at night, and would have fallen into the hands of his Jewish pursuers,
had he not missed his way along the coast. The short description of his
flight and his unexpected deliverance gives some idea of the terror
excited by the Jewish populations, who had suffered so long at the
hands of their enemies. The Jews are said to have eaten the flesh of
the captive Greeks and Romans, to have smeared themselves with their
blood, and to have wrapped themselves in the skins torn off them. These
horrors are quite foreign to Jewish character and customs, but it is
probably true that the Jews made the Romans and Greeks fight with wild
animals or in the arena. This was a sad reprisal for the horrible
drama to which Vespasian and Titus had condemned the captive Jews. In
Cyrenaica 200,000 Greeks and Romans were slain by the Jews, and Lybia,
the strip of land to the east of Egypt, was so utterly devastated that,
some years later, new colonies had to be sent thither.

In the Island of Cyprus, which had for a long time previous been
inhabited by Jews, who owned synagogues there, a certain Artemion
headed the uprising against the Romans. The number of rebels was very
great, and was probably strengthened by the discontented heathen
inhabitants of the island. The Cyprian Jews are said to have destroyed
Salamis, the capital of the island, and to have killed 240,000 Greeks.

Trajan, who was then in Babylon, greatly feared the outbreak of a
revolt, and sent an army, proportionate in numbers to the anticipated
danger. He entrusted an important force by land and sea to Martius
Turbo, in order that he might quell the smouldering troubles of war
which existed in Egypt, Cyrenaica, and on the island of Cyprus.

In the district of the Euphrates, where the Jews, notwithstanding the
nearness of the Emperor's crushing army, had taken up a threatening
position, he gave the chief command to his favorite general, Quietus,
a Moorish prince of cruel disposition, whom he had appointed as his
successor. It is not known who led the Jews of Babylon. Maximus, a
Roman general, lost his life in the battle; Quietus had received orders
to entirely annihilate the Jews of his district, so great was the
fear and hatred of the Emperor of a nation whose power he seems in no
way to have rightly estimated. Thus Trajan had to oppose the Jews on
three sides, and had they united and mutually supported each other,
the colossal Roman empire would perhaps have received a deadly blow.
Martius Turbo, who had to oppose the Egyptian and Cyrenean revolts,
went himself in his ships to the threatened spots, which he reached in
five days. He avoided meeting the hostile forces in a sudden attack,
coolly calculating that this would only give the victory to a people
who were guided more by enthusiasm for an idea than by principles
of military tactics. He preferred to weaken the rebels by repeated
onslaughts, which gradually wearied them and thinned their ranks.
The Jews, however, did not submit without making a brave defense.
The heathen authorities, who were against the Jews, acknowledge that
it was only after a contest of long duration that the Romans became
masters of the situation. It was inevitable that the Romans should
conquer in the end, as they had greater multitudes and greater skill in
war, and especially as their cavalry had to encounter only half-armed
foot-soldiers. Turbo displayed an amount of cruelty to the captives
which was not strange to the Romans. The legions surrounded the
prisoners and cut them to pieces, the women were lashed, and those who
offered resistance were killed. The ancient Alexandrian synagogue,
a marvel of Egyptian architecture, a basilica, was destroyed. From
that time, says a Jewish source, the glory of Israel departed. In the
massacre which Martius Turbo set on foot amongst the African Jews, the
same source relates that the blood of the slain stained the sea to
the island of Cyprus. This refers to the sea of blood which the Roman
general shed amongst the Cyprian Jews.

Turbo, after the end of this African revolt, led his legions against
Cyprus. Concerning the particulars of this war, authorities are silent.
The contest, however, must have been a bitter one, for a deadly hatred
arose in Cyprus against the Jews. This hatred was expressed in a
barbarous law, according to which no Jew might approach the island of
Cyprus, even if he suffered shipwreck on that coast.

The war of destruction waged by Lucius Quietus against the Babylonian
and Mesopotamian Jews is but little known in its individual features.
Only so much is certain, that he destroyed many thousands, and that he
laid waste the towns of Nisibis and Edessa, which were inhabited by
Jews. The houses, streets and roads were strewn with corpses. As a
reward for the great services rendered by this general in fighting the
Jews, Trajan named him governor of Palestine, with unlimited power,
so that he might suppress the revolt in the Jewish fatherland. Trajan
himself was unsuccessful in his encounters; he had to leave Babylon,
give up the siege of the town of Atra, and relinquish the idea of
converting the Parthian land into a Roman province.

Through the failure of his favorite plan, the emperor fell ill, and
was brought to Antioch, and he died a few months later at Cilicia. His
desire that his faithful general, Quietus, should succeed, was also not
fulfilled. His astute wife, Plotina, set aside his last wishes, and
assured the army that Trajan had, before his death, accepted his near
relation, Ælius Hadrian, as his son and successor.

Hadrian, at his accession (August, 117), found that various nations
were on the eve of a rebellion, and that others were taking measures
to break the fetters of all-powerful Rome. Hardly had the report of
Trajan's death been spread than the flames of rebellion burst forth
both in the East and the West, and the wish of the nations to free
themselves from the Roman yoke, in a violent manner, made itself known.

The Parthian lands, where Trajan had just established the semblance of
the Roman rule, some of the districts of Asia Minor, whose agricultural
wealth had been appropriated by the officers of the emperor, Mauritania
and Sarmatia, and distant Britain--all seized upon this moment of
weakness to strive for independence.

The Jews of Palestine, whose hatred towards the Romans was yet
stronger, had already organized a rebellion, for the suppression of
which Quietus had been sent out by Trajan, after he had completed
his work in the lands of the Euphrates. He had not yet succeeded in
mastering the revolt when Hadrian became ruler. Historians are silent
as to the nature of the war in Judæa. The Jewish sources call this
second rebellion "the war of Quietus" (Polemos shel Kitos). It appears
to have taken an unfavorable turn for the Jews, for fresh signs of
public mourning were added to those observed for the destruction of the
Temple by the teachers of the Law. It was forbidden that brides should
wear wreaths on their weddings, or that the Jews should learn Greek. It
is not clear whether this prohibition was directed against the Greek
language or the Greek customs; as little is it possible to discover
the connection between this war and a distaste for what was Greek.
Perhaps the Greeks of Palestine became false to their allies, and left
the Jews in the lurch. The Synhedrion of Jamnia appears to have been
destroyed under Quietus, but the Jewish people were soon delivered
from the merciless oppressor, whose plans for their annihilation could
not be carried into effect. The new emperor himself put an end to his
general's career. Hadrian, who had more ambition than warlike courage,
and whose innermost aspiration was for the nimbus of royal authority
rather than for a rough and troublesome military existence, drew back
at the prospect of so many revolts, and from the chance of a long and
wearisome war. Already envious of the reputation of his predecessor,
with whom he had no sympathy, and whom the Senate had been unwearied
in granting triumphs, Hadrian, for the first time, swerved from the
hard and fast line of Roman politics, and was inclined to be yielding.
In the same spirit, he permitted the Parthians to be ruled by their
own prince, renounced all claims on them, and appears to have made
concessions to the other provinces, and to have granted the Jews their
apparently harmless requests. Amongst these they expressed a wish for
the removal of the heartless Quietus and the restoration of the Temple.
The all-powerful general was deposed; and though the jealousy of the
emperor with regard to this great and powerful ruler was a chief reason
for his removal, it yet was made to appear as if it were done to favor
the Jews, and to do away with their chief grievance. Before Quietus
fell into disgrace he was about to pronounce sentence of death on the
two Jewish leaders, Julianus and Pappus, who had fallen into his hands;
they were to be executed in Laodicea. He had said to them, "If your
God is powerful, as you assert, He may rescue you from my hands." To
which they replied, "Thou art scarcely worthy that God should perform a
miracle for thy sake, who art not even an independent ruler, but only
the servant of one higher." At the very moment when the two prisoners
were being led to a martyr's death, the order came from Rome which
deposed their executioner from the governorship of Judæa.

Quietus left Palestine, and was soon afterwards executed at the command
of Hadrian. The day of the release of Julianus and Pappus, 12th Adar
(Feb.-March, 118), was celebrated as a memorable event, and the college
appointed it as a half-holiday, under the name of Trajan's day (Yom
Trajanus). It is not to be doubted that the Jews made the re-erection
of the Temple on its former site a condition of their laying down
arms. A Jewish source relates this fact in clear terms, and Christian
accounts positively aver that the Jews on several occasions endeavored
to restore the Temple, and this can only refer to the early years of
Hadrian's reign. The superintendence of the building of the town,
Hadrian is said to have entrusted to the proselyte Akylas. Great was
the delight of the Jews at the prospect of again possessing a holy
fane. Fifty years had elapsed since the destruction of the Temple, just
the same period as had formed the interval between the destruction of
the first sanctuary and the return from Babylon. The keenest hopes were
aroused by Hadrian's assent. A Jewish-Alexandrian poet expresses in
Greek verse the feelings which filled every breast. The unknown poet
places his words in the mouth of a heathen prophetess, the Sibyl, the
sister of Isis. She first recites, in enigmatic references, the names
of a long line of Roman conquerors from the time of Cæsar--

                        ... and after him there came
    As king a man who wore a silver helm--the name
    He bore was of a sea--a worthy man, far-seeing,
    And 'neath thee--thou good and splendid raven-locked,
    And 'neath thy race, this happened for all times,
    That there arose a god-like race, indwellers of heaven,
    Who e'en on earth surround the town of God,
    And unto Joppa surround it with high walls,
    And boldly raise their towers to heaven's heights.
    No more the death sound of the trumpet's cry--
    No more they perish at the foe's rash hands;
    But trophies shall float in the world o'er evil.
    Torment thy heart no more, nor pierce with sword thy breast,
    Thou godly one, too rich, thou much-loved flower,
    Thou light so good and bright, desired and holy goal!
    Dear Jewish land! fair town, inspired of songs,
    No more shall unclean foot of Greeks within thy bounds
    Go forth.
    But in honor thy faithful ones shall hold thee;
    And they shall serve thy board with holy words,
    With varied offerings, and with welcome prayers.
    Those who remorseless send ill words to heaven
    Shall cease to raise their voices in thy midst,
    Shall hide away until the world has changed.
    For from the heavenly land a happy man comes forth,
    Within whose hands a scepter given by God;
    And over all he rules with glory, and to the good
    Again he giveth riches, bereft of them by others gone before,
    The towns by fire leveled to the very earth,
    And burnt the homes of men who once did evil.
    But the town beloved of God he made
    Brighter than stars or sun, and than the moon,
    Adorned them brightly, and reared a holy Temple.

The great expectations formed with regard to the restoration, which
had appeared like a pleasant dream, paled before the stern reality.
Scarcely had Hadrian taken a firm footing in his kingdom and calmed
the unruly nations, when, like other weak princes, he began to
diminish his promises, and to prevaricate. One report relates that the
Samaritans--who were jealous that the object of their aversion, the
Temple of Jerusalem, should again rise from the dust--endeavored to
represent to the Emperor the danger of such a restoration; as their
forefathers had formerly demonstrated to the Persian rulers, so they
endeavored to prove to the Roman emperor that the building of the
Temple was a mere subterfuge to bring about a total separation from
Rome. Hadrian, however, would probably have come to this conclusion
without the interposition of the Samaritans. In any case, while he
did not venture wholly to retract his word, he began to bargain. It
is said by some that he gave the Jews to understand that the Temple
must be erected on a different place from that on which stood the
ruins of the former building, or that it must be built on a smaller
scale. The Jews, who well understood this temporizing, and saw therein
only a retractation of the imperial promise, were not inclined to let
themselves be played with.

When matters had reached this pass, many people armed themselves and
assembled again in the valley of Rimmon, on the plain of Jezreel. When
the royal epistle was read out the masses burst into tears. A rebellion
and an embittered war seemed imminent. But there were still lovers of
peace amongst the people, who recognized that a rebellion, under the
circumstances then existing, would be dangerous. At the head of this
party was Joshua. He was immediately sent for to tranquillize the
excited populace by his influence and eloquence. Joshua addressed the
people in a manner which has always appealed to the masses. He related
a fable, and drew a moral which applied to existing circumstances: "A
lion had once regaled himself on his prey, but a bone remained sticking
in his throat. In terror he promised a great reward to any one who
would extract the bone. A crane with a long neck presented himself,
performed the operation and claimed his reward. The lion, however,
said mockingly, Rejoice that thou hast withdrawn thy head unharmed from
the lion's jaws. In like manner," said Joshua, "let us be glad that we
have escaped unscathed from the Roman, and not insist on the fulfilment
of his promise." Through these and similar exhortations he prevented
an immediate outbreak. But the nation was filled with the idea of
rebellion, and adhered to it in a manner worthy of a better fortune.

Joshua was the chief leader of the people in the time of Hadrian, and
appears to have performed the duties of Patriarch, for Gamaliel had
probably died at the commencement of Hadrian's reign. The honors paid
to his dead body show the high esteem in which he was regarded by the
people. Joshua, Eliezer, and his disciples mourned for him; Akylas
the proselyte--as was customary at royal funerals--burnt clothes and
furniture to the amount of seventy minas. When reproached for this
extravagance he said, "Gamaliel is worth more than a hundred kings,
from whom the world gains nothing." A striking contrast to this display
was afforded by the simplicity of the shroud which Gamaliel had
expressly ordered before his death. It was customary at that time to
clothe the corpse in costly garments, an expense which fell so heavily
on those of small means, that many deserted their dead relations in
order to avoid the outlay. To prevent such expense, Gamaliel ordered
in his last will that he should be buried in simple white linen. From
that time greater simplicity was observed, and it became the custom at
funeral feasts to drink a cup to the memory of Gamaliel. He left sons,
but the eldest, Simon, appears to have been too young to undertake the
patriarchate, which, therefore, devolved on Joshua probably (as his
representative, Ab-bet-din). After Gamaliel's death Joshua was desirous
of abolishing various ordinances which the former had enforced, but he
was opposed by Jochanan ben Nuri, who was supported by most of the

It is hardly possible to doubt that the Jamnian Synhedrion removed to
Upper Galilee after the death of Gamaliel, and Usha (El-Uz) in the
vicinity of Shefaram (Shefa-Amar), between Acco and Safet, became
the seat of the Synhedrion. Ishmael is mentioned amongst those who
emigrated to Usha. Here the Synhedrion made various enactments of high
moral and historical importance, which took the form of laws, under the
title of Ordinances of Usha (Tekanoth Usha). One of these laws decreed
that a father must support his young children--the boys until their
twelfth year, and the girls until they married. Before this time the
provision for children had been left to the option of parents. Another
law enacted that if a father during his own lifetime gave up all his
property to his son, it followed, as a matter of course, that the son
must support both his father and the wife of his father. A third law
limited the reckless devoting of the whole of a man's property to
charitable purposes, which custom prevailed at that time. This law
prescribed that only a fifth part of the property might be given away.
Isebab, who afterwards died the death of a martyr, was desirous of
dividing his whole property amongst the poor, but Akiba opposed him,
referring him to this law respecting property. One decision of Usha
seems to have been directed against Gamaliel's severe employment of the
interdict. It decreed that no member of the College should in future
be excommunicated unless he actually despised and revolted against
the whole Law, like King Jeroboam. This circumstance shows that the
unity of the Law was so established that a difference of opinion no
longer implied, as formerly, a total break, and Joshua, no doubt, had
contributed to this result.

The tolerable relations between Hadrian and the Jews did not last much
more than a decade. He could not forget that he had been compelled
to make concessions to the despised nation, and the latter could not
forget that he had broken faith with them, and had deprived them of
their fairest hopes. This mutual antipathy displayed itself during
Hadrian's journey through Judæa. The emperor, urged by vanity, and
a desire to be called the father of his country, and impelled by a
restlessness and want of occupation, which drove him from one spot
to another, had visited nearly all the provinces of the great Roman
empire, for the purpose of seeing everything with his own eyes.
Hadrian's petty curiosity led him to concern himself with all manner
of things, to desire to be considered as a philosopher, and better
informed than his contemporaries in all matters. Whether he judged the
condition of other provinces correctly may be doubted; he certainly
was deceived in his hasty judgment of the Jews. During his visit to
Judæa (130), it is probable that those people, such as the Romans,
Samaritans, and Christians, who disliked the original inhabitants
(the Jews), approached him with subservience, in order to greet him
as a demi-god, or even as a god. A pantomimic conversation, which was
held between a Christian and a representative of Judaism, Joshua ben
Chananya, in Hadrian's presence, describes their respective positions.
The former showed by gestures that the God of Israel had hidden His
face from the Jews; the latter showed, by a movement of the arm,
that God still stretched forth His hand to protect Israel, and this
pantomime Hadrian desired to have explained to him. He seems to have
had many interviews with Joshua. Several conversations between Hadrian
and the Tanaite have been handed down, of which one appears to be
credible. He asked him, "If you are as wise as you assert, tell me
what I shall behold this night in my dreams." Joshua replied, "Thou
wilt dream that the Persians (Parthians) will subdue thee, and compel
thee to guard low animals with a golden scepter." This retort was well
chosen, for the superstitious emperor feared the Parthians beyond all
nations, and did his utmost to maintain peace with them.

Hadrian thought that he had nothing to fear from Judæa. He informed
the Roman Senate of the peaceful disposition of the Jews, and they
perpetuated their credulity by various coins, in which the emperor is
represented dressed in a toga, raising a kneeling Jew from his humble
position. Three boys (probably emblematic of the districts of Judæa,
Samaria, and Galilee) hand him palm branches. He thus cherished the
expectation that racial and religious differences would soon disappear,
and that the inhabitants would merge their identity in that of the
Romans. In order to induce such a state of things he drew up a plan,
which could not have been more unfortunately conceived. Jerusalem was
to be rebuilt, but as a pagan city. Whilst he repaired to Egypt to
commit other follies, the desecration of the holy city was commenced.
The Jews naturally did not remain unmoved at this act, which was to
erase their name as a nation and a religious body from the book of the
living, and a bitter feeling overcame them. Joshua again appears to
have endeavored to bring about a reconciliation in order to frustrate
the thoughtless plan of the emperor, and to allay the discontent of the
people. Though an aged man, he traveled to Egypt in order to induce the
emperor to alter his mind.

But his prudent suggestions were ridiculed; the emperor would only
mock at the Jewish, Samaritan, and Christian religions, with which he
thought himself thoroughly acquainted. He wrote at this time to his
brother-in-law, "No president of the synagogue (Rabbi) of the Jews, no
Samaritan, no Christian priest, honors anything but Serapis. Even that
patriarch who has come to Egypt [probably Joshua] was compelled by some
to worship Serapis, and by others to worship Christ." Joshua returned
to Judæa after his fruitless visit, and appears to have died soon after
of grief and old age. It was justly said of him that with his death
wisdom and prudent moderation came to an end. After his decease there
occurred wide-spread movements and contests in Judæa, which were among
the most memorable in its history, and there was no one to stem the

So long as Hadrian remained in Syria (130-131) the malcontents did not
commence the revolt for which they had probably been long preparing.
The weapons prepared by the Jewish smiths for the Romans were made (in
anticipation of their being used against themselves) weak and useless.
In the hollow chalk mountains of Judæa the insurgents silently prepared
underground passages and refuges, which were used as secret armories
before the war, and afterwards as secret ambushes, from which the enemy
could be attacked. Akiba seems to have developed a silent but effective
activity in his preparation for a revolt. After the death of Joshua he
was recognized as the head of the Jewish community. Hadrian, lulled
into security, discovered the conspiracy only when it broke out at the
various points of the Roman empire, so skilfully had the Roman spies
been deceived. When the revolt was about to commence everything was in
readiness. There were stores of arms, means of communication, warriors,
and even a powerful leader, who, through his strange position, infused
religious enthusiasm and warlike courage. It was considered as a
favorable sign for their daring undertaking that two of the stations
of the Roman legions had been destroyed. Cæsarea and Emmaus had been
swallowed up some years before by an earthquake. Cæsarea was the Roman
capital of Judæa, the dwelling-place of the governor, and, like Rome,
it brought down the hatred of the Jews on itself. The peculiar idea was
entertained, that, as the greatness of Cæsarea had dated from the time
of the destruction of Jerusalem, so from the fall of Cæsarea Jerusalem
would again attain to power. Emmaus had been the dwelling-place of
eight hundred soldiers of Vespasian who had served there; it therefore
had been used as a second citadel.

The chief hero of the revolt was Bar-Cochba, who inspired the Roman
empire in its then state of weakness with as much terror as Brennus and
Hannibal had formerly done.

Not a trace, however slight, can be found of the descent and early life
of this much reviled and misunderstood personage. Like the hero of
every revolution, he suddenly appeared as the perfect incarnation of
the nation's will and the nation's hate, spreading terror around, and
standing as the center-point of an eventful movement. His real name was
Bar-Kosiba, doubtless from the town of Kosiba, and was not a nickname
meaning "son of lies." Bar-Cochba was a symbolical Messianic name which
Akiba had given him. When Akiba, actively engaged in the deliverance of
the Jewish people, first saw Bar-Cochba, he was so impressed with the
appearance of the man that he said, "That is a Messianic king." Akiba
applied to him the verse of Scripture, "Kosiba has arisen as a star
(Cochba) in Jacob." Akiba was confirmed, by the imposing personality of
Bar-Cochba, in his hopes that the Roman power would soon be overthrown,
and that the splendors of Israel would once more shine forth, and he
looked forward through this means to the speedy establishment of the
Messianic kingdom. He cited the verse of the prophet Haggai with regard
to this (ii. 21), "Yet a little and I will shake heaven and earth."

All did not, however, share Akiba's pious enthusiasm. Jochanan ben
Torta, a teacher of the Law, replied dubiously to his high-flying
hopes, "Sooner shall grass grow from thy chin, Akiba, than that the
Messiah will appear." The respect and attention, however, which Akiba
displayed towards Bar-Cochba were sufficient to surround him with a
halo, as of a higher God-given power, which gave him unquestioned
authority, and increased the means at his disposal.

There is no record in Jewish sources of miracles performed by the
Messianic king for the gratification of the populace. But an account
of the enemy relates how Bar-Cochba puffed forth burning tow from his
mouth to give himself the appearance of spitting fire. The Jewish
accounts speak of his enormous bodily strength. They relate that he
cast back with his knees the huge stones thrown by the Romans by means
of machines on the Jewish army. There is no hint given that he pursued
any selfish end by his Messianism; he was actuated only by the wish
to win back freedom for his people, to restore the tarnished glory of
the Jewish state, and to throw off at once and for ever the foreign
rule which, during two centuries, had interfered with the interests of
Judaism. So energetic a mind, combined with great military talent, even
though it failed to secure a favorable result, should have received
juster recognition from posterity, and certainly does not deserve the
prejudice which it met with from interested contemporaries. The Jewish
warriors from all countries poured forth to aid the Messianic king, and
the revolt became one of great dimensions. Even the Samaritans joined
their former opponents, as the chronicles relate. Heathens themselves
made common cause with the Jews, impelled by a desire to shake off the
unbearable Roman yoke. It seemed as if the whole Roman empire were
about to receive a heavy blow, by which the various members of its
gigantic body were to be rent asunder. From these facts the number of
the warriors cannot be considered as exaggerated if the Jewish sources
put them down as 400,000, whilst the Pagan historian Dio Cassius rates
them even at 580,000. Bar-Cochba felt so confident in his own courage
and the numerous warriors at his command, that he is said to have
uttered the blasphemy, "Lord, if thou dost not help us, at least do not
help our enemies, and we shall not be defeated."

Tinnius Rufus, the Governor of Judæa, was not prepared for the enormous
military power opposed to him, and he soon had to retreat before the
troops of the warlike Messiah. Rufus withdrew from one citadel to
another, and in one year (132-133) fifty fortified places and 985
cities and villages fell into the hands of the rebels. It appears that
the whole of Judæa, together with Samaria and Galilee, were evacuated
by the Romans, and fell into the possession of the Jews. When Hadrian
received the first news of the revolt in Judæa, he laid no great weight
upon it; but when one report after another of the defeat of the Roman
troops reached him, he sent relays and his best generals to the scene
of action; these, however, had no better fortune than Rufus. It is not
to be doubted that Jerusalem fell into the hands of the Jewish victors,
who may have contemplated the restoration of the Temple; but in the
midst of the war, and continually harassed by the Roman legions, they
had no time to undertake so extensive a work. Bar-Cochba, in order to
announce national independence, performed a sovereign act of power by
causing Jewish coins to be struck. These were called Bar-Cochba coins,
and also coins of the Revolution.

Notwithstanding the deep hatred entertained by the Jews for their
enemies, they did not avenge themselves upon such as fell into their
hands. It was only against the Jewish Christians who lived in Judæa
that Bar-Cochba displayed his hostility, because they were considered
as blasphemers and as spies. This hatred against the Jewish Christians
was increased because they refused to take part in the national war,
and were the only idle lookers-on at the fearful spectacle. One of the
oldest Christian sources relates that Bar-Cochba had demanded of the
Christians to deny Jesus, and to take part in the war with the Romans,
and that those who refused to do so were punished with heavy penalties.

When the State was restored and all laws again came into force, the
Jewish authorities felt themselves justified in summoning those
of their countrymen before the justice-seat who not only denied
the Law but held it up to ridicule. It is nowhere related that the
Christians were compelled to recognize and believe in Bar-Cochba as
a new Christ. Such compulsion seems to have been foreign to the new
Jewish State. Later Christian chronicles, in their usual manner, have
greatly exaggerated the floggings to which the Jewish Christians were
subjected, until they assumed the proportions of actual persecution,
accompanied by death and martyrdom, for which there is no historical
basis. The Evangelists, who, before the appearance of Bar-Cochba, had
spoken of the warlike preparations, and all events of the time, in a
veiled but perfectly comprehensible manner, alone relate the position
of the Jewish population towards the Christians. They seem to hint
that even in the midst of Christianity there was great dissension, and
that some who were eager for the cause of liberty, reported their more
indifferent coreligionists with much zeal to the Jewish authorities.
These Evangelists make Jesus utter a prophecy which foretold a coming
change, as though he, amidst these stormy days, would appear in the
flesh at the Last Judgment.

This prophecy of Jesus displays the gloomy tendency of the times of
Bar-Cochba. The words run:

    For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall
    deceive many. And when ye shall hear of wars and rumors of
    wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but
    the end shall not be yet. For nation shall rise against nation,
    and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in
    divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these
    are the beginnings of sorrows. But take heed to yourselves: for
    they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues
    ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and
    kings for my sake, for a testimony against them. And the gospel
    must first be published among all nations. But when they shall
    lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what
    ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate; but whatsoever shall
    be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye
    that speak, but the Holy Ghost. Now the brother shall betray
    the brother to death, and the father the son; and the children
    shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be
    put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's
    sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be

Thus a father of the Church comforted the Christian community in Judæa.
It appears that the Synhedrion of the time of Bar-Cochba introduced
some innovations in order to work against the increasing spread of the
worship of Jesus amongst the Jewish Christians, and to promote a means
of recognizing those who were for them or against them. It had been the
habit for centuries past never to pronounce the sacred name of God,
IHW, but to substitute the word Lord (Adonaï). The Christians, however,
had accustomed themselves to call Jesus "Lord." To counteract this, the
Synhedrion enacted that the name of God should be used as in ancient
times, and that this name should be introduced even into the formula of

The newly founded kingdom of Bar-Cochba had already subsisted during
two years (132-134). With deep concern Hadrian beheld the continuous
progress of the Jewish revolution. It had taken a course and an extent
which opened up a vista of unlooked-for results. Every auxiliary force
which he had sent to join in the contest suffered defeat, and every
fresh general left his reputation on a Jewish battle-field. Hadrian was
obliged to summon his greatest general, who at that time was repressing
the revolt of a nation who loved freedom equally well, namely, the
Britons. Julius Severus was recalled to Judæa, as he seemed to be the
only man who could measure swords with the great hero, Bar-Cochba.
Severus, on his arrival, found the military position of the Jews so
secure and inaccessible that he did not venture to give them battle
immediately. The chief stronghold of the Jews during this war was the
district around the Mediterranean Sea which had for its central point
the town of Bethar (Bither). This fortress, the ruins of which are
still to be seen, is only one Roman mile (four-fifths of a geographical
mile) distant from the sea.

Besides Bethar, Bar-Cochba had fortified several other towns, which
were probably placed under special commanders. In the north, at the
foot of the Galilean highlands, at the entrance to the great plain of
Jezreel (Esdraelon) there were three cities, which formed a triangle
of fortresses from the Mediterranean to the Sea of Galilee. To the
west near Acco there was Cabul, or Chabulon; three miles from this,
towards the southeast, there was the fortified town of Sichin, near
to Sepphoris, in a fruitful plain. About three miles further, to the
east of Galilee, and on the lake of the same name, stood Magdala
(Tarichæa). All three towns, Cabul, Sichin and Magdala, are described
as having been densely populated, and they formed the outposts which
were to prevent the invasion of the Romans on the side of Syria and
Upper Galilee. The inhabitants of Sepphoris appear to have secretly
maintained their devotion to the Romans, as they had formerly done
under Vespasian and Trajan. Full confidence was not placed in them,
but the more reliable towns of the neighborhood were chosen as
meeting-places. A second line of fortifications was in the middle
of the Jewish territory, and was greatly favored by the conformation
of the ground. One of the chief fortresses which Bar-Cochba probably
again put in a state of defense was Tur-Simon, doubtless named after
Simon the Hasmonæan. This fortress was also said to have so numerous a
population that, every Friday, three hundred large baskets of loaves
were distributed amongst the army. Here, according to legend, the
revolt broke out, on account of an offense given by the Romans to the

Julius, whose rapid glance no doubt perceived the difficulty of
obtaining a victory, owing to the strong fortifications, the number of
warriors and their fanatical courage, avoided a decided battle, which
would have been desired by Bar-Cochba, who relied on the number and
devotion of his troops. Like Vespasian, Severus purposely prolonged
the war by divers attacks. He reckoned more especially on the scarcity
of food which must inevitably ensue in a land-locked territory, when
the hands which should hold the plow were engaged with the sword. He
contented himself with depriving the enemy of food, with attacking the
separate bodies of Jewish troops, and harassing them with his cavalry.
These tactics fully succeeded, more especially as all prisoners were
immediately put to death.

The particulars of this revolutionary war were no doubt as memorable as
those of the war with the Zealots, but no account has been preserved
to tell posterity of the death-struggle of the Jewish nation. The
heroic deeds of the Zealots--Bar-Giora and John of Gischala--have been
immortalized by their greatest enemy, against his will, but no pen was
found to commemorate on the tablets of history the warlike deeds of
the last of the Jewish heroes. It almost seemed that the remembrance
of their prowess, destined as the new generations were to forget the
arts of war, was to be totally forgotten Only a few traits have been
preserved to us of the war, which bear witness, not only to the courage
of the Jews but also to their all-defying enthusiasm for the cause of
their race.

If, as the geographical position of Judæa demanded, the first attack
of the Romans was made on the north, on the Syrian and Phœnician side,
the three northernmost citadels of Cabul, Sichin and Magdala must have
been first attacked. The Jewish sources which have handed down the
details of the war, as given by survivors, relate the manner of the
destruction of these three cities, and the circumstances which led
to their downfall. Cabul fell through internal dissensions; Sichin
through sorcery, by which an unlooked-for attack was probably meant;
lastly, Magdala, the birthplace of the penitent Mary Magdalene, fell,
weakened through the vices of its inhabitants. After the fall of the
three strongholds on the borders, the war was virtually at an end,
just as in the first revolution, after the subjection of Jotapata and
Gischala, the land was considered as subdued. The plain of Rimmon
seems to have been another seat of the war, for the Roman legions had
to traverse this plain in order to reach the interior of the land. On
this plain a terrible battle seems to have taken place, which became
the subject-matter of many a legend. The next campaign of the Romans
was evidently directed against the cities in the mountains. Legend
relates how 100,000 Romans marched into the citadel of Tur-Simon with
drawn swords, and how, during three days and nights, they massacred
the inhabitants. The fifty fortified places occupied by the Jews fell
one after another into the hands of the enemy, and the Roman generals
gave battle to the Jewish army on fifty-two, or, according to some
authorities, on fifty-four occasions. The circle drawn round Bethar,
where Bar-Cochba and the flower of his army had retreated, became ever
narrower. All fugitives had betaken themselves to his side, in order
to escape the sword of destruction and to find a place of refuge. On
this spot, where the two greatest generals of the time--Julius Severus
and Bar-Cochba--were opposed, the decisive conflict was to take place.

Bethar was, no doubt, filled to overflowing by the contingents who
came in from all sides. The sources could not speak with sufficient
hyperbole of this final scene of the defense; they relate, amongst
other things, that several hundreds of schools existed in Bethar, and
that the numbers of the pupils were so great that they boasted that
they could overthrow the enemy with their writing-reeds. The siege
of Bethar probably lasted for a year, and the duration of the whole
war was about three years and a-half. We are left in uncertainty as
to the various incidents of the siege, as also regarding the causes
which led to the fall of the citadel. A Jewish authority relates that
the river Joredethha-Zalmon faithlessly deprived the besieged of its
waters, which may mean that the summer heat dried it up. A somewhat
vague account from Samaritan sources recounts that the food-supplies,
which had been secretly conveyed into the town, were suddenly cut off;
this agrees with the Jewish accounts, which relate that Bethar fell
through the stratagems of the Samaritans. The Jewish sources assert
that Eleazar of Modin prayed in sackcloth and ashes that Bethar might
be spared; and perhaps his piety inspired the besieged with endurance
and courage.

Hadrian, or his general, being wearied with the long contest, was
about to raise the siege, when a Samaritan promised to aid him, and
told him that Eleazar was the guardian spirit of the citadel, adding
that "so long as that hen cackles in ashes Bethar is impregnable."
Thereupon the Samaritan, passing through a subterranean passage,
approached Eleazar whilst he was engaged in prayer, and whispered
in his ear. The spectators, whose suspicions were aroused by this
secrecy, led him to Bar-Cochba and related the incident. The spy,
when questioned, declared: "If I tell thee the truth, my master will
kill me; and if I keep it from thee, thou wilt kill me; but I would
rather die by thy hand than by my masters." Bar-Cochba, suspecting a
traitorous understanding between Eleazar and the enemy, summoned him
to appear, and questioned him as to his meeting with the Samaritan.
Eleazar, who had been absorbed in his devotions, and had hardly noticed
the Samaritan, could only reply that he knew nothing of the matter.
Bar-Cochba, who thought that he was being deceived, struck Eleazar a
blow with his foot, and, enfeebled as he was by fasting, Eleazar fell
down dead. Then a voice was heard: "Thou hast lamed the arm of Israel
and blinded his eyes; therefore shall thine arm and thine eye lose
their power."

The Samaritan sources describe the conquest of Bethar as similar to
that of Jerusalem. Hadrian, they assert, who had laid siege to the
city, had already raised the siege, as the inhabitants had obtained
supplies, which they showed to the enemy. Then two Samaritan brothers,
who were held imprisoned by the Jews, contrived to throw over the wall
a letter wrapped in linen to Julius, saying that if the exits were
guarded the inhabitants of the town would certainly die of starvation.
He followed their advice, and entered the city on a Sabbath. So much is
certain, that the Romans, introduced by a traitor into a subterranean
way, massacred the people of Bethar. This is described with fearful
detail. Horses were said to wade to the nozzle in blood--a river of
blood flowed into the distant sea, carrying bodies along with it. One
can scarcely credit the numbers said to have been slain, and yet they
are confirmed both by Jewish and by Greek historians. The authentic
historian Dio Cassius relates that besides those who died of hunger
and fire, there fell half a million Jews.

The loss of the Romans was equally great, and Hadrian did not dare
employ in his message to the Senate the usual formula, "I and the
army are well." The Senate did not decree the Emperor a triumph, but
a medal was struck in commemoration of the services rendered by the
army. This coin bore the inscription, "Exercitus Judaicus. Thanks to
the army victorious over the Jews." Bethar fell, as tradition relates,
on the 9th Ab, the date on which the Temple had twice been reduced to
ashes. The end of the mighty Bar-Cochba is not known. One who brought
his head to the Roman General boasted that he had killed him. His body,
however, was found crushed by a snake. On this the conqueror said, "Had
not God's hand killed him, a human hand could not have injured him."
Hadrian established three military stations to capture the fugitives,
in Chamath (Ammaus near Tiberias), in Kephar Lekitaja, and in Bethel.
Whoever escaped the one garrison was captured by the other. Thus all
the warriors were destroyed, all towns and villages laid waste, and the
land was literally converted into a desert. The prisoners, mostly women
and children, were dragged by thousands to the slave markets of Hebron
and Gaza, where they were sold. There were, however, some fugitives who
lived in caves in order to escape the enemy. But even this miserable
existence was not permitted to them. Heralds announced that to those
who voluntarily yielded themselves up, mercy would be granted. Many
listened to the temptation, but were carried off to the plain of
Rimmon, and the victors were commanded to massacre their prisoners
before Hadrian tasted food. Many fugitives, however, fled to Arabia,
whence that country obtained its Jewish population, which afterward
played so important a part in its history. Hadrian also caused foreign
Jews to feel the weight of his anger, and imposed on them a tax
much heavier than that exacted by Vespasian. In memory of this last
revolt, the Jews, as a sign of mourning, decreed that brides should no
longer be carried in beautiful sedan-chairs into the houses of their



    Turnus Rufus persecutes the Jews--The Ten Martyrs--The Book of
    Tobit--Relations between Judaism and Christianity--The Return
    of the Schools to Palestine--The Synod at Usha--Meïr--Simon ben
    Jochai--The Babylonian Synhedrion--Antoninus Pius and Aurelius
    Verus--The Revolt against Rome--The Patriarchate of Simon.

    135.170 C. E.

Hadrian, who during the war had lived in a terror-stricken condition,
did not content himself with merely crushing all revolt, but he desired
to root out the possibility of a future uprising. For this purpose
he caused a number of laws to be brought into operation, every one
of which was intended to destroy Judaism, the spiritual life of the
nation, in the hearts of the survivors. Hadrian named Rufus as the
executor of his edicts--a man incapable of attacking an armed foe,
but more competent to carry on a war of petty persecution and spying.
Severus having been sent back to Britain at the end of his campaign,
Rufus had the plow drawn over the town of Jerusalem and the Temple
Mount, as a sign that another city should be built there. This occurred
on the eventful 9th Ab, perhaps a year after the fall of Bethar.

Hadrian had the city rebuilt more towards the north, where formerly
the suburbs had been. He populated the newly erected city with a
colony of soldiers who had served their time, Phœnicians and Syrians.
The city, Ælia Capitolina, was built in the Grecian style, with two
market-places, a theater, and other public buildings, and was divided
into seven quarters. Thus Hadrian succeeded in his preconceived
plan of turning Jerusalem into a heathen city. On the Temple Mount a
column was erected in honor of Hadrian, and a heathen temple in honor
of Jupiter Capitolinus. Other statues of Roman, Greek, and Phœnician
gods adorned, or rather defiled, Jerusalem. In all public edicts
Jerusalem figured under its new name Ælia, and so completely was its
identity forgotten, that a hundred years later a governor of Palestine
asked a bishop, who said he came from Jerusalem, where that town was
situated. At the south gate leading to Bethlehem a swine's head was
erected in half relief, as a special annoyance to the Jews, and it was
forbidden them on pain of death to pass within the outer wall of this
city. Hadrian erected a shrine to Jupiter on Mount Gerizim, where the
Samaritans formerly had had their temple, a place they considered as
holy. On Mount Golgotha, opposite Jerusalem, a temple was erected to
Venus, and in a cave at Bethlehem a statue of Adonis was worshiped.
Hadrian followed the old policy of the Syrian Antiochus Epiphanes,
who desecrated the Jewish holy places from prejudice and revenge, and
endeavored to graft Paganism on Judaism by force of arms. He thought
most effectually to break down the stubborn independence of the Jews if
he could succeed in weaning them from their peculiar religious life.
A decree was issued in Judæa which inflicted the severest punishments
on all those who permitted themselves to be circumcised, to keep the
Sabbath, or to follow the Jewish law. Only in one point did Hadrian
differ from Epiphanes--he did not compel the worship of the Roman
gods. All customs and habits which bore ever so slight a tinge of a
religious character were, however, interdicted, such as the letter
of separation for divorced wives, marriages on Wednesday, and other
customs. This extension of the edict may have been a commentary of the
Roman authorities in Judæa, who were better acquainted with the spirit
of the Jews, and determined to enforce the imperial command in order to
attain the desired end. The weary years through which Judaism passed,
from the fall of Bethar till after the death of Hadrian, were called
the epoch of Religious Compulsion, Danger and Persecution. The stern
decrees, and a sterner enforcement of them, were a heavy blow for those
who remained. The more conscientious were undecided how to behave in
their critical position, whether they should keep to the hard and fast
line of custom, or whether, in consideration of their thinned ranks,
they should save their own lives by yielding to the exigencies of the

There was probably no actual Synhedrion at that time to take up the
question and give them the guidance they desired. The surviving
teachers of the Law assembled in a garret in Lydda, and deliberated on
this question of life and death. Amongst the members present at this
assemblage were Akiba, Tarphon, and Joseph the Galilean. Doubtless
Ishmael, who resembled R. Joshua in character, was also present on
that occasion. There was a difference of opinion with regard to this
important question. The strict elements appear to have considered that
every Jew, rather than become guilty of the slightest infringement of
a law, however heavy (important) or light (less important), should be
ready to die the death of a martyr. Ishmael supported the opposite
view. He considered that, outwardly and under compulsion, one might
transgress the Law in order to preserve one's life, for the Torah
enacted that its followers should live by it and not die through it.
The assembly at Lydda, as usual, adopted the middle course, that a
difference should be made between important precepts and those which
were less weighty. The matter was put to the vote, and the decision was
reached, that in order to avoid death by torture, all laws might be
broken, with the exception of those prohibiting idolatry, adultery, and
murder. This decision, which gives evidence of the desperate condition
in which the Jews at that time found themselves, appears also to have
contained a secret clause, that in case of need the Law might be evaded
or neglected, but that it should be observed as far as it was possible
to do so. There were many who obeyed, but who dissimulated in presence
of the Roman spies and overseers. It was touching to note the petty
tricks and pious frauds by which they endeavored to avoid death and yet
to satisfy their conscience. The mental tortures which they suffered
daily and hourly made them skilful in discovering loopholes of escape.
Even Akiba on one occasion when he saw himself surrounded by Roman
spies, gave a sign to his disciples to say the Shema softly and almost
inaudibly, for the Roman authorities ruthlessly fulfilled the letter
of their edict. A Roman inspector (quæsitor), who surprised a certain
Artaban, as he was fastening Mezzuzoth to the door-posts, compelled
him to pay 1000 denars for this act. Another man, Elisha, probably
a survivor of the Essenes, was condemned to have his skull broken,
because he was putting on Tephillin. It was dangerous even to wear the
Jewish garb. Two pupils of Joshua therefore adopted the dress of the
country, and when questioned on the subject they replied, "that to
oppose the Imperial behest would be to commit suicide."

Ishmael describes this dreary time, when martyrdom and death dogged
their every step, in the following words: "Since sinful Rome has
inflicted severe laws on us, disturbed us in the performance of our
religious duties, and especially prohibited the act of circumcision, we
really ought not to marry, in order that we may not have children. But
then the race of Abraham would die out. Therefore it is better that,
for a time, the religious laws should be transgressed, rather than
that a state of things should be brought about which the people would
not submit to."

There were, however, many whose conscience did not permit them to make
use of the freedom permitted by the Lyddan Assembly, or to employ the
subterfuges which were adopted by others. They observed rigorously the
religious precepts, even at the risk of suffering martyrdom. One of the
younger witnesses of this sad time describes, almost in a dramatic way,
the ruthlessness of the Roman authorities, who inflicted some cruel
punishment for each religious ceremony. "Why shouldst thou be flogged?
Because I used a lulab. Why shouldst thou be crucified? Because I ate
unleavened bread at Passover. Why should ye be condemned to death
by fire or by the sword? Because we read the Torah, and permitted
our children to be circumcised." Yet more terrible were the deaths
inflicted on the accused by the Roman tribunals, which can only be
paralleled by those inflicted by the Inquisition. Red-hot balls were
placed in the arm-pits, or spiked tubes passed under the nails, or damp
wool was laid on the heart of one who was being burnt to death, or the
skin was taken off--horrors which cause an involuntary shudder at their
mere enumeration.

Notwithstanding the watchfulness of the Roman officials, it would have
been possible to deceive them, had there not been Jewish renegades who
betrayed to the Roman overseers the various stratagems and devices
employed. These spies probably belonged to an unscrupulous class of
men, who would do anything for gain, or they were Jewish Christians,
who by this means thought to find favor with the Roman authorities,
and to show that they were distinct from the Jews. Lastly, there were
those who considered it a good work to assist in the destruction of the
Jewish Law. Amongst these was Acher, who was imbued with contempt for
the Law. It is said that he gave information to the Roman authorities
to enable them to distinguish between religious ceremonies and those
which were of no moment. For example, if the Jews were compelled to
work on the Sabbath, and one had to carry a load, in order to ease his
conscience, would get an assistant, and thus lessen the desecration of
the Sabbath, Acher would draw attention to this ruse. Thus the Roman
spies, who initiated the overseers in the various rites, were keen to
notice every attempt at a religious observance.

Hadrian or his representatives directed their strictest attention to,
and inflicted the severest punishments in, two especial cases--the
assembling of schools and the ordination of disciples. It may have been
suggested to him that the continuance of the Law depended on these
two functions. If the instruction of pupils by the teachers could be
stopped, and the ordination of pupils as independent teachers could be
prevented, then naturally a stoppage must occur in the life-current of
Judaism. It must be confessed that the Roman policy was well carried
out by its supporters, and that they knew how to strike at the most
vital point of Judaism. Severe sentences of death were inflicted upon
those teachers who maintained schools, and on those who ordained
disciples; even the communities were made answerable for them. The town
and its environs, where an ordination took place, were condemned to
destruction. It is possible that Acher instigated this persecution; at
any rate, it is related of him that he handed over the teachers of the
Law to death, and that he frightened away disciples from the study of
the Law.

Amongst the friends of peace who even advised subservience to these
decrees was José ben Kisma, who honored patience as the highest virtue,
and hoped to effect more by submission than by bold opposition and
useless self-destruction. He once met Chanina ben Teradion, who
belonged to the party who were determined to give up their life for the
Law. He was teaching his pupils from a scroll of the Law, which he held
in his lap. José said warningly, "Seest thou, my brother, that even
Heaven is favorable to the Roman empire. The Temple is destroyed; the
pious are cut down, the best men are exterminated, and yet this empire
exists! How canst thou dare to teach against the Imperial law? It would
not surprise me if thou wert condemned to the stake together with the
holy books." José was in high favor at the court of the Governor of
Judæa, and when he died several persons of high rank followed his body.

Most of the Tanaites were of a different opinion, and decided rather
to suffer death than to give up their meetings at the schools; they
considered it of greater importance to study the Law than to observe
religious precepts. A special ordinance was passed in the garret at
Lydda that to teach was far more important than to merely practise the
Law. As far as compulsory abstention from religious observances was
concerned, the teachers of the Law had set an example of submission
for the time being; but in order to preserve the knowledge of the Law
itself they pressed forward to a martyr's death, as though that must be
the holiest part of Judaism, to be defended even at the expense of life.

An old account speaks of ten martyrs who bled for the Law. But the
names of only seven have been preserved; of the others the accounts
are untrustworthy. The first to be executed was Ishmael, son of the
high priest Elisha, who formulated the Thirteen Rules; with him was a
certain Simon (of which name there were several). Elisha was unwilling
to advise others to undergo martyrdom, but he joyfully underwent it
himself. Akiba gave addresses, in which he described how Ishmael and
Simon, both free from sin, had served as examples, and fallen by the
hands of the executioner; and in conclusion he exhorted his scholars
with these words, "Prepare for death, for terrible days are awaiting
us." Akiba's turn soon came, for he held discourses in secret. On the
third day of Tishri he was thrown into prison. In vain had Pappos ben
Judah, one of those who advised submission at any price, warned him to
give up his meetings with his pupils, because the eyes of spies were
directed to the most secret places. Chance brought him and this very
Pappos together in prison. Pappos lamented that he was only condemned
for a worldly matter, and that he could not comfort himself with the
idea that he was suffering for a great cause. Rufus, the governor and
executioner, acted towards Akiba, whom he considered as the head and
leader, with even greater severity than towards the others. He kept him
for a long time in the prison, which was so securely guarded that no
one could gain admission. The remaining teachers of the Law, who felt
utterly deserted and helpless without Akiba, took all possible pains
to obtain his advice in doubtful cases. Once they gave 300 denars to a
messenger, who could only with great difficulty obtain access to Akiba.

At last, however, the hour of his execution came. Rufus inflicted the
cruelest tortures on him, and caused his skin to be torn off with
irons. The great martyr, whilst under torture, recited the Shema with
a peaceful smile on his face. Rufus, astonished at his extraordinary
courage, asked him if he was a sorcerer, that he could so easily
overcome the pain he was suffering. To which Akiba replied, "I am
no sorcerer, but I rejoice that I am permitted to love God with my
life." Akiba breathed forth his soul with the last words of the prayer
which contains the essence of Judaism--God is ONE. Akiba's death,
which was as remarkable as his life had been, left a terrible void.
His contemporaries mourned, for with him was destroyed the arm of the
Law and the source of wisdom. He left one son and several disciples,
who honored his name, and considered his mode of teaching as the only
permissible one.

The fourth martyr who heroically bore his death was Chanina ben
Teradion. Regardless of the warnings of José ben Kisma, he continued to
hold his lectures until he was dragged to the tribunal. He was asked
why he had acted in opposition to the imperial command, and he boldly
answered, "Because God has so commanded me." He was wrapped up in a
scroll of the Law and burnt on a stake of fresh rushes. Chanina's wife
was also sentenced to death, and his daughter condemned to degradation.

The martyrdom of Chuzpit, the speaker (Meturgeman) of the Synhedrion
of Jamnia, and Isebab, the secretary of the Synhedrion, are merely
noted without details; doubtless they were discovered teaching the Law.
Judah ben Baba is said to have been the last of the martyrs. Before his
death he resolved to invest the seven remaining pupils of Akiba with
the necessary authority to continue the propagation of the traditional
Law. He selected for the function the valley between Usha and Shefaram,
but despite this secrecy he was surprised by the Romans. His disciples
refused to leave him, and it was only after repeated entreaties that
they fled. The enemy found the old man alone, and he gave himself up
to death without opposition. He was pierced by lances. From fear of
Rufus's bloodthirsty vengeance, the usual address was omitted at the
funeral of Judah ben Baba. Neither the name nor the mode of death of
the remaining martyrs is known with certainty. Thus ends the second
generation of Tanaites; it was rich in great men, rich in great minds,
and rich in trouble and sorrow. The end of Bar-Cochba's revolt formed
the turning-point of this epoch, and the fact that a temple to Jupiter
Capitolinus occupied the site of the ancient Jewish Temple seemed to
the Jewish Christians to presage the last day and the return of the

Hadrian and Rufus's cruel measures were directed not against the
survivors alone, but also against the dead. The heaps of dead bodies
were not permitted to be interred, but the horrible sight was intended
as a warning to the survivors, that they should no longer dream of
deliverance from the Roman yoke. The rulers did not trouble themselves
as to the pestilential condition of the air, or the depressing effect
of beholding so many corpses lying in the sunshine; or perhaps they
rejoiced that pestilence and despair should be added to the horrors
inflicted on the Jewish nation. To pious and gentle hearts the thought
was unbearable that the remains of those who had fallen, which were
especially to be honored by Jewish custom, should be left as a prey to
wild beasts and birds and to decay in the sunlight. It appears that a
pious man desired to impress on the survivors who had made peace with
the Romans, and who lived in seclusion, the necessity of interring
the corpses in the darkness of the night, even at the cost of their
own happiness and peace. To this end he composed a book--the Book of
Tobit--in which great weight is laid on the duty of secretly interring
the bodies of those whom the tyrants doomed to disgrace; and at the
same time it was hinted that the danger attending this duty would bring
a rich reward. In evidence of this the case was cited of the pious
Tobit, who after suffering many misfortunes as the result of his labor
of love, was in the end rewarded with rich blessings. The contents of
the Book of Tobit undeniably indicate that it was composed in the reign
of Hadrian.

Hadrian's severe persecution also fell upon the Jewish
Christians--perhaps on all Christians--although they had separated
from the Jewish community; for the reason that the Roman authorities
did not consider the differences of dogma between Jews and Christians.
The Evangelists paint in the darkest colors the horrors of persecution
with which the Christians were attacked. "Then you will behold the
terrors of desolation (predicted by the prophet Daniel) where they
should not be; he who is in Judæa will flee to the mountains; woe to
the pregnant and to the sucklings. Pray, however, that your flight may
not take place in winter or on a Sabbath."

Both sects of Christians were anxious to be recognized as a body
separate from the Jews, both politically and religiously, so as to
avoid the doom impending over the latter. Two teachers of the Church,
Quadratus and Aristides, are said to have handed to Hadrian a petition,
in which they demonstrated that Christianity had no connection with
Judaism. From this time dates the unity and identity of most of the
Jewish-Christian and heathen-Christian sects. The Jewish Christians
gave up the Jewish laws which they had hitherto kept, in a greater or
less degree, adopting the dogmatic precepts of Christianity as they had
been developed under heathen-Christian views, and as proof of their
sincere convictions, they for the first time placed an uncircumcised
bishop at the head of the community. From the time of Hadrian all
connection between Jews and Christians ceased, and they no longer
occupied the position of two hostile bodies belonging to the same
house, but they became two entirely distinct bodies.

Through the war against Hadrian and the edict of persecution a terrible
time had arisen for Judæa. The towns were destroyed, the land laid
waste, the inhabitants were killed either on the battle-field or on
the scaffold, or led a miserable life as refugees, while some were
scattered in more hospitable territories.

The disciples of the Law, more especially the seven disciples of Akiba,
had, with broken hearts, sought refuge in Nisibis and Nahardea, and if
the persecution had lasted longer, Babylon would even at this time have
attained that importance for Judaism which it reached a century later.
Hadrian's death, which occurred three years after the fall of Bethar,
brought about a favorable turn. The pious beheld in the miserable
death of this emperor, who, next to Antiochus Epiphanes, became the
incarnation of the Jews' hatred, and the mention of whose name was
always accompanied by the curse, "May God reduce his remains to dust,"
a divine visitation for the evils he had wrought on the Jewish nation.
Those who had escaped destruction endeavored to obtain from Hadrian's
successor the revocation of the cruel edicts. Titus Aurelius Antoninus,
who received the name of Pius, although the adopted son of Hadrian,
was of a somewhat more humane and beneficent character, and a milder
treatment seemed likely at his hands. A noble Roman lady of Cæsarea or
Antioch, who had pity on the sufferings of the Jews, advised them to
petition the Roman authorities that the persecutions might cease. This
lady was perhaps the wife of Rufus, and is said to have had inclination
towards Judaism. Following this advice, a few men, headed by Jehudah
ben Shamua, repaired to the governor to beg for mercy. In the gloomy
darkness of their desolation they lamented--"O heavens, are we not
your brothers, the sons of the same father? Why do you inflict on us
unendurable sufferings?" Such lamentations appear to have induced the
governor to petition the Emperor to pursue a milder course of conduct
towards the Jews.

On the 15th Ab (August) the joyous news is said to have come that
the heaped-up corpses of the Jewish warriors might be buried. On the
28th Adar (March, 139 or 140), the yet more joyful tidings came that
the decrees of Hadrian were revoked, and this day was commemorated
in the calendar. A Roman source relates that the Emperor Antoninus
Pius conceded to the Jews the rite of circumcision; but they were not
permitted to perform it on other nationalities; that is, they were not
allowed to make proselytes. Thus the persecution on account of religion
was ended. Antoninus Pius, however, did not repeal the law forbidding
the Jews to enter Jerusalem.

This unexpected end of the persecution recalled the fugitives to
their native land. The seven disciples of Akiba--the only heirs to
the spiritual heritage of former times--who, for the most part, had
emigrated to Babylon, now returned. These were Meïr, Judah ben Ilai,
José ben Chalafta, Jochanan of Alexandria, Simon ben Jochai, Eleazar
ben Jacob (or ben Shamua) and Nehemiah. They repaired directly to
the plain of Rimmon, made notable during the Revolution, to consider
the introduction of a leap year, the calendar probably having become
incorrect. At the first meeting a fierce contest ensued, probably with
reference to one of the Halachas of Akiba, but the dispute terminated
in a friendly settlement.

They reassembled in Usha, the native town of Judah, which even previous
to the revolution of Bar-Cochba, had been, for a short time, the seat
of the college, and they invited all the remaining teachers of the
Law in Galilee to meet there. Many came at the invitation, and the
inhabitants of Usha endeavored to provide the guests with all that
they required. The business of the Synod was to reinstate and renew
the traditions which had fallen into disuse during the persecutions.
After several days passed in Usha, the chief organizers of the meeting
dismissed their guests with solemn addresses. Judah thanked the
strangers, who had taken the trouble to come to the meeting from a
distance of several miles. The other members of the council thanked
the inhabitants of Usha for the hospitality displayed towards them.
Thus did the nation, whose destruction had seemed imminent, again
revive, and the Law was once again the curative measure, bringing with
it health and strength.

The members of the Tanaite circle pursued the work of their
predecessors with great self-sacrifice, in order to restore the broken
chain of tradition, but their numbers were less, and their mental
activity inferior to that of the former generation. The chief of those
who took part in affairs were Simon II., son of the Patriarch Gamaliel,
Nathan of Babylon, Meïr and Simon ben Jochai. The first of these,
as was related, escaped in a wonderful manner from the massacre at
Bethar, as also from the persecution with which he was threatened. The
quæsitor, who had been appointed by Rufus to imprison him, gave him a
hint of the threatened danger, on which Simon escaped and took refuge
in Babylon. How long he remained there, and under what circumstances he
assumed his hereditary dignities, is not known.

Simon seems to have been desirous of raising the dignity of Patriarch
to special importance and grandeur, probably in imitation of the
Babylonian Prince of the Captivity. He does not appear to have been at
the first Synod in Usha, nor to have taken part in the discourses given
there from time to time, but to have taken up his residence at Jabne, a
place endeared to him by the memory of his father, in the neighborhood
of which he probably owned property. The disciples of Akiba, the chief
supporters of the Law, appear to have preferred Usha--or they desired
to proclaim their independence of the patriarch. Thus Simon, in order
not to remain alone, had to repair to the Galilean Synod. The College
was completed by Nathan and Meïr as speaker. The patriarch had almost
brought on himself the fate of his father through disregarding the
equality which reigned amongst the members of the College. Of his
bearing towards the traditional law only so much is known, that he
taught the universally acknowledged Halachas, and the doubtful ones he
had referred to himself. In contested cases he gave the preference to
former decisions, and laid no weight on theoretical discussions. On the
authority of the numerous teachers of the Law in past times certain
practices had obtained amongst their surroundings and had become an
authority amongst the people, and these practices Simon desired to
maintain. The decision of a court of justice, in such cases where a
mistaken judgment was given, was to hold good, for otherwise Simon
feared that respect for such decisions would cease. His high-mindedness
Simon showed in the beautiful saying, "The world subsists on three
conditions, truth, justice and peace."

The most original personage of this period was unquestionably Meïr,
whose great intellect, thoroughness of purpose and knowledge remind us
of his teacher Akiba. His real but forgotten name was Miasa or Moise
(the Greek for Moses). According to an unauthenticated legend he was
said to be descended from a converted family, from the Emperor Nero in
fact, who was believed in the East to have escaped his murderers and to
have become converted to Judaism.

It is certain that Meïr's birthplace was in Asia Minor, probably in the
Cappadocian Cæsarea. He made his livelihood through writing and copying
Holy Writ. He was so intimately acquainted with the orthographical
rules of the Hebrew language, which render the transcription of the
Holy Books almost a science, that he once wrote from memory the whole
book of Esther without making a mistake. By this means he earned three
shekels per week, two-thirds of which he devoted to his family and
one-third to the support of poor fellow-students. He married Bruria
(or Valeria), the learned daughter of Chanina ben Teradion, whose
Halachic knowledge was praised even by Joshua. Meïr was for a time a
pupil of Ishmael, but his simple mode of teaching did not please him so
well as the more intelligent method of Akiba, whose system, which was
ultimately adopted by him, exercised the most decided influence over
his mode of thought. Akiba soon ordained his favorite pupil, and gave
him the preference over Simon, but on account of his youth he did not
meet with much respect as an independent teacher. Meïr was severe on
such petty conduct, which did not look to the qualifications of a man,
but to his age. "Look not," he said wittily, "to the vessel, but to
its contents. Many a new vessel contains old wine, but there are old
casks which do not contain even new wine." Several sensible sayings
are recorded of him; he became celebrated as a writer of fables, and
composed 300 on the fox alone--a favorite subject of Eastern imagery.
The submission to God of Meïr and his wife on the occasion of the death
of their two children has become known through a poetical account of
the event. It is related that his two sons, having died suddenly on the
Sabbath, during their father's absence at the school, his tender-hearted
wife did not tell him of the deaths, in order that he might not be
grieved by sad tidings on the holy day. When the Sabbath was over she
asked him whether that which was lent must necessarily be returned to
the lender, and on receiving an affirmative answer she led him to where
their two children lay dead, and consoled him with what he had said,
that they had only been confided to their care, and were now reclaimed
by the owner. Meïr's modesty was as great as his submissiveness to God.
His favorite saying was, "Occupy thyself less with gain than with the
Law, and be humble to all men."

His contemporaries and successors could not sufficiently praise
Meïr's wisdom and character. José depicts him to his townspeople, the
inhabitants of Sepphoris, as a pious, morally strict and holy man. It
became proverbial that "He who touches Meïr's staff becomes wise." He
obtained his deep knowledge of men by mixing with those against whom
prejudice prevailed. He even sought out the apostate and traitor Acher,
in order that he might be instructed by him. When Meïr was reproached
for his intimacy with a traitor to the Law, he said, "When I see a
juicy pomegranate I enjoy its contents and throw away the skin."

One Sabbath he accompanied Acher, who was on horseback, whilst Meïr was
on foot, discussing a rendering of the Scriptures. Suddenly Acher said
to him, "Thou canst go thus far and not farther, for here is the limit
of thy Sabbath walk. Return." Meïr, seizing the opportunity, said to
Acher, "Return thou also." But Acher said, "If for all sinners there be
pardon, for me the gates of mercy are closed, because I have turned the
gifts given me by God to evil uses." Later, when Acher was ill, Meïr
again endeavored to win him over, and flattered himself that he had
induced Acher to repent before his death. A legend relates that Meïr
spread his mantle over Acher's grave, from which there arose a pillar
of smoke, and in imitation of a verse of Scripture (Ruth iii. 13) he
exclaimed, "Rest here in the night; in the dawn of happiness the God of
mercy will deliver thee; if not, I will be thy redeemer."

Meïr also was intimate with a heathen philosopher, Euonymus of Gadara.
In Jewish circles it was said, "Be not surprised to find amongst the
heathens a knowledge of God, for God had inspired Balaam and Euonymus,
two of the greatest philosophers of heathendom, with His wisdom, so
that they might teach the people." When Euonymus mourned for the death
of his parents, Meïr visited him in order to condole with him, for he
held that a heathen who occupied himself with the Torah was as worthy
as a high priest of Judaism, for it says in Holy Writ, "These laws man
shall observe in order to live," by which Meïr explained that Jews were
not exclusively appointed to enjoy eternal happiness.

Through intercourse with men of learning Meïr appears to have become
acquainted with the Stoic philosophy, which was at that time the ruling
power in the Roman world. But all the perfections which, according to
philosophy, were due to the Stoic theory, he attributed to the Torah,
which helps man to attain the ideal, if he devotes himself to it from
pure love and without interested motives. "The Torah," he says, "makes
him who familiarizes himself with it worthy to all the world; he
becomes the favorite of all; it inspires him with love to God and man;
clothes him in modesty and fear of God; makes him pious, honest, and
true; removes him from sin; brings him near to virtue; endows him with
kingly dignity; makes him moral, long-suffering, forgetful of injury,
and raises and carries him above all things." This was his ideal of a
truly wise man. In treating the Halachic traditions Meïr copied his
teacher Akiba's system of dialectics. The rules of deduction used by
his predecessors he employed as formulas which could establish or
abolish legal enactments. His contemporaries relate of him that they
could never reach the real meaning of Meïr's decisions, because he
brought forward a number of proofs for and against an ordinance, and
he was able through similes and deductions to turn a law, as it was
laid down, into one of an opposite meaning. Whether these sophistic
arguments were to be taken seriously, or whether they were only
intended by the speaker for dialectic purposes in order to show both
sides of the question, is not now known, as even those who lived in
former times were doubtful on the subject.

Yet the injurious method of treating the Halachas, which was called
Talmudic dialectics, became later on still more developed; in fact,
the closer apprehension of the Halachas was deemed impossible without
it. Nevertheless, Meïr's exposition of the Law was decidedly serious
and strict. Amongst other things he asserts that he who gives his
wife less dowry than is usual, acts wrongly; for he thereby makes
divorce more easy to obtain. Further, he asserts that any one who in
the smallest degree should deviate from the law laid down for divorce
would render the act illegal, and his children from the second marriage
would be considered as illegitimate. Meïr further controverted the law
which was universally respected, that what was forbidden or permitted
should be inferred from such cases as most commonly occurred in life,
without regard to exceptional circumstances; he considered that certain
circumstances should conscientiously be reckoned exceptional. For this
reason when he heard that some Samaritans continued to worship idols,
which according to Hadrian's edict they had formerly been compelled
to do, when they brought him libations of wine, he refused to permit
the use of wine amongst his hearers. This abstinence, had it been
consistently observed, would have put an end to much industry and
pleasure and rendered them legally impossible. For other misdeeds, as
for example usury, he imposed heavy fines. But his regulations were
not carried out, his contemporaries and succeeding generations did not
acknowledge Meïr's ordinances and imposts in their entirety. He was,
however, most severe against himself, and once said--"Even if I hold
something as permissible to others, I cannot allow it to hold good for
myself, if I am convinced that my colleagues would be of a different
opinion." As in the treatment of Halachas, so in ordinary things, Meïr
followed in the footsteps of Akiba; he completed the collection of
the Mishnas, but appears to have arranged their component parts more
according to their contents than their number. These arrangements of
Meïr and his colleagues made no pretense to being a code, but each
teacher of the Law having a circle of disciples, treated the material
before him in the manner which seemed most suitable and convenient to
himself. Meïr had assembled a not insignificant number of pupils round
him, who were drawn towards him by his intelligent renderings and
interesting lectures. He was in the habit of alternating the dry matter
of the Halachas with the attractive Agadahs, and of illustrating them
by fables.

Amongst Meïr's disciples was one named Symmachos ben Joseph, who
adopted and exaggerated his method to such an extent that it was said
of him that he could argue well, but could not come to any practical
decision. It was even said of him that his forefathers could not have
been present at the Revelation on Sinai. After Meïr's death both
Symmachos and his disciples were excluded from the school, because
they did not seek for truth, but only to dispute sophistically. It is
probable that Meïr repaired to the Synhedrion of Usha when important
questions were under discussion. He did not live on good terms with the
Patriarch Simon.

Simon ben Jochai of Galilee was as striking but not so many-sided
a personage as Meïr, and he was falsely reported to be a worker of
miracles--a mystic and a Cabbalist. Few facts of his life are known,
but we may infer from what is recorded that he was rather of a
matter-of-fact than of an imaginative turn of mind. Nothing is known
of Simon's youth, and later, after his return with others from the
exile imposed on them under Hadrian's rule, his activity seems to have
spent itself on the newly organized Synhedrion at Usha. In opposition
to his father, Jochai, who stood in favor with the Roman authorities,
the son was a decided enemy of Rome, and was not much liked by them.
For uttering a truthful censure on the Roman Governor, he was sentenced
to death, and could save himself only by flight, and upon this fact
legend has seized in order to surround Simon with wonders and miracles.
Amongst the various legal decisions, sayings and remarks which have
been preserved of him there is no trace of a mystical tendency. On the
contrary his reasoning with regard to biblical laws was always of a
simple nature. The system of following out the reasoning of the Law,
and thence drawing deductions, was peculiar to Simon.

This was an improvement on Akiba's system, which consisted in drawing
from pleonastic words, syllables and letters, the principles of
legal deductions. The following are instances of Simon's method. The
Bible forbids the distraint of a widow's goods; Simon restricted the
reference to cases of poor widows. Simon drew his conclusion in the
following manner:--The biblical law which enacts that a widow should
be spared all legal seizure of goods could only apply to poor widows.
A rich woman had no cause for being so spared. Further, that the
prohibition against intermarrying with the seven Canaanite races must
also be extended to all idolatrous nations, as the law was actually
intended to prevent the people from being drawn into idolatry.

Another opinion of Simon's shows how far removed he was from all
exaggerated religious theories. He had a curious saying that the
fulfilment of the Law was only possible to those who lived on manna
or the tithes. Unlike most teachers of the Law, Simon pursued no
occupation or business; he was at that time the only man whose
life's business was the study of the Law. Simon's dwelling-place and
school-house were in the fertile oil district of Tekoa, in Galilee. He
had his circle of disciples, and because he survived his colleagues he
became the only authority of the following period.

Another important name was that of Judah ben Ilai of Usha, whose
character bore a similarity to that of Joshua. Modest, wise,
diplomatic, eloquent, he knew how to bridge over the breach which
existed between the Roman and the Jewish nature. He was therefore
especially designated "the wise," or "the first speaker." Judah
was not a man of property, but, like Joshua, he supported himself
by an occupation of which he was not ashamed. He often used the
expression--"The work honors the laborer. He who does not teach his son
a handicraft designs him to be a robber." His mode of teaching had no
especially pronounced characteristics.

As with Judah we have no distinctive features recorded, so also of
the life of José ben Chalafta of Sepphoris but little is known. He
also followed a trade, and one of the lowest kind. He was a worker
in leather. Unlike his contemporaries, José devoted himself to the
collection of the annals of Jewish history, and left an account from
the creation of the world to the war of Bar Cochba, under the name of
Seder Olam. He endeavored to fix the various dates correctly from the
historical records of the Bible. He tried to render clear the doubtful
passages, and to fill up the gaps in traditions. On the other hand,
from the time of Alexander the Great, we find that this chronicle of
José gives independent and trustworthy, but very scanty information.

But little that is noteworthy is known of the other disciples of
Akiba. Besides the Galilean circle of scholars there was yet another
in the extreme south of Judæa (Darom) who continued Ishmael's mode of
teaching; only two members of this circle, Josiah and Jonathan, are

Nathan, a Babylonian, and a son of the Prince of the Captivity, was a
man of special interest. It is not known where he received instruction
in the Halachas, nor what occasioned him to remove to Judæa, or to
give up the more favorable position that he occupied in his native
country. The foreign teachers of the Law at this period were Judah ben
Bathyra of Nisibis, who appears to have sheltered the fugitives from
Judæa; also Chananya, nephew of Joshua, in Nahar-Pakod, who had been
sent by his uncle to Babylon, so as to remove him from the influence
of the Jewish Christians; and, lastly, Matiah ben Charash in Rome, who
first transplanted the knowledge of the Jewish Law from Asia to Europe.

Whilst the teachers of the Law in Galilee endeavored to reanimate the
body of the nation, to re-establish the Synhedrion, and to secure
and spread traditions by collecting and classifying them, but little
was needed to cause a deep schism which threatened to separate the
Babylonian congregation entirely from the main body.

The wisdom of the Patriarch Simon II. deftly avoided this breach.
Chananya established a sort of Synhedrion in Nahar-Pakod, probably in
the neighborhood of Nahardea, of which he was the president, whilst
a certain Nechunyan, perhaps the Prince of the Captivity, appears to
have supported him. The Babylonian community, until then under the
control of Judæa, and now left uncared for through the destruction of
all religious institutions in the fatherland, welcomed a Synhedrion
in their midst as of joyful import, and gratefully accepted its
ordinances and decisions. Chananya immediately introduced a leap
year, and the celebration of the festivals as had been customary in
Judæa. But when the Synhedrion had been established in Usha it was no
longer possible to continue the existence of a body which threatened
the unity of Judaism, and tended to divide it into an eastern and
western Judaism. In order to avoid such a division the Patriarch Simon
sent two ambassadors, Isaac and Nathan, with flattering messages to
Chananya, with the unusual superscription, "To his holiness Chananya."
The president of the Babylonian Synhedrion, who had not expected such
friendliness, received the Jewish ambassadors in the kindest manner,
and introduced them with flattering speeches to the assembly. Having
secured the confidence of the nation, they named the ultimate reason
of their embassage. At the public service they read from the Book of
Laws, "Such are the feast days of Chananya" (instead of God). Another
read from the prophets--"From Babylon shall the light go forth, and the
word of the Lord from Nahar Pakod" (instead of Zion and Jerusalem). The
audience, whose attention was drawn through these ironical allusions,
and who felt that an independent Synhedrion in Babylon would be
contrary to the spirit of the Law, felt their consciences disturbed.
Chananya vainly endeavored to weaken the impression by implicating the
ambassadors. They replied that to establish an opposition Synhedrion
in Babylon was tantamount to building an altar, at which Chananya and
Nechunya would officiate as unauthorized priests, and was in fact
equal to disavowing the God of Israel. Chananya, however, doubted the
continuance of a Synhedrion in Judæa, saying that the teachers of
the Law there did not enjoy any authority, to which the ambassadors
replied, "The little ones whom thou hast deserted have meanwhile grown
up." Chananya, however, did not relinquish his design until Judah ben
Bathyra, in Nisibis, pointed out to him that in holy things unqualified
obedience must be paid to the Judæan Synhedrion. Finding no response
or interest anywhere, he countermanded the festivals as arranged by
himself, and the Babylonian Synhedrion came to an end.

Dissensions arose at the College of Usha, which threatened to have
similar results to the contest between Gamaliel and Joshua. The
Patriarch Simon, in order to increase his dignity, endeavored to
introduce a special etiquette, in order to remove the equality
previously existing between all officials. In the absence of the
Ab-beth-din Nathan and the speaker Meïr, he instituted a new order of
rank, which would definitely recognize him as the superior head. This
distinction lay herein, that at all public sittings of the Synhedrion
the people, who were accustomed to rise at the entrance of the
president and other important officials, and to remain standing until
the sign was given them to be seated, should reserve this mark of honor
in future for the President alone; in honor of his substitute only the
first rows were to stand until he had taken his seat; and still less
ceremony was to be observed towards the speaker (the Chacham).

When Nathan and Meïr for the first time attended the meeting and
noticed the new arrangements they secretly determined to conspire
against Simon, and to deprive him of his office. For this purpose,
however, the consent of the nation, with whom the appointment of
Patriarch rested, became necessary. They determined to puzzle Simon
by difficult questions (on the Halachas), and he seems to have been
inferior to them in knowledge of traditional lore, and when they
had revealed his weakness before the whole assemblage they intended
proposing the deposition of a Patriarch who was not conversant with all
branches of the Law. They also determined that Nathan, who belonged to
the family of the Prince of the Captivity, and who was also of the race
of David, should become Patriarch, and that Meïr should be second in
rank as substitute. This plot, however, was betrayed to Simon, and the
conspirators found him prepared.

The Patriarch, on revealing the scheme against him, succeeded in having
the two expelled from the Synhedrion. But they made their absence felt
by writing difficult questions and distributing them amongst the
assembly, whom they thereby placed in an awkward position. Referring
to these two José afterwards said, "We are in the house of the Law,
but the Law is outside." They were readmitted, but Simon arranged that
their names should not be recorded in the ordinances enacted by him. R.
Nathan subsequently made peace with the Patriarch, but the breach with
Meïr endured. Simon at length excommunicated him, but Meïr was not as
submissive as he who, without a word, had accepted Gamaliel's sentence.
Referring to a former resolution of the Synhedrion in Usha, that no
member could be excommunicated, Meïr replied, "I do not care for your
sentence until you prove to me on whom, on what grounds, and under what
conditions it can be imposed." In proud recognition of his own worth,
Meïr is said on his death-bed to have uttered the words: "Tell the
sons of the Holy Land that their Messiah has died in a foreign land."
According to his last will, his body was buried on the sea-shore.

Simon's patriarchate was not free from the disturbances and oppressions
which the Roman officials permitted themselves to perpetrate towards
the Jewish people. The mutual hatred of Jews and Romans, which had
followed from the revolt of Bar-Cochba and Hadrian's persecution,
was so great that the powerful victors could not do otherwise than
make their power felt by those whom they had conquered. Simon ben
Gamaliel notes the daily tortures and oppressions: "Our forefathers
only scented trouble from afar; we, however, have suffered from them
through many days, years, periods, and cycles; we have more right to
become impatient than our forefathers. If, as formerly, we desired to
record our troubles and temporary relief on a scroll, we should not
find space enough." The hatred of the Romans on the one hand, and the
endurance of the Jews on the other, appear to have ended in a fresh
revolution in Judæa, which took place in the last year of the reign
of the Emperor Antoninus Pius (161), but its rise, scene of action,
and results are not known. The attempt at a new call to arms appears
to have been connected with the warlike preparations commenced by the
Parthians against Rome. Though often deceived, the Judæans still hoped
for the help of the Parthians, as a means of deliverance from the Roman
yoke. Simon b. Jochai, who heartily despised the hypocritical policy of
the Romans, said, "When thou seest a Persian (Parthian) steed tied to
an Israelite tombstone, then canst thou believe in the advent of the
Messiah." Meanwhile, the badly-organized revolt was soon suppressed by
the Governor of Syria before the Parthians could come to the rescue.
The Parthian war, which lasted several years (161-165), began shortly
after the death of the Emperor Antoninus Pius, when the Roman Empire
for the first time was governed by two rulers, the philosophical but
impractical Marcus Aurelius Antoninus and the dissolute Verus Commodus.
At the first attack the Parthians, under their king Vologeses, entered
Syria, defeated the governor, Atidius Cornelianus, who had just
repressed the Jewish revolt, put his legions to flight, and devastated
the country. The second emperor, Verus, was sent with fresh troops
to the East, though he was eminently unfitted to conduct a war. The
conquest of the Parthians was therefore undertaken by capable generals,
whilst the emperor gave himself up to dissipation in Antioch, Laodicea,
and Daphne.

Fresh persecutions appear to have been instituted by the Emperor Verus
against the Jews of Palestine. First they lost the right of using
their own courts of justice. It is not certain whether Jewish judicial
functions were set aside, or whether the Jewish judges were deposed.
Simon ben Jochai thanked God for the interference of the Romans, as
he, like his contemporaries, did not feel himself fitted to exercise
judicial rights. Notwithstanding that the chiefs of the Synhedrion had
taken no part in the revolution, they yet seem to have been suspected
and watched by the Roman authorities. A conversation was once reported
which took place between Judah, José and Simon ben Jochai at Usha,
where, it appears, a discussion was held with regard to the Roman
policy. Judah, who, like Joshua, endeavored to calm those who stood
around, had been praising Rome for her actions. "How useful this nation
has been; everywhere it has erected towns with market-places; it has
put bridges over rivers, and built bath-houses for the preservation of
health." José kept silent, neither giving praise nor blame. Simon ben
Jochai, on the other hand, could not repress his displeasure. "What
the Romans do," he said, "they only do for the sake of selfishness
and gain. They keep houses of bad repute in the cities, misuse the
bathing-places, and levy toll for the bridges." A proselyte, Judah,
repeated this, perhaps without desiring to make mischief. Judah,
however, the eulogist of Rome, was loaded with honors, José was
banished to Laodicea, and Simon was condemned to death. In consequence
of these events the Synhedrion at Usha seems to have been dissolved,
for the most important members were withdrawn, and its proceedings

Simon, who had taken refuge, as before stated, in a cave, became the
hero of various miracles. He is said to have spent years in this cave,
supporting himself on carob-beans and spring water, in consequence
of which his skin became full of boils. When he learnt that affairs
had taken a favorable turn, probably through the death of the Emperor
Verus (169), he took this as a sign that he might venture out, and by
bathing in the warm springs of Tiberias his shattered health became
restored. Out of gratitude he declared the town of Tiberias, which
had hitherto been avoided by the pious, because buildings had been
erected over graves, as clean and suitable for a dwelling-place. This
aroused the anger of the pious who lived in Magdala (Tarichea), who
considered this decision as a frivolous innovation. After his return
Simon ben Jochai was asked to repair to Rome, and to intercede with
the Emperor Marcus Aurelius for the abolition of the laws against the
Jews. Simon took as his companion on this journey Eleazar, the son of
José, probably because he was acquainted with the Latin language. When
they arrived in Rome, assisted by various influential Roman Jews, they
probably succeeded in obtaining from Marcus Aurelius the concession
sought. Christian teachers also addressed petitions to the Emperor and
requested him to show mercy on Christendom. The legend relating to
Simon attributes the attainment of the emperor's favor to a miracle;
he had, namely, delivered the daughter of the emperor, Lucilla, from a
demon (Bartholomaion), and out of gratitude the emperor permitted him
and his followers to take from the state archives whatever they chose,
and they took out the inhuman decree against the Jews and destroyed it.
There appear to have been actual grounds for this story, for Eleazar
ben Joseph, Simon's friend, boasted that he had seen in the room the
vessels of the Temple, the frontal of the high priest, and the curtain
of the Holy of Holies, which Titus had carried off as trophies, and
which could be seen only by those especially favored.



    The Patriarch Judah I.--His Authority and
    Reputation--Completion of the Mishna--The Last Generation
    of Tanaites--Condition of the Jews under Marcus Aurelius,
    Commodus, Septimius Severus, and Antoninus Caracalla--Character
    and contents of the Mishna--Death of Judah.

    175.219 C. E.

The last generation of the Tanaites had come back to the same point
from which they first had started, thus completing the whole circle.
In the same way as the first had found complete expression in a single
personality, Jochanan ben Zaccai, so also the last culminated in one
standard-bearer, who formed the central point of his times. The former
had been followed by several disciples, each possessing his peculiar
school, tendency, and system; and thus the material of tradition was
divided into a multiplicity of fractional parts. It was the Patriarch
Judah, the son of Simon II., who reunited them, and thus brought the
activity of the Tanaites to a conclusion. He was the chief authority
of the last generation, compared with whom the other teachers of the
Law were of no importance; he abandoned the old tendencies and prepared
the way for a new departure. In spite of the important position which
he occupies in Jewish history but little is known of Judah's life. It
was during a time of great affliction, when the calamitous consequences
of the Bar-Cochba war were still being felt, that his superior talents
and great parts developed themselves. He so distinguished himself by
mature questions and striking answers that his father and the college
advanced him to the foremost rank of the disciples while he was still
in his first youth. As though he felt that his vocation was to be the
collecting and arranging of the most dissimilar opinions, Judah did not
confine himself to any one school, but sought the society of several
teachers of the Law. This it was that saved him from that one-sidedness
and narrowness of mind which is given to upholding, with more fidelity
than love of truth, the words of one teacher against all other
doctrines. The most important of his teachers were Simon ben Jochai and
Eleazar ben Shamua, whose school was so crowded with students that six
of them were obliged to content themselves with one seat.

Judah was elevated to the dignity of Patriarch upon his father's
decease, and the cessation of the persecutions after Verus's death. He
was blessed with such extraordinary gifts of fortune that it used to
be said proverbially, "Judah's cattle-stalls are worth more than the
treasure-chambers of the King of Persia." Living very simply himself,
he made but small use of this wealth for his personal gratification,
but employed it in the maintenance of the disciples who during his
Patriarchate gathered around him in numbers from at home and abroad,
and were supported entirely at his cost. At the time of the awful
famine, which, together with the plague, raged for several years
during the reign of Marcus Aurelius throughout the whole extent of
the Roman empire, the Jewish prince threw open his storehouses and
distributed corn to the needy. At first he decided that those only
should be succored who were occupied in some way with the study of the
Law, thus excluding from his charity the rude and uneducated populace.
It was only when his over-conscientious disciple, Jonathan ben Amram,
refused to derive any material benefit from his knowledge of the Law,
exclaiming, "Succor me not because I am learned in the Law, but as you
would feed a hungry raven," that Judah perceived the mistake of trying
to set bounds to his charity, and he thenceforth distributed his gifts
without distinction. On another occasion Judah also yielded to his
better convictions and overcame his nature, which seems not to have
been entirely free from a touch of harshness. The daughters of Acher,
a man who had held the Law in contempt, having fallen into distress,
came to Judah for help. At first he repulsed them uncharitably,
remarking that the orphans of such a father deserved no pity. But when
they reminded him of their father's profound knowledge of the Law, he
immediately altered his mind.

Distinguished by his wealth and his intimate knowledge of the
subject-matter of the Halachas, he succeeded without trouble in doing
that which his predecessors had striven in vain to accomplish, namely,
to invest the Patriarchate with autocratic power, unfettered by the
presence of any rival authority, and to transfer the powers of the
Synhedrion to the person of the Patriarch. The seat of the principal
school and of the Synhedrion during the time of Judah, and after Usha
had lost its importance (a short time previously it seems to have
been the neighboring town of Shefaram), was first at Beth-Shearim,
northeast of Sepphoris, and later on at Sepphoris itself. Judah chose
this latter town for his residence, on account of its elevated and
healthy situation, in the hopes of recovering from a complaint from
which he had suffered for several years. In Sepphoris there seems
to have existed a complete council of seventy members, which was
entrusted with the decision of religious questions according to the
adopted routine. Judah's reputation was so great, however, that the
college itself transferred to him the sovereign power which up till
then had belonged to the whole body or to individual members. It was
rightly observed of Judah that since the time of Moses, knowledge of
the Law and possession of authority had not been united in any one
person as in him. A most important function which was conferred upon
this Patriarch, or rather which he got conferred on him, was that of
appointing the disciples as judges and teachers of the Law. He was
allowed to exercise this power without consulting the College, but
on the other hand the nominations of the high Council were invalid
without the Patriarch's confirmation. The nomination of spiritual
guides of the communities, the appointments to the judicial offices,
the filling up of vacancies in the Synhedrion, in a word, all Judæa
and the communities abroad, fell in this manner into dependence on the
Patriarch. That which his father and grandfather had striven in vain to
accomplish, came about, so to speak, at his touch. In his time there
was no longer a deputy (Ab-Beth-Din), nor a public speaker (Chacham).
Judah, the Prince (ha-Nassi), alone was all in all. Even the Synhedrion
itself had resigned its authority, and continued to exist henceforward
only in name; the Patriarch decided everything. By reason of his great
importance he was called simply Rabbi, as if, when compared with him,
no teacher of the Law were of any consequence, and he himself were the
personification of the Law.

He soon further increased his powers by deciding that even the most
capable were not competent to pronounce on any religious question
without having first been expressly authorized by him. How great was
the importance of this act may be seen from the circumstance that
the foreign communities, as well as those of Judæa, were obliged to
put themselves in direct communication with the Patriarch in order
to obtain their officials, judges, and teachers. The community of
Simonias, which lay to the south of Sepphoris, begged the Patriarch to
send them a man who should give public lectures, decide questions of
law, superintend the Synagogue, prepare copies of authentic writings,
teach their sons, and generally supply all the wants of the community.
He recommended to them for this purpose his best pupil, Levi bar Sissi.
It may be seen from this example how great were the requirements
demanded of the instructors of the people. Another disciple of Judah,
Rabba bar Chana by name, a native of Cafri in Babylon, was obliged to
obtain the authorization of the Patriarch before being able to decide
any questions of religion and law in his native land. In the same
manner a third of his disciples, Abba Areka, also a native of Babylon,
who later on became a great authority with the Babylonian communities,
obtained this influence solely by Judah's nomination. One dignity
alone, that of the Prince of the Captivity in Babylon, was on an equal
footing with the Patriarchate, and Judah was all the more jealous
thereof on account of its being conferred and upheld by the Parthian
authorities, while his office was at most merely tolerated by the Roman

Invested with this autocratic power, Judah manifested unusual severity
towards his disciples, and displayed so great an irritability with them
that he never pardoned the least offense offered, even in jest, to his
dignity. The course of conduct which he enjoined upon his son from his
death-bed, namely, to treat his scholars with strict severity, was the
one which he himself had pursued all through the Patriarchate. Among
the numerous Babylonians who crowded to the Academy at Sepphoris was
a distinguished disciple, by name Chiya (an abbreviation of Achiya),
whom his contemporaries could hardly praise enough for his natural
gifts, his pious conduct, and his untiring endeavors to spread the
teachings of religion among the people. Judah himself valued him very
highly, and said of him: "From a land far off there came to me the
man of good counsel." But even him the Patriarch could not pardon an
insignificant jest. Judah had once said to him, "If Huna, the Prince
of the Captivity, were to come to Judæa, I should certainly not carry
my self-denial so far as to abdicate my office to him, but I would
honor him as a descendant in the male line from David." When Huna died
and his body was taken to Judæa, Chiya observed to the Patriarch,
"Huna is coming." Judah grew pale at the news, and when he found that
Chiya was referring to the corpse of Huna, he punished the joke by
excluding Chiya from his presence for thirty days. Judah showed himself
equally sensitive in his conduct towards Simon Bar-Kappara, one of his
disciples, who, with his knowledge of the Law, combined at the same
time poetical talent and a vein of delicate satire; as far as is known,
he was the only Hebrew poet of that period. The little that remains of
the productions of Bar-Kappara's muse indicates ready manipulation of
the Hebrew tongue in a regenerated form, and in all its pristine purity
and vigor; he composed fables, of which, however, no trace now remains.
On the occasion of a merry meeting, the witty Bar-Kappara indulged in
a jest at the expense of a certain Bar-Eleaza, the rich but proud and
ignorant son-in-law of the Patriarch. All the guests had put questions
to Judah, except the simple-minded Bar-Eleaza. Bar-Kappara incited him
to ask one as well, and in a whisper suggested one to him in the form
of a riddle. This riddle, to which no answer has been found to the
present day, contained in all likelihood allusions to certain persons
closely connected with Judah. It ran somewhat as follows:--

        She looks from heaven on high,
        And ceaseless is her cry,
          Whom wingéd beings shun;
        Youth doth she fright away.
        And men with old age gray,
          And loud shriek they who run.
        But whom her net hath lured
        Can ne'er of the sin be cured.

In all simplicity, Bar-Eleaza propounded this riddle. Judah must have
seen, however, by the satirical smile on Bar-Kappara's lips that it
was intended to banter him, and he therefore exclaimed angrily to
Bar-Kappara: "I refuse to recognize you as an appointed teacher."
It was not till later on, when Bar-Kappara failed to obtain his
appointment as an independent teacher of the Law, that he realized to
the full the meaning of these words.

One of the most celebrated of the Babylonian disciples, Samuel by name,
by whose medical treatment Judah had been cured of his long illness,
was unable to obtain the nomination necessary in order to become a
teacher of the Law. Judah was once desirous of excusing himself for
this slight to Samuel, to whom he owed the restoration of his health,
whereupon the latter answered him pleasantly, that it was so decreed in
the book of Adam, "that Samuel would be a wise man, but not appointed
Rabbi, and that thy illness should be cured by me." Chanina bar Chama,
another disciple, who, later on, was also regarded as an authority,
once remarked that a word which occurred in the Prophets ought to be
pronounced otherwise than Judah read it. Offended thereat, Judah asked
him where he had heard this; to which Chanina answered, "At the house
of Hamnuna, in Babylon." "Well, then," retorted Judah, "when you go
again to Hamnuna, tell him that I recognize you as a sage"; which
was equivalent to telling Chanina that Judah would never authorize
him to be a teacher. This irritability of the Patriarch, who was in
all other respects a noble character, was his one weak point. It is
possible, indeed, that this susceptibility was the result of his
ill-health. However that may be, it did not fail to arouse a certain
dissatisfaction and discontent, which never found public expression on
account of the deep reverence in which the Patriarch was held.

Once at a banquet, when the wine had loosened men's tongues and made
the guests oblivious of respect, the twin sons of Chiya gave utterance
to this feeling of discontent. These highly talented youths, by name
Judah and Chiskiya, whom the Patriarch himself had incited to gaiety
and loquacity, expressed it as their opinion "that the Messiah could
not appear until the fall of the two princely houses of Israel--the
house of the Patriarch in Judæa, and that of the Prince of the
Captivity in Babylon." The wine had caused them to betray their most
secret thoughts.

In consideration of the altered circumstances of his time, Judah, by
virtue of his independence and authority, abolished several rites and
customs which seemed to the people to be hallowed by age, and carried
through his design with perseverance, regardless of all consequences.
Contrary to the principles of his teacher and predecessor, who had
treated the Samaritans as heathens, Judah decreed that the evidence
of a Samaritan in matters concerning marriage was admissible and of
equal weight with the testimony of an Israelite. The views of these
teachers of the Law of Moses, who agreed on the chief principles of
their religion, varied in other matters according to the predominance
of friendly or inimical feelings towards the heathens. For some
time past difficulties had been constantly occurring between the
Jews and the Samaritans. Eleazar, the son of Simon ben Jochai, and
a contemporary of Judah, who had made himself acquainted with the
Samaritan Torah, reproached them with having altered certain passages
of the holy text. The peaceable relations between Jew and Cuthæan since
the war of Hadrian were gradually changed to a state of ill-feeling,
which was as bitter on the one side as on the other. One day when
Ishmael b. José was passing through Neapolis (Shechem) in order to
go and pray at Jerusalem (for which purpose the Jews seem to have
required the permission of Marcus Aurelius), the Samaritans jeered
at the tenacity of the Jews, saying that it was certainly better to
pray upon their holy mount (Gerizim) than upon the heap of ruins at
Jerusalem. Traveling through the land of Samaria must have now become
less dangerous than it had formerly been. The teachers of the Law had
frequently to pass through the strip of land lying between Judæa and
Sepphoris. Although the seat of the Synhedrion was now in Galilee, and
Sepphoris was thus to a certain extent the center of the entire Jewish
community, nevertheless Judæa was, for various reasons, regarded as
holier than the northern district. The patriarch could not officiate in
person when the appearance of the new moon was announced, but had to
send a representative for the purpose (which office Chiya once filled);
the place where the announcement was made was at this time Ain-tab,
probably in the province of Judæa. This trifling superiority was still
left to that district, the scene of so many holy ceremonies and ancient
memories. The journey to Ain-tab was made through Samaria.

On another point, also, Judah deviated from the ancient customs and
the Halachic laws: he rendered less oppressive the laws relating to
the year of release and to the tithes. In spite of the fall of the
Jewish state, and of the numerous catastrophes which had befallen the
Jews, these laws still continued in unimpaired force, and were doubly
oppressive to a people impoverished by the disturbances of war, by
taxes, and by the extortion of money. The Patriarch therefore turned
his attention to this matter, and determined, if not entirely to
abrogate, at least to moderate the harshness of these laws. Furthermore
he decreed that the territory of certain border cities, which had up
till then been considered as forming a part of Judæa, should henceforth
not enjoy the privilege of sanctity which attached to Jewish ground.
This in so far constituted a relief, as these cities were thereby
exempted from the payment of tithes, and doubtless also from the laws
relating to the year of release. For the most part these border cities
were inhabited by Greeks and Romans, and had not always been subject
to Jewish rule. These alleviations of the burdens of the people drew
down reproaches on the Patriarch from certain of his relatives, to
whom he replied that his predecessors had left this duty to him. He
had even the intention of entirely abolishing the laws relative to the
year of release, but was unwilling to take so important a step without
first consulting such persons as were likely to entertain scruples
on this point. At that time Pinchas ben Jaïr was regarded as the
model of austere piety. He was a son-in-law of Simon ben Jochai, and
possessed so gloomy a disposition as to cause him to entertain doubts
as to the efficacy of any human institutions. He used to remark that,
"since the destruction of the Temple the members and the freemen are
put to shame, those who conform to the Law are confused, violence and
sycophancy carry the day, and no one cares for those who are deserted;
we have no hope but in God." In particular, Pinchas adhered strictly
to the prescriptions of the law relating to the tithes, and for this
reason never accepted any invitation to a meal. It was with this same
Pinchas that Judah took counsel relative to the abolition of the year
of release. It is probable that a year of scarcity necessitated the
adoption of some such measure. To the Patriarch's question, "How goes
it with the corn?" Pinchas answered reprovingly, "There will be a very
good crop of endives," meaning that if necessary it was better to live
on herbs rather than abrogate the Law. In consequence of Pinchas'
dislike of this scheme Judah abandoned his project entirely. But the
Zealot, having noticed some mules in the court of the Patriarch's
house, to keep which was not in exact accordance with the Law, refused
to accept Judah's invitation, and left him on the spot, vowing never to
come near him again.

But the most important of Judah's acts, a work on which reposes
his claim to an enduring name, and whereby he created a concluding
epoch, was the completion of the Mishna (about 189). Since the
completion, two generations before, of the oldest compilation under
the name of Adoyot, the subject-matter of the Law had accumulated to
an enormous extent. New cases, some drawn from older ones, others
deduced from the Scripture, had helped to swell the mass. The various
schools and systems had left many points of law in doubt, which now
awaited decision. Judah therefore based his compilation on Akiba's
partially arranged collection of laws as taught and corrected by Meïr,
retaining the same order. He examined the arguments for and against
every opinion, and established the Halachic precepts according to
certain ordinances and principles. He endeavored to observe a certain
systematic order in dealing with the various traditional laws relating
to the prayers, to benedictions, taxes on agricultural produce, the
Sabbath, festivals and fasts, marriage customs, vows and Nazarites,
civil and criminal jurisdiction, the system of sacrifices, levitical
purity, and many other points. His efforts were not, however, crowned
with complete success, partly on account of the various parts of his
subject being by their nature incapable of connection, and partly
by reason of his desire to retain the order and divisions already
employed. The style of Judah's Mishna is concise, well rounded, and
intelligent, and is thereby well adapted to impress itself firmly on
the memory. He in no way intended his Mishna, however, to be regarded
as the sole standard, having in fact only composed it, like his
predecessors and contemporaries, for his own use, in order to possess
a text-book for his lectures. But by reason of his great authority with
his disciples and contemporaries his compilation gradually obtained
exclusive authority, and finally superseded all previous collections,
which for that reason have fallen into oblivion. It retained the
ancient name of _Mishna_, but at first with the addition of the words
"di Rabbi Judah." Gradually, however, these words were dropped, and
it began to be considered as the sole legitimate, recognized and
authorized Mishna. His disciples disseminated it through distant lands,
using it as a text-book for their lectures, and as a religious and
judicial code. This Mishna, however, like the older compilations, was
not committed to writing, it being at that time regarded as a religious
offense to put on paper the precepts of tradition; it was thus handed
down for many centuries by word of mouth. The Agadas only were now and
then collected and written down, and even this was severely censured
by various teachers of the Law. It is true that scarce or remarkable
Halachas were sometimes written upon scrolls by certain teachers, but
this was done so secretly, that they acquired from this circumstance
the name of "Secret Scrolls."

In his old age Judah undertook another revision of his compilation, and
made certain alterations which brought his Mishna into harmony with his
new views. Various additions were also made after his death by his son.
The language in which the Mishna is written is Hebrew in a rejuvenated
form, interspersed with many Aramaic, Greek, and Latin words in general
use. Judah evinced a predilection for the Hebrew tongue, despising
Syriac, which was then indigenous to Galilee, on account of its
characteristic inexactness. Syriac, he asserted, was superfluous in
Judæa, and that either Hebrew or Greek should be spoken by every one.
As a matter of fact, the Hebrew language was in nowise foreign to the
population of Judæa, especially to such of them as lived in the towns.
Even Judah's female domestic slave and tyrant was so well acquainted
with Hebrew that many a foreign scholar applied to her for information
respecting certain words of which he was ignorant. The Hebrew language
was so easily and fluently spoken that many legal terms and delicate
distinctions, which were the outcome of the spirit of the times, found
their way into Jewish circles, and were there provided with proper
Hebrew equivalents.

Thus tradition was at last codified and sanctioned. During the four
centuries since the time of the Maccabees, when the doctrine of the
father, as handed down to the son, had first begun to acquire an
influence on the development of history, tradition had remained, so
to speak, in suspense. Accepted by the Pharisees, rejected by the
Sadducees, confined by Shammai's school within narrow boundaries,
extended in its application by the school of Hillel, and greatly
enriched by the followers of the latter, it was through Judah that
tradition first acquired a settled form, and was able to exercise, by
means of its contents and its mode of exposition, a spiritual influence
during a number of centuries. Concurrently with the Bible, the Mishna
was the principal source of intellectual activity and research; it
sometimes even succeeded in entirely supplanting the Scripture, and in
asserting its claim to sole authority. It was the intellectual bond
which held together the scattered members of the Jewish nation. The
Mishna--the child of the Patriarchate--by which it had been brought
into the world and endowed with authority, slew, so to speak, its own
parent, for the latter dignity lost by degrees its importance and

The appearance of the Mishna brought the line of Tanaites to a
conclusion, and put an end to independent teaching. "Nathan and
Judah are the last of the Tanaites," says a Sibylline chronicle,
the apocryphal book of Adam. The Mishna necessitated henceforth
the employment of a new method of study, which possessed but little
similarity with the Tanaite mode of teaching.

The period of the compilation of the Mishna was by no means a happy one
for the Jews. Marcus Aurelius, the best and most moral of the Roman
emperors, bore them no good will; he seems even to have cherished a
special aversion to them. When he came to Judæa, in the summer of
175, after the death of the rebel Avidius Cassius, he found the Jews
clamorous; they had not come respectfully to pay him homage, but to ask
exemption from the heavy taxes imposed on them; and he, greatly vexed
at this want of reverence, is reported to have exclaimed, "At last I
have discovered a people who are more restless than the Marcomani, the
Quadi, or the Sarmati!" In Judah's time, the communities in Judæa were
subjected to a tax, called the "crown money" (aurum coronarium), which
was so oppressive that the inhabitants of Tiberias took to flight in
order to escape its burden. There is not in existence a single law of
Marcus Aurelius in favor of the Jews.

But few Jews can have taken part in the short-lived rebellion of
Avidius Cassius (175). With the sensual and bloodthirsty blockhead,
Commodus (180-192), the son of the Emperor philosopher, ends the series
of good or tolerable emperors, and there opens a succession of tyrants
who cut one another's throats. In his reign Judæa was doubtless exposed
to all sorts of extortions and oppression. The barbarous, savage and
dissolute Pescennius Niger, who after the murder of the two preceding
rulers set up as emperor in company with Severus and a third candidate
(193,) and took up his residence in Antioch, displayed especial
harshness to the Jews. Once when they prayed him to lighten their
burden of taxes, which had now become intolerable, he answered them in
the following words: "You ask me to relieve your lands of their taxes;
would that I were able to tax the very air that you breathe!"

In the war that ensued between him and Severus, the latter was
victorious, and his opponent's adherents paid heavily for their
mistake. During his short stay in Palestine (200), after he had
wasted, but not subdued, the country of the Parthians, Adiabene, and
Mesopotamia, Severus promulgated several laws, which were certainly
not favorable to Palestine. Amongst these laws was one forbidding
heathens, under penalty of severe punishment, to embrace Judaism, or
even Christianity. He permitted those, however, who were "imbued with
the Jewish superstitions" to hold unpaid municipal offices and to be
invested with the dignities of the magistracy; but they were obliged
to submit to the claims made on them by reason of their occupation of
these posts, such as providing costly plays and supporting various
other heavy expenses, as long as no violation of their religion was
thereby occasioned.

The numerous bands of marauders which had collected together during
the war between Severus and Niger do not seem to have been entirely
suppressed in Judæa, but continued to exist in this land after the
departure of Severus. The Romans, who regarded these marauders as
highwaymen, dispatched troops to hunt them out of their hiding-places
in the mountains, but were unable to disperse them entirely. Two
famous teachers of the Law of this period, Eleazar, the son of Simon
ben Jochai (who in his time had been hostile to the Romans), and
Ishmael, the son of José the Prudent, were induced to aid the Romans,
to keep a watch over the Jewish freebooters, and to deliver them into
the hands of the Roman authorities, who put them to death. Public
opinion, however, was loud in its blame of these men for thus allowing
themselves to become the tools of the Roman tyrants against their own
countrymen. Joshua b. Karcha (according to certain authorities the
son of Akiba) reproached Eleazar most bitterly for his behavior. "Oh,
thou vinegar!" he exclaimed, "the produce of wine (unworthy son of a
worthy father), how much longer dost thou intend to deliver up God's
people to the executioner?" When Eleazar attempted to excuse himself
by saying that he only desired "to clear the vineyard of thorns,"
Joshua retorted: "Let the lord of the vineyard root out the thorns
himself." Later on Eleazar repented of his share in the pursuit of
the Jewish freebooters, and is said to have done penance in the most
painful manner. Although he was an Halachic authority, to whom at
times the Patriarch submitted, the feeling which he had excited by
affording assistance to the Romans was so bitter that he was afraid
that after his death the last honors would be denied his corpse by
the teachers of the Law. He therefore enjoined upon his wife not to
bury him immediately, but to allow his body to remain in a room for
several days. When after his death Judah the Patriarch sought his widow
in marriage, she rejected his suit, annoyed probably at the slight
inflicted on her husband, and answered him: "A vessel intended for holy
purposes must not be put to profane uses."

Ishmael ben José was also visited with the disapprobation of the people
on account of his prosecution of the Jewish marauders. His excuse that
he had received an order from the Roman authorities, of which he was
unable to relieve himself, was met by the retort: "Did not thy father
flee? Thou also then wast able to escape."

Judah, the Patriarch, was a witness of all these sad scenes after
having held his office for more than thirty years. With great
equanimity he prepared to die, awaiting his dissolution with
tranquillity. He summoned his sons and learned comrades before him,
and informed them of his last wishes. He conferred the dignity of
Patriarch on Gamaliel, his elder son, and appointed Simon the younger
to the office of Chacham (speaker). To both of them he recommended his
widow, who was doubtless their stepmother, and commanded them to pay
her all respect after his death, and to make no alterations in his
domestic establishment. He strongly impressed on the future Patriarch
the policy of treating his disciples with severity, but recommended
a departure from his principle of only allowing two disciples to be
ordained, and suggested that all who were capable and deserving should
be admitted to ordination. He particularly enjoined on Gamaliel the
obligation of conferring the dignity of teacher, first and foremost
on Chanina bar Chama, to whom he believed himself indebted. His two
servants, José, of Phaeno, and Simon the Parthian, who served him with
great affection during his lifetime, were commanded to take charge
of his corpse after his death. He besought the Synhedrion to bury
him without any great pomp, to allow no mourning ceremonies to be
performed for him in the towns, and to re-open the Assembly of Teachers
after the short interval of thirty days. Many of the inhabitants of
the neighboring towns had gathered in Sepphoris at the news of the
Patriarch's approaching death, in order to show him their sympathy.
As if it were impossible that he could die, the populace threatened
to put to death whosoever should announce the sad news to them. The
suspense and agitation were, in fact, so great that some violent
explosion of the grief of the crowd was apprehended. The intelligence
of the Patriarch's death was, however, indirectly communicated to the
people by Bar-Kappara. With his head veiled and his garments torn, he
spoke the following words: "Angels and mortals contended for the ark
of the covenant; the angels have conquered, and the ark has vanished."
Hereupon the people uttered a cry of pain and exclaimed "He is dead,"
to which Bar-Kappara made answer, "Ye have said it." Their lamentations
are said to have been heard at Gabbata, three miles from Sepphoris. A
numerous funeral train accompanied Judah's corpse from Sepphoris to
Beth-Shearim, and memorial sermons were preached for him in eighteen
different synagogues. Even the descendants of Aaron paid the last
honors to his corpse, although this was in direct opposition to the
Law. "For this day," it was said, "the consecrated character of the
priests is suspended." Synhedrion and priests readily subordinated
themselves to him who represented the Law in his own person. After his
death he was called "the Holy" (ha-Kadosh), though later generations
seem to have been unable to offer any explanation of the title.

History has little more to relate of Judah's successor, Gamaliel III
(about 210 to 225) than that he faithfully executed his father's
commands. Such of his sayings as have been preserved are well worthy
of consideration, as throwing a strong light on the state of the
times. "It is good to be occupied in the study of religion, if some
secular business is carried on at the same time; the labor devoted
to both prevents sin from gaining ground. The study of the Law, when
prosecuted without some other occupation, must ultimately be lost and
is productive of sin. He who attends to the affairs of the community
should do so for the sake of his duty to God, and without any selfish
motives of his own; then will the merit of his forefathers second his
efforts, and his righteousness will endure to all eternity. To you,
however," he said to his disciples, "I promise as great a reward as
if your efforts had been directed to practical ends. Act cautiously
in all your relations with the (Roman) powers that be, for they only
flatter you to further their own purposes; they are your friends when
they can derive any benefit from your friendship, but they never
stand by you in trouble. Do God's will in such a manner that you
prefer His will to yours; then will he make your will His own." The
admonition thus given to his disciples, to exercise caution in their
dealings with the Roman authorities, and not to allow themselves to be
seduced by their promises, evidently contained an underlying political
meaning. For after the death of the harsh Severus, the Roman empire
acquired, and outwardly retained, for nearly a quarter of a century,
through the influence of three emperors and their Syrian mothers, a
certain Syrian appearance which was nearly allied with that of Judæa;
servile Rome adopted Syrian habits, and filled her Pantheon with
Eastern gods. By this means the gulf existing between Roman and Jew
was to a certain extent narrowed. Julia Domna (Martha), the wife of
Severus, was a native of Emesa in Syria, and her son Caracalla, who was
officially called Antoninus (211-217), was in nowise ashamed of his
Syrian descent. It was he who extended the full right of citizenship
to every inhabitant of the Roman Empire, and although this law was
merely intended to allow the imposition of heavier taxes on the
population of the provinces, it had the good effect of abolishing the
marked distinction between Roman and non-Roman. Although Caracalla
and his pretended son Elegabalus so disgraced the purple and humanity
itself by their vices, that Roman history of this period has nothing
to relate but assassinations and unnatural excesses such as allow of
no other explanation than the derangement of the minds of these two
emperors, there was still a certain method in their madness. They
contemplated the gradual effacement of Roman gods and Roman customs by
the introduction of Syrian fashions. It does not appear that Caracalla
possessed special tenderness for the Jews. This much is certain,
however, that the condition of the Jews under this emperor was at
least tolerable, and that, although they enjoyed no especial favors,
they at any rate had not to complain of excessive oppression. This
intermediate and tolerable position of the Jews, equally removed from
happiness and persecution, is described by Jannaï, one of Judah's
disciples, in the following words: "We neither enjoy the happiness of
the wicked, nor endure the misfortunes of the just."

A certain religious law which this same Jannaï was at this time induced
to repeal, proves that the condition of the Jews of Palestine was not
too enviable during the period in question. They were obliged to pay
their taxes, even during the year of Release, in natural produce,
destined for the use of the standing army. Up till then they had been
exempted, by virtue of a special favor originally accorded them by
Julius Cæsar, from delivering these supplies in every seventh year,
by reason of the fact that no harvest was gathered in this year, it
being the one during which the land was commanded by the Law to be
left fallow. In consequence of this dictatorial measure, and probably
during Caracalla's campaign in Parthia (in 216, which just happened to
be a year of Release), Jannaï, who was the authority of that period,
issued a proclamation, in which he declared that henceforward it would
be permissible to cultivate the land during the year of Release. He
laid especial stress on the circumstance that it was only permissible
to transgress the Law relative to the year of Release on account of the
payment of the tax being required of them, and that its abrogation was
in nowise intended.

The youthful emperor Elegabalus, formerly priest of the Sun-god
in Emesa, whom Mæsa, his crafty grandmother, had put forward as
Caracalla's son, was entirely devoid of any predilection for the Jews,
although appearances seem to lend color to the opposite view. This
living epitome of all vices, who disgraced the Roman world for four
years (218-222), and who seems to have possessed no other vocation in
history than publicly to degrade his heathen gods and Roman Cæsarism,
and to convince every one of their worthlessness, seems, in fact, to
have done and attempted many things in his methodical madness that bear
a Jewish complexion. He offered himself for circumcision, and refused
to partake of pork, only in obedience, however, to the commands of his
Sun-god. He proposed to introduce the Jewish, Samaritan, and Christian
worshipers publicly into Rome, but to subordinate them to his Sun-god,

During the reigns of these two emperors, Caracalla and Elegabalus,
the younger contemporaries of Judah had ample time to continue his
work. The Mishnaic compilation had not, in fact, included many laws,
partly because they were not possessed of absolute legal force, and
partly because they were as special cases included in the general
formulæ. These neglected Halachas were collected by Judah's successors,
as a supplement to the Mishna. Among these collectors may be named
Jannaï, whose academy was at Acbara; Chiya, and his twin-sons, Judah
and Chiskiya, Bar-Kappara, Levi bar Sissi, Ushaya the elder, surnamed
"the father of the Mishna"; and finally Abba-Areka (Rab); all of
them half-Tanaites. Judah's compilation had, however, obtained so
undisputed an authority that its votaries considered every word of
it to be sacred, and contended that not a line ought to be added to
it. The new compilation therefore possessed but a secondary value in
comparison with the principal Mishna, and their mutual relations were
of such a character that the former were referred to as "the apocryphal
Mishnas" (Matnita boraïta, or simply Boraïta), in the same way as the
books not included in the canonical Bible are called "the Apocrypha"
(apocryphal books). The compilations of Chiya and Ushaya alone acquired
an authority nearly equal to that of the principal Mishna, on account
of their contents.

The distinctive feature of the Mishna, which was accepted as the
recognized code, is the severely legal and even judicial character
which it impressed on Judaism for all time. Everything comprised in
Judaism--the commandments and prohibitions, the precepts contained in
the Pentateuch and those deduced from it--all are considered by the
Mishna as edicts and decrees of God, which may neither be criticized
nor questioned; they must be carried out in strict accordance with the
letter. It is impossible not to perceive that the conflicts which had
convulsed Judaism, the violent attacks of Hellenism under Antiochus
Epiphanes, the bitter opposition of the Sadducees, the allegorical
misinterpretation and the subtleties of the Alexandrian philosophers,
and, finally, the attitude of hostility to the Law assumed by Pauline
Christianity and the Gnostics, had all assisted to bring out and
accentuate the strictly legal character of the Jewish faith. In
direct opposition to the tendency of the Alexandrian and Gnostic
schools to give especial prominence to the view that God's love was
the characteristic feature of Judaism, the Mishna, the first positive
code of Judaism, cautions its readers against this opinion, and orders
silence to be imposed on one who desired to express this view in
prayer: "Thy love extendeth even to the nest of the bird." For this
reason everything in the Mishna is legally ordered, little being left
to personal decision; there it is settled how much a pauper may demand
of public charity, and even how many children a father ought to bring
into the world in order to fulfil his duty of helping to populate the
earth, "which God did not create to be desolate." In general the Mishna
assumes that the whole of the Torah, including such of the precepts
of the Law as do not appear immediately in the Pentateuch, is composed
of ancient traditions, received by Moses on Sinai, communicated by
him to Joshua, who handed them down to the Elders, who in their turn
transmitted them to the Prophets, who finally handed them down to
the members of the great assembly. All such laws as do not appear in
the Pentateuch are designated in the Mishna by the term, "the saying
of those learned in the Scripture" (_Dibre Soferim_), although its
component parts are not rigorously divided into these two categories.
It is true that in the Mishna the remembrance of the dissatisfaction of
many Tanaites is still apparent, especially in the complaint that the
numerous decisions which Joshua arrived at by means of interpretation,
"resemble mountains hanging by a hair," that is to say, are
far-fetched; but, nevertheless, the Mishna holds up as an inviolable
standard all the Halachic laws which had been in force up to this time.

There repeatedly occurs in the Mishna the assertion of the equivalence
of all religious commands and duties. The maxims of Rabbi, its
compiler, might fitly be placed on the first page as an inscription:

    "Which road should man choose? One which is creditable to the
    traveler, and honorable in the eyes of mankind. Be as exact
    in thine observance of the minor precepts as of the most
    important, for thou knowest not what reward is attached to each
    command. Balance the (temporal) loss sustained in consequence
    of the performance of a duty with its (spiritual) reward, and
    the gain of a transgression with its disadvantages. Bear always
    three things in mind, so that thou commit no offense: There is
    an Eye that sees all, an Ear that hears all, and a Hand that
    inscribes all thy deeds in a book."

The Mishna is pervaded with these views from beginning to end. The
reward of a conscientious observance of the precepts of the Law will
be the participation in a future world, which awaits every Israelite
unless he refuse to believe in a resurrection, or in the revelation of
the Torah by God, or unless he live (or think) as an Epicurean. But
pious conduct is also rewarded in this world. He who conscientiously
fulfils one religious duty will be favored by Heaven, his life will be
lengthened, and he will be allowed to enjoy a share of the Holy Land.
At the same time the attempt is made to establish a reconciliation
between the worldly promises held out by the Bible and the reward of
the world to come, a dogma which first assumed a distinct form in the
period following the Captivity. The discharge of certain duties secures
the enjoyment of reward on earth and in the world to come; such are
the veneration of parents, charity, timely attendance at the school,
hospitality, the endowment of (indigent) brides, the accompanying of
corpses to the grave, devout prayer, peace-making, and especially the
pursuit of religious studies (Talmud Torah). As to future punishment,
the Mishna is unacquainted therewith, as also with a hell. For crimes
and transgressions, mention is made of judicial punishment during this
life only, varying of course with the seriousness of the offense;
thus there were scourging, and execution by the Synhedrion in four
degrees (by sword, by the rope, by fire, and by stoning), and finally
a premature death at the hand of God (Kharat). The most heinous and
atrocious sins were expiated by death, and lesser ones by repentance
and the Day of Atonement, while pardon was obtained for sins of
negligence by sacrifice. Of course, crimes committed against persons
were not expiated until their victims were indemnified, satisfied, and
appeased. Every righteous and moral deed, as well as every misdeed,
possessed its religious importance; but the religious point of view was
not predominant over, but subordinate to, the secular.

The Mishna regarded as the greatest virtue the study of the doctrines
of Judaism and the knowledge of the Law or of the Halachas (Talmud
Torah). Occupation in these subjects possessed peculiar merit or
justification (Zechut Torah); it protected and advanced a person here
and hereafter. "He who is acquainted with the Bible and tradition,
and is careful of his behavior, will not easily fall into sin." The
learning, appropriation, retention, and theoretical comprehension and
advancement of the existing principles of religion--that is to say, the
conservation and furtherance of Judaism in the path of orthodoxy--gave
the direction to the ideas and tendencies of that period. For this
reason, he who is learned in the Law holds a very high rank, and
although he be a bastard, takes precedence of a high priest who is
ignorant of it. A disciple must honor his teacher even more than his
father, or in case of conflict in his duty to one or the other, must
first fulfil his duty to the former; for a wise teacher brings man to
life in the world to come. It is incumbent on a father to teach his
son the Torah, or to provide for his instruction in it. The Mishna
does not decide the question as to whether a father ought to instruct
his daughters in the Torah, but advances two opposite views on this
subject: one advocated by Ben-Azai, who is in favor of the practice, or
at least considers it permissible; the other, defended by the austere
Eleazar ben Hyrcanus, who condemns it; "to initiate one's daughters
in the Torah is as good as to initiate them in prostitution." This
latter theory, which finally prevailed, exercised a most pernicious
influence in after-times; for while every community was careful to
provide elementary and advanced schools for its boys, the girls were
systematically kept in complete ignorance.

But although great weight was laid by the Mishnaic code on the exact
observance of the letter of the Law, a something higher than this
observance of the Law was recognized as piety; namely, the possession
of a certain elevation of mind, of which the boundaries were far more
widely extended than those of the Law. A conscientious man should
keep his word in questions relating to property, although he be not
bound thereto by the terms of the written law. He who pays his debt in
the year of release, although not under a legal obligation to do so;
he who pays to the heirs of a proselyte the debt due to the latter,
without being legally compelled to satisfy their claim; and generally
he who abides by his word--these are the men in whom the sages delight.
It is true that there are certain prescribed forms of prayer, but it
is lawful, nevertheless, to pray in any language; the principal thing
is to pray with devotion and earnestness. Men ought to thank Heaven
for bad fortune as well as for good. The Mishna displays altogether a
tendency to emphasize the spiritual value of religion. The sounding of
the cornet on the New Year, the Festivals, and the Atonement Day of
the year of Jubilee, as prescribed by the Law, ought not to remain an
outward, material deed, but ought rather to create a certain frame of
mind which raises the soul to God. As illustrations of this view the
following instances are cited: it was not the fact of Moses lifting up
his hands which gave the Israelites the victory over Amalek, nor the
erection of a brazen serpent in the wilderness which cured them of the
bites of the scorpions, but the turning of their hearts to God. But
this tendency of the Mishna remains only a tendency, and received no
wide development; more confidence is placed in an obligatory law than
in a conscience which creates its own standard.

Besides the juridical feature, and perhaps as a consequence of it,
the Mishna possesses another peculiarity which is more formal than
essential; it is characterized by a desire to devise and group
together all possible sorts of cases, however remote they may be, in
order to apply the most dissimilar laws to their decision (a species
of casuistry). This peculiarity, which in after-times exerted an
influence at once favorable and prejudicial to advancement, and
which was conducive at the same time both to logical acuteness and
to sophistry, seems to have first made its appearance in the public
academies of Jabne and Usha, and in the numerous other schools. It was
probably the ingenious Meïr and his disciples who most contributed to
its cultivation. As if it were not sufficient to consider and decide
such cases as really occurred, according to the already existing laws
and principles of the Pentateuch and tradition, teachers occupied
themselves in depicting fantastic and intricate situations, simply to
show, for example, that it was occasionally possible for several laws
to apply to a single act. The Mishna admitted all these hypothetical
cases constructed by the schools, and perhaps added to their number.
This casuistic peculiarity was especially employed in order to give a
clear idea of certain cases where cumulative punishments or atonements
were incurred.

It is noteworthy that the Mishnaic compilation contains no Halachas of
a character hostile to the Jewish professors of Christianity; it does
not touch on this subject in any place, not even declaring whether it
is allowed or prohibited to eat meat cooked by the Minæans. It appears
that the danger with which Judaism had been threatened by the Jewish
Christians, since the destruction of the Temple until the Bar-Cochba
war, had already been averted, and that danger was now no longer
to be dreaded. On the other hand, and in order to avoid the least
appearance of participation in idolatry, the Mishna contains numerous
laws directed against heathenism and intercourse with the heathens. The
teachers of Christianity immediately experienced the want of some such
protective laws for the preservation of the Christian communities, and
Tertullian, one of the Fathers of the Church (a younger contemporary
of Judah the Patriarch, and the first Christian author who wrote
in Latin), expressed a desire that the Christians should be kept
apart from the heathens just as strictly as the Jews were by the
prescriptions of the Mishna; the reason for this was that heathenism
had continued to make its way into Palestine since the Bar-Cochba war,
and had gained possession not only of coast towns, but even of inland
places. It was necessary, therefore, to regulate the conduct of the
people accordingly. The Mishna devotes a special treatise (Aboda Zara)
to this subject; it prohibits the intercourse with heathens for three
days before their principal public festivals, such as the kalends of
January, the Saturnalia, the anniversary of the accession or the death
of the emperor. It also commands the people not to frequent such of
the shops of the heathens as are decorated with laurel wreaths. The
Jews are forbidden to sell ornaments or other objects for the use of
idols to the heathens, or to let to them any houses in Palestine,
because they would be desecrated by the introduction of images of
idols. On account of the hatred entertained against them by the heathen
inhabitants of Palestine, the Jews are further commanded not to allow
themselves to be attended during any illness by the heathens, or even
to allow their beards to be shaved by the latter; and in particular
are ordered not to remain alone with them in any lonely spot, lest
they should be secretly murdered by them. The Roman heathens having
introduced the barbarous custom of setting men to fight with wild
beasts, the Mishna interdicts the sale to them by the Jews of bears,
lions, and all other animals by which any injury can be caused, and
further prohibits the Jews from building their basilica, places of
execution, or stadia, because they serve to promote the shedding of
innocent blood. In order not to pander to the unnatural vices (sodomy)
of the heathens, the Jews are commanded not to commit any animals to
their charge; the Mishna even forbids the Jewish midwives or nurses to
offer their services to the heathen women, because they would thereby
help to bring into the world a new child of idolatry. All enjoyment
derived from objects of reverence to the idolaters is interdicted,
and the Jews are not even allowed to sit in the shade of an image of
an idol, and are particularly forbidden to drink of the wine of which
a portion has been, or may have been, offered by a heathen to his
gods. Most of the laws relative to the separation of the Jews from the
heathen world, introduced with great zeal and precipitancy shortly
before the destruction of the Temple, are retained and extended by the
Mishna. Notwithstanding all its hatred of the heathens generally, and
especially those in Palestine (the Mishna paid but little attention
to foreign countries), the Jewish legislation was unable to entirely
belie the distinctive trait of Judaism, its universal love of mankind.
Together with these hostile laws, there was also adopted one which was
favorable to the heathens, due probably to the initiative of Rabban
Gamaliel I: their poor were given access to the fields, and possessed,
equally with the Jews, the right of gleaning. A special treatise,
called "The Sayings of the Fathers" (Pirke Aboth), is devoted to the
teachings of a higher morality, and contains the maxims and short
sentences of the sopheric teachers and sages from the earliest times.
These laws of morality, however, are concealed, and, as it were,
overgrown by a mass of law relating to the ritual.

With the completion of the Mishna and the almost equally important
Boraïtas, the Tanaites had accomplished their task of imparting a
settled form and lasting shape to the hitherto uncertain and transitory
matter of tradition; they had called it to life, and presented it to
the Jewish nation as common property. After completing their task
with noble assiduity, untiring zeal, and unexampled self-denial, they
disappeared from the scene, leaving to future generations the result of
their efforts, from which to receive their education and imbibe a love
of their religion and nationality.



    Judah II.--Friendliness of Alexander Severus towards the
    Jews--Joshua ben Levi--Hillel instructs Origen in Hebrew--The
    _Hexapla_--The Palestinean Amoraim--Chanina--Jochanan--Simon
    ben Lakish--Joshua, the Hero of Fable--Simlai, the
    Philosophical Agadist--Porphyry comments on the Book of Daniel.

    219.280 C. E.

After the extinction of the Tanaites and the death of the younger
contemporaries of the compiler of the Mishna and of his son Gamaliel
III, a happier period commenced: happy abroad by reason of the
favorable political situation brought about by the friendly attitude
assumed towards the Jews by one of the best of the Roman emperors;
happy at home through the agency of a series of vigorous-minded men,
who imbued the ancient customs and manners with a new and healthy
spirit. The most prominent men and the lights of this epoch were: in
Judæa, the Patriarch Judah II, son of Gamaliel; Jochanan, the principal
authority of these times; and Simon b. Lakish, the Teacher, robust of
hand and brain; and in Babylonia, Abba-Areka and Samuel. These men were
the pioneers of a new movement, connected, it is true, with the labors
of the Tanaites, inasmuch as it was grounded upon their work, but yet
went beyond it in range. A sketch of the leading personalities of this
period will not perhaps be considered superfluous.

But little is known of the early life and training of Judah the
Patriarch. His youth was passed in a time when religious strictness
had acquired so predominant an importance, that the family of the
Patriarch himself was open to censure in case any of its members acted
contrary to prescribed law. Judah was walking one Sabbath-day, with
his brother Hillel, in Biri, wearing a pair of shoes decorated with
golden buckles, which seems to have been prohibited in that town.
They were sharply censured by the populace on this account, and, not
daring to explain that the act was not contrary to the Law, they
were obliged to take off their shoes and give them to their slaves.
On another occasion, when the two sons of the Patriarch were one day
bathing together in Kabul, the people called out to them "that in
their city it was not lawful for two brothers to bathe together." When
Judah succeeded his father in the office of Patriarch (about 225)
he transferred the seat of this dignity from Sepphoris to Tiberias,
and this city, formerly avoided on account of its uncleanliness, was
thus invested by him with considerable importance; it outlived all
the other cities of Judæa, however rich in memories, and was the last
retreat of the ancient traditions. The announcement of the appearance
of the new moon, which on account of a certain preference shown to
the south of Judæa had formerly been made there, was now ordered by
Judah to be made at Tiberias. The south of Palestine, formerly the
principal scene of historical events, was henceforward bereft of its
supremacy, and was obliged to abandon its rôle to the once-despised
Galilee. Like his grandfather, Judah II was held in great reverence
by his contemporaries, and was also called simply Rabbi or Rabbenu.
He likewise was often severely censured, but accepted the blame more
patiently than his ancestor.

It was probably the second Judah, as the Jewish narratives positively
assert, that was beloved by a Roman emperor, from whom he received
numerous marks of favor. Accident, which in the guise of the Prætorian
guards generally gave the casting vote at the election of the emperor,
elevated Alexander Severus (222-235), an unknown Syrian youth in his
seventeenth year, to the position of ruler of the world. In public, he
gave evidence of a more pronounced friendliness to Judaism than any
of his predecessors. In his private apartment there was placed, next
to the representations of Orpheus and Christ, a picture of Abraham.
This emperor was so deeply impressed with the truth of the golden
rule of pure philanthropy, "Do not unto others what thou wouldst not
they should do unto you" (esteemed as the essence of the whole Jewish
religion before the time of Jesus), that it was always on his lips,
and was placed by him as a motto on the imperial palace and the public
buildings, and proclaimed by a herald to the soldiers whenever he
desired to reprimand them for attacks on the property of foreigners.
On all occasions he set up the Jews and Christians as patterns to the
depraved Romans, and was desirous of seeing the highest dignities of
the state awarded upon the same principles as those which governed the
admission of Jewish and Christian religious leaders to ordination. He
was well disposed towards the Christians, but seems to have possessed
a greater predilection for the Jews and Judaism. The inhabitants of
Antioch and Alexandria, whose frivolous character caused them to be
better pleased with immoral emperors than with an austere ruler like
Alexander Severus, derided him in epigrams, and gave him the nicknames
of the "Syrian Head of the Synagogue" (Archisynagogus, that is,
Rabbi) and "High Priest." The emperor's mother, Mammæa, however, had
a preference for Christianity, and was a protectress of Origen, one
of the Fathers of the Church. For these reasons, the Patriarch Judah
possessed during this period an almost royal authority, and was even
able to exercise anew criminal jurisdiction; not quite openly, it is
true, but still with the prior knowledge of the emperor. The latter
seems to have made the acquaintance of the Jewish Patriarch during his
frequent visits to Antioch on the occasion of his campaign in Persia
(231-234). Judah probably prevailed upon him to protect, or rather to
revive, the privileges of the Jews. Among these was the right of again
entering the city of Jerusalem, and of filling the office of judge,
both of which rights had been denied to them by Hadrian. Jewish fable
relates many things concerning the sincere attachment of the Emperor
Severus (Asverus), son of Antoninus, or simply Antoninus, to Judaism
and the Jews. But although much of this is doubtless exaggerated
and embellished, the Talmud contains many narratives concerning the
relations existing between the Patriarch and the Emperor which are
certainly historical. Thus it is related of him that he presented a
golden candlestick to a synagogue (probably that of Tiberias), and
granted the Patriarch a field in the district of Gaulanitis, most
likely for the support of the disciples.

It is quite in the spirit of this emperor of Syrian origin,
prepossessed as he was in favor of foreign religions, that he should
have requested the Patriarch, as the story runs, to recommend to him a
learned man to aid him in building an altar on the model of that in the
Jewish Temple, and in the preparation of incense according to the rules
of the Jewish code, for which purpose Judah is said to have recommended
his intimate friend Romanus. The thirteen years during which the Roman
world submitted to the rule of a good emperor were a happy time for
the Jewish nation, for the sovereign conferred many marks of favor
upon this people, lately despised and persecuted. The position of the
Jews was indeed so favorable that the opinion was commonly expressed
that Daniel, who had cast a prophetic glance on the succession of the
empires of the world, had predicted this state of things in the words:
"When they (the Jews) succumb, some small help will still be extended
to them," which were considered to refer to Severus Antoninus, who
manifested a love for the Jews. This favorable situation contributed
towards the substitution of a more friendly spirit in place of the
variance with and profound dislike of the Romans which had prevailed
for centuries.

The Christians complained at this time that the Jews were much more
favorably disposed towards the heathens than towards themselves,
although possessing much more in common with themselves than with the
heathens. The barrier erected by the Jews, in consequence of their
hatred of the Romans, was partly overthrown, and the rigor of the
separation of the two nations was relaxed. The family of the Patriarch
were permitted, on account of their association with the highest
dignitaries of the state, to dress their hair according to the Roman
fashion, to learn Greek, and to do various other things which had
formerly been prohibited. The life of the Jews assumed altogether a
happier aspect: they began to decorate their rooms with paintings, and
religious scrupulousness took no exception.

To the influence exercised by these friendly relations with the rulers
must probably also be ascribed the fact that the Patriarch abolished,
or intended to abolish, many of the stricter rules which had formerly
been carried out with the utmost severity. In the stormy days of the
first rebellion against the Romans, when the wave of racial hatred ran
high between Jews and Græco-Roman heathens, a Synod, in order to put
a stop to all intercourse with the heathens, had forbidden the Jews
to purchase or make use of their oil and various other articles of
food. In Palestine, this restraint did not fall heavily on the Jewish
inhabitants, as the land produced all that was necessary to satisfy
the daily wants of the people, and the oil exported from Galilee
afforded a sufficient supply to the neighboring countries. But the war
of Hadrian devastated Judæa and deprived it of all its oil plantations;
the daily need of oil thus gradually compelled this strict prohibition
to be disregarded. But the legal permission was still wanting, and,
although numbers had dispensed with it, there still remained many
who complied strictly with the law, as yet unabolished. Judah II
therefore used his best endeavors to obtain a majority favorable to the
abrogation of this law, and prided himself greatly on accomplishing
his purpose; it is probable that he had to sustain a severe conflict
in order to gain his object. When Simlaï, the Patriarch's assessor,
who was constantly traveling between Galilee and Babylon, brought
the news that permission had been granted to the Jewish inhabitants
of countries bordering on the Euphrates (who had always been restive
under restraints imposed upon them) to make use of the oil of the
heathens, this innovation appeared so daring to Abba-Areka (the
principal Babylonian authority), that he refused to believe the report.
Samuel, however, who desired to see the authority of the Patriarch
generally recognized even in Babylon, compelled him to make use of this

Another alleviation proposed by the Patriarch, according to which the
onerous marriage with a deceased brother's widow was to be evaded in
certain cases by a bill of divorce, to be given before death, was not
agreed to by his College. He was also desirous of permitting the use of
bread made by the heathens. Finally, he proposed to abolish the fast of
the month of Ab, instituted in commemoration of so many catastrophes,
according to some authors in totality, according to others in certain
cases only. The contemporary teachers of the Law, however, were opposed
to these alterations; but, on the other hand, they agreed with him
in abolishing a mark of affliction introduced during the period of
adversity under Hadrian: henceforward it was allowable for brides to
ride in state-litters on their wedding-day.

In spite of the reverence felt by the teachers of the Law for the
Patriarch Judah, they were not blind to his weaknesses, and he was
obliged to submit to numerous attacks on their part. The Patriarchate
had acquired in his hands an almost royal power, and was even entitled
to a body-guard, ready to enforce the commands of the Patriarch. This
power, although not abused by Judah, was all the more displeasing to
the teachers of the Law, since he, on his side, conferred no particular
favors on the learned classes, but rather exerted himself to abolish
the distinction between the learned and illiterate in all civil
relations. He further subjected the teachers of the Law to a share of
the communal burdens. Simeon ben-Lakish, one of those outspoken men who
carry their love of truth even to the length of disrespect of persons,
was especially opposed to this leveling policy, and gave vent to
offensive sallies against the Patriarch. Once, in the lecture-hall, he
put forward the proposition: That in case the Patriarch should render
himself guilty of a crime, it would be necessary to sentence him, like
any ordinary man, to the punishment of scourging. Upon this it was
observed by Chaggai, that in such a case he would have to be absolutely
deposed, and debarred from taking office again lest he should employ
his power in revenging himself upon the authors of his disgrace.
This discussion was manifestly an attack upon Judah's possession of
extraordinary power. Angry at these remarks, and carried away by his
first impulse, he immediately despatched his Gothic slaves to seize
the fault-finder; but Jochanan, the Principal of the school, succeeded
eventually in appeasing his wrath. Once the Patriarch complained
to Ben-Lakish of the rapacity of the Roman authorities, which
prevailed for a lengthened period in all the provinces of the Roman
empire during the reign of anarchy which followed after the death of
Alexander Severus. In most of the provinces there had arisen emperors,
anti-emperors, and usurpers, who, during the short span of their reign,
assumed the character of ruler of the world, and conducted themselves
in the countries subject to their sway with true Roman rapacity. "Pray
for me," said Judah to Ben-Lakish, "for the rule of the Romans is
evil." To which the latter replied: "If thou take nothing, nothing will
be taken from thee." This remark was probably intended as a rebuke for
the covetousness of which it is impossible to acquit Judah.

The Patriarchs seem to have commenced about this time to draw a
revenue from the communities. This had become a necessity, as the
impoverishment of Palestine had followed in the wake of its heavy
taxation. A great part of the pasture lands had fallen into the
hands of the heathens dwelling in the country, to whom the Jewish
proprietors had been obliged to sell. Through this impoverishment the
means of maintaining the school-houses and the pupils were greatly
diminished. The income of Judah, unlike that of his grandfather,
proved insufficient for the purpose, and he was therefore obliged
to open up new sources of income in order worthily to support the
dignity of Patriarch. He sent messages abroad to make collections
amongst the rich Jews. One of the most important teachers of the Law
in Lydda, named Joshua ben Levi, made a special journey to Rome for
this purpose. In Rome some wealthy Jews were known to live. These
willingly contributed to the support of the institution which replaced
the Synhedrion, and which was the last remnant of an independent state,
and the representative of which was supposed to be descended from or
connected with the royal house of David. It is related that the Jewish
ship-owners and merchants gave up the tenth part of their gains to the
support of the disciples in the school of Tiberias. This grant was
called the Patriarch's tax, and the mission-tax (Apostole), also crown
money (aurum coronarium).

Meanwhile, however greatly Judah's avarice may have been blamed,
he still stood high in the favor of the populace, by reason of the
simplicity of his manners and attire, which caused his proud and almost
royal dignity to be forgotten. He was accustomed to wear linen clothes,
and to dispense with all etiquette in his reception of ceremonious
visits, thereby calling down upon himself the reproaches of his
friends, who expressed their opinion that a ruler ought to appear in
magnificence, and to maintain an imposing demeanor.

How great a reverence was felt for Judah may be seen from the fact
that, on his death, no less honors were paid to his body than had been
shown to his grandfather, Judah I. In direct opposition to the Law,
a descendant of Aaron was compelled to take charge of his corpse; it
being alleged that it was permissible in this instance to lay aside the
holy character of his priesthood.

Hillel II., the brother of the Patriarch, was possessed of great skill
in the Agadic exposition of the Scriptures, and seems to have been a
profoundly moral man. Among the many maxims said to have been uttered
by him, the following is especially worthy of note:

    "Separate not thyself from the rest of the community; put not
    overmuch trust in thyself (in thy piety) before thy death;
    judge not thy neighbor until thou hast been placed in his

It was probably owing to Hillel's profound knowledge of the Scriptures
that he was visited by Origen, the philosophical Father of the Church,
who desired to consult him concerning certain difficult passages in the
Bible. Origen called him the Patriarch Jullos.

The spirit of investigation awakened by the Fathers of the Church,
Pantæus and Clemens of Alexandria, in the Christian school of
Alexandria, which sought to connect the Old and the New Testament,
revived the necessity of an acquaintance with the Hebrew language, in
order to explain by the help of the knowledge of the original text, the
glaring contradictions existing in many places between the views of the
Old Testament and the now inflexible dogmas of Christianity. It was
Origen who felt most the need of this knowledge, and he was unremitting
in his efforts to acquire the Hebrew tongue, and in his recommendations
to others to study it. He regarded the Jews as his masters in the
knowledge of Hebrew and the correct exegesis of the Scripture: he
admitted having learnt from Jews the exact sense of various difficult
passages in the Bible, during his long but intermittent residence in
Judæa (from about 229 to 253). Being desirous of writing a Commentary
on the Psalms, he took the trouble to have them explained to him by
a Jew, according to the traditions. At that time the study of the
Halachas had not yet superseded that of Biblical exegesis.

Besides Hillel and Simlaï there were other Jewish teachers well
acquainted with the original text, who confuted the Christian teachers,
and laughed at them for the absurdly childish arguments which they
drew from their corrupt Greek translation, the Septuagint. They were
especially diverted at the credulity of the Christians, by whom every
apocryphal book was invested with the garb of antiquity. Such books as
the histories of Tobias, of Judith, and of Susannah were admitted into
the collection of the Holy writings, upon which loose foundation was
erected the fragile fabric of their religion.

In order to protect the creed of the Church from this ridicule, Origen
undertook the gigantic task of revising the Septuagint version,
mutilated and crowded as it was with errors of all kinds. His immediate
object was to afford the Christian teachers an insight into the
differences existing between the translation and the original text,
and so better to enable them to conduct their discussions with the
Jews. To this end, he compared the translations of Akylas, Symmachos,
Theodotion, and three others which had appeared in the meantime; and
in order to allow of a convenient survey, he placed them in columns,
the Hebrew text, with its pronunciation in Greek letters, figuring at
the head. These parallel texts were known by the name of the Hexapla
(sixfold). It was labor lost, however, to compare the wretched and
intentionally corrupt Greek translation with the original Hebrew text.
The Septuagint continued to exist in its mutilated form, and was even
worse confounded by reason of Origen's industry, for many passages
belonging to other translations were often accidentally introduced into
its text.

The activity of the Palestinean teachers was directed to another
object; their cares were bestowed neither on the study of the Bible nor
on the establishing of the doctrines of faith; both these subjects lay
outside their sphere of activity. Their chief energies were devoted
to the study of the oral law in its definite form, the Mishna. This
work had been composed in a brief and laconic style, and, besides,
it contained many passages which were incomprehensible, the words or
subject-matter having passed out of everyday use. For these reasons
the comprehension of the Mishna required peculiar study and erudition.
The principals of the schools applied themselves, in the first place,
to the elucidation of the terse and frequently obscure text of the
Mishna. From this aspect of their labors they received the name of
Amoraim (Amoraï, Expounder). But far from being satisfied with this
arid work, or with remaining contentedly in this dependence, they
gradually emancipated themselves, made new departures, and believing in
good faith that they were standing on the ground of the Mishna, went
far beyond its boundaries. As the Tanaites had treated the text of the
Bible, so also did the Amoraim treat that of the second code; they
dissected it, and resolved it into its constituent parts, so that under
their hand it was dissipated, becoming new matter and acquiring a new

The first generation of the Amoraim, following immediately upon the
Tanaites and semi-Tanaites, constitutes in many points a parallel with
the second generation of the Tanaites. Like the latter it consisted
of a series of talented teachers, who attained a great age, and whose
labors were continued during half a century. Like the latter, again,
it possessed different schools and systems, and was divided into
various opinions concerning the explanation of the Law. But it does
not afford the spectacle of violent controversies; for it already
possessed a common and recognized formula, a settled standard, to which
all authorities subordinated themselves. The oldest of the Amoraim
was Chanina b. Chama, of Sepphoris (from about 180 to 260). He was
descended from an ancient and noble family, and followed the profession
of physician; the science of medicine, inborn in the Levites, being
generally cultivated by teachers of the Law. The method of teaching
adopted by him was very simple. He was an Amora in the fullest sense
of the primitive meaning of the term; he expounded the Mishna or the
Boraitas with the help of such comments only as had been handed down
to him by tradition, without allowing himself to make any independent
deductions. If new cases occurred which were not indicated in the
Mishna, he did not decide them according to his own lights, but took
counsel with learned colleagues, or even with disciples, however
obvious the decision may have been. Chanina occupied the same position
among the Amoraim as Eleazar b. Hyrcanus among the Tanaites; he was
entirely receptive, never creative. This point of view, however,
according to which the Mishna was regarded as dead stock, was not
acceptable to the younger and more zealous men; Chanina was therefore
deserted, even by his own disciples, who proceeded to found new

Notwithstanding this, Chanina was regarded with great veneration both
by Jews and Romans, on account of his piety. Once, when he went,
with Joshua b. Levi, a younger contemporary, to visit the Proconsul
(Anthypatos), in Cæsarea, the latter rose respectfully at their
approach, replying to his friends, who expressed astonishment at his
behavior, that "they appeared to him like angels." He reproved more
boldly and fearlessly than any other teacher, the deeply-rooted faults
of his community, and tried to rid it of that erroneous belief which
willingly accepts the most incredible miracles, in order to be relieved
of all responsibility. Chanina's unsparing utterances concerning the
people of Sepphoris present at the same time a faithful picture of the
customs of the period. On one occasion Sepphoris and the surrounding
districts had been so devastated by the plague that many of the
inhabitants of all parts of the town had been carried off by it; the
only quarter not visited by it was that in which Chanina resided. The
men of Sepphoris wished to make him responsible for this plague, on the
ground that he had not performed any miracle to avert it; whereupon he
replied: "In the time of Moses there was only one Zimri (who debauched
a heathen woman), and yet twenty-four thousand fell by the plague;
ye, however, possess many Zimris, and complain notwithstanding."
Another time, Judæa was visited by a continued drought and lack of
rain. Chanina had arranged the prescribed fasts and offered up public
prayers, yet the much desired rains did not set in; whereupon the
people complained anew, and referred to Joshua b. Levi, the envoy to
Rome, whose prayers for rain for the south of Judæa had been crowned
with success. On the next opportunity Chanina sent for Joshua from
the south, and united with him in prayer, but again without success.
Seizing upon this occasion, he reprimanded his fellow-countrymen for
their superstitious belief in the power of a human being to work
miracles; "Thus do ye see," exclaimed he, "that it is neither Joshua
who causes rain, nor Chanina who hinders it; the inhabitants of Lydda
are kind-hearted and humble, therefore heaven sends them rain; ye,
however, are hard-hearted and callous, and therefore heaven withholds
rain from you." Chanina retained his modesty and self-denial all
through his life, and justly recognizing the merits of others, rejoiced
in his later years over the fame of those who had surpassed him. He
attained an extreme old age, and saw three Patriarchs--the elder Judah,
his teacher; Gamaliel, Judah's son, and Judah II.

In opposition to the conservative Chanina stands Jochanan bar Napacha
(born 199, died 279). Deprived of both father and mother, who died
in his early youth, he used to say in later life, that he ought to
be thankful for this misfortune, as he would not have been able to
fulfil the strict duties of filial love in the manner required by the
Law. He was so handsome of figure that the Talmudical source, usually
so sober, involuntarily becomes poetical in trying to describe his
beauty: "Let him who desires to form an idea of Jochanan's beauty take
a newly-wrought silver goblet, fill it with ruddy garnets, crown its
brim with a wreath of red roses, and place it between light and shadow;
its peculiar reflection of light will then represent the glory of
Jochanan's dazzling beauty." This beauty, however, partook more of a
feminine character, for he possessed no beard, the expression of manly
dignity. His eyebrows were also so long as to overshadow his eyes.
When he was grown up he attended the school of the elder Judah, but
admitted that he had understood but little of the profound Halachic
discussion, by reason of his youth. As he was not rich, possessing only
a small plot of land, he applied himself to business, in conjunction
with Ilpha, a fellow-disciple, when a warning was given to him to
devote his whole energies to the study of the Law, in which it was
asserted that he would acquire great distinction. For this reason he
abandoned his trade, and again followed the lectures of celebrated
teachers of the Law. He sold his little plot of ground in order to
obtain the wherewithal to study, exhibiting no concern with regard to
any provision for his old age. It seems, however, that later on he was
maintained at the expense of the Patriarch, Judah. Jochanan frequented
the company of the teachers of various schools, in order to acquire
a diversified knowledge of the subject-matter of the Law. He became
the principal assistant of the Patriarch, Judah II, and was the most
productive Amora of his time. Through the influence of a large body
of disciples, his sayings form a considerable element of the Talmud.
His method of teaching was to search deeply into the meaning of the
Mishna, to subject every paragraph to severe analysis, and to compare
each maxim with the others; he arrived by these means at the inference
that the Mishna was not possessed throughout of legal force. He also
laid down certain rules concerning the manner of arriving at a definite
decision in those cases where two or more Tanaites were of different

Through his influence Tiberias, with its mild air, its fertility and
its curative waters, became the meeting-place of a numerous body of
disciples, who flocked to him from far and wide. His academy was even
attended by mature and finished scholars from Babylon, although the
newly-founded schools of that country possessed excellent masters. Over
a hundred Amoraim are known who accepted Jochanan's decisions as of
full legal force, and who taught them in their schools.

An intimate friend of the Patriarch, he supported him in his endeavors
to modify certain ancient usages. Jochanan was himself not very
particular on this head, and by far less strict than the Babylonian
school, which came into existence during his lifetime. In opposition
to the existing custom, he permitted the acquirement of Greek: by
men, because they were thereby enabled to protect themselves against
traitors, and by women, because the Greek language was an ornament to
the sex. He entertained great esteem for Greek civilization in general,
and ranked it on an equality with Judaism. He expressed himself
beautifully on this subject: "For that Shem and Japhet, the two sons
of Noah, did cover their father's nakedness with a mantle, Shem (symbol
of Judaism) hath obtained a shawl with fringes (Talith), Japhet (the
type of Greek civilization) the philosopher's mantle (Pallium)." It
was Jochanan who permitted the innovation of decorating rooms with
paintings. He was never able to reconcile himself to the Roman rule,
and was unsparing in his denunciation of the insolent arrogance and
heartless violence of the authorities. He regarded as symbolical of the
Roman Empire, the fourth beast in Daniel's vision of the four empires
of the world, which was a perennial mine of discovery for the Biblical
exegete, and was even more diligently explored by the Christians
than by the Jews. The small horn which grew out of the fourth
beast represents, according to his explanation, wicked Rome, which
annihilated all previous empires; the eyes resembling human eyes,
which were visible in this horn, indicate Rome's envious glances at the
wealth of others. If any one is rich, the Romans immediately elevate
him to the office of president of the council charged with the supply
of provisions, or make him a member of the municipal senate, in order
that his fortune may be answerable for everything. Another striking
maxim of this sort uttered by Jochanan was the following: "If thou art
proposed as a member of the senate, choose rather as thy dwelling the
desert of the Jordan." He permitted people, in exceptional instances,
to emigrate from Judæa, in order to escape from the heavy burden of the
municipal offices.

Jochanan's character was marked by a profound morality; the slave who
waited upon him was allowed to partake of all the dishes prepared for
his master. He had the misfortune to lose his ten sons; the unfortunate
father carried about with him a small bone of his last son, in order to
console all such as had to bewail a similar disaster, by the relation
of his extraordinary misfortune. "Behold all that now remains of the
last of my ten sons," he was wont to explain to them. A daughter
alone was left to Jochanan; thus, an orphan from his birth, he died
almost childless. He is said to have had periods of insanity in his
extreme old age, occasioned by grief at the death of his friend and
brother-in-law, Ben-Lakish, of which he believed himself to be the

Simeon Ben-Lakish, Jochanan's contemporary friend, brother-in-law
and opponent, was in many ways his counterpart, and was altogether a
peculiar personage, in whom were united the most opposite qualities;
rough physical strength was coupled with tenderness of sentiment and
acuteness of mind. Resh-Lakish, for such was his abbreviated name,
seems to have been born at Bostra, the capital of the Saracens, about
the year 200, and to have died in 275. As Jochanan's constant comrade,
he had seen the Patriarch Judah I. in his youth, and had been brought
up in the school of his successors. The sources of the Talmud are
never tired of dilating on his gigantic strength and enormous size. He
once engaged himself at the Circus in the capacity of slaughterer of
wild beasts, his duty being to protect the spectators of these highly
popular combats from the fury of the animals. Ben-Lakish probably only
chose this low and dangerous occupation out of necessity. Tradition
is at some pains to reconcile and to transform into a beautiful
picture the glaring contrasts existing in Resh-Lakish, his rude
strength and his study of the Law. But his scrupulous integrity is
even more renowned than his enormous physical strength. It is related
that he used to avoid the company of persons of whose honesty he was
not fully convinced, for which reason unlimited credit was usually
accorded to all whom Ben-Lakish honored with his society, without
any further inquiry. His earnest and gloomy countenance was never
brightened by a smile, for he considered cheerfulness to be frivolous,
so long as the holy people were subject to the power of the heathens.
We have already noticed his love of truth and his candor, which he
carried almost to insult in his animadversions on the abuses of the
Patriarch. In Biblical exegesis he adopted the method of finding
ingenious explanations, in which study he surpassed his older comrade
and brother-in-law. "When he considered Halachic questions," says a
source of the Talmud, "it was as though he were grinding the mountains
against one another." Ben-Lakish possessed a certain originality in
the study of the Agada, and advanced peculiar views, which were only
estimated at their proper worth in later times. It was often questioned
in the schools at what period the sufferings of Job had occurred,
the other circumstances of this remarkable drama were also debated,
and the most contrary views found expression. Resh-Lakish seems to
have come to an accurate conclusion in advancing the opinion that Job
had existed at no period, that he had never lived, and was simply an
ingenious moral creation (Mashal). This view appeared very strange to
his contemporaries, who were unable to comprehend such a conception.
The names of the angels were regarded by Ben-Lakish as not having been
originally Jewish, but as being a foreign element transplanted into
Judaism, which had, in fact, been brought by the Jewish nation from
Persia. He was wont to contradict the assertions of those who extolled
the past at the expense of the present, who declared hyperbolically
"that a nail of the ancients was worth more than the whole body of
their descendants"; or, in another form, "that if the ancients were
angels, we, on the contrary, are only asses"; he used to say that
the existing generation possessed greater merit, for the reason that
although heavily oppressed, they still pursued the study of the Law.
Although a friend of Jochanan from his youth, and drawn still closer
to him by the ties of family alliance, Ben-Lakish was nevertheless at
variance with him during his last years.

The name of Joshua ben-Levi, who formed, with Jochanan and Ben-Lakish,
the triumvirate of the Palestinian Amoraim, is more renowned in the
world of legend than in history, where, indeed, but little is related
of him. The son of Levi ben-Sissi, he conducted a school at Lydda,
in the south of Judæa. It is true that the inhabitants of Lydda were
not in over-good repute with the Galileans, who pronounced them proud
and superficial. But Joshua's reputation in no way suffered from this
circumstance, and his authority was greatly respected. To his opinions
on the Halachas was accorded for the most part the force of law,
even in those cases where the other two members of the triumvirate
entertained different views. Joshua himself admits, however, that he
forgot many traditions during the period in which he was occupied with
the organization of the communities of Southern Judæa. The situation
of the communities of this district had, in fact, been so unsettled
ever since the catastrophe in the time of Hadrian, that Jochanan and
Jonathan were obliged to journey thither in order to restore peace and
order. Joshua also on one occasion visited Rome, in the capacity of
collector of revenues for the Patriarch. He had there an opportunity
of observing a fact which exhibited in strong relief the contrasts
existing in the capital of the world. He saw a statue enveloped in
drapery, in order to protect it against heat and cold, while near by
sat a beggar who had hardly a rag to cover his nakedness. He is said to
have expected the Messiah to appear in the capital of the world, where
he supposed that he existed in the guise of a servant, waiting among
the beggars and cripples at the gate, and expecting every moment to
be called upon to effect the deliverance of Israel. According to the
legend, Joshua ben-Levi was regarded as one of those choice spirits
who were admitted to the most intimate intercourse with the prophet
Elijah, and over whom death itself was obliged to relinquish its power.
He wrested the sword from the angel of death, went to Heaven alive,
measured the expanse of the Heavens, of Paradise, and of Hell, and
forwarded the results of his investigation to Gamaliel through the
medium of the destroying angel himself, who was obliged to submit to
his orders.

An original path in the explanation of the Agada was struck out
by Simlaï; he it was who first considered this collection worthy
of profounder study. Born at Lydda, he had quitted this desolate
region, and had settled down at Nahardea, where the new school of the
Babylonian Amoraim was first coming to its prime. He entertained the
most friendly relations with the Patriarch Judah II. He possessed
but small weight in questions relating to the study of the Law, and
his Halachic attainments were not esteemed in Palestine. He was the
first to collect together all the commands contained in the Jewish
Law, numbering 613, of which 365 are prohibitions, and 248 affirmative
precepts. David, according to Simlaï, reduced these 613 commands to the
following eleven virtues: honesty, justice, truthfulness, abhorrence
of calumny, of malice and of injuring one's neighbor, despising the
wicked, reverence of the worthy, sanctity of oaths, unselfish lending
without interest, and forbearance from bribery. Isaiah summed them up
in six, as follows: to be just in our conduct, honest in our speech,
to despise self-interest, to keep our hand from bribery, our ear from
wicked insinuations, and our eye from base desires. The Prophet Micah
reduced the commands of the Law to three leading principles: the
exercise of justice, love of charity, and humility; while the second
Isaiah brought them down to two, which are, to cherish justice and to
exercise charity. Finally, the Prophet Habakkuk expressed them all in a
single formula: "The just man lives by his faith." This was the first
attempt to reduce the whole Law of Israel to principles. A beautiful
parable, in which Simlaï indicates the part played by every nation in
the history of the world, affords evidence both of the wide extent of
his views and of his poetical talent.

Possessed of a profound knowledge of the Scripture, and gifted with an
elevated mind, Simlaï was especially qualified to enter into discussion
with the Fathers of the Church, and to shake the arguments which they
drew from the Old Testament in support of the dogmas of Christianity.
In these discussions Simlaï gave evidence of a sound exegesis, free
from misinterpretations. During the time of the first generation of
Amoraim, Christianity had entered upon a new stage; in opposition to
the tendency of the primitive Christians (Ebionites and Nazarenes), a
universal Catholic Church had come into existence, whose fundamental
doctrines (dogmas), collected from all quarters, some Pauline, others
anti-Pauline, others heathen, were generally assented to by the
majority of Christians. The various sects of primitive Christians and
Gnostics were vanquished, being either embodied in the incorporated
Catholic Church or rejected as heretical. This creation of a Catholic
Church and the unification of the Christian religion, accomplished in
the midst of all this diversity and schism, were largely brought about
by the Bishops of Rome. These arrogated to themselves, on the strength
of their seat in the capital of the world, the supremacy over all the
other bishops and patriarchs, expelled them from the community for
unorthodox opinions (as in the case of the discussion concerning the
celebration of the Passover), and gradually obtained recognition as
chief-bishops and Popes. After the completion of this work the spirit
of research also made its appearance among the Christians, and the
traditions of the Church were subjected to a thorough investigation.

New dogmas had made their appearance, which the authorities sought to
establish and secure. The rigid doctrine of the Unity of God, derived
by Christianity from the parent religion, had in course of time, and
in proportion as the new Church glorified the Messiahship of Jesus,
given rise to a doctrine of duality: Father and Son, or the Creator
of the World, and the Logos. To these was soon added a third. The
primitive Jewish view of the inspiration by God of the Prophets and
other pious persons, which was, in this signification, characterized as
holy inspiration (Ruach-ha-Kodesh), crystallized in Christianity into
the dogma of the Holy Ghost considered as a person, and regarded as an
equality with God and Christ and as having originally co-existed with
them. Without being aware of the fact, Christianity, which considered
itself a truly spiritual and refined Judaism, had adopted an entirely
different idea of God, in fact, a sort of tritheism. The more the
Christian dogma of the Trinity was at variance with the very essence of
Judaism, the more trouble was taken to establish that it was supported
by the Old Testament, in order to give it thus the stamp of antiquity.
This proof, however, was not to be furnished by straightforward means,
and thus the Fathers of the Church of the Palestinean and Alexandrian
schools, being acquainted with Hebrew, were obliged to take refuge
in all sorts of allegorical interpretations. Wherever the Scriptures
contained several denominations for God, they professed to see an
indication of the Trinity in the letter of the text itself. Even the
simple opening words of the Pentateuch, "In the beginning God created
heaven and earth," were interpreted by this Christology in proof of
Christ's co-operation in the creation of the world; for "the beginning"
was interpreted to mean "wisdom," or the "Word" (Logos), being
synonymous with Christ, and this sentence was thus found to contain
the profound secret that "God created the world in Christ"! As long as
the leading spirits of Christianity remained ignorant of the Hebrew
sources, they were not in a position to hold any serious conference
on matters of religion. It was only when the Fathers of the Church
applied themselves, like Origen, to the acquirement of a clearer Hebrew
text, that polemical discussions on Christological themes became more

Simlaï, in particular, defended the doctrine of the unity of God
against the Christian dogma of the Trinity, and adduced the proofs for
his contention with consummate skill. His opponent in this theoretical
dispute was perhaps Origen, who was for a long time a resident in
Palestine. By the help of a sober method of interpretation Simlaï
established the fact that all the passages of the Holy Scripture
which appear to afford an argument in support of the Trinity, in
reality bring out and emphasize so strongly the unity of God, that
any misconception appears impossible. Jew and Christian who, like
quarrelsome brothers, had cherished feelings of animosity to each other
during the time they had lived under one roof, now contented themselves
with carrying on religious controversies.

The attacks upon Christianity during this period had the effect of
producing a certain acquaintance with Jewish literature even in the
heathens, who turned it to account in their efforts to restrain the
growth of Christianity. In Daniel, the Christian dogmatists had
discovered a Sibylline book, with vague insinuations and mystic
numbers, which they contended contained prophecies relating to the
Christian economy and to the appearance of Christ on the Day of
Judgment. In opposition to these views the heathen philosopher Porphyry
wrote a polemical commentary on the book of Daniel, which is certainly
the only Biblical commentary composed by a heathen. This neo-Platonist,
who was possessed of moderate but mystic views, bore the oriental name
of Malchus, and was a native of Batanea, formerly a Jewish province. He
asserted in his commentary that the book of Daniel is the work of an
author who lived during the time of the persecution of Judaism and the
Jews by the Syrian monarch, Antiochus Epiphanes, and that the ambiguous
expressions in which it abounds are only allusions to that period,
and in nowise prophecies, still less oracular proofs of the facts of



    Increasing importance of the Jewish Community in
    Babylonia--The Prince of the Captivity--The Babylonian
    Amoraim--Abba Areka (Rab) and his royal friend Artaban--Samuel
    and King Shabur--Important Political Changes under the
    Neo-Persians--Anarchy in Rome--Zenobia and the Jews.

    219.279 C. E.

During the Patriarchate of Judah II. many important events occurred
in the Jewish community of Babylonia, which contributed to place that
country in the foreground of Jewish history. After the loss of their
mother, the children of Israel had found a second in Babylonia, and had
never yet experienced a stepmother's treatment at her hands. Babylonia,
the Italy of the East, whose capital had in ancient times, like Rome,
first been the ruler of the world, and then the point of attack of
uncivilized tribes in their migrations; whose name still exercises a
certain magic in the distance, even after its fall; Babylonia, which
had already been the temporary abode of the Jewish race, now became for
a long period the permanent scene of Jewish activity. Judæa, on the
other hand, gradually fell into the background. The peculiar formation
of the country between the Euphrates and the Tigris facilitated the
separation of Judaism from its primitive scene of action, and brought
about the transplantation of Jewish genius into a foreign zone; by
reason of the abundant opportunities of employment which the land
afforded, similar to those to which they had been accustomed, it
became a second fatherland for the homeless nation. The great number
of the Jews who had inhabited this district time out of mind; their
independence, which had suffered no restraint at the hands of the
Parthian and Persian rulers; the luster imparted to their situation by
the possession of a political chief; their inherent, self-contained
vitality, unweakened by suffering and petty annoyances, all these
things contributed to invest their character with a peculiar quality
and to further the evolution of new parts and tendencies. The sojourn
in Babylonia imbued the Jewish mind with that particular form of keen
intelligence which discovers an answer to every question, a solution to
every riddle, and is discouraged by no difficulties. The Jews of this
country acquired studious, plodding, energetic habits; the successive
leaders and principals of the schools showed them the paths of profound
wisdom and impressed on them the seal of elevated thought.

The word Babylonia, as used in Jewish history, is capable of a broad
and a narrow interpretation, and possesses, in fact, three different
meanings. In the broadest sense in which it occurs it includes the
whole district between the Zagros mountains and the Euphrates, from the
sources of the twin-river Tigris-Euphrates to the Persian Gulf. In a
narrower sense it signifies the strip of land enclosed between the two
rivers, where their beds begin to converge towards each other and at
last actually unite, and where numerous canals formerly intersected the
country and connected their streams: the southern part of Mesopotamia,
the ancient province of Babel, and a portion of the former kingdom of
Chaldæa. Babylonia, as understood in this narrow sense, was principally
inhabited by Jews, and for this reason was also known by the name of
"the land of Israel." Finally, in its most limited sense, Babylonia
designates a small district on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, of
which the center-point seems to have been the town of Pumbeditha. This
district extends from Nahardea in the north to Sora in the south, a
distance of twenty-two parasangs (sixty-eight miles). The fixing of
the boundaries of Jewish Babylonia is not a matter of indifference for
history, as in former times it constituted a matter of conscience.
Even in Judæa the natives of Babylonia of Jewish origin were admitted
to possess the most unsullied purity of descent, and to have refrained
from all intercourse with heathens, slaves, or persons born out of
wedlock; Judæa was far behind Babylonia in this respect. An old proverb
says: "In the matter of descent, the Jewish population of the (Roman)
countries is to that of Judæa, as adulterated dough is to pure meal,
but Judæa itself is only as dough when compared with Babylonia."

The Jewish province in Babylonia was divided into several smaller
districts, each of which was known by the name of its capital. Thus
there existed the districts of Nares, Sora, Pumbeditha, Nahardea,
Nahar-Pakod, Machuza, and some others, all of them possessed of some
characteristic, such as a peculiar dialect, or particular customs or
manners, or even distinct weights and measures. Four of these towns
were distinguished as prominent centers, each having in turn been
at the head of the entire province. The first place was occupied by
Nahardea (also called Naarda, of which name there were both a town
and a district); this was a fortified city situated on the Euphrates
and a canal called the Naraga, and was entirely inhabited by Jews; it
lay on the boundary-line of Jewish Babylonia. During a certain period
Nahardea was a Babylonian Jerusalem; here were situated, in the time of
the continuance of the Temple, the treasure-chambers of the Babylonian
communities for the reception of the gifts to the Temple, which it was
customary to convey to Jerusalem under a strong escort. A few miles to
the south of Nahardea lay Firuz-Shabur (afterwards Anbar), a fortified
and thickly-populated town, and the most important in the country
after Ctesiphon, the capital.

Near by lay Pumbeditha, situated on one of the numerous canals of the
Euphrates, and adorned with many palaces. Pumbeditha was none the less
a thoroughly Jewish town, with a Jewish congregation, and was regarded
as the capital of Jewish Babylonia. Within its territory lay several
smaller towns and fortified castles, which nestled in the shadow of
the capital. The inhabitants of Pumbeditha were considered acute and
cunning, and were even notorious for their deceit and dishonesty. "If a
man of Pumbeditha accompany thee," said a proverb, "change thy lodging."

Sixteen geographical miles (twenty-two parasangs) south of Pumbeditha
was situated the town of Mata-Mechassia. It lay on the shore of a broad
lake, Sora, which was in reality the Euphrates, widening out over the
low-lying country; from its position on this lake the town also derived
the name of Sora. It was inhabited by a mixed population of Jews and
heathens. The region round Sora was one of the most fruitful parts of
the whole country; by reason of its low situation it was inundated
every year by the Euphrates and its tributaries and canals, and the
overflow produced an Egyptian fertility. Pumbeditha was distinguished
for its magnificent buildings and the cunning of its population,
while Mata-Mechassia was noted for the poverty and honesty of its
inhabitants. A proverb expresses this contrast in the following words:
"It is better to live on the dunghills in Mechassia than in the palaces
of Pumbeditha."

With these three towns of the Euphrates, Nahardea, Pumbeditha, and
Mata-Mechassia, a fourth contested the supremacy: this was Machuza,
situated on the Tigris, at a distance of hardly twelve miles from
Ctesiphon, the capital of the Parthians. Machuza, also called
Machuza-Malka, from the King's Canal (Nahar Malka) which flows in
proximity to the Tigris, was situated on an eminence, and was fortified
with two strong walls and a moat. Close by stood a castle, called Akra
di Coche, which served as a bulwark to the capital, Ctesiphon. In spite
of the importance which Machuza and its castle must have possessed
for the Parthian and Persian rulers, it was, nevertheless, entirely
inhabited by Jews, and an Amora expressed his surprise that the gates
of its fortress were not provided with the prescribed Mezuzas.

The most noted families of Machuza were descended from proselytes, for
which reason their features differed from those of the remainder of the
Jewish population of Babylonia. They are described as having been very
frivolous, addicted to pleasure and good cheer, and more devoted to
the affairs of this world than to those of the next; they were called
on this account "candidates for hell." It is related of the women of
Machuza that they indulged in pleasure and idleness. Once, when a
Palestinean teacher of the Law brought from Judæa to Nahardea a Halacha
allowing women to wear golden head-bands set with precious stones
on the Sabbath, it was remarked that only four-and-twenty women in
that town availed themselves of this permission, while in one quarter
alone of Machuza there were eighteen who appeared with most costly
head-bands. The proximity of Ctesiphon, and its wealth, had probably
some influence on the luxurious propensities and the manners of the
inhabitants of Machuza. This city also, which was the residence of the
king, and the newly-built town of Ardashir, which lay close by, were
thickly populated with Jews. The entire district of Babylonia, with
its numerous canals, resembled an island, and its wonderful fertility
made of the whole country one extensive garden. There was so great a
multitude of date plantations that it used to be said proverbially of
the Babylonians: "A basketful of dates for a denar, and yet they do not
apply themselves to the study of the Law!"

The occupations followed by the Babylonian Jews were agriculture,
trades of all descriptions, and, what is of course natural in a country
dependent on its canals for irrigation, the digging and cleaning of
these artificial waterways; they also bred cattle, carried on commerce,
undertook voyages, and cultivated certain of the fine arts.

The greatness of their numbers invested the Babylonian Jews with a
certain amount of independence, and they seemed in this country almost
as if in a land of their own. Their situation with regard to the rulers
of the land was very favorable, as they were only called upon to pay
a poll-tax (Charag) and a land-tax (Taska); there was at this period
much vacant ground in the region of the Euphrates, and any one could
take possession of a plot on becoming answerable for the land-tax in
respect thereof. The Jews possessed their own political chief, who was
called the Prince of the Captivity (Exilarch, Resh-Galutha); he was a
dignitary of the Persian empire, and the fourth in rank from the king.
His position with regard to the Persian kings was that of a feudatory.
The Resh-Galuthas were, in fact, vassals of the Persian crown, but
were simply confirmed, not chosen, by the monarch. Their badges of
office were a silken cloak and a golden girdle; in later times they
were surrounded by a princely luxuriousness, rode in a state carriage,
possessed their own train of attendants, and an outrider to announce
their approach. When they were received in solemn audience by the
king, the royal attendants showed them the greatest respect, and they
treated with the ruler on a footing of equality. According to the usage
of Eastern princes, they were entertained with music at the moment
of rising from or going to bed, a custom which was severely censured
by the strict teachers of the Law, on account of the mourning for

The Princes of the Captivity were descendants of the house of David,
for which reason the people gladly acknowledged their sway, since
it honored itself and felt honored in its princes. An old chronicle
gives the full details of their names and numbers. They traced back
their descent as far as Zerubbabel, the grandson of the Jewish King
Jojachin, who is supposed to have returned to Babel, and to have become
the ancestor of a long line of descendants. It is not until the second
century that a Resh-Galutha, by name Achiya, is visible through the
deep obscurity of antiquity. Another, Mar-Huna, in the time of Judah I,
commanded that his body should be brought to Palestine, in order to be
buried in holy ground. From that time forward, however, the succession
of the Princes of the Captivity can be traced in an unbroken chain till
the eleventh century. They exercised considerable influence upon the
development of Jewish history in Babylonia. Their relations with the
people are indicated in a few occasional passages only.

The Resh-Galutha was the supreme judge of the Jewish communities, both
in civil and in criminal cases; he either administered justice in
person, or delegated his office to judges of his own nomination. The
ordinary coercive measure employed in cases of disobedience was the
bastinado, according to Eastern custom. The princes were also entrusted
with the police of the cities, the control of weights and measures,
the inspection of canals, and the guardianship of public safety, to
all of which various charges they appointed their own officers. It is
nowhere indicated what revenues the Princes of the Captivity derived
from the people; it is most probable that the primitive Asiatic custom
of making presents to the sovereign obtained. It is not until later
times that mention is made of regular yearly revenues drawn by them
from certain regions and cities. They enjoyed an honorable public
distinction which was only conferred upon such rulers as were descended
from David; this consisted of having the scrolls of the Law brought
to them when they had to read a portion of the Torah aloud, whereas
every one else was obliged to go to the scrolls. Wealthy by reason of
the income accruing from their extensive lands, they also possessed
many slaves and a numerous suite of attendants; even free men placed
themselves under their patronage, wearing, as sign of their fealty, the
arms of their masters on their garments. The Princes of the Captivity
were most sensitive with regard to these distinctive marks, refusing to
pardon even the scholars whom they themselves supported, if they laid
aside or even only covered over these badges. There was too much power
in the hands of the Prince, and this power was too little restrained
or regulated by law or tradition, for cases of arbitrariness and abuse
of authority not to be forthcoming. Numerous complaints were made
of the arrogance, arbitrary encroachments, or violent deeds of many
of the Princes of the Captivity or their servants; they deposed the
principals of the schools, appointing others in their places who were
often without merit. But what power has ever restrained itself within
the bounds of justice and equity? In prehistoric times, that is to say,
before the knowledge of the Law had been carried to Babylonia and there
domesticated, the ignorance of the Princes of the Captivity in matters
of religious practice appears to have been so profound, that it was
possible to transgress the laws relating to food in their house with
the greatest impunity. But history tells also of meritorious persons
among their numbers, who in later times combined a knowledge of the
Jewish law with the possession of Jewish virtues, and whose names
became a source of glory to the nation. The Princes of the Captivity
often united with their political power the authority of teachers
of the Law, equaling in this respect the Palestinean Patriarchs. As
certain of these latter attempted to acquire political influence,
in order not to be inferior to the Resh-Galutha--in which attempt,
however, they were not always successful--many of the Princes of the
Captivity endeavored in turn to obtain the dignity of teacher. All
these various circumstances, the great number of the Jewish population
of Babylonia, their independence, and the concentrated power of the
Princes, stamp the history of the Jews of this region with a peculiar
character; new needs arose in this country which were unknown in Judæa;
new needs produced new regulations and Halachas, and thus the Law
entered upon a new development in which, as already intimated, Babylon
played the most important part.

During the patriarchate of Judah I, the young students of Babylon had
crowded in greater numbers than in former times to the academies of
Galilee, as if desirous of catching the last rays of the setting sun
of religion in the mother-country, in order to enlighten therewith the
land of their birth. Chiya of Cafri and his two wonderful sons, his
relatives Abba-Areka and Chanina-bar-Chama, Abba and his son Samuel,
were all celebrated disciples of Judah's school; they were either
directly or indirectly the instructors of Babylonia. It is true that
Chiya and his sons, Judah and Chiskia, did not return to their native
country, but died in Galilee, where they were honored as saints; but
Chiya exercised the greatest influence on the education of his disciple
and nephew, Abba-Areka. Before the return to Babylonia of Abba-Areka
and Samuel from the academy of Judah I in Judæa, an otherwise unknown
person, Shila by name, occupied the post of principal of the school
(Resh-Sidra) in Nahardea. But with the appearance of these two men, who
were endowed with all the qualities requisite in order to become the
founders of new schools, extensive alterations were introduced; they
initiated a new departure, and raised Babylonia to the level of Judæa.

Abba (born about 175, died 247), who is known in history by the name
of Rab, had completed his education, after the death of his father
Aibu, at the academy of Judah I in Tiberias. Great astonishment was
expressed at the early development of the wonderful talents of this
youth. Through Chiya's intercession, Rab obtained a somewhat restricted
advancement, which the Patriarch Gamaliel III afterwards refused to
extend. Great things were expected of him in his home, and when the
news of his return from Palestine was known, Samuel, who had already
returned, and his friend Karna, went to meet him on the bank of the
Euphrates canal. The latter overwhelmed him with questions, and even
Shila, the principal of the school, bowed to his superior knowledge.
After Shila's death Rab ought to have succeeded him in his office, but
he refused the post in favor of his younger friend, Samuel, whose home
was in Nahardea.

The Prince of the Captivity of that period seems to have shown special
regard for such Babylonians as were learned in the Law, in his
appointments to the offices within his gift. He nominated as supreme
judge in Cafri one of his relations, Mar-Ukba, whose wealth, modesty,
character, and knowledge of the Law well fitted him for this post. He
also appointed Karna as judge, who, not being rich, was obliged to be
indemnified for his loss of time by the suitors. To Abba-Areka was
given the post of inspector of markets (Agora-nomos), carrying with it
the control of the weights and measures.

The arbitrariness of the rule of the Exilarch is well illustrated by
the following example. Abba-Areka had been commanded to control the
prices of the market, and to prevent the necessaries of life from
becoming too dear. Having refused to obey this order, he was thrown
into prison and kept there until Karna upbraided the Prince of the
Captivity with thus punishing a man who was full of the "juice of
dates" (genius). Abba-Areka had occasion, by reason of his position as
Agoranomos, to journey to the various districts of Jewish Babylonia,
and he thus became known throughout the country. Artabanus IV
(211-226), the last Parthian monarch of the house of Arsaces, who had
probably made his acquaintance on one of his circuits, esteemed him so
highly that he once sent him a present of some valuable pearls. Between
the last Parthian King and the first Babylonian Amora there existed the
same friendly relations as between the Jewish Patriarch and the Roman
Emperor of his time. Artabanus was afterwards deposed by Ardashir, and
with him ended the dynasty of Arsaces. When Rab heard of the fall of
Artabanus, he exclaimed sorrowfully, "The bond is broken."

Abba discovered with surprise during his journeys the unbounded
ignorance of the Jewish laws into which those communities remote
from the capital had fallen. In one place nothing was known of the
traditional prohibition forbidding meat to be eaten with milk. In order
to repress these transgressions and to remove this ignorance, Rab
extended many laws, and forbade even what was otherwise allowed. In
this way there arose many restrictions which, owing to his authority,
acquired the force of law. The negligence existing throughout the
district of Sora gave him the idea of founding an academy in that very
place, in order that the knowledge of the Law might become more widely
spread through the passage to and fro of the disciples. His efforts
were crowned with complete success. If the development of the Law
has greatly contributed to the preservation of Judaism, this result
is for the most part due to the labors of Abba-Areka. With but few
intermissions, Sora was the seat of Jewish science for nearly eight

The academy, which bore, as was customary, the name of "Sidra," was
opened by Abba about the year 219. Twelve hundred disciples, attracted
by Abba-Areka's reputation, flocked together from every district of
Babylonia. More than a hundred celebrated disciples and associates
afterwards disseminated his maxims and decisions throughout the land.
The throng of auditors was so great that he was obliged to enlarge his
lecture-room by enclosing a garden belonging to a recently deceased
proselyte, which he acquired for this purpose as vacant ground.
The reverence entertained for him by his disciples was so profound
that they called him simply "Rab," the Teacher, in the same way as
the Patriarch Judah was called Rabbi or Rabbenu, and this is the
appellation by which he is generally known. His school was called
Be-Rab (Be abbreviated from Beth, _house_), which afterwards became
the general name for a school. His authority extended beyond the
boundaries of Babylonia; even Jochanan, the most celebrated of the
teachers of Judæa, wrote to him, "To our teacher in Babylonia," grew
angry whenever any one spoke slightingly of Rab, and admitted that the
latter was the only person to whom he would have willingly subordinated
himself. Rab was accustomed to maintain such of his numerous disciples
as were without means, for he was very wealthy, and owned land, which
he cultivated himself. The excellent arrangements which he adopted
permitted his auditors to devote themselves to the study of the Law
without neglecting their livelihood. In two months of the year (Adar
and Ellul), at the commencement of autumn and spring, they assembled
at Sora. During these two months, which were called "months of
assembly" (Yarche Kalla), lectures were delivered every day from the
early morning on; the auditors hardly allowed themselves time enough
to swallow their breakfast. The ordinary name for the public lectures
was Kalla. Besides these two months, Rab devoted the week before
the principal festivals to public lectures, in which not only the
disciples, but the whole populace, were interested. The Prince of the
Captivity used also to arrive in Sora about this time to receive the
homage of the assembled crowd. The throng was generally so great that
many were unable to get lodgings in the houses, and were consequently
obliged to sleep in the open air, on the shore of lake Sora. These
festival lectures were termed Rigle. The Kalla-months and the
Rigle-week had also certain influences upon civil life; the judicial
powers suspended their operation during these periods, and creditors
were forbidden to summon their debtors before the court. Rab thus
provided at one and the same time for the instruction of the ignorant
multitude, and for the further advancement of the deeper study of the
Law by the education of disciples.

Nothing is known of any peculiar method employed by Rab. His mode of
teaching consisted of analyzing the Mishna, which he had brought with
him in its latest state of perfection, of explaining the text and the
sense of every Halacha, and of comparing them with the Boraitas. Of
these decisions and deductions, which are known by the name of Memra,
there exists a great number from Rab's hand, and they, together with
those which proceeded from Samuel and Jochanan, the contemporary
principals of the schools, form a considerable part of the Talmud.
For the most part he was more inclined than his fellow Amoraim to
render the Law severer, and to forbid such legal acts as verged on
the illegal, at least in the opinion of the multitude of Babylonian
Jews, who were incapable of nice discrimination. Most of Rab's decrees
received the force of law, with the exception of those, however,
which affected municipal law, for his authority was more respected in
questions of ritual than of civil law.

With the most determined energy he undertook the amelioration of the
morals of the Babylonians, which, like their religion, had fallen to a
very low ebb among the lower classes. The ancient simplicity of married
life which had formerly obtained was now superseded in Babylonia by a
hollow and brutal immorality. If a young man and woman met, and were
desirous of uniting in marriage, they summoned the first witnesses at
hand, and the marriage was concluded. Fathers gave their daughters in
marriage almost before they arrived at majority, and the bridegroom
either did not see his bride until after the decisive step had been
taken, when, doubtless, he often repented of his act, or else he lived
in the house of his intended father-in-law in a too intimate relation
with his betrothed. The law, instead of condemning this immorality,
had afforded it the protection of its authority. Rab combated these
prevailing customs with the full force of a moral ardor. He forbade the
solemnization of marriage which had not been preceded by a courtship,
and enjoined on fathers not to marry their daughters without the
consent of the latter, and therefore still less before their majority.
He further admonished all who were desirous of marrying to make the
acquaintance of the maiden of their choice before their betrothal, lest
when disappointed, their conjugal love should turn to hate, and finally
he forbade the young men to live in the house of their betrothed
before marriage. He baffled all the legal artifices which could be
employed by a husband to make a divorce retrospective by withdrawing
the support of the law from such cases. All these moral measures
became laws of general application. Rab also increased the reputation
of the courts of justice; every one was obliged to appear on being
summoned before the court, and the bailiffs were invested with official
authority; the punishment of excommunication was introduced for cases
of refractoriness. This punishment was very severe in Babylonia,
and consequently produced great effects. The transgressions of the
offender were publicly announced, and he was avoided until he had made
expiation. In Babylonia, where the Jewish population formed a little
world of its own, this punishment was sufficient to procure obedience
and respect for the laws. Rab's energies were thus employed in two
directions; he refined the morals, and aroused intellectual activity in
a country which, as the sources express it, had formerly been "a vacant
and unprotected fallow field." Rab surrounded it with a two-fold hedge,
severity of manners and activity of mind. He was in this respect for
Babylonia what Hillel had been for Judæa.

Rab's virtues, his patience, conciliatory disposition, and modesty,
also put one in mind of Hillel. He had a bad wife who opposed him in
everything, but he bore her vexations with patience. In his youth Rab
had acted badly towards Chanina, the head of the school in Sepphoris,
and was therefore unceasing in his efforts to obtain his pardon. His
forgiving disposition caused him to lose sight of his exalted station.
Once, when he thought he had given offense to a man of the lower
classes, he repaired to the latter's house on the eve of the Day of
Atonement, in order to become reconciled with him. Whenever he was
followed to his school by a crowd of people on the days of his lectures
he used to repeat a verse of Job, in order to prevent his pride from
rising too high: "Though the excellency of man mount up to the heavens,
yet he shall perish forever." Before repairing to the court he was
wont to exclaim: "I am prepared to meet my death; here the affairs of
my house concern me not, and I return empty-handed to my home; may
I be as innocent on my return as I was when I set out." He had the
satisfaction of leaving a son, Chiya, who was exceedingly learned in
the Law, and of marrying his daughter to a relative of the Prince of
the Captivity. His descendants by this daughter were worthy and learned
princes. His second son, Aibu, was not intellectually distinguished.
To him his father recommended certain rules of life, among others a
preference for agriculture: "Rather a small plot of land than a great
magazine for goods."

For eight and twenty years, until his old age, Rab devoted himself to
the Sidra at Sora (219-247). When he died all his disciples accompanied
his body to its last resting-place, and went into mourning for him. At
the suggestion of one of them Babylonia mourned for him a whole year,
and the practice of wearing wreaths of flowers and myrtles at weddings
was suspended. All the Jews of Babylonia, except one, Bar-Kasha of
Pumbeditha, mourned for the loss of their great Amora.

Much more original and versatile than Rab was his friend, his Halachic
opponent, and his fellow-worker in the task of elevating the Jewish
population of Babylonia, Samuel or Mar-Samuel, also called Arioch and
Yarchinai (born about 180, died 257). In a certain sense this highly
talented man was an epoch-maker in the history of the doctrine of
Judaism. Nothing more is known of his youth than that he once ran away
from his father. As a young man he followed the usual course, and went
to Judæa in order to complete his education at the academy of the
Patriarch Judah I. It has already been narrated how he there cured a
disease of the eyes from which the ailing Patriarch suffered, and how
he was nevertheless refused his nomination as a teacher by the latter;
how he returned to his home before Rab, and was elevated after Shila's
death to the dignity of Resh-Sidra.

Mar-Samuel was of an even character, avoiding enthusiasm and
demonstrativeness. While his contemporaries confidently expected the
renewal of miracles as of old before the appearance of the Messiah,
he propounded the view that everything would still follow its natural
course, but that the subjection of Israel to foreign rulers would come
to an end. His intellectual energies were employed in three branches of
knowledge: the explanation of the Law, astronomy, and medicine.

As an Amora he was inferior to Rab in the knowledge of the laws of
the ritual, but far surpassed him in his acquaintance with the Jewish
civil law. Samuel developed and enriched the Jewish law in all its
branches, and all his decisions have obtained Halachic force. None of
his decrees, however, were possessed of such important results as the
one by which he declared the law of the land to be just as binding on
the Jews as their own law (dina d'malchuta dina). The object of this
precept was not to bring about a compulsory toleration of the foreign
legislation, but to obtain its complete recognition as a binding
law, to transgress which would also be punishable from the religious
point of view. This was an innovation which, after all, could only be
approved by reason of the relations existing between the Babylonian
Jews and the Persian states. Samuel's principle of the sanctity of
the law of the land was a manifest contradiction of older Halachas,
which treated foreign laws as arbitrary, and did not consider their
transgression to be punishable. But the Amoraim had already succeeded
in reconciling so many conflicting laws that these old and repellent
decisions, and this new and submissive principle, were able to exist
side by side. In the sequel Samuel's recognition of the laws of the
country was a means of preservation to the dispersed nation. On the one
hand it reconciled the Jews to living in that country into which they
had been cast by remorseless fate. Their religious consciousness did
not feel at variance with the laws set up for their observance, which
were seldom humane. On the other hand, the enemies of the Jews, who
in all centuries took as their pretext the apparently hostile spirit
of Judaism, and advised the persecution and complete extermination
of the Jewish nation, could be referred to a Jewish law, which, with
three words, invalidated their contention. The Prophet Jeremiah had
given to the families which were exiled to Babylon, the following
urgent exhortation as to their conduct in a foreign land: "Seek the
peace of the city whither ye have been carried away captives." Samuel
had transformed this exhortation into a religious precept: "The law of
the state is binding law." To Jeremiah and Mar-Samuel Judaism owes the
possibility of existence in a foreign country.

Samuel possessed altogether a particular affection for Persian customs,
and was consequently in exceedingly good repute at the Persian court,
and lived on confidential terms with Shabur I. His contemporaries
called him therefore, although it is not known whether as a mark of
honor or of censure, "The king Shabur," and also "Arioch," the Arian
(partizan of the neo-Persians). His attachment to the Persian dynasty
was so great that it supplanted the affection for his fellow-countrymen
in his heart. When Shabur extended his conquests to Asia Minor, 12,000
Jews lost their lives on the occasion of the assault of Mazaca-Cæsarea,
the Cappadocian capital. Samuel refused to go into mourning for the
victims, giving as his reason that they had fought against Shabur. He
thus formed a peculiar type; living in the midst of the full tide of
Judaism, immersed in its doctrines and traditions, he raised himself
beyond the narrow sphere of his nationality, and was ever ready to
extend his sympathies to other peoples and to take note of their
intellectual efforts. Rab, entirely taken up with the affairs of his
own nation, refused to allow the customs of the Persians to exert
any influence on those of the Jews, and even forbade these latter to
adopt any practice, however innocent, from the Magi: "He who learns
a single thing of the Magi merits death." Samuel, on the other hand,
learnt many things of the Persian sages. With his friend Ablaat, he
used to study astronomy, that noble science which brings mortal man
into closer proximity with the Deity. The low-lying plain between the
Euphrates and the Tigris, whose wide-extended horizon is unbounded by
any hill, was the cradle of astronomy, which, however, soon degenerated
in this region into the pseudo-science of astrology. By reason of the
ideas instilled into him by his Jewish education, Samuel attached no
importance to the art of casting nativities, and only occupied himself
with astronomy under its most elevated aspect. He used to boast that
he was "as well acquainted with the ways of the heavens as with the
streets of Nahardea." He was unable, however, to calculate the erratic
movements of the comets. It is impossible to determine the extent of
his astronomical acquirements, or to discover whether he was in advance
of his times or simply on a par with his contemporaries. Mar-Samuel
turned his knowledge of astronomy to practical account; he drew up a
settled calendar of the festivals, for the purpose of delivering the
Babylonian communities from continual uncertainty with regard to the
exact days on which the festivals would fall, and in order to relieve
them of their dependence on Palestine for the determination of the
time of the appearance of the new moon. Probably out of regard for the
Patriarch, and in order not to destroy the unity of Judaism, Samuel
refrained from communicating his calendar to the general public, and
allowed the computation of the festivals to retain its former character
of a secret art (Sod ha-Ibbur). He was blamed by certain persons,
however, for having in any way interfered with the calculation of the
calendar. The extent of Samuel's knowledge of medicine is even less
known; he boasted of being able to cure all diseases but three. An
eye-salve of his invention was in great request.

Between Samuel and the founder of the Sora academy there subsisted a
fraternal harmony, although the Sidra of Nahardea was eclipsed by Rab.
In his modesty he willingly subordinated himself to Rab. The celebrated
Shila family was possessed of the precedence in the ceremony of paying
homage to the Prince of the Captivity; by them it was relinquished to
Samuel, and he, in his turn, surrendered it to his comrade in Sora,
contenting himself with the third place. After Rab's death Samuel was
recognized as the sole religious chief of Babylon, and continued in
this capacity for ten years. At first Jochanan, of Judæa, hesitated
whether to acknowledge him as an authority. In the letter which the
principal of the schools of Tiberias sent to Babylonia, he addressed
Rab by the title of "our teacher in Babylonia," while Mar-Samuel
he called simply "our comrade." The teachers of Judæa did not, in
fact, give him credit for the requisite knowledge of the Halachas,
basing their conclusion upon the fact that he occupied himself with
other branches of science. It was in vain that Samuel sent to Judæa
a festival calendar calculated for sixty years; Jochanan remarked
slightingly, when the fact came to his knowledge: "At any rate he is
well acquainted with arithmetic." It was not until Samuel forwarded
several scrolls, filled with investigations of certain little-known
diseases of animals, that he began to be respected.

It was during this period (the third century) that there occurred
simultaneously in the Roman and Parthian empires certain political
catastrophes which were attended with the most important results.
Through their influence history acquired an altered aspect, and
considerable changes were effected in the state of things existing
in these two countries and their dependencies. It was impossible
for Jewish history to remain unaffected by these events. During the
reign of the noble Alexander Severus occurred the overthrow of the
Parthian dynasty, which, beginning with Arsaces, had subsisted during
four centuries. A new and more vigorous race seized the scepter, and
this change of dynasty gave rise to many revolutions both at home and
abroad. The author of these changes was Ardashir, or Arbachshter, as
he was called in his own language, a descendant of the race of ancient
Persians (Arians). Such of the Persians as still remained true to their
nationality, nourished a hatred against the impure dynasty of Arsaces,
on account of the semi-Grecian origin of its members, their leaning to
Greek views in matters of religion, their contempt for the national
faith, and finally, their impotence to check the ever-increasing
conquests of the Romans. It was with them that Ardashir united himself
and conspired to overthrow Artabanus, the monarch who entertained so
great a reverence for Rab. A decisive battle was fought, in which
Artabanus succumbed, and the neo-Persian dynasty of the Sassanides
was founded by the conqueror. The race which thus obtained the upper
hand is known in history by the name of the neo-Persians; the Jewish
authorities called them Chebrim (Chebre), and a deteriorated residue of
the stock still subsists in India under the name of the Guebres. This
revolution was attended by results as important in matters of religion
as in politics. In place of the indifference with which the ancient
rulers had regarded the primitive worship of fire, Ardashir manifested
an ardent enthusiasm for it. He proudly called himself "the worshiper
of Ormuz, divine Ardashir, the King of the Kings of Iran, the offspring
of a heavenly race." He ordered such of the parts of the ancient
Persian law (the Zend-Avesta) as were still extant to be collected,
and commanded them to be regarded as the religious code. Zoroaster's
doctrine of the twin principles of light and darkness (Ahura-Mazda and
Ahriman) was everywhere enforced; the Magi, the sacerdotal caste of
this cult, recovered their credit, their influence, and their power,
while the partisans of the Greeks were persecuted with fire and sword.
The fanaticism which was thus aroused in the Magians also caused them
to direct their hostile attacks against the Christians, who resided
in great numbers in the districts of Nisibis and Edessa in upper
Mesopotamia (conquered by the Romans), and who possessed their own

The Jews were not entirely exempt from the attacks of this fanaticism,
and only escaped severe persecution through their solidarity, their
centralization, and their powers of defense. In the first intoxication
of victory the neo-Persians deprived the Jewish courts of the criminal
jurisdiction which they had been permitted to exercise until then;
the Jews were admitted to no offices, and were not even allowed to
retain the supervision of the canals and rivers, but they do not seem
to have complained very bitterly of these measures. They were even
compelled to submit to restraints upon their freedom of conscience.
On certain festivals, when the Magi worshiped light in their temple
as the visible representation of God (Ahura-Mazda), the Jews were not
suffered to maintain any fire on their hearths, nor to retain any
light in their rooms. The Persians forced their way into the houses
of the Jews, extinguished every fire and collected the glowing embers
in their consecrated braziers, bringing them as an offering to their
temple of fire. They also dug the corpses out of the graves, because,
according to their notion, dead bodies lying in the bosom of the earth
desecrated this "Spenta Armaita" (holy soil). For these various reasons
the majority of the teachers of the Law were not greatly prepossessed
in favor of the neo-Persians. When Jochanan heard that they had
triumphantly invaded Jewish Babylonia, he was greatly concerned for
the fate of his Babylonian brethren, but his anxiety was allayed by
the assurance that the Persians were very poor and would therefore
easily allow themselves to be bought off with bribes. By reason of
their semi-savage state he referred to them as "the abandoned people
into whose hands the Babylonian communities had been delivered." Levi
bar Sissi, who was continually traveling to and fro between Judæa and
Babylon, was anxiously questioned by the Patriarch Judah II as to the
character of the conquering race. With obvious prepossession in favor
of the vanquished Parthians, he described them and the victorious
neo-Persians in the following words: "The former are as the armies of
King David, but the latter resemble the devils of hell." Little by
little, however, the fanaticism of the neo-Persians moderated, and
there sprang up between them and the Jews so sincere a friendship
that on their account the latter relaxed the severity of the Law, and
even assisted now and again at their banquets. The teachers of the
Law permitted the Jews to deliver up fuel which the Magi demanded of
them on the occasion of the Festival of Light, and ceased to consider
this act as a furtherance of idolatry, though it would certainly have
been regarded as such by the old Halacha in similar cases. Even Rab,
the essence of strictness, acquiesced in the demand of the Magi, and
allowed the lamps to be brought from the open street into the houses on
the Sabbath on the occasion of the Festival of the Hasmonæans, in order
not to give offense to the prejudices of the ruling sacerdotal class.
This mutual toleration, doubtless, first made its appearance under the
rule of Shabur I (242-271), the liberal-minded monarch whose friendship
with Samuel has already been mentioned. This magnanimous king assured
Samuel that during the many wars which he had waged against the Romans
in countries thickly populated with the Jews, he had never spilt Jewish
blood, except on the occasion of the capture of Cappadocia, when
12,000 Jews had been put to death as a punishment for their stubborn

The radical changes which occurred about this time in the Roman empire
were also attended with important effects and reactions on Jewish
history. The death of Alexander Severus was the signal for anarchy,
the many-headed hydra, to rage in all its terror in Rome and the Roman
provinces. During the short space of half a century (235-284) the
throne was occupied by nearly twenty emperors and as many usurpers,
who willingly laid down their lives to obtain the gratification of
their desire to wear the purple, if only for a day, and to decree
executions by the hundred. From nearly every nation which Rome had
subjugated there arose an emperor who enslaved the Italian Babylon.
The time of retribution had come; the birds of prey were contending
for the putrefying body of the State. It was during the time of Samuel
(248) that the thousandth anniversary of Rome was celebrated by the
assassin-emperor Philip, an Arab by birth and a robber from his
childhood; but Rome was powerful wherever its legions were stationed,
except in Rome itself, the city whose senate was obliged to accept
with smiling face the humiliations which it experienced at the hands
of the soldier emperors, and to sanction them in servile humility by
Senatus-Consulta. The Roman empire was invaded on the one hand by
the Parthians, on the other by the Goths, as if in fulfilment of the
sibylline threats of punishment.

Valerianus had undertaken a campaign with the intention of recovering
the districts which had been conquered by Shabur. Rome now experienced
the further disgrace of seeing her emperor fall into his enemy's power,
and suffer all the humiliations of slavery at the hands of the haughty
victor. In the eastern provinces, in the neighborhood of the mighty
Persian empire, disorder and dissolution had reached a still higher
degree. A rich and adventurous native of Palmyra, Odenathus by name,
had collected a band of wild and rapacious Saracens around him, and
he and his troops made frequent incursions from his native city into
Syria and Palestine on the one side, and the region of the Euphrates on
the other, plundering and laying waste the country through which they
passed. Odenathus had already assumed the title of Senator. Why should
he not become the emperor of the Romans, like his fellow-countryman
Philip? Odenathus was known in Jewish circles as the robber captain,
"Papa bar Nazar," and to him was applied the passage in Daniel's
vision: "The little horn coming up among the greater horns, and having
eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things." The
predatory incursions of this adventurer were accompanied by results
which were highly detrimental to the Jews of Palestine and Babylonia.
He demolished the ancient city of Nahardea (259), which had formed
the central point of the Jewish communities ever since the time of
the Babylonian exile. It was many years before this town was able to
recover itself from this destructive blow. The Amoraim of Nahardea,
Samuel's disciples, were obliged to take to flight; they emigrated
to the region of the Tigris. They were--Nachman, a son-in-law of the
Prince of the Captivity, Sheshet, Rabba b. Abbuha, and Joseph b. Chama.

On the occasion of the destruction of Nahardea by Odenathus, Samuel's
daughters, doubtless together with many others, were taken prisoners
by the enemy and brought to Sepphoris. The freebooters speculated
on heavy ransoms, which appeared to them more lucrative than the
sale of the captives in the slave market, for it was well known that
the Jews spared no expense in order to procure the release of their
fellow-countrymen. Samuel's daughters had derived so much benefit
from their father's profound knowledge of the Halacha that they
succeeded in escaping the application of a strict law, which placed all
maidens who had been taken prisoners on the same footing with those
who had been dishonored, thus incapacitating them from contracting a
spotless marriage. Before it was known whose daughters they were they
had already recovered their freedom, and their assertion that their
innocence had received no taint at the hands of the rough warriors
was readily believed. When Chanina heard in Sepphoris that they were
Samuel's daughters he strongly enjoined a relation of theirs, Simon b.
Abba, to marry one of them.

Odenathus, the destroyer of Nahardea, gradually became a petty Asiatic
prince of Palmyra or Tadmor, the oasis which King Solomon had converted
into a city. The Roman empire was so feeble and tottering that it
was this hitherto disregarded warrior who was obliged to oppose a
bulwark to the conquests of the Persians on Roman territory. The great
services which he thus rendered to the empire compelled his recognition
(264) as co-emperor by Gallienus, a monarch characterized by his
weakness and love of satire. Odenathus did not long enjoy this high
dignity, for in 267 he fell by the hand of an assassin, instigated,
as the story went, by Zenobia, his wife. After his death the regency
devolved upon Zenobia, her two sons being still minors. Through her
influence Palmyra, the city of the desert, was transformed into the
home of imperial pomp, culture, and refined taste. A Christian report
represents the empress Zenobia as a Jewess, but the Jewish authorities
make no mention of this fact. No colors seem to be vivid enough for the
Roman accounts of Zenobia in order to paint the picture of her strange
personality. The palace of this second Semiramis, the ruins of which
still bear witness to refined and artistic taste, was the meeting-place
of original-minded geniuses, with whom the queen delighted to hold
philosophical intercourse.

At her court resided Longinus, the refined and philosophical lover
of the fine arts, who in his æsthetic work on the Sublime was unable
sufficiently to express his admiration of the poetical contents of
the Biblical account of the Creation, "Let there be light." Paul
of Samosata, Bishop of Antioch, when accused of heresy, also found
shelter at her court. Zenobia, his patroness, also seems to have had
some leaning towards the fundamental truth of Judaism. The Jews were,
nevertheless, not particularly well disposed towards the court of
Palmyra. Jochanan, although not blind to the beauties of Greek, gave
utterance to the most unfavorable opinions concerning the Palmyrene
state: "Happy will he be who sees the fall of Tadmor." Subsequent
generations were at a loss to explain this aversion.

There can be no doubt that many Jews took up arms against Zenobia,
whose rule must also have extended over Judæa. It is related that a
certain Zeïra bar Chanina having been brought up before Zenobia to
receive sentence for an offense which seems to have been of a political
nature, two of Jochanan's disciples, Ami and Samuel, presented
themselves before the empress, in order to intercede on his behalf and
obtain his liberation. They were most ungraciously received, however,
by Zenobia. "Do you think," said she, "that because God has worked
so many miracles for your nation you can hazard everything, simply
putting your trust in Him?" Another occurrence, which is related by
the same authority, seems also to have taken place during Zenobia's
reign. A certain Ulla bar Kosher, of whom no further mention is made in
history, was prosecuted for a political offense, and fled to Joshua ben
Levi in Lydda. So much importance must, however, have attached to his
capture that a troop of soldiers surrounded Lydda, and threatened to
destroy the city if the fugitive were not delivered up to them. In this
sad dilemma in which the life of a single individual must either be
sacrificed or the safety of an entire community endangered, Joshua ben
Levi prevailed upon Ulla to give himself up. He justified this course
of conduct by referring to a Mishnaic law which permits the surrender
to the political power of a culprit specially designated, in the case
of many lives depending on such compliance. But the Jewish conscience,
symbolized by the prophet Elijah, refused to take any part in bringing
about the death of a man. Elijah, the ideal of pure zeal for Judaism,
appeared to Joshua ben Levi and inspired him with remorse for having
allowed himself to deliver up the culprit; he ought not to have relied
solely on the simple preceptive law, but should also have been mindful
of the "Mishna of the Pious," which widened and elevated their views
concerning the precepts of duty.

Zenobia's reign, after enduring brilliantly for several years
(267-273), was brought to a termination by Aurelian, who gained a
hard-earned victory over the haughty empress, and brought her in golden
fetters to Rome to figure in his triumph. Jochanan lived to see the
fulfilment of his wish regarding Tadmor, and died a few years after its
fall (279).



    The Amoraim in Palestine--Ami and Assi--The Brothers Chiya and
    Simon bar Abba in Tiberias--Abbahu in Cæsarea--The Emperor
    Diocletian--Complete Separation from the Samaritans--Character
    and Political Position of Abbahu--Huna in Babylonia--Chama's
    Generosity--Huna's Contemporaries and Successors--Judah ben
    Ezekiel--Chasda of Cafri--Mar Sheshet--Nachman bar Jacob--Zeïra.

    279.320 C. E.

The period during which Christianity emerged from the position of
a persecuted community and acquired that of an established church,
marks a crisis in the development of the history of the world, and
forms an epoch of transition also in the history of the Jews. The
influence exerted by the mother-country began gradually to decline. It
was Babylonia that now occupied the universal interest, while Judæa
became a holy antiquity; it still possessed the power of arousing
glorious memories, but was no longer the scene of memorable deeds. The
teachers of this generation, indeed, were not few, including in their
numbers the disciples of Chanina, Jochanan, and Resh-Lakish; and the
youth of Babylonia, smitten with a holy longing, still preferred the
schools of Palestine to those of their native land. But only very few
of the principals of the schools were possessed of any eminence, and
the most important of them, Ami, Assi, Chiya b. Abba, and Zeïra, were
all Babylonians by birth. Abbahu, the only one who was a native of
Judæa, was a person of much originality, but of no authority in the
Halacha. The superiority of Babylon was so readily acknowledged that
Ami and Assi, the leaders of Judæa, of their own accord subordinated
themselves to Rab's successor. The Babylonian novices excelled their
masters in the knowledge of the Law; Sora and Pumbeditha took the
lead of Sepphoris and Tiberias. Even the Patriarchs of this period,
Gamaliel IV and Judah III, possessed but an insignificant knowledge of
the Law, and were both obliged to receive instruction from Amoraim.
Under Judah the duty of examining witnesses concerning the appearance
of the new moon degenerated into a mere pretense and a formality. When
Ami expressed a desire that this duty should be seriously fulfilled,
the Patriarch informed him that he had often understood from Jochanan,
that as soon as, according to astronomical calculation, the thirtieth
day was ascertained to be the beginning of the new month, it was
permissible to press a witness into declaring that he had perceived the
new moon, although this was not the case. The accurate calculation of
the Festivals gradually made this burdensome custom of the examination
of witnesses so superfluous that Judah's successor was able to entirely
abrogate this duty of the Patriarchate. Of more importance appeared to
Judah the ordering of the affairs of the communities and the schools,
and to this point he devoted his entire attention. He commissioned
the three principal Amoraim, Ami, Assi, and Chiya, to undertake a
journey through the cities of Judæa, in order to inspect the various
institutions of a religious or educational character, and to restore
them in those places where they were falling into decay. In one town,
where the envoys found neither teachers of the people nor of the young,
they summoned the elders to bring before them the guardians of the
city. On the armed guard of the town being brought into their presence,
the envoys of the Nasi exclaimed: "These are in nowise the guardians
of the city, but its destroyers; the true guards are the teachers of
the young and of the people; 'If God protect not the house, in vain
watcheth the warder.'"

The Patriarchate of Judah III falls in the reign of Diocletian and
his co-emperor, who, by the strength of their rule and their sincere
devotion, delayed for a time the decline of the Roman empire.
Diocletian was not unfavorably disposed towards the Jews. He was,
perhaps, all the more tolerant to them in proportion as he hated
and persecuted the Christians; these latter he considered as the
sole cause of the dissolution of the Empire, on account of their
persistent struggle against the Roman state religion, and their zeal
for conversion. The rigorous edicts which this monarch considered it
necessary to decree during the last years of his reign (303-305),
and which aimed at compelling the Christians to adopt the worship of
idols, at closing their churches, and at prohibiting their meetings for
divine service, did not include the Jews within their terms, although,
curiously enough, the Samaritans do not seem to have escaped their
action. Nevertheless, the enemies of the Jews appear to have exerted
themselves in order to prejudice Diocletian against them. The emperor
was secretly informed that the Patriarch and his companions made merry
over his obscure parentage and his surname Aper (Boar), concerning
which the emperor was especially sensitive. The story relates that
the emperor, highly exasperated, commanded the Patriarch and the
most distinguished members of the community to appear before him on
a Saturday night, at Paneas, about twenty miles from Tiberias. As
this command was not communicated to them until late on Friday, they
found themselves in the desperate dilemma of undertaking a journey on
the Sabbath, or disregarding the imperial summons. On their arrival
at Paneas, Diocletian ordered them to bathe themselves for several
days previous to appearing before him in audience. This insult was
intended as an allusion to the uncleanliness with which the Jews were
reproached. When at last they were brought before the emperor, the
Patriarch and his companions assured Diocletian of their loyalty and
faithfulness, and they are said to have convinced him that they had
been iniquitously calumniated, whereupon he graciously dismissed them
(about 297 or 298).

By reason of the constraint of sacrificing to the gods, under which
Diocletian laid both Samaritans and Christians, the former were
completely and forever excluded from the Jewish community. A peculiar
fate controlled the relations of these two kindred and neighboring
races, and prevented them from living on good terms for any length
of time. At any moment which appeared favorable to mutual advances,
trifling circumstances were sure to arise which widened the breach
between them. After the destruction of the Temple the two peoples lived
in tolerably good relations with one another; the Samaritans were
admitted to be in many respects strict Jews. The war of Hadrian united
Jew and Samaritan even more closely, and this friendly relation took so
deep a root, that Meïr's decision to regard the Samaritans as heathens
never gained general acceptance. Daily intercourse and business
connections had bound them closely to each other. Even Jochanan did not
hesitate to partake of meat prepared by the Samaritans. His successors
were, however, more severe, and contrived to bring about a separation
from the Samaritans. The occasion of this rupture is said to have been
as follows: Abbahu having once ordered some wine from Samaria, an
observation was made to him by an old man that the Law was no longer
strictly observed in that country. Abbahu communicated this intimation
to his friends, Ami and Assi, who investigated the matter there and
then, and determined to declare the Samaritans as heathens, irrevocably
and in every respect. This was perhaps the last resolution arrived at
by the Synhedrion. No mention is made of the Nasi in connection with
this decree, thus affording a further proof of the insignificance
of the authority enjoyed by him, and of the depth to which the
Patriarchate had fallen. This disunion had the effect of weakening both
Jews and Samaritans. Christianity, shrewder and more active than its
parent, Judaism, and more refined and supple than Samaritanism, its
sister, gained the empire of the world soon after this rupture, and
Jew and Samaritan alike felt its superior power. Golgotha, raised upon
the height of the Capitol, pressed with a two-fold burden on Zion and

Notwithstanding the slight respect in which the Patriarchate of Judah
III (280-300) was held, a phenomenon makes its appearance for the first
time, which betrays indeed the poverty that existed in Palestine, but
on the other hand shows the adherence of the Jews to the Patriarchal
house of David, the last remnant of their ancient glory. It had always
been the custom to announce to such communities as were situated at a
distance, the resolutions arrived at by the Synhedrion, and especially
the period of the festivals, by means of special messengers (Shaliach
Zion, Apostoli). As a rule, men of merit and members of the Synhedrion
were chosen to fill this honorable post, for they represented the
highest authorities, and were also required to explain and apply the
various resolutions. The more the numbers of the Jews in the Holy
Land were lessened by revolts and wars, and the greater the part of
the country that fell into the hands of the heathen, the more also
that extortionate taxes spread poverty far and wide, the greater
difficulty the Patriarchs found in defraying the expenses of their
office from their own private means. They were obliged to turn to the
wealthy communities of other countries to request contributions for
their support. Originally, perhaps, these aids constituted a voluntary
contribution (aurum coronarium), forwarded by the communities as a
proof of allegiance on the occasion of the accession of a Patriarch as
prince of the Jews. About this time, however, Judah III found himself
obliged to send messengers to raise a regular tax (canon, pensio). Such
an envoy was Chiya bar Abba, whom the Patriarch Judah authorized and
sent abroad armed with peculiar powers: "We send you an excellent man,
who possesses equal authority with ourselves until he return unto us."
This same Chiya was, in fact, an excellent man, as poor in means as he
was rich in character. It was only on account of grievous necessity
that he allowed this post to be conferred on him by the Patriarch, and
its acceptance constituted in so far a sacrifice that he was obliged to
quit the Holy Land, which he had chosen as his residence in preference
to his native country. During a long period he was supported by a rich
and charitable family of Tiberias, named Silvani (Beth-Silvani), who
furnished him, as a descendant of Aaron, with the tithes of the produce
of their property. On a certain occasion, however, Chiya forbade them
to commit a deed which another teacher of the Law declared to be
lawful; and they, in return, made him feel his dependency on their
tithes. Upon this he determined never again to accept tithes from any
one, and, in order to avoid temptation, he resolved to quit Judæa.

It is in this Amora that a singular fault may first be remarked,
which later on became more general, and produced the most disastrous
consequences. Chiya b. Abba, namely, was so absorbed in the study of
the oral Law, that in his devotion to it he neglected the reading of
the written Law, the Bible. Being once asked why the word "good" does
not occur in the first Decalogue, he made reply that he hardly knew if
this word really did not occur in that place. Chiya bar Abba was of a
gloomy disposition, and in the Halacha he followed the severe tendency
which refused even to allow Jewish maidens to acquire the culture
of the Greeks, although Jochanan himself had permitted it, and even
encouraged it to a certain extent.

It may be noticed, as a sign of the times, that the heads of the
schools at Tiberias were not natives of the country, but Babylonians
who had emigrated thither from their own land. Ami and Assi occupied
the post formerly filled by Jochanan, their master. They delivered
their lectures in the peristyles, which certainly dated at least from
the period of the Herods. But these buildings, which had been crowded
with listeners in Jochanan's time, now testified to the declining
importance of the Holy Land. Babylonia was the goal of such of the
youth of Judæa as were desirous of studying. Ami and Assi only bore the
modest title of "the Judges, or the respected descendants of Aaron in
the Holy Land," and of their own accord subordinated themselves to the
Babylonian authorities.

Of greater importance and originality was Abbahu of Cæsarea on the
Sea, who was a striking contrast to Chiya and Simon, Abba's sons. He
was wealthy, kept Gothic slaves, and had ivory seats in his house;
his trade was the manufacture of women's veils. He understood Greek
perfectly, which was the case with but few of his contemporaries; he
frequented the society of educated heathens, and had his daughter
taught Greek. He considered the knowledge of this language as an
ornament to an educated girl, and supported his opinion by citing
Jochanan's permission. The austere Simon bar Abba, who was hostile to
all worldly education, reproved this conduct in the following terms;
"He attributes this permission to Jochanan, because his daughter is
learning Greek." In answer to this attack upon his veracity, Abbahu
protested that he had really received this tradition from Jochanan's
lips. By reason of his familiarity with contemporary civilization,
which many people regarded as sinful, a verse of Ecclesiastes was
applied to him: "It is good that thou takest up this (the study of the
Halacha) and neglectest not that (the learning of the Greeks), for the
pious are able to fulfil all duties." The Greek language was in fact so
current among the Jews of Cæsarea, that they even recited the passage
of Scripture relative to the unity of God (the Shema) in this tongue.

Abbahu was held in great esteem by the Roman Proconsul, and probably
also by the Emperor Diocletian, on account of his profound learning,
which was heightened by the charm of a dignified figure and a generous
character. By means of this influence with the authorities he was
enabled to avert many severe measures. A case of this description
affords at the same time an insight into the general state of things at
this period. Ami, Assi, and Chiya bar Abba, having once pronounced a
severe punishment on a woman named Thamar, who was doubtless guilty of
some breach of chastity, were denounced by her to the then Procurator,
on a charge of encroaching on the jurisdiction of the Romans. The
Jewish judges, fearful for the consequences of this denunciation,
besought Abbahu to exert his influence on their behalf. He, however,
answered that his efforts had failed to produce any effect, by reason
of the existing desire of revenge, perhaps also on account of the
beauty of the culprit. His reply was couched in characteristic terms,
being so conceived that, at first, the words do not convey their
actual meaning. The import of this document was in brief as follows:
"I have settled everything as regards the three slanderers--Eutokos,
Eumathes, and Talasseus--but I have labored in vain on behalf of the
obstinate and refractory Thamar." The language of this letter, which
is a model of the style of that period, is for the most part pure
Hebrew embellished by a play upon words; the Greek proper names are
translated into the approximate Hebrew terms. This style, when handled
with skill, invests the Hebrew tongue with an inimitable charm; but it
easily degenerates into empty pomp and trifling, which was already in
Abbahu's age to some extent the case.

By reason of his extensive acquirements Abbahu was well fitted to
engage in polemics against Christianity. During the time of Diocletian,
Christianity had strained every nerve to obtain the empire of the
world. The Roman legions were in part composed of soldiers who had
adopted this religion, and Christianity therefore redoubled its efforts
to obtain proselytes. Setting itself up in opposition to Judaism and
heathenism, it brought down upon itself severe punishment at the hands
of Diocletian and his co-emperor Galerius, on account of its arrogance.
The Jews were possessed of intellectual weapons, and these they
employed as long as they were permitted their free use. Like Simlaï,
Abbahu attacked the Christian dogmas in the most uncompromising manner,
and grounded his opposition, according to the manner of the time, upon
a verse in the Bible (Numbers