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Title: Pharisaism, Its Aim And Its Method
Author: Herford, R. Travers
Language: English
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Most of the contents of the following pages were given as lectures in
Manchester College, Oxford, in the autumn of 1911. I have thought it
better to confine myself within the limits of what I then said, rather
than to expand and recast the lectures into a complete monograph on the
Pharisees. My aim throughout has been to present and make clear the
Pharisaic conception of religion, the point of view from which they
regarded it, and the methods by which they dealt with it. It is far more
important that the reader, especially the Christian reader, should
understand the meaning of Pharisaism than that he should be presented
with a survey of all the details, theological, ethical, historical, and
other, included in the wide field of the Pharisaic literature. I am not
without hope that a small book may be read where a large one would be
passed by, and that the ends of justice--in this case justice to the
Pharisees--may thereby be the better attained. I have not sought to
write a panegyric on them, but, so far as may be possible for one who is
not a Jew, to present their case from their own standpoint, and not, as
is so often done, as a mere foil to the Christian religion. This is one
reason why I have not referred to the writings of other scholars, except
in the one case of Weber. He is typical of them all in their attitude
towards Rabbinical Judaism. Even the fine work of Oesterley and Box,
_The Religion and Worship of the Synagogue_, though it is written in a
spirit of courtesy, and with a sincere desire to understand the
Rabbinical position and to recognise whatever is good in it, yet judges
it by the standard of the Christian religion. Something was still left
to be done, by way of treating Pharisaism fairly, that is, without
either contempt or condescension; and that "something" I have tried to
do--whether successfully or not, the candid reader will judge.

In conclusion, I tender my thanks to the Hibbert Trustees, to whom I owe
the opportunity of delivering the lectures, and to the authorities of
Manchester College, Oxford, for the invitation to do so.


      _April 1912_.


  CHAP.                                              PAGE

  1. HISTORICAL SKETCH                         1

  2. THE THEORY OF TORAH                      57

  3. PHARISAISM AND JESUS                    112

  4. PHARISAISM AND PAUL                     173



  INDEX                                      336




The subject to which in the following pages I shall invite the reader's
attention is one which may seem to promise but little of living
interest, and still less of religious worth. The Pharisees are presented
in the New Testament in no favourable light; and the average Christian
has not much further acquaintance with them. Yet, though the name be now
disused, the principles of Pharisaism have been maintained down to the
present day; and it is these, more than anything else, which have kept
Judaism as a living religion. That Pharisaism should wear an unpleasing
aspect in the New Testament is not surprising; for it was not in the
nature of things that the adherents of the old religion should
understand or be understood by those of the new, in the times when they
parted company. And there has not been much attempt at mutual
understanding in all the centuries since. Christianity could by no
possibility have remained in union with Pharisaism; what Jesus began,
and what Paul completed, was a severance as inevitable as it was
painful. But it was painful because it was the dividing, not of the
living from the dead, but of the living from the living. The Judaism of
the Pharisees, from which Christianity tore itself away, was no obsolete
formalism, but a religion having the power to satisfy the spiritual
wants of those who were faithful to it. The form in which its religious
ideas were expressed is peculiar, and to Christians by no means
attractive. While, therefore, the Christian has usually but little
inclination to inquire into the real significance of Pharisaism, and but
scanty means of informing himself even if he were so inclined, the fact
remains that such knowledge is necessary if he would rightly understand
the attitude of the New Testament to the older religion.

Pharisaism is usually judged from the outside, as seen by not very
friendly eyes; and, even of those Christians who have studied the
Pharisaic literature and who thus know it to some extent from the
inside, there are few who seem able to imagine what it must have been to
those whose real religion it was. No one but a Jew, of whom it may be
said that the Talmud runs in his blood, can fully realise the spiritual
meaning of Pharisaism; but sympathy can show even to a Christian much of
that meaning, and it is on the strength of that sympathy that I rest my
hope of carrying out my present task. Briefly, I wish to show what
Pharisaism meant to the Pharisees themselves, as a religion having a
claim to be judged on its own merits, and not by comparison with any
other. The knowledge thus obtained will throw light upon many passages
in the New Testament; but it will be chiefly valuable if it helps the
reader to realise that the Pharisees were "men of like passions with
us," men with souls to be saved, who cared a great deal for the things
of the higher life, men who "feared God and worked righteousness," and
who pondered deeply upon spiritual problems, though they did not solve
them on Christian lines, nor state the answers in Christian terms.

It ought not to be impossible to do this in compass of a small book; and
I hope that, when I have done, I shall have left with the reader some
clear idea of who the Pharisees were and what they stood for, and a more
just appreciation of them than is indicated by the word "hypocrites." I
can at least say how they appear to me, as the result of exploring their
literature, which has been to me the fascinating study of thirty years.

In this first chapter I shall survey the history of the development of
Pharisaism, from its source in Ezra to its final literary embodiment in
the Talmud. The following chapter will deal with the theory of Torah,
and Pharisaism as the system intended to put that theory into practice.
Then I shall consider Pharisaism in reference, firstly, to Jesus, and,
secondly, to Paul. Some general points of Pharisaic theology will be
dealt with in the fifth chapter; and in the concluding one I shall try
to present Pharisaism as a spiritual religion.

I proceed now to the historical survey of the development of Pharisaism.

A great Rabbi, Resh Lakish, who lived in the third century A.D., uttered
the saying that, "when the Torah was forgotten, Ezra came up from
Babylon and re-established it; when it was forgotten again, Hillel came
up from Babylon and re-established it; and when it was forgotten again,
R. Ḥija and his sons came up from Babylon and re-established it" (b.
Succ. 20ª). The meaning of that remark is that _Pharisaism_ traced its
origin back to Ezra; for it was the Pharisaic tradition which counted
Hillel, and R. Ḥija, and the Talmudic Rabbis generally amongst its
exponents. And while no one would say that Ezra was a Pharisee, it is
true that he was the spiritual ancestor of the Pharisees more than of
any other element in post-exilic Judaism. In the time of Christ, Judaism
was represented by Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Apocalyptists,
Hellenists; and all could claim a share in the inheritance of Israel.
But the Sadducees had little reason to set up a descent from Ezra; and
what was peculiar to Apocalyptists and Hellenists (two terms which of
course overlap) was entirely unconnected with him. Pharisaism alone was
the result of his work; and Pharisaism alone survived, to carry down
through the centuries the spiritual treasure of Israel. Moreover, of all
the elements in Judaism, Pharisaism is the one which was least affected
by foreign influences. What it borrowed, from Greece or Rome, from
Persia or Egypt, it fused into its own mould, or merely treated as
unimportant curiosities; it never wavered for a moment in its
allegiance to its own ground principle, never swerved from the line of
development of which Ezra had marked the beginning, and for which he
might be said to have stated the formula. The Talmud shows the traces of
contact with Greek language and Roman law, gives glimpses of men of many
nations, from Babylonians to Goths and even Germans (j. Jom. 45^b). But,
from one end to the other, it is the embodiment of a principle which
Ezra was the first to introduce; and like a huge tree it has all grown
from the seed which he planted. If Ezra could have looked forward and
seen what the Talmud became, the vision would have filled him with
delight; also, with deep thankfulness to God that he had been the means
of giving to Israel what Israel needed.

I will reserve for the next chapter the explanation of the theory of
Torah, which is the key to the whole system of Pharisaism in general,
and to the work of Ezra in particular. But without some reference to
that theory I cannot show what it was that Ezra did, and that the
Pharisees carried on. If some of the statements I make appear to be
unfounded or improbable, I ask the reader to suspend his judgment on
them till I come to the theory which, as I believe, justifies them.

Ezra was the first who seriously took in hand the problem of the future
of Israel after the great convulsion of the Exile. For nearly a century
after the time, 536 B.C., when liberty to return had been given, the
small band of Jews in and around Jerusalem had maintained with
difficulty their place as a nation and the religion of their fathers.
Subjects of the Persian king, like their neighbours, they were exposed
to dangers, both political and religious, against which they were ill
able to guard. They had the Temple as the central point of their
religion; but the Temple was no protection against the influence of
contact with "the peoples round about," nor did the performance of its
ritual give any lead in the direction of a new religious development.
Till Ezra came, the Jews did hardly more than mark time, if indeed they
were not gradually losing ground. If Ezra had not come, it is
conceivable, and indeed highly probable, that Judaism would have
disappeared altogether.

The significance of the work of Ezra is this, that he stopped the
process by which the religious vitality of Israel was draining away, and
he gave a lead, opened a new line of development, turned the thought and
energy of his people into a direction where progress was possible almost
without end.

His reformation was carried out with a severity which would have been
impossible unless he had had the support of Nehemiah, armed as governor
with the authority of the Persian king. And the success he achieved was
only won in the face of bitter opposition, and at a cost of domestic
suffering and heart-burning which still makes one shudder as one reads
of it in the book which bears his name. It was a case in which "diseases
desperate grown, by desperate appliance are relieved." Ezra had it
clear in his mind that if Israel was to survive at all, it must
resolutely cut itself off from all possible contact with what was not
Israel. It must become a closed corporation, a community occupying not
merely a political but much more a religious and social enclosure of its
own, within which it could work out its own salvation. In the
catastrophe of the Exile, Ezra read the lesson that indiscriminate
association with neighbouring peoples had corrupted its religious life,
and brought upon a faithless nation a deserved punishment. If now Israel
let itself relapse into the old way of intercourse and alliance with
non-Israelites, the result would be the final extinction of Israel.

Such a prospect might have been tolerable if there had been nothing left
for Israel to do. Some of those who opposed Ezra may well have thought
that there was nothing which could demand so hard a sacrifice as that
which he would force upon them. Why should they not live in peace with
their neighbours, and do as they did? And why could they not keep their
old religion, without making it a source of enmity abroad, and a cause
of grief at home?

But Ezra had a clear perception of what there was for Israel to do. That
religion, which in former times had been mainly the collective
expression of the nation's relation to God, must now be realised as the
personal concern of each individual. What the prophets had taught about
God had so far produced no corresponding result in personal piety and
conscious service. What had been declared by Moses as the will of God
had been by no means fully taken to heart and wrought into the acts of
daily life. There was divine teaching in abundance, and had been for
centuries; now, the task must be seriously taken in hand of applying it,
so that each individual might feel that he had a responsibility for
doing the will of God, and might know what that will was. The great
declaration: "Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God the Lord is one," was
immediately followed by: "and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all
thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." If Israel now
asked how he was to do this, Ezra's answer was that God had taught him
in the Torah, contained in the five books of Moses. Henceforth let
Israel "observe to do all that is written in this book of the Torah."
That solemn promulgation of the Torah, described in the book of
Nehemiah, is the central point of the reformation of Ezra, whether it
were only the Priestly Code which was then introduced or whether it were
the Pentateuch substantially complete. What Ezra did was to set up a
written authority as the guide of personal conduct for each individual
Jew. His demand was for the acceptance of this authority on the part of
the nation, and a determined loyalty in carrying out the commands of God
which would shrink from no sacrifice. It was, no doubt, the severity of
this demand which for thirteen years delayed its acceptance; and the
opposition was only crushed by the strong hand of Nehemiah. Whatever
one may think of the method, the result was that Ezra gathered to him
those who were prepared to do most and to sacrifice most for the sake of
their religion; he had weeded out the weak and the faint-hearted, the
indifferent and the lazy, and kept those who could be fanatics, heroes,
martyrs, if the occasion should arise.

The Jewish community having accepted the policy of Ezra, was in this
position:--it was separated by its own act from all avoidable contact
with those whom we may now call Gentiles; and, within the enclosure thus
as it were railed off, it was free to work out its national life on the
lines of the religion of Torah, free also to interpret that religion of
Torah in such ways as it might see fit. Ezra had secured for it a field
of action and given to it the task it should perform there. If I say
that Ezra was the second founder of the religion of Israel, I do not
mean to imply that everything in the later Judaism owed its origin to
him, still less that what survived from the pre-exilic Judaism was only
what he endorsed and gave out again. The older religion had come down
from a far-distant past; the ancient writings, prophetic, historical,
legal, were witnesses of God's former dealings with His people; they
still had the memory, as they renewed after the Exile the practice, of
the ancient customs and religious rites. And the later Judaism could,
and did, develop in several directions, taking up, as it were,
suggestions from the older religion, and not confining itself to the
line which Ezra more especially marked out. But the work of Ezra is
practically the only channel by which whatever survived from the ancient
religion passed into the later, and became the Judaism which is properly
so called.

In some of its representatives later Judaism departed widely from the
principles of Ezra, and Christianity may be said to be in part a protest
against and a revolt from those principles; but nevertheless, if it had
not been for Ezra there would have been no Judaism sufficiently alive to
protest, or sufficiently vigorous to produce revolt. Ezra saved the
life of the Jewish people, none the less that in later times there were
Jews who cherished ideals which were far different from his.

I am concerned here only with one particular line of development of the
later Judaism, the one which in an especial degree was originated by
Ezra. This is the line of the religion of Torah strictly so called,
meaning by that the religion which found expression in the intention of
fulfilling, as a personal duty, the commands of God set forth in the
Scriptures, and especially in the Pentateuch. This is not a full or an
exact statement of the meaning of the religion of Torah; but it will
serve for the present purpose, and I shall go into detail about it in
the next chapter. Judaism, as the religion of Torah, required that every
Jew should be in a position to know what was contained in the Torah and
what it meant. There must be someone whose business it was to study the
Torah and explain its contents, and to show how the precepts it
contained were to be applied to cases not directly provided for.
Teaching of that kind, to the extent at all events of giving instruction
in moral and religious duties, had been given from time immemorial, and
mainly by the priests. And there were still priests who could, and
probably did, perform the same function. But the case was now different
when every Jew was expected to know the commandments of the Torah, and
was directly concerned with their bearing upon his own actions. This new
necessity of the time was met by the labours of a new class of men, viz.
the Scribes (Sopherim). It is significant that Ezra himself is called
"the priest the _Scribe_." It is also significant that the men who
assisted him by "explaining the sense," when he first read publicly the
book of the Torah, were not priests but Levites. It is natural to
suppose that many Levites chose to take up the important, honourable,
and sacred work of the Scribe, the interpreter of the divine teaching,
rather than to perform the menial duties of serving the priests in the
Temple. Whether Ezra definitely organised and founded the order of the
Scribes, I do not know; but the appearance of them is a necessary result
of his policy, and may well be attributed to him. The term Sopherim is
vouched for, as extremely ancient, in certain phrases mentioned in the

The duties of the Sopherim would be, in the first instance, to study the
Torah themselves, then to teach it to others, then to act as
interpreters and judges in cases where appeal was made to them to know
how, under such and such circumstances, the divine command was to be
fulfilled. Now it is scarcely conceivable that each individual Scribe
would feel himself at liberty to expound the Torah entirely according to
his own judgment, without reference to what other Scribes might teach;
or that such unfettered liberty would have been allowed to him if he had
tried to use it. There must have been some amount of consultation of the
Scribes with each other; and there must have been some kind of tribunal
to which appeal could be made, some central authority whose decision
would be recognised as final. Otherwise, the whole attempt made by Ezra
would have ended in failure almost at the outset; and it did not end in
failure. Now the Talmud contains some scanty references to an assembly
called "The Men of the Great Synagogue," to which were attributed
certain ancient institutions and sayings. That the statements in the
Talmud about the Great Synagogue are all historically trustworthy is by
no means the case. But the Rabbis who are responsible for those
statements may well have been right in the main fact, though not in the
details. The Great Synagogue, as they represented it, is clearly based
upon the description of the assembly in Neh. x. And there is nothing to
show that that assembly, or anything like it, became a permanent
institution. But an assembly of some kind, a council of men "learned in
the law," is the most natural form which would be taken by such a
central authority as the system instituted by Ezra required for its
successful working. It must remain an open question whether such a
council was permanent, its members being chosen for life, or whether it
was such an assembly as might be called together, _ad hoc_, from time to
time, whether the number of its members was fixed, and on what
conditions and by whom they were appointed. Upon these points the Rabbis
of the Talmud had no certain tradition, perhaps no tradition at all.
That the conception of the Great Synagogue was modelled upon the pattern
of the Assembly in Neh. x. only means that the Rabbis had no better
guide for their imagination in reconstructing what nevertheless must
have been. And the same reason which prompted the calling of that
historical council, under Nehemiah, would suggest that the natural
tribunal from time to time would be a similar council of elders and
learned men. This is all that is required to give a historical basis to
the traditions concerning the Great Synagogue. Less than this leaves the
facts unexplained; more than this opens the way for the discrepancies
which have been used for discrediting those traditions altogether. I
believe we are therefore warranted in retaining the name of the Great
Synagogue, to mean in the first instance Ezra and those who supported
him, and then those who in later times exercised authority on his lines
and in his spirit.

Now it is nowhere stated in the Rabbinical literature, so far as I know,
that the Sopherim of the early times were identical with the Men of the
Great Synagogue. But they are closely associated, they seem to stand on
the same level of antiquity, and, what is still more important, no
distinction is drawn between their several functions, except that the
Men of the Great Synagogue ordained (_tikkĕnu_) certain things, while
the Sopherim only taught and expounded. As just stated, there is no
agreement amongst scholars upon the question whether the Great Synagogue
was a real body or not; but of the existence of the Sopherim there is no
room for doubt. And the Sopherim are the key (if I am right) to the
meaning of the term, "Men of the Great Synagogue." That term represents
the Sopherim acting together as a council to decide religious questions;
a council not necessarily permanent, but called together from time to
time as occasion might require. But it would be a council of Sopherim,
_not_ of all the leading men of the nation. The authority in public
matters was, under the Persian governor, in the hands of the priestly
aristocracy, whose interests lay in other directions besides that of the
study of Torah. What was done by the Sopherim, and those with and for
whom they worked, was done privately and without official sanction. The
Rabbinical tradition which mentions the Zūgōth, or pairs, and calls one
the Nasi and the other the Ab-beth-din, and implies that the one was
president and the other vice-president of the _Sanhedrin_, is certainly
incorrect. The Nasi was never the president of the Sanhedrin, in times
when the Sanhedrin was still the great council of the State. But it may
very well have been the case that in the meetings of the Sopherim, in
other words, the Great Synagogue, there were a president and a
vice-president; and that the names recorded in pairs in the Talmud are
the names of some of the later of these officers. I should add that this
explanation of the meaning of the term, "Men of the Great Synagogue,"
and the identification with them of the early Sopherim, is only a theory
of my own; but it is the result of long consideration of the problem.

In an often-quoted passage from the treatise of the Mishnah called the
Pirké Abōth, three sayings are ascribed to the Men of the
Great Synagogue: "Be deliberate in judgment; make many disciples; make a
hedge for the Torah." It will be of use at this point to consider these
sayings, because they throw light upon the development of the religion
of Torah in the particular direction indicated by the name Pharisaism.

To prove that these dicta were actually uttered by the Men of the Great
Synagogue is impossible. But it is admitted that they are very ancient;
and the tradition which places them at the forefront of the development
of Rabbinism has this much in its favour, that they logically belong
there. Either they date from a time not remote from Ezra, or they
express the opinion of some later teacher as to the aims and methods of
those who in that early time were responsible for the training of the
people in the religion of Torah. This latter interpretation is possible;
but the form in which the brief statement is made clearly shows that the
Rabbis who compiled the Mishnah had no suspicion that the dicta in
question were the utterances of a later teacher. If they had had such a
thought they would have expressed it thus: "Rabbi so-and-so said that
the Men of the Great Synagogue had said, etc." There is no hint that the
three maxims are anything else but an old tradition; and the fact that
these and no more are ascribed to the Men of the Great Synagogue
indicates, by its very moderation, some reason for so ascribing them. A
capricious inventor would have attributed much more to so ancient an
authority, in order to obtain for his inventions the sanction of high
antiquity. There is really nothing improbable in the transmission, even
from the time of Ezra, of these bare fragments of ancient teaching.
Their contents are in keeping with this supposition; and, if they were a
later invention, they nevertheless accurately describe what the men of
Ezra's time must chiefly have had at heart. They are instructions to do
certain things, and are addressed to persons who had some special
responsibility in reference to the Torah. We have seen that the central
idea of Ezra's reformation was to make the Torah the inspiring and
controlling influence in Jewish life, both national and individual. To
this end it was needful that the people should be taught, that they
might know what was in the Torah, _i.e._ what God had given for their
instruction; also that they should be able to appeal to competent
authority for the settlement of doubtful points. The Torah was the
source of divine truth and divine justice, and both must be made
accessible to those whose life as a conscious service of God depended on
them. The shrine in which the divine treasure was contained must be kept
safe from injury, as if it were protected by a fence.

The three maxims, ascribed to the Men of the Great Synagogue, were
intended, as it would seem, for the guidance of teachers and expounders
of Torah. They were the lines which the Sopherim collectively agreed
upon, for their own practice as interpreters and judges. Deliberation in
judgment is the key to the casuistry of the Talmud, and in the main
justifies that casuistry. For what does it amount to except the desire
to study a question from every possible point of view, and to take into
account every possible, even though improbable, contingency?

To make disciples, in the sense of imparting knowledge of Torah, has
always been the aim and the practice of Rabbinical Judaism; a fact to
which the Talmud bears ample witness. The names, Torah, Talmud, Mishnah,
Midrash, all imply the idea of teaching and learning--study as regarded
either by the student or the instructor. In this larger relation, the
minor one of discipleship to a particular teacher holds but a small
place. Equally the ancient Scribe or the later Rabbi was enjoined not to
make adherents of himself, but to impart to all whom he could influence
the knowledge of divine truth which he possessed.

To "make a hedge about the Torah" is a famous phrase that has been much
misunderstood. It certainly does not imply any intention to make a rigid
system of precept in which all the spiritual freedom enjoyed by the
enlightened soul in communion with God should be lost. The Talmudic
Rabbis, who entirely endorsed the maxim, never read in it any such
intention, and never supposed that they suffered any such loss of
spiritual freedom. As in fact they did not. The notion that they did is
an idea which only exists in the minds of Christians, misreading an
experience which, as Christians, they have never known. What was always
understood by the "hedge about the Torah" was the means taken to keep
the divine revelation from harm, so that the sacred enclosure, so to
speak, might always be free and open for the human to contemplate and
commune with the divine. And, so far as the Torah consisted of precepts,
positive and negative, the "hedge" was of the nature of warnings whereby
a man might be saved from transgression before it was too late. The
detailed mass of precept elaborated in the course of centuries, known as
the Halachah (see Chapter II.) or rule of right conduct, and finally
embodied in the Talmud, was part of the Torah itself made explicit, the
divine teaching so far as it related to such and such departments of
conduct. And even if the Halachah were the rigid and oppressive system
which it is often supposed to have been, but which those who devised it
and lived under it did not feel it to be, it was not itself the "hedge
about the Torah." The religious guides of the Jewish people, from the
early Sopherim to the latest Rabbi whose words are incorporated in the
Talmud, did make a "hedge about the Torah"; and did their work so well
that, whatever else was torn from Israel in the course of cruel
centuries, the Torah remained, and still remains, the peculiar treasure
of the chosen people.

I have dwelt at this length upon the consideration of the work of Ezra,
and of those teachers closely associated with him known as the Sopherim
or Men of the Great Synagogue, because, when once that is clearly
understood, all the subsequent developments are easy to follow. I have
not yet mentioned Pharisaism, except here and there in passing. But,
given such a principle as is contained in Ezra's conception of the
religion of Torah, Pharisaism was certain to appear sooner or later, and
the Talmud itself was the implied, though distant, result of the
process by which that conception was to be worked out.

Devotion to Torah, and the duty of regulating life, whether individual
or national, according to its precepts, were of the essence of the
Judaism which took its character from Ezra. This was the principle; and
those who adhered to it sought to apply it over the whole range of
action, public as well as private. The Sopherim would have their opinion
as to the way, for instance, in which the Temple ritual should be
performed; but it is likely enough that the priests would keep the
control of such matters in their own hands, so that the Sopherim would
have their main influence as the teachers of the people in the ordinary
walks of life. Through the Synagogue, of which I shall have more to say
in the next chapter, the Sopherim came into close touch with the
individual Jew in his private capacity, and acquired there an influence
which was never afterwards shaken. In this way, the religion of Torah,
on the lines of Ezra, was made the religion of the majority of the
nation. And, while it was held with varying degrees of understanding and
attachment, we may note that there were two institutions or usages which
mark the points where the religion of Torah took deepest and strongest
hold upon the national mind. These were the rite of circumcision and the
observance of the Sabbath. I do not mean that circumcision had not been
practised, nor the Sabbath observed, in times previous to Ezra, but that
these became especially prominent after his time as the _sine qua non_
of Judaism, essentials to be maintained at any cost. The institution of
the Synagogue provided a means of developing the spiritual life of the
people in a way that the Temple ritual hardly could and certainly did
not do. And although, as long as the Temple stood, that was regarded as
the most sacred shrine and most glorious embodiment, or rather
culmination, of the national religion, yet the religion of Torah learned
to do without the Temple, but it never dreamed of doing without the
Synagogue. With the Synagogue were associated the devotional outpourings
of the Psalmists, and the earliest liturgy, also the regular reading of
the Scriptures. These, together with exhortation or instruction, gave
substance and meaning to the idea of public worship, which, in a form
hitherto unknown in the ancient world, was in itself one of the most
important of Jewish institutions. The study of Torah produced in course
of time new practices which became traditional, or gave a new sanction
to old ones; while the principles of exposition by which these results
were produced--in other words, the teachings of the Sopherim--were
accepted and recognised as legitimate by those for whose guidance they
were given.

So far as the religion of Torah is concerned, the process of its
development may be conceived to have gone on with no interruption, upon
such general lines, during the centuries between Ezra and the Maccabees.
When that period was reached, 167 B.C. and onwards, the main lines of
Judaism were clearly defined, and the chief things known which were
incumbent upon the Jew if he would be true to his religious profession.
He knew not only what he should do, by way of service to God, but why he
should do it. The ideal before him was the thought of that service, not
as an irksome task imposed on him, but as a willing and glad devotion of
himself and all his powers to God. That every individual Jew could or
did rise to the height of that ideal, no one would maintain. In the
nature of things the spiritual energy, which was mighty in Ezra, could
not continue with unimpaired force through the centuries after he was
gone. In fact, there is no one to compare with him in this respect until
R. Akiba, at the end of the first Christian century. But it is far from
true to say that the spiritual meaning of the religion of Torah, as
above described, was lost sight of, or even greatly obscured, in the
generations which succeeded Ezra. If that had been the case, there
would have been no Maccabean revolt. For the tenacity of adhesion and
the fierceness of resistance cannot be explained merely by blind loyalty
to a tradition whose inner meaning was no longer understood and its
spiritual power no longer felt. There must have been a real allegiance
to the religion of Torah, in principle though not extending to minor
details, on the part of the majority of the nation, a conscious
acceptance of the essentials, though often without the zeal or perhaps
the power to follow out those main principles to their conclusion. There
would naturally be considerable difference in the degree of attachment
to the religion of Torah, on the part of different individuals or
sections of the nation, varying from enthusiastic devotion to a
careless, almost nominal allegiance, that could easily transfer itself
to some other religion whose demands were less severe and whose worldly
advantages were greater than those of Judaism.

For a considerable time after Ezra, the nation was, in regard to its
religion, homogeneous in this sense, that there was not, unless in
individuals here and there, any question of another religion than
Judaism. While the Jews were under Persian rule, the Persian religion
may have influenced the Jewish religion in some respects; but there was
never any question of a secession from Judaism to the religion of
Persia. Within the range of Judaism the worship of the God of Israel was
the only worship; and while some might be zealous and others lukewarm,
some might be more concerned with the pomp and circumstance of the
Temple, and others with the more homely piety of the Synagogue, yet all
alike owned the religion of Torah as their religion, and felt themselves
united as brethren in spite of fraternal discords.

But when, after the fall of the Persian Empire (332 B.C.), the influence
of Greek ideas and practices began to be felt, a serious danger arose
which threatened the very existence of Judaism. Whether it was the
Syrian or the Egyptian king who for the time held possession of Judea,
the result was the same in giving a strong impetus to the adoption of
Greek civilisation. Greeks settled in the chief towns in large numbers,
either as officials of the government or for trade. Greek art and
learning had their representatives. Greek builders erected temples and
theaters to be the visible symbols of a foreign religion, and of
practices alien to Jewish ideas of morality. The Greek met the Jew at
every turn; and the Jew would not have been human if he had been wholly
unaffected by that close association. The brilliance of Greek culture
made it attractive both on its good and on its bad side, its exquisite
sense of beauty and its shameless gaiety of vice. Its natural
fascination was increased by the fact that it was actively promoted by
the influence of the court. The road to royal favour and civil
advancement lay through the adoption of Greek manners and customs, and
even dress. A Greek sovereign might think it prudent to tolerate the
peculiarities of his Jewish subjects; but he had no sympathy with them,
and could not understand them. He would welcome every indication of a
desire to replace Jewish ideas and practices by Greek ones, and would
use his influence accordingly.

During the hundred and sixty years from the fall of the Persian Empire
to the revolt of the Maccabees, the virus of Hellenism was infecting the
Jewish nation; perhaps for good, certainly for evil. Probably no class
of society was wholly immune from it. Its effects were most conspicuous
in the ranks of the wealthy and powerful, the nobles and the priestly
aristocracy who came into closest relations with the court and depended
most upon the royal favour. But Hellenism had its attractions for all,
high or humble; its outward signs could be seen all over the land,
inviting a comparison between the gaiety and freedom of Greek life and
the moral restraints and sober seriousness of the Jewish.

What gradually resulted was, _not_ a division between the upper classes
and the lower, as if all the former went over to Hellenism while all
the latter remained faithful to Judaism, but a decline towards
Hellenism, on the part of a minority in which all classes were
represented. Probably the number of those who went entirely over to
Hellenism was only small, compared with the whole Jewish population. But
there were many whose hold upon Judaism was more or less weakened; and
there were only a few who remained unflinching in their loyalty to the
ancestral faith. That this was really the case, is shown by the fact
that a special name was applied to those who thus rigidly adhered to the
principles and maintained to the fullest extent the practices of Judaism
as the religion of Torah. If they had been the majority of the nation
they would not have needed or received any special name. These faithful
few were the Ḥasidim, the Assideans of the Books of Maccabees. Thus
Hellenists and Ḥasidim represented the Extreme Left and the Extreme
Right of the Jewish nation, with moderates of various shades in
between. The name Ḥasid, which is a common word in Hebrew, indicates a
type rather than a party.[1] The use of the word in the Psalms, where
most of the instances of its occurrence in the Old Testament are found,
does not warrant us, other reasons apart, in assuming that there is a
special reference in those passages to the men who became conspicuous
under Judas Maccabæus.

     [1] A close parallel to the term Ḥasid, as denoting a type rather
     than a party, is afforded by the term Saint in the language of the
     extreme Puritans in the time of Cromwell.

The rebellion against Antiochus Epiphanes was, of course, in the main a
religious revolt, and, as such, it had the support of all in the nation
except the avowed Hellenists. But there was this difference in the
motive of the insurgents, that Mattathias and his sons, who started the
rebellion, were fighting for political freedom as well as for their
religion. The Ḥasidim only fought for their religion. It was dire
necessity which turned them from passive resisters into active fighters.
They joined Mattathias and his companions because only by fighting
could the Torah now be defended, for whose sake hitherto they had been
willing to suffer and die. Mattathias rebelled because the royal power
was being used to undermine the national religion, and he wished to
throw off the royal power. He would not have been content with
permission to practise his religion undisturbed. He was as staunch,
though not as strict, an adherent of the religion of Torah as any of the
Ḥasidim; but he would have the Jews free to serve God, independent of
any permission from a foreign ruler.

In the earlier stages of the war the political and the religious motives
were too closely blended to be distinguished. But it is to be noted that
the Ḥasidim were the first to desire peace (1 Macc. vii. 13). And later
on, when the Maccabean princes reaped the fruits of the war in
successful sovereignty, they were regarded with increasing ill-will by
those to whom the religion of Torah was of supreme importance.

I cannot, of course, attempt to follow in detail the history of the
Jewish people under the Maccabean princes. But the significance of the
rebellion for my present purpose can be very soon explained.

The result upon the Jewish people generally was to renew its hold upon
the religion of Torah. Hellenism for a time was greatly weakened. There
was now at the head of the Jewish state a Jewish prince, able to hold
his own against foreign powers. The religion of Torah was, nominally at
least, the religion of all Jews, from the palace to the cottage; and it
should be observed that the special name of the Ḥasidim dropped out of

But gradually a divergence appeared, not wholly unlike that which had
led to the rebellion. The princes of the Maccabean house naturally
looked for their supporters in the great families to whom belonged the
chief positions of rank and wealth, especially those connected with the
Temple. The religion of Torah was mixed up with politics to a degree
which displeased those who did not belong to the governing class. There
was, therefore, again a movement towards a stricter interpretation of
the Torah and a more thorough-going obedience to its requirements, on
the part of a minority on the one side, to correspond with the movement
towards what might be called "worldliness" on the part of a minority on
the other side. These two extremes had names by which they were
distinguished. Those who formed the governing class, the great families
and the chief priests, were the Sadducees. Those who maintained the full
strictness of the religion of Torah were the Pharisees. They were
virtually the Ḥasidim over again, under another name. They were in a
minority, when compared with the whole nation; but the sympathy of the
people in general was with them as against the Sadducees.

The particular reason why they were called Pharisees (_Pherūshim_,
separated), was that they formed themselves into separate societies
pledged to observe certain rules in the matter of meat, drink, clothing,
etc., according as these were clean or unclean, allowed or forbidden.
They thereby "separated" themselves from such as were less strict, or
who at least did not take their pledge as a guarantee of strictness. But
it is clear that there was practically nothing new in what the Pharisees
did or in the religion they held, except the mere fact of association in
pledged companies. The religion which they thus set themselves to
realise in its full extent was essentially the religion of Torah as Ezra
had moulded it. Successive generations of Sopherim had worked out into
fuller detail the implicit contents of the Torah, as changing
circumstances called for further interpretation of the original
precepts. But there was no breach of continuity between Ezra and the
Pharisees, either in principle or even in the means by which that
principle was worked out. For there were in every generation the
teachers and expounders of the Torah, as there were always those who
depended on the guidance of such teachers. The name of the Men of the
Great Synagogue had passed out of use, as it was believed that the
institution itself came to an end. But the Rabbinical tradition recorded
the names of those who successively handed on the teaching in which the
meaning of the Torah was unfolded, and its application to new conditions
indicated. The line of this descent is through the Pharisees and not
through the Sadducees. Not because the Sadducees did not care about the
religion of Torah; but because the Pharisees, strange as it may sound,
kept the religion of Torah as a living principle, capable of being
adapted and needing to be adapted to fresh developments of religious
life, while the Sadducees held to the letter of the original scripture,
and refused innovations. The practical bearing of this appears in the
fact that the Sadducees kept in their own hands, as long as they could,
not merely the governing authority, but the judicial power in criminal
cases. And the hostility between Pharisees and Sadducees was expressed
in a long struggle for the mastery. The Pharisees never obtained
permanently the political mastery. But they did gain, for some of their
representatives, a place in the Sanhedrin, the great assembly of the
leading men of the nation. And, what was more, they did obtain a control
over the Temple, to this extent that the ritual there was performed
according to the requirements of the Pharisees, the Sadducean priests
consenting to this as the condition on which they held their office. It
is stated in the Mishnah (Joma iii. 5) that representatives of the
Beth-Din, _i.e._ Pharisees, administered an oath to the High Priest on
the day of atonement, saying to him: "'Sir, High Priest, we are the
delegates of the Beth-Din, and thou art our delegate and the delegate of
the Beth-Din, and we adjure thee, by Him whose name dwells on this
house, that thou wilt not alter a thing of all that we have said to
thee,' and he departs, weeping, and they depart, weeping." A singular
touch, expressive, as it would seem, of mutual distrust.

The Pharisees also succeeded at last in wresting from the Sadducees the
power of judicial decision in criminal cases; and the ancient calendar,
known as Megillath Taanith, marks the 14th Tammuz (July) as a festival,
because on that day the Sadducean penal code was abolished. This same
calendar, which is a Pharisaic document, contains several other
anti-Sadducean references.

The Pharisees, then, represent that element in the Jewish nation which
was most zealous for the religion of Torah, and most thorough-going in
the application of its principles. So long as the Sadducees existed, the
name Pharisee also remained.

With the downfall of the Jewish state, after the war of A.D. 70, the
Sadducees disappear from history. The Pharisees remained, as
representing all that was left alive of Judaism; but the name was no
longer needed, and seldom if ever used. The Jewish remnant were not
indeed all Pharisees, in the strict sense of the term; but they were on
the whole in sympathy with them, as they always had been.

If I have clearly indicated the relations of the Pharisees and Sadducees
to each other, and to the mass of the nation, it will be easy to
indicate the place of two other classes of persons bearing well-known
names. The Essenes stand apart from the main body of the Jewish people;
they were ascetics and recluses, of more than Pharisaic strictness (for
asceticism was not a characteristic feature of Pharisaism either in
practice or theory), and they combined with the religion of Torah
certain mystical doctrines of their own. Whatever influence they may
have had upon other elements in Judaism, they had little if any upon

There remains the class called "Am-ha-aretz," or "the people of the land
"--the "people that knoweth not the law" (John vii. 49). This title
denotes, not a definite division, but simply those amongst the people
who in fact were least influenced by the Pharisees, and least drawn to
them. Such would be not only the careless and indifferent, but also
those who, for higher reasons, did not readily fall in with the
Pharisaic system, or to whom religion as presented by them was not
acceptable. It is these mainly who are referred to when it is said that
Jesus saw the people "as sheep without a shepherd" (Mark vi. 34). And it
is only likely that those would most gladly hear him who were least
inclined to follow the Pharisees.

From this sketch of the composition of the Jewish nation, in the time of
Christ and thereabouts, it will be seen that the main line of
development is represented by Pharisaism. It comes down from the time of
Ezra, as the religion of Torah, expounded and administered by approved
teachers, known from the first as Sopherim. The names Ḥasidim and
Pharisee denote its most zealous representatives at two different
periods; but they imply no change of principle, or even of method. What
change there was is seen in the growth of a body of teaching, the
decisions and interpretations of successive exponents of Torah, handed
on and repeated from memory, for the instruction of those who should
come after. This is what is known as the Tradition of the Elders,
referred to in Mark vii. 5 and elsewhere. And when I come to deal with
the theory of Torah in the next chapter, I shall show how this Tradition
of the Elders was a sign of the continued vitality of the religion of
Torah, not the gradual strangling of it. At present I am only concerned
with the fact, not with the meaning of it. The Tradition of the Elders
can be traced in the Mishnah up to the time of the early Sopherim, not
far distant from Ezra; it is the thread which binds together the
development, through Ḥasidism and Pharisaism, of the Jewish religion.
And it marks the course of the main stream of Judaism far on through the
centuries. The Essenes vanished. The Sadducees were swept away when the
Temple was destroyed. It was the Pharisees who alone could or did
weather that storm, and carry the divine treasure of the religion of
Torah into safety. Already, in the time when Jesus was a boy, Hillel the
Babylonian had applied his genius to the interpretation of Torah in ways
which gave it a fresh power of ministry to spiritual wants. And when,
seventy years later, the catastrophe came, the man was ready who should
go forth from Jerusalem, and establish for the ancient religion a
"temple not made with hands." Joḥanan ben Zaccai was that man. When he
saw that the city was doomed, he went to the Emperor Vespasian, and made
his submission to the force that could no longer be resisted (b. Gitt.
56^b). The Emperor asked what he should give him, though he sought no
reward. "Give me Jabneh and its wise men"--Jabneh being a town on the
coast, where already there were some of the leading Pharisaic teachers.
The request was granted, and Joḥanan b. Zaccai gathered in Jabneh the
remnants of the learning and wisdom of Judaism. There he and his
colleagues repaired the shattered fabric of the religious life of their
people, and adjusted it to the new conditions. The Temple with all that
belonged to it was gone for ever. But the Synagogue and the College
remained, as the home both of worship and study; and the religion of
Torah probably gained rather than lost by being finally cut loose from
association with the Temple cultus. The assembly at Jabneh took up the
task of developing the religion of Torah, and carrying forward the
Tradition of the Elders, where it had been interrupted by the war. The
teachers to whose hands that task was now committed were henceforth
known as the Wise; the names Sopherim and Pharisee were seldom used, but
the essential features of their work remained unchanged, and it was
carried on in the ancient spirit.

In the interval between the capture of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and the
almost greater disaster in A.D. 135, when the revolt of Bar Coch'ba was
stamped out, the assembly of the Rabbis met from time to time in
Jabneh, or Lydda; and even during the persecution which followed on the
failure of the last rebellion, when the Jewish teachers were hunted up
and down, and Akiba, the greatest of them, was tortured to death, there
were still left those who would carry on the tradition of their
religion. These were young men who received ordination as Rabbis, when
it meant death to be a Rabbi at all, if he should fall into the hands of
the Romans. It is told (b. Sanh. 14ª) of R. Jehudah b. Baba, that he
took six of his disciples into a secluded spot and there ordained them,
and that he had hardly finished before he was discovered by the
soldiers, and fell, stabbed with Roman spears. The six young men all
survived to become the teachers of the next generation. They handed on
what had been committed to them as a sacred trust, the religion of
Torah, and the tradition in which its meaning and contents were set
forth in growing fulness and clearness.

This takes us out of the period covered by the New Testament. But I add
the few words necessary to round off the bare account I have given of
the development of Judaism through the Pharisees.

The Tradition of the Elders, as I have said, increased in volume and
complexity as each generation of teachers added something to it. The
necessity, therefore, gradually made itself felt of arranging and
systematising the great mass of traditional matter. This was attempted
first by the R. Akiba just mentioned, then by R. Meir, one of the six
young men ordained in the time of the persecution. But it was only
carried to completion, after long years of labour, by R. Jehudah
ha-Kadosh, commonly called "Rabbi," _par excellence_. He collected all
that he could find of the decisions and opinions of earlier teachers,
sorted them out under different heads, noted those which were
universally admitted and those which were doubtful, and thus framed a
code of law for the guidance of all Jews. This collection is the
Mishnah; and the text as we have it now represents, in the main, the
code of Rabbi. There are, of course, interpolations and additions to it.
There is another great collection known as Tosephta, containing a good
deal of the same material; it is nearly contemporary, but it has never
had the same authority as the Mishnah. The date of the Mishnah can be
put at about the year 210. Rabbi died in 219. The Mishnah became in its
turn the subject of study in the Rabbinical schools, and two fresh lines
of tradition begin from this point, each of them starting with a
disciple of Rabbi. One of them is the line of development of the Mishnah
in the Palestinian schools, of which the chief seat was Tiberias; the
other was the line of development of that same Mishnah in the Babylonian
schools--Sura, Nehardea, Pumbeditha, and others. The result of each
process was a mass of commentary on the Mishnah, and not merely
commentary but accretions of every kind having any sort of connection
with Judaism as a living religion. This development of the Mishnah is
in each case called Gemara. And Mishnah plus Gemara is the Talmud. There
is only one Mishnah, but there are two Gemaras, differently named
according to the land of their origin. And it is usual to speak of the
Palestinian Talmud and of the Babylonian Talmud respectively.

Neither of these two was ever completed. The Palestinian schools, at the
end of the fourth century, had no one left who was capable of carrying
on the work; and in Babylonia, though much more was done, a final
completion was never reached. After the beginning of the sixth century
nothing more was ever added to the Talmud; and even of what was in
existence then, not all survives now.

In the Talmud is contained the main source for the knowledge of what
Pharisaism meant; because it was made the storehouse in which all, or
nearly all, that was held to be valuable in the Tradition of the Elders,
the explicit religion of Torah, was stored up. There is a huge
literature contemporary with the Talmud, to which the general name of
Midrash is given; all of it is traditional, and all of it bears on the
religion of Torah, in one way or another. This is the written deposit of
Pharisaism, the mark which it has left upon the literature of the world.
It is there, and not in the writings of those who did not understand its
ideals or share its hopes, that its real meaning can alone be found.
Those ideals and hopes first dawned in Jewish minds under the influence
of Ezra. The Talmud is the witness to show how some of his countrymen,
some of the bravest, some of the ablest, some of the most pious and
saintly, and a host of unnamed faithful, were true to those ideals and
clung to those hopes; and how, through good report and ill report,
through shocks of disaster and the ruin of their state, ground down by
persecution, or torn by faction, steadily facing enemies without and
enemies within, they held on to the religion of Torah. They have not
sought, and they certainly have not found, the praise of men for their
steadfastness. For these are the Pharisees, and the world has for them
only a contemptuous gibe. Who was it that said: "For every idle word
that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of



In the preceding chapter I sketched the historical development of
Pharisaism from its source in the work of Ezra to the time when it had
found its literary expression in the Talmud and the Midrash. I said that
from first to last what was developed was the religion of Torah. It is
therefore essential to the understanding of Pharisaism that the reader
should, first, obtain a clear conception of the meaning of Torah, and,
second, that he should bear that conception always in mind in his
further study of Pharisaism. It will be my task in the present chapter
to show what Torah meant, and what form the religion of Torah actually,
and perhaps necessarily, assumed. If I succeed, then the reader will
understand how it was that Rabbinical devotion to Torah could express
itself quite naturally in terms which to the unenlightened Gentile
appear to be extravagant--as, for instance, when it is said that God
studies Torah for three hours every day (b. A. Zar. 3^b).

There would be no particular difficulty in understanding what is meant
by Torah, if it were not that it is commonly supposed that the word
"Law" is the just equivalent of it. The Greek, alike of the Septuagint
and of the New Testament, renders "Torah" by νὁμος; and while
the translators of the New Testament rightly rendered νὁμος by
"Law," they nevertheless perpetuated what was a misconception on the
part of those who used the Greek word to represent "Torah." It is to
avoid that misconception that I have already used, and shall continue to
use, the word "Torah" untranslated, as a technical term whose full
implication cannot be expressed in any one English word. It is true that
the word "torah" is simply and correctly translated by the word
"teaching"; but, as used in the later Judaism, it denotes a particular
kind of teaching, and also the sum-total of what was taught as well as
the vehicle or medium by which it was given. It further denotes any
particular portion of that teaching. In short, it is a word into which
the Rabbis compressed more meaning than can be found in any other word
in their language; and we shall more readily grasp that varied meaning
if we keep to the word Torah, as being unspoiled by erroneous

The original meaning, then, of the word Torah is simply "teaching," any
kind of instruction given by any person to any other person; for
instance, Prov. i. 8, "Forsake not the 'torah' of thy mother." More
specifically, it was religious teaching, conceived as given either by
God to Israel, or by man to his fellow-man. Thus, Isa. li. 7, "the
people in whose heart is my Torah" (where the speaker is God); and, for
human instruction, Deut. xvii. 11, "according to the tenor of the
'Torah' which they shall teach thee," "they" being the priests. This
last passage gives the clue to the further developments of the word. It
had been for ages the custom in Israel for the priests to give
instruction to the people upon matters connected with religion,
explanations of duty, decisions of disputes, intimations of the will of
God. This was, of course, Torah; and it was Torah which was regarded as
being given by God through human agency. The Torah which the Lord gave
by the hand of Moses would not originally imply any code or book, but
simply such ancient sayings, precepts or otherwise, as were
traditionally ascribed to Moses as the great teacher of Israel in the
days of old. The connection of Torah with Moses, though others might
have given Torah as well as he, had this result, that gradually a body
of traditional teaching was accumulated, ascribed to him and bearing his
name; and the several attempts to collect and codify these are to be
seen in the various strata of the Pentateuch. They are mostly in the
form of precept and command, as was only likely, since they were
intended for the guidance of conduct. But that was not why they were
called Torah. If Moses had taught something that was not commandment at
all, it would still have been Torah, because it was taught.

In this sense, Israel had never been without Torah; and the prophet no
less than the priest owned that in it God had continually taught His
people. Prophecy itself was only a form of Torah, for the prophet spoke
the word of the Lord.

Now, whatever else Ezra introduced that was new, it was not Torah. If he
had religious teaching to give, as of course he had, he only followed in
the train of the prophets and priests from Moses downwards. And when he
offered Torah to the people, they knew what he was referring to. Nor did
the novelty consist in the fact that Ezra made known to them a larger
body of Torah than they had previously been acquainted with. It does not
greatly matter, for the present purpose, whether the book which Ezra
read to the people was the Priestly Code, or the whole Pentateuch
substantially, though not finally, complete. For even if the earlier
documents had not been as yet welded into one whole with the Priestly
Code, they were nevertheless in existence, and were already owned as
Torah of Moses.

What Ezra did was to lay a much greater emphasis upon the need of
obedience to what was contained in the book of Torah (or the books) as
being the duty of every Israelite. What was in fact the collected
accretions of centuries, was regarded by Ezra, and by all Israel, as
Torah from God communicated by Moses, and therefore entitled to
precedence over any Torah imparted to anyone else. The book, or books,
in which it was recorded contained all that God had chosen to reveal for
the instruction of His people. The five books of Moses were the written
form of the Torah. They were not the Torah itself. It is only for
convenience that the Pentateuch is often called the Torah. The two are
not identical. The Pentateuch differs from the Torah as the vessel
differs from its contents, even though there be but one unique vessel in
which those contents are preserved. Ezra, then, offered for the
acceptance of Israel, in the book that he read to them, what he believed
to be the full revelation which God had made. But he went beyond those
who had preceded him, beyond even those who had carried through the
reform of which the book of Deuteronomy is the manifesto, by reason of
the stress which he laid upon personal and individual acceptance of it.
Deuteronomy, no doubt, contained over and over again the demand, "Thou
shalt observe to do" according to all these commandments, and it
enforced the demand by the appalling catalogue of curses upon the
disobedient which may be read in the 28th chapter. But Deuteronomy was
written before the Exile, and Ezra lived after it. The priests had given
Torah, and the prophets had proclaimed God's revelation of His nature
and of man's relation to Him and consequent duty. They had been
pre-eminently preachers of righteousness. But yet, in spite of the zeal
of the prophets and the teaching of the priests, the bitter lesson of
the Exile had proved that Israel had not served his God as he ought to
have done. It was Ezra's function to apply the lesson of the Exile and
to direct the religious life of Israel into such lines that no similar
disaster should again be experienced; or rather, that no such sin should
again be committed as had led to that disaster. Ezekiel, indeed, had
been the first to perceive the necessity of a change in the direction of
Israel's life; but he had lived at a time too early for a real beginning
to be made. Yet it can hardly be doubted that the seed, which Ezekiel
sowed among the captives in Babylonia, bore fruit in the ideas which
underlay the reformation of Ezra. When Ezra came forward with the book
of the Torah, he did so not in any sense as an opponent of the prophets,
or as making a breach between their ideas and his own. He came forward
to enforce their teaching, to apply it, and to get from it a larger
result of practical righteousness than it had produced in their time. It
was just because the prophets had so splendidly revealed God to Israel,
had proclaimed to him the full grandeur of his privilege, that Israel
must now be taught to do his part as he had never done it before. The
greater the privilege the greater the responsibility. So far from being
at variance with the ideas of the prophets, Ezra was the one to complete
them, or at least to put his people in the way of completing them. There
is a difference of method between Ezra and the prophets; there is no
difference of principle. And as the Pharisees and the later Rabbis did
but carry out the method and the principle of Ezra, they stand in the
same line with him as the legitimate successors and continuators of the
prophets.[2] It may be said with truth that of the later types of
Judaism--Hellenism, Apocalyptic, and Rabbinism--the last, and only the
last, carried on and handed down the inheritance which the prophets had
left. What Hellenism and Apocalyptic had to give went to Christianity,
so far as it survived at all.

     [2] This claim is made in the Talmud, b. B.B. 12ª, where it is said
     that prophecy was taken from the prophets and given to the Wise,
     _i.e._ the Rabbis, and that it has not been taken from them.

The purpose of Ezra was to lay stress on the embodiment, in the
practical life of the individual Jew, of the teaching of the prophets
(including Moses) concerning God and Israel. The main point for Ezra was
that God had taught certain things--knowledge of Himself, knowledge of
His will. What had been taught must be learned and taken to heart, and,
so far as it was of the nature of precept, must be carried out in
practice. It was not enough to _know_; the Israelite was required to
_do_ and to _be_.

The practical application of this idea needed the acceptance of it on
the part of the people, and further, a definite undertaking to make
certain changes in their manner of life. And, before all, it was
necessary that they should, so far as possible, separate themselves from
the "peoples of the lands" in whose midst they found themselves, on
returning from the Exile. This is, of course, the meaning of the putting
away of the foreign wives, and the forbidding of such marriages for the
future. The general programme of the reform is set forth in Neh. x.,
which is nothing more than the logical corollary of the acceptance of
Torah. Among the points there specified, besides the prohibition of
intermarriage with foreigners, are the observance of the Sabbath, the
payment of the tax for the service of the house of God, and the duty of
bringing first-fruits and tithes. Of course these provisions do not
cover the whole duty of the Jew, and they were not intended to do so.
Their purpose was to set up the Jews as a closed corporation, distinct
from the surrounding peoples, and to provide for the maintenance of the
Jewish cultus. Within the limits thus drawn, this enclosure marked off
from the Gentile world, the Jew was to live his whole life, and the
Torah was to be his guide in doing so. The limits were drawn in order to
make it possible for the Jew to live up to the Torah. The limits
themselves are not part of the Torah; and hence it follows that a Jew
could live with complete loyalty to the Torah, and yet be but little
conscious of the limits within which he enjoyed his spiritual freedom
and privileges. Unless occasion reminded him of the fact of separation
between him and the Gentiles, he could give his whole mind to the
immediate concerns of his religious life--meditation, prayer, and the
doing of his duties towards God and man. His thought was not taken up
with a painful study of precepts, but was free to range over the whole
relation in which he stood towards God. The Torah was his guide to the
_whole_ meaning of that relation, not merely to the performance of
specified duties. And therefore, when Ezra prevailed on the Jews to
become a separate community, he was not condemning them to a life of
barren legalism, cutting them off from a free communion with God; he
was providing for them a means whereby they could enjoy that free
communion, defended against the dangers which, in the past, had been so
disastrous to the religious life of the people. It is, of course, true
that in doing so he was at the same time cutting the Jews off from free
intercourse with their fellow-men of non-Jewish race, and thereby
restricting their development as human beings. And the Jews ever since
have paid a heavy price for that separation. But in Ezra's time free
intercourse with non-Jewish peoples did not seem at all a desirable
thing, if the Jewish people were to survive. It is indeed difficult to
believe that they would have survived, if the policy of Ezra had not
been carried out. And if they had not, what would have become of the
Jewish religion? And how would the great spiritual treasure of the
prophets (to say nothing of the Torah itself) have become available for
those who, in a later age, were to depend so largely upon it? Whether
the policy of separation is to be for ever kept up, is a question which
the future must decide. But that Ezra saved the Jewish religion and the
Jewish people is hardly open to dispute.

Ezra, then, provided for the Jews an enclosure, marked off from the
Gentile world, within which to live their religious life; and he gave
them the Torah, as being the full revelation which God had made through
Moses, for their guide in the life they should thenceforth live there.
Clearly, no one would enter that enclosure, or remain within it, unless
he really and seriously meant to live on the lines of Torah. And that is
why, from the time of Ezra, the importance of Torah becomes so marked,
and insistence on it so emphatic; why, in short, from that time, the
Torah dominates the whole field of religion for those who followed the
lead of Ezra. They virtually declared that they would stand or fall by
the Torah. For them, the Torah was the medium through which religion
became real to them; as it were, the glass through which they viewed
all the dealings of God with their own race in the past, and with
mankind in general. This will be more fully seen when we come to what
the Talmud has to say about Torah. But that is only the expansion in
detail, as pious imagination dwelt upon the theme, of the idea which
Ezra planted in the mind of his people, that of the supreme importance
of Torah as the revelation which God had made, the perfect guide, the
source of all that could be known or required to be known, by him who
would "love God with all his heart, and with all his strength, and with
all his might."

The Jew who followed the lead of Ezra was, as before, a member of the
community of Israel; but he was, in a far greater degree than before,
aware of his own responsibility for the right living of his life in
relation to God, the doing and the being of what was pleasing to Him.
The Torah was given to Israel; but it was none the less addressed to
each Jew. And that, not merely in regard to particular precepts but in
regard to the religious teaching as a whole. It may be true that
nothing in the Pentateuch rises to the height of spiritual grandeur
attained by the great prophets. It may be true that their free
inspiration denoted a power and fulness of religious life greater than
could be developed by the Torah as a body of teaching, or even regarded
as a final revelation. But however sublime the religion of the great
prophets had been, the religion of the ordinary Israelite had by no
means attained to the same degree of power and fulness. If it had done
so, there would not have been the collapse of national religious life
which brought about the Exile. The effect of making the Torah the guide
of life, the seat of authority in religion, was to deepen the spiritual
life of the ordinary Jew; it gave him a stronger sense of personal
responsibility, and opened out to him regions of religious experience of
which he had seldom if ever been aware. The effect of thus exalting the
Torah was not, as it is so often said to have been, to cramp and harden
the spiritual nature of the Jew, by confining it within definite limits
and oppressing it by precise commands. I would not say that this never
happened; because it is not wise to assert a universal negative. But it
certainly was not the primary or the usual effect. The Torah made the
religion of Israel personal and individual to a far greater degree than
it had been before; and it did so by conveying to the individual Jew not
merely the legal precept but the prophetic fervour, the joy and the
inspiration of personal communion with God as well as the high privilege
of serving Him. The introduction of the Torah was not the signal for a
decline in the national religious life, but the beginning of a new and
strenuous advance; and whereas, before, the prophets had towered high
above the mass of the people, who had remained at a comparatively low
level of spiritual attainment, henceforth there is a great development
of the spiritual nature of the ordinary people, the individual Jew.
There were no more prophets, because there was no further need of any
prophets. Their work was done; and in respect of that part of their
work where they had failed, Ezra and his followers succeeded. The
prophets had declared the full meaning of the religion of Israel, its
glorious hopes, its triumphant certainties, its boundless possibilities.
The people had heard, but had too little heeded. Ezra, by means of the
Torah, and expressly and intentionally by that means, drove all this
home to the heart of the individual Jew, and so wrought it into the very
texture of his religious nature that it has remained there ever since.
It is high time to put away altogether, as one of the exploded errors of
history, the notion that Ezra, by the exaltation of the Torah to the
supreme place in Jewish religion, set that religion upon the down-grade.
I believe it to be nearer the truth to say that after Moses, and Isaiah
(or perhaps Jeremiah), Ezra is the third greatest man in the Old

It can scarcely be too often repeated that the Torah, as Ezra understood
it, meant divine teaching upon all and everything that concerned
religion. It was not confined to commands, positive or negative, but
included everything that bore upon religion at all. This is evident on
the face of it; because the contents of the Pentateuch (which is the
written embodiment of the Torah) include much else beside precept. As a
Rabbi pointed out, long afterwards, if the Torah had been only precept,
it would have been sufficient to begin it at Exod. xii. 2, where the
first precept occurs. "And why was it written (Gen. i. 1), 'In the
beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, etc.'? To show the
power of His might" (R. Jitzḥak, in Tanḥ 4ª). The meaning of which is
that the Torah is a revelation of more than the divine will.

The view that the Torah, as recorded in the Pentateuch, is the supreme
revelation which God made to Israel, and that it covers the whole extent
of the religious life, theoretical as well as practical, is implied in
the position which it held in Judaism from the time of Ezra onwards, and
underlies all that the Talmud says about it. There is no point in the
long line from Ezra to the closing of the Talmud, at which it can be
said: "Here the conception of the Torah was narrowed into the meaning of
mere legal precept." It was at no time thus narrowed. And if, as is
often admitted, Judaism, after Ezra and before Christ, allowed of a
considerable degree of spiritual attainment on the part of those who
were under the Torah, there is no ground for denying the possibility of
such spiritual attainment on the part of Jews in or after the time of
Christ, because the conception of the Torah remained the same in
essence. What change there was, between Ezra and the Pharisees and the
later Rabbis in the Talmud, was in the opposite direction to that of
restriction of its meaning. They realised far more than Ezra did, or
could do, the fulness and richness of the Torah as a divine revelation;
and while they took a delight in glorifying it on its imperative side,
as embodying divine commands, they never dreamed of saying that the
Torah was precept and nothing more.

In his well-known book, _Die alt-synagogale Theologie_, p. 24, Weber
says: "If we have to admit that this praise of Torah (in the Talmudic
literature) is entirely in accord with similar praise of Torah in the
Psalms, we must nevertheless not forget that here (_i.e._ in the Talmud)
the Torah is praised as Law, while in Scripture the conception of Torah
is wider and includes all revelation, alike of law and of salvation."

The opposition here alleged does not exist; and the statement that it
does is the cardinal error of Weber's mischievous book. For the right
understanding of Pharisaic Judaism, the fact that Weber is the usually
accepted guide is well-nigh fatal. It will be observed, however, that
Weber admits the wider conception of the Torah in the later books of the
Old Testament, especially in the Psalms; and that is all that matters at
present. It is of importance to realise that the spiritual life of
Israel not merely ought to have done, but actually did increase and
develop under the influence of that Torah which Ezra had exalted to the
supreme place. There are two very important indications of the truth of
this statement; one is the rise of the Synagogue, and the other is the
growth and completion of the book of Psalms. It will be no digression,
but an appeal to evidence directly bearing on the subject, to speak at
this point of both these.

The origin of the Synagogue is to this extent unknown, that no precise
date can be assigned at which it was first instituted. But it did not
appear in Palestine before the time of Ezra, and it was already ancient
and immemorial in the time of the Maccabees. It is possible, and even
probable, that it arose amongst the captives in Babylonia. It is certain
that it spread through the whole Jewish community in Palestine when it
was introduced. The Synagogue, Beth-ha-keneseth, "meeting-house," was a
place where Jews assembled for religious purposes. It is reasonable to
suppose that what first led to the establishment of such places, by the
captives in Babylonia, was the fact that they were cut off for an
indefinite time from their native land, and the Temple of their God. It
was not only that they were prevented by distance from "going up to the
Temple to pray"; it was that the Temple itself was destroyed, and its
services no longer performed. There was thus no national worship of God
at all. Yet God was still there, to be worshipped. Trust in Him had not
died out from Jewish hearts when Jerusalem fell. What more simple and
natural, for all that it was in fact an unheard-of innovation, than that
here and there a company of brothers in exile should meet together, and
pray to the God of their fathers? So far as I know, there had never
been, in the world's history, any form of congregational worship till
the Synagogue appeared. Till then, worship had usually been performed in
some temple or local shrine, and consisted in the offering of some gift
or sacrifice, usually through the medium of a priest, and accompanied no
doubt by some prescribed prayer. This was done in the Temple in
Jerusalem, while the Temple yet stood. And the Synagogue did not set out
to do the same thing on a small scale, but to do something entirely
different. The time came when the Temple service was restored, and the
ancient sacrifices offered again with the fullest pomp of ritual. But
the Synagogue did not on that account suspend its operations, or show
the least sign of declining in popular favour.

The idea of the Synagogue was twofold; it was a place of worship, _i.e._
congregational worship, and it was a place of teaching, _i.e._ religious
teaching. It has kept that twofold character ever since, or at all
events kept it till long after the Talmudic period. For the Synagogue
had come to stay, and it has continued down to the present day. Of all
the institutions that man has ever devised, the one with the longest
continuous history is the Synagogue. And that it answers to a real and
permanent religious need is shown by the fact that the Christian
religion took over both the idea and the form of the Synagogue, in
organising its own meetings for worship, and has retained them ever
since; except where sacrificial ideas, derived partly from the Temple
worship and partly from pagan ritual, have interfered with and spoiled
the simplicity of the Synagogue type of service. It is highly remarkable
that the same elements which are familiar in Christian worship--hymn,
prayer, Scripture reading, and sermon--are found in the earliest
Synagogue services so far back as the records go. And the reason why
they have been retained, practically unaltered, is surely this, that
they have been found to answer their purpose so well that no change was
felt to be needed. Whoever first devised the form of the Synagogue
service came, no doubt unconsciously, upon one of the fundamentals of
the spiritual nature of man, made one of the discoveries which determine
the future development of the race for all time. The Synagogue perhaps
grew up rather than was intentionally created; and it was accepted
because it so exactly met the needs of those who first made use of it.
During some twenty-three centuries it has served the purpose of common
worship, both in its Jewish and its Christian form; and when it is
considered how enormous has been the influence of the practice of
meeting for common worship, such as the Synagogue first provided and
made possible, then it becomes highly significant that the Synagogue
appeared in close connection with the labours of Ezra and the new
emphasis laid on the Torah. Whether, on the supposition that the
Synagogue arose on Babylonian soil, it owed its origin to the conception
of Torah as Ezra understood it, we have no means of knowing. But it is
certain that its rapid spread in Palestine took place when the idea of
Torah was already made dominant. And the Synagogue was naturally adapted
to embody that idea. As the Torah was the revelation which God had made
to Israel, the study of it and the practical application of it were
both associated with the "house of meeting." To study it was to ponder
the meaning of the revelation. And to practise it was, amongst other
things, to worship the God who had given it. The Synagogue was intended
to develop through religious fellowship the whole nature of those who
met there, spiritual and moral, and by no means only intellectual. And
even if the Torah which they studied had been nothing but precepts, yet
these included a personal devotion to the service of God which was
practically unthinkable without worship of Him. It was as natural that
those who met in the Synagogue should join in prayer together, as that
they should read or hear the book of the Torah, and should edify one
another by expounding its contents. That is what they did; and the
Synagogue did not fail to become a most important factor in deepening
and strengthening the spiritual life of the people at large.

Now if the effect of the exaltation of Torah, due to Ezra, had been, as
it is usually said to have been, gradually to harden and cramp the
spiritual freedom of the Jewish mind, then either the Synagogue would
have ceased to minister in any way to spiritual needs, or else it would
have represented a protest against the deadening influence of Torah. But
in actual fact there has never been, at all events till quite recent
years, any such opposition between the Synagogue and the religion of
Torah. On the contrary, it was precisely the religion of Torah which the
Synagogue, through all these centuries, has existed to promote; and it
was the Synagogue, so inspired, which served as the type and model of
Christian worship. The Synagogue is one of the first-fruits of that
Judaism which, under the lead of Ezra, took its stand upon the Torah.

Further evidence in the same direction, namely, that the tendency of the
religion of Torah was not towards spiritual decline, is afforded by the
book of Psalms. That evidence would be more cogent than it is, if it
were possible to fix with certainty the date of every Psalm. That
cannot be done; but the fact remains that the collection of the Psalms,
and the use of that collection as a lyrical expression of devotion,
belong to the time after, and not before, the age of Ezra. It is often
said that the book of Psalms is the hymn-book of the second Temple; and
I do not challenge the general correctness of that statement. But some,
at all events, of the Psalms seem to be less adapted to the Temple
service than to that of the Synagogue. I mean that those utterances of
intensely personal devotion which make the Psalms so wonderful a
treasure of spiritual experience, are much more in keeping with the
simple worship of the Synagogue than with the stately and official
celebrations of the Temple. It might indeed be said that some of the
Psalms are too personal even for the congregational worship of the
Synagogue, if we did not know, from common usage, that hymns of that
character are constantly sung in Christian worship. There is hardly any
one of the Psalms which could not have been quite well sung in the
Synagogue; while there are many which have no obvious fitness for the
service of the Temple. But, in any case, it was not until after Ezra had
made Torah the dominant factor in Judaism that the book of Psalms was
collected and arranged, and in part composed, as we have it now. It
contains hymns of an older date, in some cases perhaps a much older
date. And it is possible that some smaller collections had been made in
times before Ezra. But there are several Psalms which quite clearly owe
their origin to the idea of Torah as the supreme revelation, besides
others which bear witness to the influence of that idea; while the
collection of the whole is best explained as due to the need, first
brought to the Jewish consciousness by the Synagogue, of some means of
giving united expression to the thoughts and feelings of a worshipping
multitude. Of course it is not here implied that the collection or
production of the book of Psalms took place immediately after the time
of Ezra. The collection may have only been completed as late as the
first century B.C. But the point is that the whole was collected, and
much of it composed, under the influence of the religious ideas
associated with Ezra and the Torah. And it should be observed that the
later be the date assigned to the composition of some of the Psalms, and
the final collection of the whole of them, the stronger is the evidence
that the religion of Torah was not the unspiritual formalism that it is
often supposed to have been.

I shall have more to say about the Psalms, as evidence for the meaning
of the religion of Torah, in the last chapter, in which I shall deal
with Pharisaism as a spiritual religion. For the present enough,
perhaps, has been said to show that the Judaism to which Ezra gave its
distinguishing character by raising the Torah to its supreme place
there, was thereby enriched and not impoverished on its spiritual side;
it did not sink but rise, it became not more shallow and poor, but more
full and deep, with greater power than it ever had before as a
determining factor in individual life.

It may be objected, at this point, "All this may be very true, in regard
to the religion of Ezra, as conditioned by Torah; but does it hold good
in regard to the religion of the Pharisees, of whom, in this chapter,
nothing has as yet been said? Ezra may have been such as has been
described; but it is the Pharisees who are commonly said to have been
mere legalists in their ethics, and formalists in their worship." I am
quite ready to meet that challenge; and it was for the purpose of
preparing to meet it that I have been so careful to make clear the
conception of Torah implied in the work of Ezra, and its effect upon the
religion of those who followed his lead.

As has been said already, there was no divergence in principle between
Ezra and the Pharisees. Both accepted with entire assent the conception
of the Torah as the supreme revelation made by God to Israel; and they
owned in like manner, with entire assent, the duty of conforming in
thought, word, and deed to the divine teaching therein contained. In
what, then, did the Pharisees differ from Ezra? In what directions was
development possible from the idea of Torah as he conceived it? And in
particular, what line of development was still open to the Pharisees
when they first became a distinct element in the Jewish national life?

In the time between Ezra and the Maccabees that provision had been made
of the Synagogue worship, to which reference has already been made; and
within the lines of a liturgy whose simple beginnings are ascribed to
the Men of the Great Synagogue, and which was further enlarged by the
piety of later generations, that piety continued to find expression in
public worship. Private prayer never confined itself to stated forms;
and private prayer was always an essential element in the religion of
Torah. It must never be forgotten, that in all the developments of
Pharisaism and Rabbinism on the lines of theology and the practical
conduct of life, the spiritual and devotional side is always involved.
The men who built up the huge fabric of Talmudic casuistry were men who
prayed to their Father in Heaven (calling Him by that name), and who, in
simplicity of heart, "worshipped him in spirit and in truth." If this is
challenged, (though it would not be challenged by anyone who really
knows the Rabbis), then I ask, were the great men who built up the
equally huge fabric of Christian doctrinal theology men in whom the
spiritual nature was atrophied? Let Augustine answer for his brethren
among the Christians; and if his answer be allowed, (and no one who has
read the _Confessions_ will dispute it), then let it be allowed that R.
Akiba, a double-dyed Pharisee if there ever was one, and a master of
Halachah, may also have known "the deep things of God," and "walked in
the light of His countenance."

The development of the religion of Torah from Ezra to the Pharisees, and
on to the Talmud, took place along two main lines, it being understood
that through all the spiritual and devotional side was ministered to.
The two lines of development are indicated by two words, of which I have
just mentioned one--Hălāchah and Hăggādah. To grasp the significance of
these terms is essential for the right understanding of Pharisaism. I
will not give a definition of them, just at this point, but will rather
describe the two methods by which the Torah was interpreted, and for
which these two names were chosen.

The Torah, as recorded in the Pentateuch, was set up by Ezra as the
supreme revelation made by God to Israel. It was Teaching intended to be
learned. Now one of the first things that must be learned by any man who
would serve God is _How_ he shall serve Him. What shall he refrain from
doing? How shall he know, if he is in doubt, whether he ought to do
_this_ or _that_? And again, many things are done as being customary;
there are usages, observances, ceremonial acts of which the origin is
not known. Are these to be approved or condemned, when tried by the
standard of the right service of God?

On the lines laid down by Ezra, and followed by the Pharisees and the
Rabbis, the answer to questions such as these was to be sought in the
Torah. Answers to some of them were found at once. In many passages, the
words were explicit: "Thou shalt do _so_," or "Thou shalt not do _so_."
In other passages, minute directions were given for the performance of
certain acts. But cases would arise which were not expressly dealt with
in the written Torah; and in such cases it became the duty of those who
had most deeply studied it, to give a decision according to what they
believed to be the intention of the Torah. They would infer from what it
enjoined in a given set of circumstances, what it would enjoin in a
somewhat different set of circumstances. This is what the early Sopherim
did, and probably Ezra himself. And these decisions were on the one hand
interpretations of the Torah, and on the other hand rules of conduct,
to be applied as occasion might require. On both accounts they were
carefully handed down, for the guidance and instruction of posterity.
This is the Tradition of the Elders, and it extends from Ezra to the
closing of the Talmud.

Now let us examine that tradition at some suitable point, say the
beginning of our era, when Pharisaism was fully established. The
Tradition of the Elders had become by that time a considerable body of
decisions, originally given by way of interpreting the Torah so as to
apply it in particular cases. These decisions were not written down, but
preserved in memory. A Pharisee would say that all these were part of
the Torah. They were not something added on to it, of merely human as
opposed to divine authority. They were successive unfoldings of what had
been hidden in the Torah from the beginning. The particular teacher who
had given such and such an interpretation, thereby rendered explicit
what had till then been implicit in the Torah. The Torah was not merely
the written word of the Pentateuch, but the divine thought behind it.
And to interpret the Torah was not to read something fresh _into_ the
written word, but to get something fresh _out_ of it. If a Pharisee were
asked, Where is the Torah to be found? he would answer: "The written
word and the unwritten tradition together make up the Torah." And he
would further say that the unwritten was more important than the
written, because the unwritten unfolded what was concealed in the
written, and extended its application. But it was all the Torah; and
however far the process might be extended, however detailed the
interpretation might come to be, it would still all be the Torah. For
the Torah was in itself inexhaustible, being the full revelation that
God had made. And all the drawing forth and unfolding of its meaning was
but the bringing into the consciousness of men what was and had been in
the Torah from the beginning. This is the theory of Torah, as it was
certainly held by the Pharisees, and embodied in the Talmud. Whether
Ezra himself held it, there is no evidence to show, and I do not claim
that he did. But it is clear that once the Torah is made supreme, this
is one of the possible lines along which that idea could be developed.
There are no doubt other lines; but the main characteristic of the
Pharisees and of the Rabbis is that they followed this line, and no one
can say that they did not do their work thoroughly.

What it amounts to is this, that the Torah was to be made, not merely in
theory but in practice, a complete guide to life. The aim was to learn,
from what God had revealed, His will in regard to every slightest action
that a man might do. That could be learned from the Torah; and if it
could be, it ought to be. No amount of study was too great, if, by that
means, something more might be learned of how God willed that a man
should live. Every fresh interpretation of the Torah, when once accepted
as valid, was an extension of its meaning, or rather a transference of
its meaning from the region of the unknown to the region of the known.

The result of this process was a detailed statement that such and such
and such actions were to be done by anyone who would rightly serve God,
because they were what God Himself had taught in the Torah, as being His
will. This detailed rule of right conduct is what is denoted by the name

     [3] The meaning of the other term mentioned above, namely,
     _Haggadah_, will be explained hereafter. See Chapter V.

Halachah is the most conspicuous element in Pharisaism, partly because
it was the object of its authors' most close and continuous thought, and
partly because its results were immediately visible in the actions which
it prescribed. It was the Halachah which gave rise to the common opinion
that Torah is the same as Law. It is the Halachah which has laid the
Pharisees open to so much misrepresentation and obloquy. And, if there
was one thing more than another that a Pharisee would extol as divine,
it was the Halachah; because it was to him the express direction of God
how rightly to serve Him.

Evidently the greatest care would be needed in the interpretation of the
Torah, to draw from it the right conclusion. If the result--the
Halachah--was to be accepted as the divine teaching, made explicit upon
such and such a point, it could not be left to chance or caprice to
determine the form in which it should be expressed. It was not open to
any teacher to give his own interpretation upon some point and
straightway to say, "This is the Halachah," _i.e._ this is the Torah
made explicit upon this subject. What was to be regarded as Halachah was
only determined after careful deliberation, guided by the recorded
opinion of earlier teachers, where known, and also by recognised rules
of interpretation. The end proposed in such discussion was either to
define in minuter detail some general rule of conduct derived from the
Torah, or else to connect some already existing usage with the Torah so
as to show that it had divine sanction. The masters of Halachah were not
engaged upon the construction _de novo_ of a system of ethics or a
system of law. They were engaged in adjusting to the standard of Torah
all the actions of life, so that in every one of them the divine will
might be carried out. And when it appeared that such and such was the
real meaning of Torah upon a given point, the Halachah ascertained by
valid methods, then they were not free to decide otherwise upon that
point. Which is only to say, what everyone must say, that he is not
entitled to go against the authority which he personally regards as

The Halachah covered part of the ground which is usually occupied in a
nation's life by the civil and criminal law. And this is another reason
for the common identification of Torah with Law. Law there must be for
the regulations of social life, the performance of contracts, the
prevention of crime, and the like. The Jews needed a civil and criminal
law, as any civilised people needs it. And though in certain respects
they were subject to the Roman law, (at all events in the time of the
Pharisees and the Rabbis), yet they devised a system of their own,
because they would have their law based on the Torah. The Roman
government they obeyed from compulsion; to the Torah they gave the full
allegiance of heart and will. The Halachah accordingly is, to a large
extent, a system of civil and criminal law based upon, or derived from,
the Torah, and resting for its sanction upon the divine revelation
therein contained. And if the Halachah, in dealing with such subjects as
must be dealt with in a code of civil and criminal law, goes into minute
detail, makes subtle distinctions, draws very fine lines between what is
and what is not lawful, it only does what any adequate system of law is
bound to do. And to say that the mass of detail and minute precept of
the Halachah was, or must have been, oppressive to the ordinary Jew, is
as true, or untrue, as to say that the ordinary Englishman is oppressed
by the mass of detail and minute precept in the body of statute and
common law by which his actions as a citizen are regulated, and which he
is presumed to know. In the one case, as in the other, certain lines are
defined by a recognised authority, for the regulation of action; but for
any given person, it is seldom that he will be in a position to feel the
constraint, or expressly to seek the permission, of the greater number
of the laws under which he lives. If he is in that position, then the
Englishman under the statute and common law, equally with the Pharisee
under the Halachah, acknowledges a rule of conduct having authority over
him, and not to be disobeyed with impunity. And the main difference is
that, to the Jew, the authority of the Halachah was the authority of the
Torah, and the Torah was the revelation of God. So that, to the Jew, the
code of civil and criminal law was specifically sacred in a way that it
is not to the Englishman.

But the Halachah, as the reader will wish to remind me, came very much
more closely home to the Jew than a code of civil and criminal law could
do. It was the rule of his private and domestic life, it defined his
conduct both towards God and his fellow-man. Certainly it did. And the
Pharisee would say, "Why not? Do I not need to serve God in everything I
do, however small? And if the Torah can teach me exactly--yes, very
exactly--what is most pleasing to Him, shall I not thankfully receive
that teaching, and the more of it the better?" On this theory, it can
easily be seen that there is no real distinction of great and small,
important and trivial, in the things that are done in accordance with
Halachah, because, in each case, what was done was regarded as a doing
of God's will. In themselves, and apart from that, actions were trivial
or important, great or small, and the Pharisees knew perfectly well that
they were. But the Pharisee never regarded the mere doing of the action
as sufficient; in all and every case there must be the purpose of
serving God, the intention of pleasing Him. If he were assured that God
had directed such and such a thing to be done, in a given case, then he
would not say, "This is a trivial thing," or "This is a great thing";
but, "This is precisely what God would have me do at this moment and
under these circumstances," and he felt a joy in doing it as exactly as
he could. All this is widely different from what Christians are
accustomed to, in determining their actions; but my object is to make
clear the point of view of the Pharisees, and to show that on the lines
of their theory they were perfectly justified in those precise
definitions of conduct, even in matters which on other lines would be
considered trifling. However small might be the details upon which the
Halachah was defined, it was still Torah that enjoined the doing of the
action in this way and not in that way, though, on the face of it, there
might seem to be no reason to do it in one way rather than another. And
the authority of Halachah was the will of God. It is easy to pick out
from the Mishnah instances of minute regulation upon points of no
apparent importance--such, for instance, as the rules for dealing with
an egg laid upon the Sabbath. If a Pharisee were challenged upon that,
or any similar case, he would say: "The Torah, the divine revelation,
extends over the whole of life; and its principles, when drawn out and
applied to that particular case, yield the results stated in the
Halachah, bearing thereon. The divine will is taught me in regard to
that; and what concerns me is the doing of the divine will, and not the
smallness of the occasion in regard to which I do it."

The duties enjoined in the Halachah were called "Mitzvōth," _i.e._
commandments. And the essence of a "mitzvah" was that it was a thing
which God willed to have done. It was an occasion of service, a means
offered to man by which he could in a given instance please God.
Therefore the Pharisee delighted in being able to perform a "mitzvah";
and it never occurred to him that he was burdened by the weight or
oppressed by the number of them. "The 'Mitzvōth,'" said a famous Rabbi,
"were only given in order to purify Israel. The things commanded made no
difference to God" (Rab, in Ber. R. § 44, p. 89ª). They were so many
opportunities given, by the sheer kindness of God, for man to do his
Maker's will. Why God should be pleased to direct that such things
should be done just in that way and in no other, it was not for man to
inquire. All that he had to do was to take the opportunity, and serve
God in the manner which God enjoined. Merely to do the action, without
the conscious assent of his will and the devotion of his heart, was no
fulfilment of his duty; for what God desired was the harmony of the
human soul with Himself in willing obedience, and not that, for
instance, just 2000 cubits and no more should be the extent of a Sabbath
day's walk.

R. Joḥanan b. Zaccai, a contemporary of Jesus, was once asked what was
the reason for performing all the ritual of the sacrifices, and the
other minutiæ of the ceremonial law. He answered: "A corpse does not
defile, and waters do not cleanse. But it is a decree of the King of
kings. The Holy One, blessed be He, hath said, 'I have ordained my
statute; I have decreed my decree. Man is not entitled to transgress my
decree.' As it is written (Num. xix. 2), 'This is the decree of the
Torah'" (Pesikta 40^b). That is a far-reaching saying, and gives the
clue to the whole meaning of the Halachah, as the rule of right conduct
deduced from the Torah, and applied by the Pharisees.

It is obvious that a theory like that lends itself to abuse, because it
makes a severe demand for constant devotion on the part of the man who
lives under it. Undoubtedly it could, and in some cases it did, lead to
that mere formalism and hypocrisy which have been charged upon the
Pharisees as a class. The Pharisees themselves were perfectly well aware
of the danger, and that it was not always successfully averted. But most
distinctly, such formalism and hypocrisy were only the perversion of
Pharisaism and not inherent in it. And not only so, but for the
Pharisees as a class, on their own showing in the Talmud, the Halachah,
with its abundant "Mitzvōth," was felt to be a help and
not a hindrance to him who would walk with God, a joy and not a burden.

The Pharisees, as was explained in the previous chapter, were those in
their time who interpreted most strictly the Torah which in some degree
all Jews recognised. It was they who worked out the Halachah, as it was
they who carried out its principle into the minutest details of
practice. On their theory of Torah, it was clearly their duty to be as
precise as they were in their food and their dress, in the "tithing of
mint, anise, and cumin," the wearing of their phylacteries just _so_ and
not otherwise, in their scrupulous regard to "clean" and "unclean,"
"lawful" and "forbidden," and the like. And it was only for the sake of
being in a position to carry out more fully what they deemed to be the
will of God, in all these and many other matters, that they separated
themselves from those who were less careful, and formed themselves into
groups, societies, companionships, as they called them (Ḥabūrōth). That
separation is indicated by the name applied to them, Pherushim
(Pherūshim), or Pharishaia in the common Aramaic speech. Their own name
for themselves and each other was "Ḥaberim," "companions," as they were
"banded together for a full obedience" to what God had enjoined in the

It is easy to make Pharisaism appear ridiculous, a mere extravagance of
punctilious formalism. But that is only possible to those who look at it
from a point of view which is not that of its devoted adherents, or who
judge it by a standard which they never recognised. Pharisaism is
entitled to be judged according to what the Pharisees themselves meant
by it, and its worth to be estimated by what they found in it, without
comparison with other and widely different conceptions of the theory or
practice of the service of God. I shall make no such comparisons, either
now or later. My whole object is to present Pharisaism as I believe it
really to have been to the Pharisees themselves, who, whatever else they
were, were in deadly earnest about it all, and gave even to that
Halachah, which more than anything else has brought scorn and ridicule
upon them, the patient labour of at least six centuries.

I believe that, if the Pharisees had had nothing more than the Halachah,
they would still have made a religion out of it. I mean, if they had
developed from the Torah, which was to them the supreme revelation, only
its Mitzvōth, they would still have been able to find in it some
satisfaction for the spiritual wants of their souls. But they had much
else, as will be shown in more detail in subsequent chapters. It was
their task, or rather their absorbing delight, to elaborate the
Halachah, to make it an ever more perfect exposition of the divine will
in regard to the conduct at least of Israel; as it was their joy, in
the obeying of those precepts, to "walk humbly with their God," as they
certainly did. But it should be borne in mind that in addition to the
Halachah, with its strenuous and salutary discipline of thought and
action; there was the whole range of meditation upon divine
things--speculation, imagination, inquiry into the mysteries of nature
and human experience, devout wonder at the ways of God and the marvels
of His world, all, by the light which He had given in His Torah. For
great as the Halachah was, and divine and holy, the Torah was greater,
for in it God had given all that He had to give. "Greater," said a
Rabbi, "is one single word of Torah, than all the 'Mitzvōth' contained
in it." And another: "All the world is not equivalent to one single word
of Torah" (j. Peah. 15^d), meaning that the beholding of the perfect
revelation of God is more than the realisation in action of a part of
it. Again, extravagance, it will be said. Yet only the extravagance of
exalting in spoken word that which is owned as supreme in thought. The
phrases may be to non-Jewish ears devoid of serious meaning; but in that
way the Pharisees chose to express what in their hearts they owned as
fully and perfectly divine, that Torah which to them was wisdom from
God, the revelation of all truth, goodness, power, and love. It was to
them the very expression of the mind and thought of God; and that is
what they meant when they said that God looked upon the Torah when He
created the world (Tanh. 2^b), or that He Himself studies the Torah
every day. It is His self-communing made known to man.

All this, which covers the whole field that is occupied in other
religions by doctrinal and speculative theology, was included in the
Torah and formed part of the religion of those who owned it as supreme.
And all this had its place in their thought along with the Halachah.

And at the heart of those same Pharisees there was the piety which
sought and found God in the worship of the Synagogue and the home,
which looked to Him with love and humble trust, and knew Him to be not
far off but very near, no mere abstract power, no hard taskmaster, but
the Heavenly Father.

These things I believe to be true of the Pharisees; not of every
individual, just as one would not say of every Christian that the full
glory of his religion was realised either _in_ him or _by_ him, but true
as the full expression of what Pharisaism meant, and true in a larger
measure as the experience of those who professed it.

Beneath all that outward guise of unfamiliar phrase and uncongenial
method, so far removed from all that to Christians seems the natural
expression of religion, there was nevertheless the communion of living
souls with the living God; and however different was the way in which
they felt called to walk, from that in which other men walk, in that way
they steadfastly continued; and, knowing in their hearts that God was
with them, they "trusted in Him and were not ashamed."



It is from the New Testament that the ordinary Christian reader gets his
ideas about the Pharisees. There is mention in the Gospels of frequent
encounters between Jesus and the Pharisees; and the Epistles of Paul
contain much severe comment on the Pharisaic conception of religion. No
one, who desires to understand what the Pharisees themselves meant by
their religion, can afford to pass by, without careful examination,
these records of unfavourable criticism; and he must enter upon such
examination not by any means with the preconceived intention of
confuting the critics or of agreeing with them, but simply for the
purpose of getting to know why there was such criticism, and what truth
lay on each side in the controversy. With this object, I shall devote
one chapter to the study of the opposition between the Pharisees and
Jesus, and another to that between Pharisaism and the teaching of Paul.
Incidentally, it will be possible to find room for various points which
bear upon what has been said in the foregoing chapters.

It will be admitted that to discuss the relation of the Pharisees to
Jesus is to tread upon delicate ground; for, whatever Jesus was, the
place which he holds in the thought and reverence of Christians is
shared by no one else; and it is less easy to say the right thing when
he is regarded as a party in a controversy than when he is contemplated
as in himself supremely great. It is less easy, because the controversy
was one in which sharp and bitter things were said on both sides; and to
regret that they were said, and still more to suggest that they were
said without sufficient warrant, is to cast inevitable reflections on
those who said them. It is easy to say that the Pharisees were
wrong--that is only what is expected of them; it is another thing to say
that Jesus was wrong, that even he did less than justice to his
opponents, and, in his intercourse with them, showed upon occasion
qualities which were extremely human but not obviously divine. I yield
to no one in my reverence for Jesus; he is, to me, simply the greatest
man who ever lived, in regard to his spiritual nature. Some may think
that too little to say of him; others may think it too much. I do not
stay to argue the point; I only wish to make clear, beyond any
misunderstanding, my own position. What I have to do at present is to
deal with the fact that between Jesus, being such as I have indicated,
and the Pharisees, there was an opposition of thought and principle too
great to be resolved into harmony; and I wish to study that opposition,
so as to judge fairly--that is, without prejudice one way or the
other--the real meaning of it. If, on the one side, the verdict is
expressed in the phrase, "Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites," on the
other it is summed up in the assertion, to be found in the Talmud,
"Jesus practised magic and led astray and deceived Israel" (b. Sanh.
107^b). To say offhand that one of those assertions is true and the
other false is merely to beg the question. It is more to the purpose to
understand how it came about that they were said. That such a statement
should be made about Jesus is to Christians hard to endure. They feel it
to be unjust and untrue. That such a statement should be made about the
Pharisees is to Jews hard to endure. They feel it to be unjust and
untrue. They are the weaker party, and they have the right to be heard.

In view of the sharp contrast expressed in the two sayings just referred
to, it might seem that the Pharisees and Jesus had nothing in common.
And indeed the final breach was inevitable and irreparable. Religion as
the Pharisee conceived it could not come to terms with religion as Jesus
conceived it. As to that I will say more presently. But it is well to
bear in mind, and even to emphasise, the fact that there was
nevertheless a considerable amount of common ground between them, much
more than is usually supposed. With a great deal of what Jesus said
about God, and about man's relation to Him, no Pharisee would feel
disposed to quarrel, or, so far as the evidence goes, ever did quarrel.
The discussions in the Gospels did not turn, for instance, on the
question whether Jesus should or should not have referred to God as the
Father in Heaven, or whether forgiveness was God's sure answer to
repentance. No Pharisee ever challenged him on either point, or on many
another of the directly religious and ethical sayings which he uttered.
A Pharisee could not so have challenged him without disowning his own
religion. Modern Jewish historians not unnaturally lay much stress upon
the similarity between the teaching of Jesus and that of the Rabbis, at
all events the best of them; and that similarity cannot be denied,
whatever may be the explanation of it. Moreover, it is not merely a
similarity of phrase, though no doubt in some cases it is nothing more.
That proverbial sayings should be used alike by Jesus and the Rabbis is
not wonderful. Such were, for instance: "It is enough for a disciple to
be as his master" (b. Ber. 58^b); "With what measure ye mete, it shall
be measured to you again" (Sot. i. 7); "Sufficient unto the day is the
evil thereof" (b. Ber. 9^b); "Physician, heal thyself" (Ber. R. xxiii.
4), which Jesus himself mentions as a familiar proverb (Luke iv. 23).

These were part of the common stock of daily speech, and are no evidence
either for or against a similarity between the ideas of Jesus and those
of the Pharisees. But when Jesus said, "Repent, for the Kingdom of
Heaven is at hand," he was referring to what was already familiar to his
hearers, and had been, long before John the Baptist had begun to deliver
his message. And when the Sermon on the Mount was first spoken, it was
not all strange and new to the hearers. The general character of the
sayings there grouped together is thoroughly Jewish; so much so that one
could hardly imagine a Greek saying them. There are differences,
certainly, between the sayings contained in the Sermon on the Mount and
the Rabbinical parallels to them; and for some of them no Rabbinical
parallels can be found. But, take it altogether, the Sermon on the Mount
would seem to a Pharisee to be very like what he believed already. Even
the Lord's Prayer would not be wholly new. Certainly some of its phrases
can be paralleled in the Rabbinical literature; though no less certainly
there are others which cannot. For the prayer as a whole, there is no
parallel in Jewish sources--a very significant fact. But "Our Father
which art in Heaven" is Jewish; so also, "Hallowed be Thy name. Thy
Kingdom come"; "Give us this day our daily bread"; "Forgive us our
debts"; "Deliver us from the evil." I am not sure about "Lead us not
into temptation." And if "Thy will be done" means the same in the
Lord's Prayer as it meant when uttered in Gethsemane, there is no
parallel to it in Jewish sources.

This carries us into the very heart of the religion of Jesus. And in
regard to these fundamental beliefs there was no disagreement between
him and the Pharisees. I am perfectly well aware that the Rabbinical
parallels, even those most complete, are found in literature which is
later than Jesus, and I shall rightly be challenged to show on what
ground I hold that these later Jewish dicta represent the beliefs of the
Pharisees in the time of Jesus. I do not agree with Jewish scholars who
say that Jesus borrowed them all from the Rabbis of his time. A man of
such independent thought as Jesus certainly was, would hardly need to go
in search of such ideas, as not having them already himself. It is
inconceivable that Jesus should never have thought of calling God "Our
Father in Heaven" until Hillel or Shammai had instructed him to do so.
The point scarcely needs to be laboured. I put on one side altogether
the theory that Jesus was indebted to the Rabbis of his time for the
beliefs, and the verbal forms of them, which he shared with the

But with no less decision must the theory be rejected according to which
these various beliefs and phrases were borrowed from Jesus. If they had
been, _i.e._ if Pharisees who heard Jesus say these things had adopted
them as their own, and even to some extent made them current in their
own religious teaching, it is perfectly certain they would never have
been allowed into the Talmud. Suppose, for instance (which is what a
great many people suppose), that Jesus had been the first to use the
phrase, "Our Father which art in Heaven," so that to Jewish ears that
had been entirely unknown until he used it. In that case, the origin of
the term would have been perfectly well remembered; and the feeling
against Jesus in Pharisaic circles was far too strong to allow, for a
moment, the use of a phrase known to have been coined by "the Sinner of
Israel." The earliest occurrence of the term in the Mishnah, so far as I
know, is at the end of chapter ix. of the treatise Sotah; and there the
person who uses it is R. Eliezer b. Horkenos. This particular Rabbi is
very well known. He lived at the end of the first century of our era. He
got into trouble on one occasion; and the reason of his trouble,
according to his own admission, was that he had unwittingly praised
something that was told him, and which he afterwards learned was a
saying of Jesus. He was filled with horror at the thought that he could
ever have approved anything which had emanated from that teacher. Now R.
Eliezer himself was probably too young to have seen and heard Jesus; but
his old master, R. Joḥanan b. Zaccai, was a contemporary, and must have
witnessed the tragedy in Jerusalem. If Jesus had invented the term, "Our
Father in Heaven," that fact would be well within the knowledge of R.
Eliezer, and he would have cut off his right hand sooner than have used
the phrase. Instead of that, he used it with devout intention: "Who is
there on whom to lean, except our Father who is in Heaven?" It was a
phrase which expressed the ground of trust in God. And neither to
himself nor to anyone else did it occur that he was using a phrase
either recent or suspicious in its origin.[4]

     [4] To this may be added the fact that certain phrases, apparently
     harmless, were forbidden to be used in the Synagogue, because they
     were in some way heretical (M. Meg. iv. 9). Christianity is not
     directly mentioned, but there is good reason to suppose that
     Christianity is intended.

All this goes to show that there cannot have been any borrowing from
Jesus on the part of those who recorded in the Talmud sayings similar to
his, or who used phrases implying similar beliefs. It is just
conceivable that slight and unimportant sayings of his might have been
picked up and made current amongst the Rabbis. But that phrases so
important and so numerous as those which are offered as parallels to the
teaching of Jesus, should have been borrowed from him, is, to anyone
who knows the Talmud at all, a sheer impossibility.

There remains, accordingly, this alternative, that such phrases
represent what was familiar to and accepted by both Jesus and the
Pharisees, as ground truths about which there was no dispute. Jesus did
not explain, as he had no need to explain to his hearers, why he called
God the Father in Heaven. He took it for granted that they knew whom he
referred to and what he meant. And no Scribe ever asked him to explain
his meaning. It is clear that, wherever it came from, the term "Father
in Heaven," as applied to God, was not new in the time of Jesus. It was
part of the common stock of religious ideas, a natural element in the
Jewish religion of that time. When and how it first came into use I do
not know. It is not found, in so many words, in the Old Testament or the
Apocrypha, though there is a broad hint of it in Isa. lxiii. 16, "Surely
Thou art our Father, etc." If it be (and who will deny that it is?) one
of the great watchwords of spiritual religion, then observe that it can
only have come into use in the time between the Maccabees and Jesus; and
no other source for it can be deemed so probable as the Synagogue, the
home of the religion of Torah.

And much the same argument applies to the rest of what can be shown to
be similar in the religious ideas of Jesus and those of the Rabbis. They
cannot have been borrowed from Jesus. They were known in his time
because he gave utterance to them, and was not challenged for doing so.
They were known and devoutly believed by the Talmudic Pharisees; there
is no indication of their being a novelty. They must therefore represent
substantially what was held and believed by the Pharisees in and before
the time of Jesus.

It may, of course, be argued that Jesus put a deeper meaning into the
common terms than the Pharisees did. But this is extremely difficult to
prove; and merely to say that he did is to beg the question. Who would
venture to say that all Christians put precisely the same meaning upon
the common terms which they employ, or that a given term will not mean
to a deeply spiritual Christian much more than it would to a shallow and
frivolous one?

I do not contend that all the Pharisees, or any of them, were the equals
of Jesus in spiritual depth, just as I would not contend that all
Christians, or any of them, were his equals in that respect. But there
is certainly no warrant for saying that all Pharisees understood the
common phrases of their religion in a low and narrow sense, as compared
with the sense in which Jesus understood them. To say that "Our Father
in Heaven" meant for the Pharisee only that God had chosen Israel to be
His own people, and that the name Father "did not in the Jewish theology
lead to a deeper insight into the nature of God as Love," is one of the
flagrant misrepresentations with which Weber's book abounds (Weber, p.
150). There may have been Pharisees to whom the phrase meant nothing
more; there certainly were Pharisees to whom it meant that God was near
to each one of His children, in love and mercy and personal care. That
the Pharisee thought of God only, or even mainly, as distant and
inaccessible, or as a taskmaster whose service was hard, is a baseless
fiction. Even, then, allowing that Jesus, by the depth and power of his
own spiritual nature, did read into the common terms of Jewish religion
a fuller meaning than had been previously found there, he nevertheless
used those terms because they served to carry that meaning, as they
stood and without alteration.

We have, then, reached this position, that both Jesus and the Pharisees
shared in common a Judaism expressed in the terms of a spiritual Theism,
developed in the Synagogue and the home, and learned there alike by the
Pharisees and by Jesus. It was certainly not the creation of the
Scribes, _quâ_ Scribes, so that Jesus, or anyone else, would need to
have sat at the feet of some Gamaliel in order to learn it. It was the
spiritual inheritance of the Jew, into which he entered by natural
piety, and from which neither the simple and unlearned nor the Scribe
versed in the subtleties of the Halachah was excluded. I shall have more
to say about this in the concluding chapter.

Such, then, was the common ground which Jesus shared with the Pharisees.
We have now to study the opposition between them, which finally drove
them apart in irreconcilable antagonism. The true nature of that
opposition, the cause and ground of it, did not appear at the outset.
Indeed, it may be questioned whether either the Pharisees or even Jesus
himself ever fully and consciously realised the inner meaning of it.
That the Pharisees knew why they distrusted, feared, and finally helped
to destroy Jesus, is true enough. And Jesus expressed, in the plainest
terms, the ground on which he denounced the Pharisees. But whether on
either side the real significance of the struggle was clearly seen, is
to my mind doubtful. Jesus may have seen it. I do not think the
Pharisees did, or ever have done, from that day to this. To bring out
that meaning, or what seems to me to be that meaning, will be the point
to which I shall lead up in the remainder of this chapter; and with that
in view I shall survey the main incidents of the controversy as they are
recorded in the Gospels.

The appearance of Jesus as the successor of John the Baptist, taking up
his message and proclaiming it with a force of his own, was enough to
draw immediate attention to Jesus, and to incline men to give him a
favourable hearing. This is to put the matter from the point of view of
the people in general, and the Pharisees in particular, who were in
possession of a settled religion, and to whom Jesus was an unknown man
who had to make his name. That he preached repentance, and proclaimed
the near advent of the Kingdom of Heaven, would be only a reason for
listening to him. No Pharisee, nor any other Jew, with the national
history behind him, would question for a moment that God might at any
time raise up some messenger to proclaim His will. What else had the
prophets been, in the old days? And had not John the Baptist been much
like one of them? That John, and after him Jesus, had called his hearers
to repent, was no reason whatever for resenting his boldness, or for
denying his right to speak. It was the natural thing for a prophet to
do; as, in much later times, it is natural for a revivalist to convict
his hearers of sin, and lead them to the mercy seat. They do not resent
being called sinners, and are only grateful for the glad tidings of the
mercy which saves them. So with the Pharisees; there would be no
disposition on their part to find fault with Jesus for coming forward as
a preacher of repentance, let alone a herald of the Kingdom.

The point at which distrust of, and uneasiness about, Jesus first
entered the minds of the Pharisees, is probably indicated by the saying
that "he taught as one having authority, and not as their Scribes"
(Matt. vii. 29).

To the conservatism which is commonly found in the adherents of a
religion long established and settled in its ways, there was added in
the case of the Pharisees a special veneration for the principle of
traditional authority. If at first they merely noticed that Jesus was
very independent, and wanting in the deference which was due to the
sages and elders of his people, they could not fail before long to
discover that this was something more than unconventional freedom of
speech and manner. If he had kept to his preaching of repentance, and
the announcement of the Kingdom of Heaven, that might pass; but he spoke
of other things besides repentance, and put forward views of his own as
to what the Kingdom implied. It would seem that he was assuming the
position of a teacher of religion in general, since he touched upon
subjects which were not specially connected with his mission. To the
Pharisees he appeared as a sort of unregistered practitioner, if the
comparison may be allowed. Much of what he said they could not but agree
with; but how came he to say it? Some things they did not agree with,
and what right had he to set up his own opinion against the teaching
commonly received and held? So they began to ask, "Whence hath this man
this wisdom?" and "by what authority doest thou these things?"[5]

     [5] I only quote these questions as being what must have been asked
     at a very early stage of the public career of Jesus: I offer no
     opinion as to the chronology of the incidents in the Gospels in
     connection with which those questions are introduced.

Christians are accustomed, and rightly, to regard it as one of the marks
of the greatness of Jesus that he did speak out of his own mind and
heart, as having his authority within himself. But I am trying to put
the case as it presented itself to the Pharisees, looking at it from
their own very different point of view. There was not amongst them any
office exactly corresponding to the position of a clergyman or a
minister. They were all laymen; and if the priests had special
functions, that was only in connection with the ritual of the Temple,
and not with the giving of religious instruction. After the Temple was
destroyed, the priest was only distinguished from the rest by certain
privileges of precedence, and certain disabilities: he had no
ministerial function as leader of a congregation. Neither in the time of
Jesus nor after it were the Pharisees a priest-ridden community.

Of far greater importance than the priest was the Scribe: but the Scribe
was only a layman. He was not consecrated to a sacred office, and to
that extent set apart from the rest of his fellow-men: he was indeed
chosen and appointed by those who were competent to do so, but, in
regard to what he might or might not do, he was in just the same
position as any Pharisee who was not a Scribe. What distinguished him
from the rest of his brethren was that he made it his special business
to study the Torah, both written and unwritten, and to qualify himself
to be a teacher of it. His proficiency was recognised and vouched for,
by those who were already accepted religious teachers, by some form of
ordination. To become a Scribe was not so much to take orders as to take
a degree, though that is not an exact parallel.

I have explained in the preceding chapter the way in which the Torah was
regarded as the embodiment of the full and final revelation which God
had made to Israel. It was the source of all knowledge, the supreme
authority, the regulator of all action. It included within its range the
whole duty of man, his entire relation to God and to his fellow-men. The
written Torah was contained in the Pentateuch. The other canonical books
of the Old Testament were to be read in the light afforded by the Torah,
and to be valued for the help they gave in illustrating its meaning,
making clear what had been left obscure in the Pentateuch. That there
could be any contradiction between the secondary scriptures and the
Pentateuch was in theory impossible. And when in the case of certain
books, namely, Ezekiel, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs,
contradictions were alleged, the alternatives were to explain away the
contradiction or to reject the books from the canon. The books were
retained, by an exercise of dialectic subtlety which is graphically
indicated in the statement that a certain Rabbi burnt the "midnight oil"
to the extent of three hundred barrels, in his studies to reconcile the
book of Ezekiel with the standard of the Torah (b. Shabb. 13^b).

The unwritten Torah was the explication of what was implicit in the
written Torah, the unfolding into fuller detail or greater clearness of
what was barely suggested in the Scripture. Evidently, therefore, to
know what was contained in the Torah, _i.e._ what God had revealed, it
was needful to know the unwritten as well as the written Torah, the
former even more perhaps than the latter. And this could only be done
by learning and remembering what had already been taught and accepted as
a valid interpretation by previous teachers. A Tradition of the Elders
was a necessary result of a religion of Torah. If a Pharisee were
offered some religious teaching or were invited to do some action as a
religious duty, he would ask (supposing it was new to him), "Is this
Torah?" And he would not be satisfied until he had been shown that it
was. The proof would be, either that it had already been taught by such
and such a recognised teacher, or that the instructor, _being himself a
recognised teacher_, assured him that it was so. This was the constant,
and even necessary, form in which instruction was given in the meaning
of Torah. And it should be carefully observed (a point which is not
usually understood) that this method of Tradition by no means excluded
individual initiative or progressive development of thought on the part
of those who handed on the Tradition. There was no finality in the
Torah; the diligent and devout student of it was always discovering
something new, and if he could show (as he usually could show) that his
new truth was in the Torah, that was an addition to its known meaning,
while yet the Torah remained unaltered in the infinite richness and
fulness of its contents, the perfect and divine revelation. I have shown
that progressive development was most marked along the line of the
Halachah. But there was even more of free speculation, individual
initiative of research into spiritual things, though there was less of
methodical advance, along the line of the Haggadah, as will be explained
more at length in the fifth chapter. But there also the method, or
rather the form, of Tradition was the one mainly used, presumably as
being that which gave greatest security for the validity of the results
obtained. The Pharisees in the time of Jesus, no less than the Rabbis of
the Talmud, were well able to think for themselves, and in fact did so,
upon religious as upon other questions. And the reason why they
uniformly employed the method of Tradition was not that they were
hidebound slaves of custom, but that their religion was the religion of
Torah. As the Torah was not a burden, so the Tradition of the Elders was
not a constraint. Christians may, and usually do, think that the burden
and the restraint must have been felt. But that is only because the
religion of Christians is not a religion of Torah; and one who is
accustomed to the conditions and conceptions of the former, is not
likely to appreciate, and seldom tries to understand, the conditions and
conceptions of the latter. Equally, of course, one who has grown up in
the habit of thought congenial to the religion of Torah does not easily
appreciate and may seriously misunderstand the manifestations of
religion, in thought and speech, where the Torah is not the controlling

When, therefore, the Pharisees became aware that Jesus was one who
"taught as having authority, and not as their Scribes," they were
confronted with a fact which they were not in a position to understand,
to the meaning of which they had no clue, and which could only appear to
them as a contradiction of their own principles. It would be extremely
perplexing to them to know what to make of Jesus, and how to deal with
him. What he said seemed to be good; but was it Torah? It might be; but
how could they know that? Some of it, of course, they were familiar
with--the common terms of the spiritual Judaism to which reference has
already been made. But some things were new. Their own accepted
teachers, the Scribes, had not taught these things, i.e. had not
declared them to be Torah. Jesus was not a Scribe. He did not say, "This
is Torah because I have learned it from so-and-so." And, not being a
Scribe, he was not competent to declare it as from himself. How could
they receive his teaching, without being unfaithful to what they already
believed? And if they were unfaithful to that? It should be constantly
remembered that the religion of Torah meant to the Pharisee the whole
of religion, all that was possible of communion with God, and not merely
of obedience to precept. Within its characteristic form there was room
for all of that spiritual Theism which, as has been shown, the Pharisees
had in common with Jesus. If he did not hold that spiritual Theism under
the form of Torah, they did; and it was in its essence much the same for
both. They did not know that the form of Torah, with its corollary of
Tradition, was not necessary to the retention of the religion which
brought them close to God in love and obedience, in joy and trust. And
it seemed to them that they risked the loss of all that, if they
tampered with the conception of Torah, or listened to one, however
persuasive and however eloquent, who taught "not as their Scribes." If
this was the point of view from which the Pharisees regarded Jesus, when
they began to make closer acquaintance with him, then it is easy to
understand how their feeling towards him would be something much deeper
than mere petty jealousy or the prejudice of stupid bigotry. No doubt
there was some of that. Inability to understand can express itself in
ways which are mean and contemptible, as is seen in religious polemic in
every age. The Pharisees had no monopoly of ignorant spite. But what I
contend is that the attitude of the Pharisees towards Jesus will bear a
much higher interpretation than mere arrogant jealousy against an
unauthorised intruder. It was a repugnance towards teaching which they
could by no means bring within the frame of their religion, and they
could not imagine any other frame for it; it was a shrinking fear of a
teacher who, with holy and good words and deeds, seemed yet to be
leading them away from the only ideal they could recognise. And leading
not only them but also the people, who were less able to guard against
the danger, and who, as they observed, "heard him gladly," and even
"hung on his words listening." A religion so deeply wrought into the
souls of the best part of the nation as the religion of Torah had been
since the days of Ezra, so strongly held, so passionately loved, so
marked in the individuality of its features, could not enable those who
clung to it to unlearn the ways of their fathers, and to adapt its
contents to a new and unfamiliar form. The religion of Torah, for all
that it had much in common with the religion of Jesus, could never pass
over into the form which he gave to his religion. And although
Christians may say it was "blindness" on the part of the Pharisees, they
are not justified in saying that it was also "hardness of heart," which
made them shrink from Jesus.

The occasions upon which they came into conflict with him were probably
numerous; but the following may fairly be taken as representative of the
rest:--Healing on the Sabbath; the question of divorce; the argument
about Corban. Along with the first may be included the defence of his
disciples for plucking the ears of corn on the Sabbath. And as a
supplement to all may be taken the long invective against the Pharisees
in Matt. xxiii. Whether this list follows the chronological order I do
not know, and for the purpose in hand it does not matter. The difference
in principle is not affected by questions of date.

It will be noticed that I have not included the question of the
Messiahship of Jesus. Of course the Pharisees, like everybody else in
Israel at that time, speculated whether Jesus was "he that should come,"
or whether they were to "look for another." But they did not directly
challenge him on that point, as they challenged him on the points I have
already named. Their challenge about the Messiahship was indirect. Their
position would be that a man who set himself against the Torah could not
be the Messiah. Conceivably the Messiah might in some respects supersede
the Torah, but he could never oppose it. And when Jesus was driven to
declare that in certain points the Torah did not represent divine truth,
it was from that moment impossible that the Pharisees should recognise
him as the Messiah, and inevitable that they should regard him as a
dangerous heretic. This may explain why the Pharisees did not ask him,
in so many words, whether he was the Messiah or not, and also did not
offer objections to any supposed claim to that position made by him or
on his behalf. The question was only put to him directly by the High
Priest at the trial, and therefore not by the Pharisees at all. And it
is scarcely likely to have been put then as a challenge to argument; it
was much more an attempt to get evidence on which to convict him out of
his own mouth. Jesus was condemned and executed on a more or less
political charge, for which the question of Messiahship provided a
useful basis; but he was really rejected, so far at all events as the
Pharisees were concerned, because he undermined the authority of the
Torah, and endangered the religion founded upon it.

That Jesus really did so is beyond dispute. His final position was one
which could not be reconciled with recognition of Torah as the Pharisees
regarded it. But it may well have been, and I think it was, the case
that he was only gradually driven to this position, and that when he
began his ministry he was not conscious of any discrepancy between what
he was teaching and what the Torah implied. That is presumably what he
meant when he said: "Think not that I came to destroy the Torah and the
prophets; I came not to destroy but to fulfil" (Matt. v. 17). His
quarrel, at that time, was not with the Torah itself, but with the
Scribes and Pharisees, as being unsatisfactory exponents of it. "For I
say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the
righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no wise enter
the Kingdom of Heaven" (Matt. v. 17, 20).

There is here no opposition between the conception of Torah and that of
life under the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus also regarded the Torah, at this
time at all events, as being the supreme and final revelation that God
had given to Israel. To fulfil it was not merely to obey its precepts
but to make one's whole life, in thought, word, and deed, respond to
that divine influence. And Jesus maintained that the Pharisees did not
go the right way to attain that end. He himself came to fulfil the
Torah, by making that complete response to its influence, and by showing
how it could and ought to be made. Any notion of getting rid of it after
having once and for all satisfied its claims, belongs to a circle of
ideas of which it is safe to say that Jesus never dreamed.

But yet, if the explanation here offered be correct, it is evident that
what he still supposed to be Torah, and the religion of Torah, was not
so in fact. He had grown up with the conception of Torah, like any other
devout Jew; and he did not at once become aware that what he conceived
religion to be was something that could not be expressed in terms of
Torah. The Pharisees perceived the discrepancy sooner than he did; and
while he found another form for his religion, they adhered to the old
form because that was what they knew, and they could not comprehend
anything different. To them, what he was doing was not reconstruction or
amplification or exaltation of the old religion, but destruction of it.
And, so far as the conception of Torah was concerned, they were quite
right. Torah and Jesus could not remain in harmony. The two were
fundamentally incompatible. And the Pharisees, being determined to
"abide in the things they had learned," viz. Torah, were necessarily
turned into opponents of Jesus.

This cleavage showed itself only gradually; and what forced it on the
consciousness, first of the Pharisees and then of Jesus himself, was
shown in the several occasions of dispute, where appeal had to be made
to first principles.

I take first the case of the cure of a sick man on the Sabbath, as it is
recorded in Mark iii. 1-6: "And he entered again into the synagogue; and
there was a man there which had his hand withered. And they watched
him, whether he would heal him on the Sabbath day; that they might
accuse him. And he saith unto the man that had his hand withered, Stand
forth. And he saith unto them, Is it lawful on the Sabbath day to do
good, or to do harm? to save a life, or to kill? But they held their
peace. And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being
grieved at the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch
forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth, and his hand was restored.
And the Pharisees went out, and straightway with the Herodians took
counsel against him, how they might destroy him." It is evident that the
narrator of that story did not love the Pharisees, and it would not be
unreasonable to take a heavy discount off it on the ground of prejudice.
But we may leave all that out of account. Jesus challenged the Pharisees
to say whether, according to the Torah, he might or might not cure the
man on the Sabbath. If he got no answer, it was certainly not because
they had no answer to give. They would say, "Why do on the Sabbath what
could be done on another day, if the doing of it would break the
Sabbath? The Torah says that the Sabbath is to be kept holy; and this is
done by refraining from certain kinds of action, in themselves perfectly
right and proper. We believe that the right way of fulfilling the
Torah--doing the will of God--is to do so-and-so. And we believe that in
order to save life, when it is in danger, it is the will of God that we
should break the Sabbath, in any way that may be necessary. But that we
should not break it for any less urgent cause. Here is this man with a
withered hand. He is in no immediate danger. Certainly it is a good
thing to cure him. But why not have cured him before? And if his cure
should stand over for a day, is that so great a harm to one who has been
some time in that condition that the Sabbath must be made to give way to
it?" That is the sort of answer that the Pharisees would make. Of
course, the rejoinder is ready to hand, that to do good is right on any
day, Sabbath or no Sabbath. But that is not the point. The challenge of
Jesus was, "Is it _lawful_?" _i.e._ "Is it in accordance with Torah?"
And the Pharisees were perfectly justified in holding that it was not in
accordance with Torah. If Jesus interpreted Torah in a different sense,
that was his affair; and they would not be the more disposed to agree
with him if it be true that he "looked round about on them in anger."
His action was in effect an attack on Torah, whatever his intention
might be.[6]

     [6] The action of Jesus in casting out devils was not in itself a
     ground of controversy with the Pharisees, since they did the same;
     and moreover neither side questioned the genuineness of the
     exorcisms of the other. But it appears from Mark iii. 22-30 that
     the Pharisees alleged that Jesus performed his cures by the help of
     Beelzebub the prince of the devils; and Jesus denounced them as
     guilty of the sin against the Holy Spirit, for their malicious
     slander in ascribing to diabolic agency what was due to power from
     God. Then follows the famous declaration: "Whosoever shall
     blaspheme against the Holy Spirit hath never forgiveness, but is
     guilty of an eternal sin" (Mark iii. 29). This is the foundation
     for the doctrine of the unpardonable sin, in Christian theology. It
     rests entirely on a misunderstanding of the phrase, "hath never
     forgiveness," a misunderstanding already apparent in Matt. xii. 32,
     where it is said that such a one "shall not be forgiven either in
     this world or in that which is to come." The phrase in Mark, "hath
     never forgiveness," is the key to the real meaning of the saying of
     Jesus. The Christian reader, finding the phrase only in this one
     passage, naturally supposes that it is very exceptional and carries
     some tremendous meaning. But, in fact, it is a Jewish idiom
     applicable in ordinary circumstances. In the Talmud, j. B. Kama
     6^c, is a passage dealing with injuries and affronts from one man
     to another. A Rabbi suggests a method of reconciliation; upon which
     another Rabbi comments: "This will do where it is not a case of
     slander; but if he has put forth a bad name against his fellow-man,
     _he hath not forgiveness for ever_." There is here no question of a
     sin which God will not pardon, but of an affront which man will
     not, or does not, pardon. It is only a way of saying that slander
     is one of the hardest of all offences to forgive. The Rabbi who
     said this never dreamed of an unpardonable sin as Christians have
     imagined it. The unvarying doctrine in Pharisaic theology on the
     subject of forgiveness is that God always forgives those who repent
     when they repent (see on forgiveness in Chapter IV.). The term
     rendered "for ever" is used in the Talmud in connections which
     preclude all idea of theological meaning. Thus, j. M. Kat. 83^d, of
     the rent garments of the mourner, "They do not sew the pieces
     together _for ever_." The declaration of Jesus accordingly is not
     the intimation that there is a sin which God will never forgive,
     but the denunciation of malicious slander by a justly indignant
     man. The phrase, "is guilty of an eternal sin," is only an
     expansion of "hath never forgiveness." It is worth noting in this
     connection that the references to Jesus in the Talmud do not
     include a charge that he was possessed by a devil or made use of
     the help of the prince of the devils. See my _Christianity in
     Talmud and Midrash_, where all the Rabbinical passages relating to
     Jesus are collected and commented on.

The question of Sabbath-breaking was raised in another form in the
incident described in Mark ii. 23-28, and elsewhere. This is chiefly of
importance because it is made the occasion for the declaration that "the
Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." The action of the
disciples in plucking the ears of corn on the Sabbath was challenged by
the Pharisees. Jesus defended it by an appeal to Scripture, the
relevancy of which is not obvious, and by the declaration just quoted,
which is only a valid defence if it means that the Sabbath can be put
aside by man for his own convenience, however slight the occasion. The
Pharisees would certainly agree to the declaration about the Sabbath (it
is found, b. Joma 85^b), but they would not admit the interpretation
which Jesus put upon it. They would say that the Sabbath was a divine
institution, intended for the benefit of man; and that, while for grave
reason it might be sometimes right to break the Sabbath, yet that was
not left to the caprice of anyone who chose to break it. If that was
allowed, the blessing of the Sabbath would be gone and the divine
intention frustrated. From the point of view of Torah, no other answer
was possible. And Jesus, in his treatment of the Sabbath, by dispensing
with the obligation of the hitherto customary observance of it, was
disclosing the fact that he did not now look at the matter from the
point of view of Torah.

How far he was conscious of this divergence, or rather, when he became
aware of it, can hardly be determined. But in the controversy with
regard to divorce the divergence became unmistakable. The controversy
was strictly not about divorce in itself, but about the attitude of the
Torah towards divorce. Jesus condemned divorce (Mark x. 2 fol.). Whether
he allowed the one exception or not, his general condemnation of the
practice is not open to question. But the Pharisees also condemned
divorce. They could not abolish it, but they sought to restrict what had
been the immemorial freedom of the husband to put away his wife at his
pleasure. It is often urged against Hillel and Akiba that they allowed
divorce for frivolous reasons, and Shammai is praised because he would
not allow divorce except for unfaithfulness. Neither the blame nor the
praise is justified or even called for. The only difference between
Hillel and Shammai on the subject was whether the Torah allowed divorce
for trivial reasons, or restricted it to the one grave reason. It was a
question of interpretation of the authority recognised alike by Hillel
and Shammai. It was not a question of the private opinion of either of
them upon the ethical character of divorce. If Hillel and Akiba had seen
their way to interpret the Torah in accordance with their own ethical
judgment, they would certainly have done so. And, in fact, the Talmudic
treatment of the subject is in the direction of making divorce
difficult, and of giving protection, where possible, to the wife against
the caprice of the husband. But in face of the fact that the Torah, the
written Torah, expressly allowed divorce (Deut. xxiv. 1), not even
Hillel and Akiba could establish the contrary view.

So far as the condemnation of divorce on its own account was concerned,
the Pharisees would be in agreement with Jesus, though probably not to
the extent of admitting no exception, supposing that Jesus himself went
so far. The point of controversy was in regard to the Torah as bearing
on the subject. This is clear, because Jesus himself appealed to the
Torah. He asked the Pharisees, "What did Moses command you?" And it
appears that what he was thinking of was the passage, Gen. i. 27, "Male
and female created he them." But the Pharisees quoted against him the
express command, Deut. xxiv. 1, "Let him write a bill of divorce, etc."
So that here there was Torah against Torah. The Pharisees would say, "We
agree with you that divorce ought, so far as possible, to be restricted
and avoided; but, nevertheless, we cannot condemn it outright, because
the Torah, which is God's own teaching, expressly allows and even
enjoins it. But you, who do condemn it outright, how do you reconcile
that with Torah?" Jesus answered that the permission to divorce was a
concession made to human imperfection, and that the real intention of
God was expressed in the passage in Gen. i. 27. But that answer implied
necessarily that the written Torah was, in this one case at all events,
not divine and perfect, since it contradicted itself. And such an answer
was fatal to a recognition of the supremacy of Torah, as the Pharisees
understood it. To them, the fact that Jesus had, in this one instance,
definitely repudiated the divine authority of Torah, would outweigh the
fact that upon the subject of divorce itself they were to a large extent
in agreement with him. The result of the controversy would be a deepened
impression, alike on the Pharisees and on Jesus, that his standpoint was
not that of Torah, and that his ground principle was irreconcilable with

Another phase of the opposition between Jesus and the Pharisees is shown
by the incident described in Mark vii. 1-23, of which the catchword is
"Corban." The Pharisees and Scribes ask Jesus "why his disciples did not
follow the Tradition of the Elders, but ate their bread with unwashed
hands." Jesus turned upon them and charged them with making void the
word of God by their Tradition. "For Moses said, Honour thy father and
thy mother; and, He that speaketh evil of either father or mother, let
him die the death. But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or
mother, That, wherewith thou mightest have been profited by me, is
Corban, that is to say, Given to God, ye no longer suffer him to do
aught for his father or his mother; making void the word of God by your
Tradition; and many such like things ye do." Now, even if the charge
brought against the Pharisees were true, that they would not allow a man
to be released from a vow in order to honour his parents, they would not
thereby be "making void the word of God by their Tradition." On the
contrary, they would be upholding it. For, while Exod. XX. 12 says,
"Honour thy father and thy mother," Num. xxx. 2 says, "When a man voweth
a vow unto the Lord, or sweareth with an oath to bind his soul with a
bond, he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that
proceedeth out of his mouth." No provision is made for annulling vows,
except those of a wife by her husband or her father under certain
conditions. The practice of annulling vows generally was introduced by
the Rabbis, and they admitted that it had no direct sanction in
Scripture. If, therefore, in the case of a man who had made a vow to the
detriment of his father and mother, they refused to release him, they
would be upholding Scripture against their Tradition. True, Scripture
would be opposed to Scripture; but the responsibility for that rested on
Moses, not on them; and the practice of annulling vows would have the
effect of removing that contradiction, and was perhaps so intended.
However that may be, the charge against the Pharisees of making void the
word of God by their Tradition would not be borne out in this instance,
even if it were true that they refused to release a man from a vow of
the kind described.

But the assertion that they did so refuse is contrary to the express
statement of the Mishnah, which is the codified Tradition; and is
moreover entirely at variance with the spirit of Rabbinical ethics in
regard to respect to parents. The crucial passage is M. Nedar. ix. 1,
and it runs thus: "R. Eliezer says, 'They open a way for a man on the
ground of honour to his father and mother.' The Wise forbid. R. Zadok
said, 'Before they open a way for him on the ground of honour to his
father and mother, they should open it for him on the ground of honour
to God. If this were so, there would be no vows.' The Wise agree with R.
Eliezer, that in a matter which is between a man and his father and
mother they open a way for him on the ground of honour to his father and
mother." Two cases are here distinguished; in the first, if a man makes
a vow of any kind, he is not to be released from it on the ground that
it would bring reproach on his parents to have such a rash and foolish
son. He must be made to keep his vow. But in the second case, if a man
make a vow upon a matter between himself and his parents, i.e. one
which, if he keep it, will occasion injury or loss to them, then he is
to be released from it on the ground of honour to his parents. The
commentators on the Mishnah all agree in this interpretation, and there
is no doubt as to the intention of the Mishnah. Moreover, there is no
indication that there ever had been a different opinion, as if the
statement now made in the Mishnah had taken the place of an earlier
statement. There is no evidence that the Pharisees ever held or taught
the doctrine attributed to them by Jesus, while it is contradicted in
the most definite manner by the declarations of their own legal

The charge is all the more pointless because the Pharisees, whatever
else they may have failed in, always showed the most devoted respect to
parents. A more unfortunate ground of attack could hardly have been
chosen than that which is taken in the Corban incident; and the
Pharisees would not have had the slightest difficulty in repelling the
charge brought against them. Whether the error involved in the account
of the incident be due to the Evangelist or to Jesus himself, an error
it remains. And it is not fair, on the strength of the New Testament
text, however it came to be written, to hold the Pharisees guilty of
denying that which they themselves expressly enjoin. That is the fact.
How the misstatement[7] came to be made, I do not know and will not
speculate. Of course this does not in any way affect the truth of the
principle enunciated by Jesus: "There is nothing from without the man
which going into him can defile him, etc." That marks, in practical
effect, though possibly not in theory, a complete breach with
Pharisaism, since the Torah did, in the most explicit manner,
distinguish between clean and unclean, and did teach that outward things
caused defilement. The Pharisees held by the Torah; Jesus, at this
point, threw it over. Yet the Pharisees could and did say that the
defilement was not caused by the outward thing itself, but expressed the
will of God that certain actions and contacts should be avoided. Why He
had so willed, they did not know nor inquire; enough that He had so
willed, and included it in the Torah which He had given. If it be said,
"So much the worse for a religion and an ethic which are based on
Torah," the question is taken down to first principles, and will be
answered variously according to the view held of those first principles.
I only observe that the religion of Torah was hampered by the fact that
it applied a sublime theory to material some of which was originally
quite independent of that theory and unworthy of it; and the Pharisees
were unable to recognise that fact, while doing their best, and a very
splendid best, to overcome a difficulty of whose nature they were not,
and could not be, aware.

     [7] "Corban" does not mean "Given to God," at least it does not
     mean that the thing in respect of which the vow was made was
     dedicated to sacred use. "Corban" is merely a formula prefacing a
     vow. A man would say, "Corban! if you shall enter my house!"
     meaning, "I vow that you shall not enter it."

The opposition between Jesus and the Pharisees finds its most emphatic
expression in the long speech contained in Matt. xxiii., the keynote of
which is: "Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!" It is
sometimes argued that Jesus himself did not say all the hard things in
that speech, but that they represent the hostility of the early Church
towards the men who had destroyed her founder. That is possible; and
certainly the Evangelists do not incline to a favourable view of the
Pharisees on any occasion. But I do not feel free to evade the duty of
dealing with that speech by availing myself of that argument. Moreover,
I do not see anything to make it impossible, or even unlikely, that
Jesus did say all those things. Having in effect broken with the
religion of Torah, and being in the position of a man driven to bay,
fighting, as the saying is, with his back against the wall, it is only
human nature that he should so speak as to hit hard. And, if it were the
case of any other man, who would take the words spoken under such
conditions as expressing the calm and deliberate judgment of the
speaker upon the persons addressed, or as weighty evidence of the truth
of the statements made? I am not going to go through the various charges
in order to estimate the truth or the exaggeration of them. I shall make
no suggestions that perhaps the Pharisees in that time were very bad,
though they were more respectable before, and, in a curious way,
recovered their character afterwards. Nor will I admit that it was
perhaps true of the rank and file, but that men like Hillel and Gamaliel
and Joḥanan b. Zaccai were honourable exceptions. If it was true at all,
it was most of all true of Hillel and Gamaliel and their compeers,
because these represented Pharisaism in its perfection, and their
religion was the religion of Torah in all its height and depth and
length and breadth. Whatever could be truly said of Pharisaism, either
good or evil, was true of the religion by which they lived.

I take all that sweeping denunciation as the final expression of
irreconcilable opposition between Jesus and the religion of Torah. And
I shall content myself with making a few observations upon the fact and
the meaning of it. As for the term "hypocrites," the justice of the
implied charge is not established by the fact that the charge is made.
That hypocrisy is possible under the religion of Torah is undeniable;
but there is certainly no necessary connection between the two. The
Pharisees themselves were quite aware that there were hypocrites in
their ranks.[8] The retort would be justified that hypocrites have been
found amongst professing Christians also. But recrimination is not
argument. The hypocrisy question is not really difficult to understand,
if the explanation already given of the religion of Torah be borne in
mind. The theory of that religion, when put into practice, necessarily
involved the doing of many acts in a particular way. Even actions in
themselves of little or no importance became important when the Torah
directed a specific way of doing them. They were done as a fulfilment of
the will of God upon that particular point; and His will was not
fulfilled unless there was, on the part of the agent, the conscious
intention of serving Him. The mere _opus operatum_ was worthless. To the
Pharisee, starting from Torah as his ground principle, the doing of a
multitude of apparently trifling acts was the obvious way of putting
religion into practice, and he rejoiced in doing them. But one who did
not start from Torah as a ground principle would have no clue to the
understanding of what the Pharisees did, or why they did it. If such a
one took as his ground principle the immediate authority of conscience
and his own direct intuition of God, and if he then judged the Pharisees
by his standard and not by their own, then he would easily draw the
conclusion that they were hypocrites, because he would see them treating
as of great importance things which conscience would pay no attention
to; and he would judge that men who could be satisfied to discharge the
obligations of religion in such a way, must either be ignorant of what
religion really is, or pretenders to a piety they did not possess. The
religion of Torah lays itself open to the misconstruction which charges
its adherents with hypocrisy. But, apart from particular instances where
the charge could be established, the charge only shows how far those who
make it are unable to comprehend the Pharisaic conception of religion.
To urge that their conception of religion was defective is legitimate;
to condemn them as hypocrites on the strength of a different conception
of religion is not legitimate, no matter by whom it is done.

     [8] See the often-quoted passage describing the seven classes of
     Pharisees, b. Sotah 22^b.

And this leads me to the conclusion of what I have to say about the
opposition between Jesus and the Pharisees. The conflict was one between
two fundamentally different conceptions of religion, viz. that in which
the supreme authority was Torah, and that in which the supreme authority
was the immediate intuition of God in the individual soul and
conscience. The Pharisees stood for the one; Jesus stood for the other.
The particular occasions of dispute, some of which have been noticed,
mainly served to bring out this fundamental opposition; at all events
that is their chief importance.

The conflict was unequal, because it was one in which an Idea was
matched against a Person. The idea of Torah was sublime, and deserved
all the devoted loyalty that was given to its expression and defence.
But it was an idea, mediated in the consciousness of those who held it.
Jesus was a living soul, with the spiritual force of a tremendous
personality; and against him the idea of Torah could not prevail. This
was the real meaning of the fact that he taught "as one having
authority, and not as their Scribes." This was the ground of his claim
to forgive sins, a claim which the Pharisees could only interpret as
blasphemy (Mark ii. 7). And this appears in all his relations with the
Pharisees, as the force which opposed them, and which they could
neither comprehend nor overpower. They could not at the same time retain
the conception of Torah as the basis of their religion and admit the
authority of Jesus. They saw no reason why they should abandon Torah;
they could not therefore do other than reject Jesus. And when the
verdict of the Pharisees is expressed in the saying of the Talmud,
already quoted, "Jesus practised magic and deceived and led astray
Israel," that contemptuous dismissal shows how completely they failed to
realise that what had opposed them had been the strength of a great
personality. And I do not think that on the Jewish side this ever has
been realised from that day to this. If the Pharisees had realised it
they would have met him with arguments quite different from those which
they did use; possibly they would have refrained from controversy
altogether. As it was, they remained within the circle of religious
ideas which they knew, and continued to find in the Torah the
satisfaction of their spiritual wants--a real satisfaction of real
wants, such as men might feel who were not hypocrites and impostors, but
earnest and devout, and chiefly concerned to do the will of their Father
in Heaven, in what they believed to be the way He desired.

If there was on the part of the Pharisees a complete inability to
comprehend the religious position of Jesus, there was also on his part
an inability[9] to comprehend the religious position of the Pharisees.
If he had realised what Torah meant to the Pharisees, he might, and
doubtless would, have desired to show them a "more excellent way," but
he would not have taken the line which he did of denunciation and
invective, since to do so would defeat his purpose.

     [9] I have been asked how I can reconcile this alleged inability on
     the part of Jesus to understand the Pharisees with the power he
     showed elsewhere of reading the character and comprehending the
     thoughts of those with whom he came into contact. My answer is that
     I do not admit John ii. 25 as true of the historical Jesus; and
     that, while I do not deny that he had deep insight into human
     character and thought, such insight depends on sympathy. That there
     was finally a complete absence of sympathy between Jesus and the
     Pharisees is plainly to be seen, and admits of no dispute. And,
     that being so, I submit even he did not escape the effects of that
     limitation, in making him unable to comprehend the position of the
     Pharisees. The inability was on both sides, and for the same

This I believe to be the real truth about the inability of both the
Pharisees and Jesus to understand each other, or, in other words, the
impossibility of harmony between the religion of Torah and the religion
of the individual soul, if I may so describe it. That incompatibility is
fundamental. Christianity, in all its forms, is a religion founded on
personality, one in which the central feature is a Person. And Judaism,
at all events since the days of the Pharisees, is a religion in which
the central feature is not a person, at all events not a human person,
but the Torah. It is near the truth to say that what Christ is to the
Christian, Torah is to the Jew. And alike to Christian and to Jew it is
almost impossible to comprehend the religion of the other. Even Jesus
could not do it. And if he could not do it, what wonder that his
greatest disciple, Paul, in passing from the one conception of religion
to the other, should have failed to carry with him into his new faith
the remembrance of what the old faith had meant to him while he lived in

To the further consideration of this essential opposition between the
religion of Torah and the Christian religion I shall proceed in the next
chapter, when I shall deal with the criticism of Torah in the Epistles
of Paul.



If Christians usually get their ideas about the Pharisees from the
Gospels, they learn their general conception of Judaism from the
Epistles of Paul. And, when they find that the Judaism which he condemns
is in fact the Judaism of the Pharisees, they combine their information,
and rest content with the conclusion that alike in theory and practice
the Pharisees were as far as they well could be from the Kingdom of
Heaven. A verdict which claims the authority of both Jesus and Paul
would seem, to Christians at least, to leave nothing more to be said,
and to admit of no appeal. And in fact it has prevailed, and still
prevails, in spite of all the efforts of the Jews to obtain even a
hearing on the other side.

As, in the preceding chapter, I examined the relation of the Pharisees
to Jesus, and tried to explain how it was that they came to stand to
each other in such sharp antagonism, so in the present chapter I shall
try to explain how it was that Paul came to represent the Pharisaic
conception of religion in the way he did, and what grounds there are for
saying that his representation does not correspond with the facts.
Pharisaic Judaism is, or can be, perfectly well known; for it is written
large in the Rabbinical literature, by men who were remarkably honest in
setting down their faults as well as their virtues. It is there for
anyone to study; and no one is entitled to say that the description of
it given by Paul, or by anybody else, is accurate or not, until he has
studied the thing itself. The fact that it can only be studied in books
which are written in Hebrew and Aramaic (except so far as translated)
does not exempt the student from the duty of reading them, if he really
means to learn what is true in the matter. If he does not, then what is
his opinion worth?

The Christian will probably say in reply: "Did not Paul himself know all
about it? Was he not born and bred a Jew? Was he not a 'Pharisee of the
Pharisees'? Had he not been 'zealous beyond those of his own age in the
Jews' religion'? Was he not 'as touching the law blameless'? Who could
be a better and more reliable witness upon the question what the Jews'
religion really was?" Yes. And did Paul not abandon the Jews' religion?
Did he not write about it long years after he had been converted to a
different religion? And is it not common knowledge that a convert seldom
takes the same view of the religion he has left as is taken by those who
remain in it? If Paul, while he was still a Pharisee, had written down
his thoughts upon the worth and meaning of Pharisaism, that would be
valuable evidence indeed; and it would be interesting to trace the
process by which he then made his way to another form of religion. As
it is, what he says about Judaism is no evidence of what he felt it to
be while he was in it, or of what those felt it to be who remained in
it. And if, as is the unquestionable fact, his representation of it
differs very widely from theirs, then we are not entitled to draw the
conclusion that his presentation is correct, whatever the other may have
been (a point on which few trouble to inquire). We have rather to
account, if we can, for the very peculiar form which his presentation of
Pharisaism took. I might, indeed, have left Paul out altogether from
this book; because, in strict truth, there is nothing to be learned
directly from him upon the question what Pharisaism really was. But,
indirectly, there is a great deal to be learned; because, whether his
conception of Pharisaism be correct or not, it serves to show how it
appeared to a very exceptional man, looking at it from a point of view
which was no longer Jewish. And to understand and estimate the changed
appearance due to that alteration of the point of view, is to get to the
heart of the difference between Judaism and Christianity.

For the purpose of this inquiry I shall take the Epistles bearing the
name of Paul, at all events the four great ones, as being really his. I
have not yet been able to persuade myself that any collections of
fragments, pieced together and interpolated, could be so combined as to
give the impression of a single great personality behind them. Paul may
not have been either always consistent or always logical; but how anyone
can read those letters, with their eager hurry of argument, their
passionate outpouring of devout feeling, and still think that they are
the composite patchwork of second-century nobodies, is to me a mystery.
I shall therefore assume that what is written in those Epistles is what
Paul wrote; that what he says about himself is true; and that what he
says about Judaism, or anything else, is what he believed to be true
when he wrote it.

The effect of what he wrote, at all events about Judaism, has been to
inflict what Jews feel to be a cruel injustice on their religion. To
Paul himself, I imagine, it can only have appeared to be the obvious and
necessary statement of the result of his changed position in religion.
He has left it on record that, through his conversion, he became a new
man in Christ (2 Cor. v. 17). And one of the implications of that fact
is that he should no longer be able accurately to reproduce in his mind
what the "old man" had felt and thought and believed; he would retain
only the distant memory of discarded things. If he wrote of the religion
he had left, it would be, not of what once had been his, but of what he
could only judge as an external thing, variously defective when seen in
the light of his present religion.

Beyond the fact, then, that by his own account Paul had been before his
conversion a zealous and consistent Pharisee, we do not know what his
earlier opinion had been upon any subject whatever. He does not become
known to us until after his conversion; and the writings from which we
gain the knowledge of him were not composed till twenty years or more
had elapsed since that event. Of his conversion he says very little; not
enough to enable us to understand precisely what took place. It may well
be, indeed, that he himself could never have stated in words, at any
time, precisely what took place, or what, if anything, led up to the
change. This much, however, is beyond question, that as a result of his
conversion Christ became to him the central element in his religion. All
his spiritual life depended on Christ. All his thought was conditioned
by his idea of Christ. All the energy of soul which was his to give for
the fulfilling of his ministry he ascribed to the immediate personal
influence of Christ upon him. Christ was the all and everything of his
religious life; and the lines upon which his subsequent career was laid
out, so that he became the Apostle of the Gentiles, were marked out by
his conception of the relation in which he believed himself to stand
towards Christ. In some marvellous way, it seemed that Christ had
entered and taken possession of him; with the result that he became the
Paul whom we know.

There must have followed a process, whether short or long, by which he
adjusted himself to his altered mental position, estimated the effect of
the change upon his previous beliefs and ideas, and grasped the meaning
of new and unfamiliar ones. For it goes without saying that his
conversion widened the scope of his thought so as to bring many things
within the range of his inward vision that previously had been unnoticed
or not understood, as it also changed his estimate of what had been
previously there. But of the details and the order of that process we
know nothing. We cannot tell, for instance, whether it began with the
settling of his attitude towards Judaism, or whether he was drawn first
towards the idea of salvation for the Gentiles. We only know the
results long after the process was completed, when he had shaped in
thought a more or less consistent theory of divine providence, as shown
in the history of the world.

The opening chapter of the Epistle to the Romans shows how profoundly he
was impressed by the moral chaos of the Gentile world; but the fact is
mentioned there only to give the explanation of it. For an explanation
was needed. Such a state of humanity was in terrible contrast to the
perfection which should have been found in those whom the all-holy God
had made. Doubtless there were differences of better and worse between
this man and that; but, judged by the standard of perfection, _i.e._ of
complete harmony with God, all were alike immeasurably below what they
ought to be. Not only the Gentiles, but the Jews also, came under this
condemnation. Jews indeed were not guilty of the loathsome vices which
made the Gentile life so horrible; but it was clear that, in regard to
the standard of perfection which God desired in man, the Jews wholly
failed to reach it. All the world over, through all the multitude of
human beings, "there was none righteous, no not one" (Rom. iii. 10).

Yet the Gentiles, Paul argued, could have known, and even did know,
something of God; but they disowned that knowledge, and "glorified him
not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings,
and their senseless heart was darkened.... Wherefore God gave them up in
the lusts of their hearts ... for that they exchanged the truth of God
for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the
Creator" (Rom. i. 21, 24-5).

And the Jews knew well the will of God, for to them He had revealed it
through Moses and the prophets; with them He had made His covenant, and
had chosen them out of all the nations of the earth, to be a peculiar
people unto Himself. How was it that they too fell so far short of what
was required of them? Must it not have been (so Paul reasoned) because
the divine Law[10] that was given them was the very means and occasion
of sin? To fail in regard to one single precept was to break the harmony
between man and God; and, when once that harmony was broken, there was
nothing in the Law itself to restore it. By its multiplication of
commandments, the Law offered so many occasions for the breaking of that
harmony; and whereas it was "holy, and the commandment righteous and
just and good," its ideal was one that no human effort could reach. Its
effect was to multiply sin. Righteousness under the Law was impossible;
meaning by righteousness the state of perfect harmony of man with God.

     [10] I use in quotations from Paul the word Law instead of Torah,
     because Paul spoke of Νὁμος. The fact that he did so is
     characteristic of his whole conception of Judaism. If the Greek
     language did not provide an equivalent of the word Torah (any more
     than the English language does), the fact still remains that an
     equivalent is needed, or the argument becomes for want of it

"But now," says Paul (Rom. iii. 21 fol.), "apart from the law a
righteousness of God hath been manifested, being witnessed by the law
and the prophets; even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus
Christ unto all them that believe; for there is no distinction; for all
have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; being justified freely
by his grace through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ," etc.

Through faith in Jesus Christ there was offered to sinful man the means
of attaining that righteousness--harmony with God--which had been vainly
sought under the Law, or lost in the darkness of Gentile corruption. And
this was evidently what God had willed from the beginning. Christ was
the instrument, or the agent, by whom this divine purpose was to be
fulfilled. And the meaning of what might seem to be the age-long delay
of his coming was that God would "shut up all under sin, that he might
have mercy upon all."[11]

     [11] The theory, of course, is conditioned by the fact of Christ's
     coming when he did. It is an attempt to interpret a historical fact
     in terms of world-history and eternal wisdom.

Christ performed his divinely appointed mission by his death on the
Cross, and his subsequent resurrection; having borne and discharged the
obligation of the unfulfilled Law, and thereby released all, whether
Jews or Gentiles, from the bondage of sin. Righteousness was now
attainable through faith in Christ; and I presume that Paul meant by
righteousness, harmony with God, resulting from such an attitude on the
part of the believer towards Christ as that in which Paul himself stood
towards him, in other words, a complete surrender of heart and will to
Christ, so as to "put off the old man" and become "a new creature."
Those who did this would thereby attain to perfect harmony with God,
which is righteousness.

I do not stop to dwell upon the way in which Paul explained the fact
that the offer of salvation was not universally accepted. For I do not
forget that my task is not to expound the whole of Paul's theology, but
to explain his view of Pharisaism. I leave out, therefore, all mention
of election and reprobation, in order to come to the question how the
Jews were dealt with in Paul's theory. For here he was confronted with
the fact that the Jews had rejected Christ, and not only rejected him
but killed him. In the most emphatic manner they had refused the means
of grace which had been offered to them through him. They had, to that
extent, frustrated the purpose of God in sending him. They, in common
with the Gentiles, had been, as stated already, shut up under sin that
God might have mercy on them. And they had spurned that mercy. How was
that to be explained? "Did God then cast off his people?" Paul asked
(Rom. xi. 1). Not so. "But a hardening in part hath befallen Israel,
until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in" (Rom. xi. 25). All that
God had willed towards Israel, and declared in the ancient Scriptures,
still held good; but its fulfilment was delayed by the disobedience of
Israel; and that disobedience was made to serve the purpose of God, in
that by its means salvation should come to the Gentiles. The full
development of this thought will be found in chapters ix. to xi. of the
Epistle to the Romans, and need not be given here. It was Paul's way of
getting over a formidable difficulty, namely, the obvious fact that the
attitude of the Jews towards Christ was not at all what was to be
expected, if his theory of the person and work of Christ were true. It
must not be forgotten that the starting point of his theory was his own
personal relation to Christ, as he felt it with an intense certainty
which nothing could shake for a moment. That was his foundation of
absolute truth; and that could not but be the clue by which he
interpreted all that he beheld in the world, and read in the history of
man. With his application of this clue to the case of the Gentiles I am
not now concerned. But, in applying it to the case of the Jews, he was
reasoning from premises which were not, and never have been, accepted by
Jews. He represented the relation of man to God in terms of faith in,
and communion through, Christ; so that, previous to the coming of
Christ, both revelation and communion had been partial and defective.
The Jews represented the relation of man to God in terms of Torah, in
the knowledge of divine truth therein contained, and in filial obedience
to God whose precepts were recorded in it. They found, on the lines of
Torah, the ground of faith in God and present communion with Him; and
while they always hoped to learn more of the contents of revelation--to
be shown "wonderful things out of the Torah,"--and while they aspired to
a closer walk with God, they never felt that the Torah needed to be
replaced by any other means of revelation and communion, as being itself
only partial and defective. To say of the Torah, as Paul said, that it
was a means by which God had prepared the way for Christ, implied that
it had only a secondary value on its own account. Indeed, it was rather
harmful than helpful, if the effect of its working was to "cause the
trespass to abound," and that effect was in no way justified by the
alleged intention, on the part of God, that "grace might abound more
exceedingly." A Christian, brought up on Paul, may see no difficulty in
believing that the holy and righteous God could or would act in such a
way. But to a Jew, brought up on Torah, it was impossible so to believe,
and he would repudiate the suggestion with indignation; partly by reason
of his reverence for God, and partly by reason of his own experience of
Torah, and of spiritual life under it. Paul's theory might be valid for
himself, but it was not valid for the Jew; and, arguing from his
premises, he only described an unreal Judaism, such as it doubtless
ought to have been if his premises had been true, but such as, in fact
and experience, it certainly was not.[12] Paul, of course, was
expounding Christianity; and he had no concern with Judaism, except to
account to Christian readers for the very obvious difficulties which it
placed in the way of his theory. His explanation of the meaning of
Judaism is not a study of that form of religion on its own account, but
the theoretical completion of his view of the work of Christ. If Christ
came when he did, and if he fulfilled such and such a function in the
drama of Providence, then the Judaism that was before him must have
meant so and so, and must have been intended by God to produce such and
such results. That seems to me to have been the real line of Paul's
argument. And, as it started from his intense personal conviction of the
inward presence of Christ, it is not wonderful that he should fail to
see that the facts of Judaism did not at all correspond to his theory;
or that he should assign to the Torah a function which, if put in
practice, would have been fatal to the existence of Judaism long before
Christ came. Paul argued on the religion of Torah from the postulates of
the religion of Christ. But Torah and Christ are incommensurable terms;
and Paul's presentation of Pharisaic Judaism is, in consequence, at its
best a distortion, at its worst a fiction.

     [12] I have been asked if it were not possible that there might be
     some section or school of the Pharisees to whom Paul's strictures
     might apply? Even if there were any evidence of such a school, that
     would not alter the fact that Paul himself draws no such
     distinction, but condemns the whole theoretical position of which
     the Halachah is the expression. A Pharisee who should repudiate the
     Halachah would be a contradiction in terms. My object is to set
     forth, as truly as I can, what Pharisaism was, on its own showing;
     and I am under no obligation to find a means whereby the strictures
     of Paul might be made to appear more relevant and valid than I have
     admitted them to be.

I shall presently offer reasons in support of that judgment, which is
not a hasty assertion but a deliberate opinion formed after years of
comparing the Judaism of the Rabbis with Paul's version of it. Before,
however, going on to this further part of my task, I will pause for a
moment to consider the difference between Paul's attitude and that of
Jesus towards the Pharisees and their religion. In the main it is
this--that Paul condemned Pharisaism in theory, while Jesus condemned it
in practice. Paul held that the whole system was radically defective,
and remained so whatever relative excellence might be produced under it
in the lives and characters of those who submitted to it. He condemned
it, though he had himself, as he said, been "as touching the Torah,
blameless." Jesus, on the other hand, charged the Pharisees with certain
specific sins and vices, such as hypocrisy, pride, self-righteousness,
etc. And he did not expressly denounce the systematic religion of Torah
as such, although, as has been shown in the preceding chapter, he did on
certain points reject the Torah. The Pharisees themselves were quite
aware that the faults he denounced were not unknown amongst them. The
Talmud bears honest witness to that fact, in the passage so often quoted
(b. Sotah, 22^b), about the seven kinds of Pharisees.

The censure of Jesus admits of the possibility that some, at least, of
the Pharisees were pious and good. And that Scribe, to whom Jesus said,
"Thou art not far from the kingdom of God" (Mark xii. 34), did not
cease to be a Pharisee by reason of the opinion he had expressed.

But Paul's condemnation of Pharisaism would include, not only that
Scribe, but all of his nation in whom goodness and piety might be
thought to have shown. And not only so, but these were by so much the
more to be condemned in that they gave fullest expression to the
principle of Torah. If the system was wrong, evidently those who most
completely and consistently acted up to it were most deeply tainted with
its error. Paul's universal negative challenges the contradiction of all
the saints, martyrs, and heroes of Israel.

I go on now to support the statement made above that Paul's presentation
of Judaism is at its best a distortion and at its worst a fiction; that,
however regarded, it does not correspond with the facts. I shall have to
show that the Torah was not such as Paul represented it to be, and that
it did not have the effect which he ascribed to it, in the religious
experience of those who lived under it. Also, that the Pharisee living
under the Torah was not thereby debarred from such communion with God as
Paul claimed for the believer in Christ; that, indeed, Pharisaism had
nothing to learn in this respect from Christianity, at all events Paul's
Christianity. What he offered to the Pharisees was either what they had
already in a form which they preferred, or what they had not got and did
not want. Upon these points I will proceed to enlarge during the
remainder of this chapter.

That the Torah was not such as Paul represented it to be is a statement
which is true, both positively and negatively. He ascribed to it a
character which it did not possess, and he left out of his description
features which it did possess, and which were essential to it. Paul
always takes Torah in the sense of "precept," "mitzvah," νὁμος, not
necessarily separate injunctions, but a collective expression of
command, for which the term Law is appropriate. The divine will imposed
this on Israel as the moral ideal, and, in demanding obedience to it,
set up a goal that could never be reached.

The more the divineness and holiness of the Law was recognised, the
greater must be the sin of disobeying it, the deeper the despair
resulting from such disobedience. Righteousness, the harmony of the
human will with the divine, was only possible by fulfilling the whole
Law; to fail in a single point was to break that harmony, and thus to
become unrighteous. The Law, with its multitude of precepts, only served
to increase the occasions of sin, and plunge the sinner in a deeper
despair. This is, in brief, Paul's view of the Law.[13]

     [13] The words ascribed to Jesus, John vii. 19, "Did not Moses give
     you the law, and yet none of you doeth the law?" are clearly
     dependent on the Pauline conception of the Torah. They are quite
     out of keeping with the attitude of Jesus as set forth in the
     Synoptic Gospels. And even Paul himself never went so far as to
     say, "None of you doeth the law." He only said in effect, "None of
     you keepeth the whole law." That the Gospel of John represents a
     stage in the development of anti-Jewish feeling later than that of
     Paul is further shown by the statement in John xii. 42,
     "Nevertheless, even of the rulers many believed on him; but because
     of the Pharisees they did not confess it, lest they should be put
     out of the synagogue." The policy of detecting secret adherents of
     Jesus and casting them forth from the synagogue was not adopted
     till A.D. 80, or thereabouts. See my _Christianity in Talmud and
     Midrash_, p. 125 fol. If, as recorded in John iii., Nicodemus
     really came to Jesus, he need not have come secretly. And, if the
     name Nicodemus be merely adapted from that of Nakdimon, a
     well-known and prominent citizen of Jerusalem at the time of the
     siege, of whom the Evangelist might have heard, then he did not
     come to Jesus at all.

It is safe to say that no Jew before Paul ever thought of the Torah in
that way, or ever felt the despair which, according to this theory, he
should have felt. Certainly, or let me say probably, no Pharisee ever
completely fulfilled all the "mitzvōth" of the Torah; but I have never
come across any Pharisee who was overwhelmed with despair on that
account. And, if it be said that this only shows the blindness and
conceit of the Pharisees, the answer is that even admitting that (which
I do not admit), still the Torah did not in fact present itself to the
mind of the Pharisee in the severe and threatening form which it wears
in Paul's description of it. As, indeed, how should it?

It has already been shown, in the second chapter, that the meaning of
Torah, as the Pharisee conceived it, was nothing less than the full
revelation which God had made to Israel, partly by way of precept,
partly by way of more general instruction in divine things. So far as
the Torah was expressed in the form of precept, it offered so many
occasions for serving God. Every "mitzvah" was an opportunity for doing
some part of the divine will; and it was because God loved Israel that
he had given these opportunities, whereby might be felt the joy of
faithful service. The Pharisee laid the whole emphasis on doing as much
as he could in that service; whereas, according to Paul, he ought to
have laid the whole emphasis upon his own inability to do _all_ that was
required. He ought to have been burdened by guilt, and haunted by the
despair of ever making his peace with the God whose commands he had
failed to obey. Instead, he was full of joy that God had given him
something that he could do for His sake, eager to do as much as he
could; and though he failed or sinned, from time to time, he was "not
utterly cast down," because he trusted that if he heartily repented God
would forgive him, and take him back. The Torah was not a burden to the
Pharisee, either by reason of the number or the difficulty of its
precepts, or by the thought of the impossibility of completely
satisfying its demands. And if there were ever a Pharisee in such a
state of despair that he should cry, "O miserable man that I am! who
shall deliver me from the body of this death?" he would think of the
Torah not as the cause of his anguish, but as the hope of his
deliverance. And it was the Torah itself which kept him from ever
falling into such despair; for it was God's own word of help and
guidance, the record of His endless mercy, the revelation of His love.
Paul would never have ascribed to the Torah such power to cause
despair, unless he had ceased to feel towards it as a Pharisee would
feel; and he ceased to feel so, because, in his mind, the place once
filled by Torah was now filled by Christ. For him there remained of
Torah only the shrivelled and misshapen corpse, instead of the once
glorious and living form. The one is held up to reproach in the Epistles
of Paul; the other is the object of endless praise, of reverent wonder,
almost adoring rapture, in the literature of the Pharisees.

But Paul's view of Torah is not completely described by saying that he
ascribed to it a character which it did not possess and an influence
which it did not exercise. He leaves out of account features which it
did possess, and represents the religion founded upon it as lacking in
elements which in fact were no less present there than in his own
religion. As already shown, Paul represents Torah exclusively as
precept, νὁμος, whereas it comprised the whole revelation recorded in
Scripture and rendered explicit by the valid interpretation of
Scripture. It comprised, therefore, the knowledge of God Himself, of His
providence and righteousness and fatherly love, also, of the way of
communion with Him, the assurance of forgiveness to the penitent, "the
means of grace and the hope of glory." All that belonged to his
religion, the Pharisee found indicated in the Torah, somewhere; and it
was his delight to learn what God taught him therein.

Now Paul's whole case rests upon the fact that there is no power in a
commandment to help a man to fulfil it. The Law was, according to him,
laid upon Israel with a demand for obedience, but with no power to
ensure that obedience. The Law said, "Thou shalt"; but it gave no
strength to the feeble will, however much it might shine with pitiless
light upon the frightened conscience. Austere messenger of the will of
God, it stood over its helpless slave, pointing indeed to heaven, but
stretching forth no hand to lead him there. The Law being thus
powerless to aid in the fulfilment of the divine command, there could be
no righteousness under the Law, no harmony between the human will and
the divine. Even if there ever had been such harmony, (and there had not
been since the sin of Adam), there was no power in the Law to restore
that harmony when it had once been broken. What the Law could not do, it
was, according to Paul, reserved for Christ to do. Through faith in him
came the power, not indeed to do what the sinner had failed to do, but
to restore the broken harmony and reconcile man to God. That power was
the direct influence of the living mind of Christ upon the human soul;
and the effect of it was to set it free from bondage, so that it could
of its own will turn to God. Paul here states, in terms of Christ, a
profound truth, namely, that the human soul depends, for its power to
will and desire the good, upon God; and that, without the means of
communion with its divine source, the soul must languish and die. And
Paul expounded this truth in terms of Christ, because in his own
experience it was through Christ that the divine help had come to him;
the force of a living personality which had set free his soul was that
of Christ. To him it seemed that such was the only way by which the
longed-for deliverance could be effected. Now the Law was not a person,
a living spirit, but a command, a written word. And even the Torah, in
its wider meaning, was still only a body of knowledge, a revelation, a
complex idea; it was not a living spirit, that could give of its own
life to a human soul. How, then, could there be, under the conditions of
Torah, that imparting and receiving of divine influence by which alone
the soul could be enabled to will the good, or even to live at all? Such
seems to me to be the reasoning underlying Paul's conception of the
powerlessness of the Law to save, its failure to impart righteousness.

But the Pharisee to whom that argument might be addressed would not have
the slightest difficulty in meeting it. He would say, "Certainly there
must be that divine influence upon the soul, the power imparted by one
living spirit to another; else the soul cannot live or do any good
thing. Certainly, also, the Torah is not a living spirit; it is only a
body of truth, a revelation, a complex idea, or, if you will, a set of
commands. But, what then? We look for help not to the commandment, but
to Him who gave the commandment; not to the Law, but to the Lawgiver;
not to the Torah, but to the wise, holy, and loving God, of whom the
Torah is the revelation. We learn, from the teaching which He has given
to us, to go direct to Him, pray to Him, trust Him, love Him, find help
and strength from Him. He is our Father in heaven, always ready to hear
His children, to forgive them when they repent of their sins against
Him, and to deliver them from evil."

This is what any Pharisee would reply to Paul's argument about the
impotence of the Law to justify. The difference between the Pharisee
and Paul upon this point is, in appearance, very great; but, in fact, is
very small. Both are agreed that there must be the imparting of divine
influence to the human soul. _With_ that influence, the quickening of
the life of the soul by the divine power and inward presence, the soul
is enabled to will the good and to love God. _Without_ that influence it
would perish. The Pharisee held that the divine influence was imparted
direct from God to the soul, without any intermediary. It was not the
Torah that imparted it, but God Himself. The Torah was given to teach
him; having no power or life in itself, it revealed to him the divine
source of power and life, and to that source he went.

Paul held that the divine influence was imparted to the soul through
Christ; and his point, that it could not come through the Law, is true,
but wholly irrelevant; for no one ever said that it could. The
implication that it could come _only_ through Christ may be relevant,
but is certainly not true; for all the experience of Jewish piety is
witness against it. When Paul, on the basis of his own experience, set
up his doctrine of the function of Christ, in the relations between God
and man, he did what he had every right to do; and he has earned the
gratitude of all who have found salvation through the faith in Christ
which they have learned from him. But Paul was not entitled to ignore
the experience (no less genuine than his own) of those whose conception
of religion he condemned. If all that they deemed essential to religion,
not merely the idea of Torah, but the direct influence of the living
God, had been included and stated in Paul's presentation of Judaism,
then the comparison between the Jewish and the Christian conception of
religion would have been more fair and equal; and if it did not appear
that there was any marked superiority of the one over the other, there
would at least have been the evidence that God is sought and found in
more ways than one.

Enough, perhaps, has been said by way of general argument to show that
Paul's version of Judaism is incorrect and defective. But it will be
well, at this point, to indicate more particularly the evidence upon
which I have maintained that Pharisaism is not the barren formalism that
it is usually supposed to have been, nor the merely preparatory foil to
Christianity, which is all that Paul could see in it.

There is first of all the general fact of the existence of the Jewish
people in unswerving loyalty to the Torah, and in the faith and practice
of the religion founded upon it--an existence and a loyalty maintained
through centuries of bitter persecution at the hands of Christians. It
is simply impossible that such a result could have been produced, if the
religion, by which its adherents lived and for which they died, had been
a soulless hypocrisy, a pious sham, or a futile delusion. If such could
have been the case, then what better guarantee is there for the truth
and worth of the faith for which Christian saints and martyrs have died
and heroes fought? A corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit. And if
the fruit be good, then, in the one case as in the other, the tree must
be good. No adverse opinion of the Judaism which has suffered and
survived, and which, be it remembered, is the Judaism of the Pharisees,
can be justified in face of the witness of Israel to the faith once
delivered to _its_ saints.

There is further to be considered the fact that before the time of Paul,
and indeed ever since, the Pharisees had for their spiritual nourishment
the Scriptures of the Old Testament, including the prophecies and the
Psalms. The study of these, and the constant use of them in the
Synagogue, would have been uncongenial to men whose one concern was for
hair-splitting casuistry, and would either have been discontinued or
reduced to an unintelligent formality. It was neither. The Scriptures
were the constant study of the Pharisee; and the worship of the
Synagogue derived much of its power to minister to the needs of the
worshippers, through its close dependence on the devotional outpourings
of the Psalms, and the prayers which embodied the spirit of them. The
Pharisee never for a moment thought that he was growing aloof from the
Prophets and Psalmists of the older time; and while in the Torah,
written and unwritten, he believed he had a fuller and more detailed
knowledge of what God had revealed, it was still the revelation of the
same God who had spoken to Abraham, who had shown His power by the Red
Sea and on Sinai, who had inspired the Prophets and been praised in the
Psalms. There may be legitimate regret that Israel cut itself off from
all knowledge of and contact with the great literatures of Greece and
Rome, and so missed the salutary influence of variety of thought. The
Pharisees chose their own line deliberately in this matter; and when
they saw what came of Hellenism, they might well feel that they had
chosen rightly. But whether or not, if they did keep out the great
Gentile literature--the "external books," as they called them,--they
most certainly did "read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest" their own.
And a religion that has absorbed into itself the ideas of the Hebrew
Scriptures, a religion whose springs have been continually fed from that
source, and whose ruling purpose was to serve and glorify the God
revealed in those Scriptures, cannot have been, and assuredly was not,
the hard and narrow formalism which its opponents have declared it to

These considerations have weight as evidence of what Pharisaism really
was; and their weight has by no means been sufficiently taken into
account; indeed, it has been ignored altogether in the commonly accepted
estimates of the character of Pharisaism. Strong, however, as such
general evidence is, I will further strengthen it by reference to the
utterances of Pharisees themselves, taken from their own literature.
And, out of many that I might choose, I will take such as bear more
particularly upon the points raised in the strictures of Paul.

First, I will take the Pharisaic doctrine[14] of repentance and
restoration, because it is on this that the antagonism of Paul is most
pronounced, and the injury done by his method of treatment most serious.
There is not in the Rabbinical literature a strict and clearly defined
theological doctrine of repentance and restoration; but there is a
general belief that the way of repentance is always open, by which a
sinner may come back to God, and that God will forgive that sinner
simply because he has repented. I will illustrate this by a few
quotations from Rabbinical, that is, Pharisaical works.

     [14] When I say the "doctrine of repentance and restoration," I do
     not mean to imply that Rabbinical theology was an organised and
     consistent system of doctrines. Such it never was; and it is the
     fundamental fallacy of Weber's book that he has so represented it.
     I shall go into this subject, of the sense in which it is
     legitimate to speak of the theology of the Rabbis, in the next

In the _Pesikta de R. Cahana_ (p. 165ª ed. Buber) the following
occurs:--"The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Jeremiah (the prophet),
'Go and say to Israel, Repent.' He went and said to Israel ('Repent').
They said to him, 'Master, how can we repent? With what face can we come
before God? Have we not angered him? Have we not provoked him? Those
mountains and hills upon which we have worshipped false gods, are they
not still standing?' Jeremiah came before the Holy One, blessed be He,
and told Him. He answered, 'Go and say to them, If ye come to me, is it
not to your Father in Heaven that ye come? For I have been a father unto
Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.'"

Again, in the same work (p. 163^b) R. Eleazar says: "It is the custom in
the world that a man will insult his neighbour publicly, and afterwards
seek to be reconciled to him. The other will say to him, 'Thou didst
insult me publicly, and wouldst be reconciled between me and thee
(_i.e._ privately). Go and bring those in whose presence thou didst
insult me, and I will be reconciled to thee.' But the Holy One, blessed
be He, doeth not so; but though a man stand and revile and blaspheme him
in the open street, the Holy One says to him, 'Repent between thee and
me, and I will receive thee.'"

A story is told (b. A. Zar. 17ª) of a man who was a particularly gross
sinner, and who in the midst of his sins was struck with terror and
remorse when it was said to him "Eleazar b. Dordaia will not be received
in repentance." His frantic efforts to persuade some intercessor to
plead for mercy on him are described in a passage too long to quote; but
I translate the conclusion, which runs thus:--"Then he said, The matter
hangeth only upon me (_i.e._ I must seek mercy for myself). He laid his
head between his knees and groaned with weeping, until his soul departed
from him; and there came a voice from heaven saying, 'R. Eleazar b.
Dordaia is summoned to the life of the world to come.'" The purpose of
that story is simply to teach that even the vilest sinner can repent,
and that, if he does, he will be forgiven. It should be observed that
the Talmud means by a sinner one who does definitely wicked actions--a
sinner morally, not theologically. It should also be observed that, in
the above story, the idea of an intercessor, by whom God might be moved
to pardon, is pointedly rejected. The sinner does not plead either the
merits of the Fathers, as might have been expected, or the merits of
Christ, as according to Paul he ought to have done, if his peace with
God were to be made. That he was forgiven, and that anyone in like case
would be forgiven upon repentance, is the emphatic declaration of
Pharisaic belief.

The Rabbis were fond of moralising upon the case of Manasseh, the
idolatrous king; and the following passage contains one of the lessons
they drew from it (j. Sanh. 28^c). Manasseh, after he had been carried
captive to Babylon and sat in prison there, said to himself: "'I
remember how my father caused me to read in the house of assembly this
verse (Deut. iv. 30), "When thou art in tribulation, and all these
things shall befall thee, in the latter days thou shalt return to the
Lord thy God and shalt hearken to His voice. For the Lord thy God is a
merciful God; He will not fail thee, nor destroy thee, nor forget the
covenant He made with thy fathers." Lo, I will say that, now. If God
hear me, it is well; if not----.' But the ministering angels desired to
shut the windows of heaven, so that the prayer of Manasseh might not
ascend to the Holy One, blessed be He. For they said before Him, 'Lord
of the worlds, wilt thou receive in penitence a man who has set up an
image in thy sanctuary?' He answered them, 'If I received not him in
penitence, lo, I bar the door against all penitents.' What, then, did
the Holy One do? He made an opening beneath His throne of glory, and He
heard his prayer. And this is what is written (2 Chron. xxxiii. 13),
'And he prayed unto Him, and He was entreated of him, and heard his
supplication and brought him again to Jerusalem.'"

I have given these stories just as they stand, with their quaint and
childish notions, because they reflect very clearly the fixed belief of
their authors that man is not prevented from finding forgiveness and
peace from God. He can always repent; and, if he does, God will always
forgive him. That this belief makes possible a sort of easy presumption
of forgiveness is a danger of whose reality the Pharisees were well
aware; and they were careful to warn against it. But they never wavered
in their belief that forgiveness did always follow on sincere
repentance; and that no sinner need ever remain cut off from God by the
barrier of his sin. The definite precepts of the Torah were divine
commandments, certainly. But they did not make the Pharisee feel that if
he disobeyed them there was no longer any hope for him, any possibility
of ever finding his way back to the love of God. The passages I have
quoted, and there are many others, and scores and hundreds of sayings
about repentance which all teach the same lesson, are the utterance of
Pharisees, of men who were steeped to the lips in Rabbinism, who gloried
in the Torah, who delighted in the abundance of its precepts, and the
consequent casuistry of the schools, and who felt in their hearts that
love of God which they did their best to show forth by serving the Lord
with gladness in the doing of His commandments.

However great be the difference between the Pharisee and the Christian
in the form given to their respective conceptions of religion, the
contents of their spiritual experience were to this extent alike, that
for each there was, and is, the sense of personal relation to, and
communion with, the Divine Being. For the Christian, at least for most
Christians, the medium of that communion is Christ. For the Pharisee
there is no medium; but there is, as the guide to show the way, and the
light to shine upon it, the Torah. The Pharisee did not bring to his
religious conceptions the penetrating power of analysis which has been
applied by Christian theologians. There has never been a Pharisee who
could have done what Paul or Augustine did in this respect, unless it
was Maimonides. There will therefore not be found in Pharisaic
literature the subtle distinctions of justification, sanctification,
prevenient grace, etc., which abound in the great Christian writers.

But, none the less, the main terms are found, and the spiritual
realities thereby signified were known in Pharisaic experience. Grace
was known. The Holy Spirit was known. Faith was known. These and other
of "the deep things of God" were objects of real experience and devout
contemplation. Pious fancy played round them, and represented them in
parable and allegory; but they were seldom if ever made the subject of
close philosophical examination, nor were they formulated in defined

Much is said about the Holy Spirit in the Pharisaic literature, without
any attempt to make all that is said consistent. But, behind all such
utterances, there is the unwavering belief in the direct communion of
God with man. The Holy Spirit was naturally most often referred to in
the case of the prophets, in whom its manifestation was most
conspicuous. But its influence is implied in the fact of prayer, and is
nowhere denied in regard to men in general. "Whatever the righteous do,
they do it by the Holy Spirit." That is the utterance of a Pharisee
(Tanḥ. Vajeḥi, xiii. p. 110ª), and it is the key to the whole
Pharisaic conception of the relation of man to God.

So, too, in regard to Faith, while the word does not appear so often on
the pages of the Talmud as it does in the Epistles of Paul, the thing
was an essential element in the religion of the Pharisees as it was in
that of Paul. They never defined precisely what faith meant; it appears
as a simple and unquestioning trust in God; and they thought about it
after a simple fashion, without, however, being thereby shown to be
wanting in it. "Great is faith," says a Midrash (Mechilta Beshall. ii.
6, 33^b). "For Israel believed in Him who spake and the world was; and
as a reward for believing in the Lord, the Holy Spirit rested on them,
and they uttered a song: as it is written, 'They believed on the
Lord.... Then sang Moses, etc.'" (Exod. xiv. 31; xv. 1). "And so you
find" (continues the Midrash) "that Abraham our father did not inherit
this world and the world to come except by the merit of faith, because
he believed in the Lord. As it is written, 'And Abraham believed in the
Lord, and He counted it to him for righteousness'" (Gen. xv. 6). R.
Nehemiah said, "Everyone who receives even one commandment in faith is
worthy that the Holy Spirit should rest on him." So even the Pharisees
could appeal to the same Abraham, whom Paul called as a witness against
them; and they did so with the most obvious sincerity, as having a
perfect right to do so, and probably with complete ignorance that the
Christian apostle had appealed to Abraham in support of his argument
against their religion. And it was well done of the compiler of the
Midrash to add the closing words of the passage I quoted; for I know of
hardly any other saying which so illumines the inner side of Pharisaism
as this, that "Every man who receives even one commandment in faith is
worthy that the Holy Spirit should rest on him."

In all that I have said in the course of this chapter, I have had before
me the purpose of showing what is true about the religion of the
Pharisees upon those points which are affected by Paul's condemnation.
True, Paul condemned it as a whole, as a system of thought and practice
fundamentally and in principle contrary to what he regarded as the
truth. But he only alleged certain features of Pharisaism as the sign
and expression of its defect. He alleged its reliance upon the Law and
its consequent non-reliance upon Christ. He drew certain conclusions
from its alleged defects, and his conclusions have been accepted as
valid ever since. I have therefore tried to show chiefly on these points
what the Pharisees themselves thought and felt and believed; and have
left out of notice other aspects of Pharisaism which were not
challenged, and which might have been challenged with more reason than
those which Paul actually chose. He might have made a strong case
against the particularism of the Pharisees in comparison with the
universalism of his own Gospel. For though it can be shown that the
Pharisaic conception of religion did not exclude universalist ideas in
regard to mankind in general, yet it can hardly be questioned that such
ideas were but seldom touched upon and by no means conspicuous in the
ordinary thought and debate of the Pharisees. Moreover, the Torah
itself, which was to them so all important, was given only to Israel,
and could serve only them as a means of salvation. If the Gentiles were
to profit by it, they must do so in fellowship with Israel. And that
made real universalism impossible, whatever might be the aspirations of
this or that particular Rabbi. God offered the Torah, says the Midrash,
to all the nations of the world; and all refused it except Israel. They
had their chance, and rejected it. That is for Jews a not unnatural
view, but it does not lead to universalism. Yet, if Paul had challenged
Pharisaism on this its weakest side, instead of aiming his blows at an
unreal creation of his own brain, he would not have been left
unanswered. The Pharisees would have replied, "True, we have not grasped
the idea of universalism in any effective way. But what does your own
universalism amount to? Only to this, that amongst the elect, those whom
you say God chooses out to be saved, the distinction of Jew and Gentile
does not count. But neither for you nor for us is there any question of
his actually saving all men. There is no real universalism at all. And
there is this between us, that you tell of the wrath of God poured out
on all mankind except the elect; you tell of Christ who in some way is
the means of saving those elect; you hold that life in this present
world is only a temporary captivity in an evil state from which there
will be a speedy release at the coming of Christ in glory. To us there
is no Christ; for we need none, except the Messiah, who shall come when
God shall please, and who will do otherwise than he of whom you speak.
But we need none to save us from our Father in Heaven, and none to
persuade Him to forgive when else He would turn away. And this present
life, in this present world, is to us not a vale of tears or a captivity
in an evil state. It is the scene of our service of God. And that Torah,
of which you have said such hard things,--you who once gloried in Torah
yourself, and must have known, though now you have forgotten, how it was
once "the light of all your seeing,"--that Torah is to us the guide of
life, that shows us how in the small deeds of every day we can, if we
will, do that which is pleasing to God. Yes, we fail sometimes; and as
your own master said, "even if we did all the 'mitzvōth,' we should
still be but unprofitable servants, having done only that which was our
duty to do." Still, we serve Him with heart and soul, the best we can;
and we count it nothing to have done only the mere act prescribed,
without the intention of pleasing Him. We look to Him as our help and
our shield, our Father and Lord, our strength and our redeemer. And He
does not turn away from us. Go you and worship Him as you will; and if
the Torah no longer says aught to you of what once it said, then seek
the revelation of God elsewhere, and hear his voice in other tones. As
for us we will "abide in the things we have learned, knowing from whom
we have learned them." And so long as we are faithful to the trust that
God committed to Israel, when He made him a nation, and gave him the
Torah and raised up the prophets, and sent psalmists and wise men to
teach their brethren, so long "may the Lord God be with us as He was
with our fathers."

It is the Pharisee who has kept the promise of Israel; and to these
latest days he keeps it still.



In the second chapter it was pointed out that the development of the
religion of Torah, in the centuries from Ezra to the Pharisees and on to
the Talmud, took place along two main lines. These are indicated by the
two words Halachah and Haggadah. Upon the meaning of the former I dwelt
at some length; but, for the sake of clear and adequate treatment, it
seemed better to defer the consideration of the latter. The thread then
dropped I shall pick up now; for the answer to the question "What was
the theology of the Pharisees?" is given in the Haggadah. This is true
in more senses than one; for to understand what is meant by Haggadah is
to understand the Pharisaic mode of approaching questions of doctrinal
theology, while a comprehensive knowledge of all that they taught upon
such questions could only be obtained by a survey of the whole mass of
Haggadah contained in the Rabbinical literature. To accomplish anything
like that would need a very large volume. Weber devoted a whole book to
it; and he might well have written a second, to include all that he had
left out of the first. It will meet the purpose of the present work to
explain the way in which the Pharisees dealt with doctrinal theology,
and to illustrate this by reference to some main heads of belief,
choosing such as may serve to throw light on references in the New
Testament to Pharisaic doctrines. I shall then be in a position to use
the results obtained for an explanation, in the final chapter, of the
remarkable difference in character and tone between the Pharisaic
religious discourse and that of the New Testament teachers--a difference
felt by all who are able to compare the two literatures.

For the purpose of the present inquiry I must again remind the reader
that the religion of Torah, since the time of Ezra, was based upon the
belief that God had made to Israel a full and final revelation, had
given a body of teaching, for their guidance and enlightenment upon all
matters in which the divine and the human came into contact. The vehicle
of this revelation, the written record of it, was the Pentateuch, called
therefore the Torah, _par excellence_. But all the other Scriptures were
considered to be of divine authority, and only subsidiary to the
Pentateuch, because they helped to make clear its meaning. Further, what
was implicit in the divine revelation, written in the Pentateuch and
amplified in the other Scriptures, was rendered explicit in the oral
interpretation. And whereas the _litera scripta manebat_, unaltered in
form and quantity, the oral interpretation continually increased in
amount and in multiplicity of detail, as being an ever more full and
exact exposition of the contents of the original revelation. To use a
mathematical simile, the whole Torah might be compared to the sum of an
infinite series, written in definite symbols, and made to express a more
detailed concrete result by the progressive evaluation of its terms.

It is evident that for the religion of Torah the prime necessity was to
know the meaning of the Scriptures in general and of the Pentateuch in
particular. The oral Tradition started with the interpretation of
Scripture; and never in its furthest flights of allegorical extravagance
or daring imagination did it wholly forget or entirely disown its
connection with the written word. The connection is not always easy to
trace; but it is there, none the less. The Tradition of the Elders,
wherever it be examined, and whatever be the subject of its
pronouncements, is, from first to last, and from its highest to its
lowest, the declaration that, when God gave the Torah to Israel, "this"
and "this" and "this" is what he meant by it.

When Ezra and his successors made it their chief task to study and
interpret the written Torah, what they looked for before everything else
was direction for _doing_ the divine will. The reasons why they took
this line have already been explained, and need not be repeated (see
above, Chapter II.). The effect was that in the body of tradition
gradually formed, the element of precept was the most conspicuous and
the most systematically developed. It was essential that the Jew,
desiring to serve God, should know exactly what he was commanded to do,
and what he was forbidden to do, and what was the right course to take
in cases where no divine command or prohibition had been explicitly
given. The Halachah was the answer to these questions; being of the
nature of a comprehensive rule of right conduct, and intended to cover
every possible occasion on which a decision was called for. The results,
obtained by proper methods of interpretation, and recognised as valid by
competent authority, were clear and definite, and could only be
disputed by showing that in fact the real intention of Scripture was
otherwise. Hence it was possible to elaborate a consistent system of
Halachah, and eventually to codify it all.[15]

     [15] The process of building up the system is seen in the Talmud.
     The Code, or the chief Code, is the Shulḥan Aruch, compiled in the
     sixteenth century by Joseph Caro.

But the interpreters of Scripture found more in its pages than precept;
the Torah taught other things besides directions for doing the divine
will. It contained instruction about God Himself, about Israel's
relation to Him, about the creation and divine providence as shown in
past history, about human virtues and vices, and the divine approval or
disapproval of them, and so on. It was the task of the interpreters to
set forth this teaching, as well as the positive or negative precepts.
It is probable that the early Sopherim described their work of
interpretation as a whole by the word Haggadah; or, rather, that they
used the cognate verb "higgid" to indicate that the Scripture
"declared" so and so. But when they began to develop the special line of
Halachah, the meaning of what had been the more general term was
restricted so as to denote all the remainder that was not Halachah. This
is, in practice, what Haggadah does mean, namely, interpretation of
Scripture in all other directions except that of precept.[16] As a
technical term, indeed, the actual word Haggadah may be no earlier than
the first, or even the second, century of our era; but that method or
process of interpretation which it was used to describe was in practice
long before.

     [16] This is Bacher's explanation, as given in an article in the
     _J. Q. R._, 1892, p. 406 fol. His argument seems to me

Haggadah, then, covers the whole field of scriptural interpretation
except so far as it relates to precept; and this is why the contents of
the Haggadah are so much more diversified than those of the Halachah.
One might truly say that the Haggadah is the Pharisaic comment upon
life as a whole in the light of Scripture, the element of duty being
reserved for special treatment.

If the Scripture could give even a hint upon any aspect of human nature,
upon any phase of human experience, upon any attribute of God, upon any
mystery of His providence, then the unfolding of the true meaning of
that hint is Haggadah.

It will be clear, from what has been said, that all the subjects usually
included under the term doctrinal theology would find their place under
the head of Haggadah. Such are the doctrine of God, His existence and
attributes; the doctrine of sin and restoration; the doctrine of
revelation; the doctrine of "the last things," etc. And it is quite true
that whatever the Pharisees taught upon those subjects is found in the
Haggadah and not in the Halachah. But there will not be found a
consistent system of doctrine upon these or any other subjects; there
will not be found a detailed scheme of heads of belief. There will be
found the utterances of individual teachers, sometimes diverging widely
from the opinions of other teachers upon the same subject. There will be
found, not indeed a complete and unrestricted license to any man to say
and teach and believe what he liked, but a liberty to differ where each
had what seemed to him good warrant for his belief. _Uniformity of
religious belief was never required by the Pharisees_; and the most that
was done in that direction was to recognise that there were certain
limits beyond which a Jew could not go and still remain within the
Jewish communion. Thus, even if he claimed to prove from Scripture that
there were other gods than the One, he would cease to be acknowledged as
a Jew. Or, if he said that the Torah was not from Heaven, _i.e._ was not
a divine revelation, he would in like manner be regarded as no longer a
Jew. But (to put it generally), if he loyally accepted the axioms and
postulates of Judaism, then he was free to draw his own conclusions from
them in regard to what he believed. The Rabbis never drew up a
doctrinal creed; and when Maimonides did so, in the twelfth century of
our era, he did what was felt by many to be uncongenial to the spirit of

This absence of a system of doctrinal theology is a feature of
Pharisaism which is most important for the right understanding of it;
and Christian scholars have gone far astray through not being aware of
this essential fact. Weber proclaims his error in the very title of his
book, _A "System" of Ancient Palestinian Synagogue Theology_. There is
much to be learned from Weber's book, and much that is extremely
valuable to those who know how to use it; but, none the less, the whole
conception of Pharisaic theology expounded in that book is fundamentally
wrong, because Weber calls that a system which never was a system, and
never set out to be. Christian doctrinal theology is capable of being
presented as a system; and has, in fact, been so represented by almost
every denomination of Christians. Weber presumably had such a system on
Lutheran lines. He took for granted that there must have been a system
on Pharisaic lines; in other words, that the doctrines of Pharisaic
belief were developed from fundamental principles with such logic as was
admissible, and were consistent with each other. He therefore took the
general scheme of his own Christian theology, and set down under its
several heads what he could find of Rabbinical doctrine upon each point.
He must have been perplexed by the want of agreement amongst his
authorities, but he got over that by regarding the more prominent
doctrine as the rule, and the other as the exception; the former was a
part of the system, the latter was an aberration. Christian scholars are
pathetically grateful to Weber for having given them an orderly and
methodical arrangement of the medley of Pharisaic doctrine; certainly he
has done so; but with as much success and as much truth as if he had
described a tropical jungle, believing it to be a nursery-garden. Many
people have seen a nursery-garden. Few have seen a jungle. It is easy
and natural and highly convenient to identify the unfamiliar with the
familiar; but the jungle remains a jungle, when all is said and done.

The meaning of which is this, that the Rabbis adjusted their beliefs to
the Torah; they believed whatever they found there, or could deduce from
its plain statements and obscure hints, or could shelter under its
sanction. It never troubled them that what they found in the Torah was
not always mutually consistent. One teacher drew forth _this_ lesson,
and another drew forth _that_, and a third something different. But what
then? Only that the Torah contained these various lessons; and why
should not they all be learned? For had not God given them all? What he
said had many meanings, and was not exhausted by one interpretation.[17]
Even if contradictory conclusions were drawn, they were not on that
account any the less divine truth. It was said (j. Ber. 3^b), in regard
to the controversy between the school of Hillel and the school of
Shammai, "The words of each are the words of the living God." And that
applies to the whole field of the Haggadah. If the results of
interpretation were arrived at by legitimate methods, and declared by
competent teachers, then they were received as valid. Not indeed that
anyone was required to believe what was stated in them. That was not the
intention of the teacher. Haggadah was above all things meant for
edification; it presented religion under a great variety of aspects, and
by means of an extraordinary wealth of illustrations drawn from the
whole field of knowledge and experience. To learn this was good, by
reason of the variety; the religious thought of the learner was
enriched, his moral nature benefited, and his spirit continually
refreshed by the contemplation of the everchanging aspects of divine
truth. Uniformity would have made that impossible; to have required it
would have been fatal; and to suppose that it was required is to miss
the point of Haggadah, which is what Christian scholars usually do.

     [17] A Midrash says: "One text issues in many meanings.... The
     school of R. Ishmael teach (in reference to Jer. xxiii. 29), 'Like
     a hammer that breaketh the rock'; as this is divided into many
     sparks, so even one text issues in many meanings. For the way of
     the Holy One, blessed be He, is not like the way of flesh and
     blood. For flesh and blood cannot say two things at once. But He
     who spake and the world was, uttered ten words in one act of
     speaking, as it is said (Ps. lxii. 11), 'God hath spoken once.'
     'And God spake all these words, saying, etc.'" (Exod. xx. 1).
     Yalkut Shim'oni on Ps. lxii. 11, § 783.

If a Jew were told by some teacher a piece of Haggadah, he would be
impressed by the wisdom or the beauty of the thought contained in it, or
perhaps would admire the skill which drew it forth from some obscure
hint of Scripture; but he would never say to himself, "I must
straightway believe this; if I do not, I shall be in error, and in peril
of my soul." He would more likely say, "Blessed art thou, Abraham our
father, from whom has sprung such a teacher for Israel." And observe
that Haggadah is still Torah. It is an exposition and application of
what is implicit in the divine revelation, drawn forth and made
articulate. Yet, even so, there is no demand made for the acceptance, as
an article of belief, of each Haggadic exposition. The Jew, and notably
the Pharisee, knew what faith was, as well as the Christian did; but he
did not make it the regulator of his attitude towards that which was
taught him as the contents of revelation.

I have said that Haggadah is interpretation of Scripture in all
directions except that of precept. And that is true; but the term
"interpretation" must be taken in a very wide sense. A connection of
some kind there always is between Scripture and Haggadah; but it is
sometimes extremely slight. For the Haggadic interpreter performed his
task in two ways: either he developed what he believed to be the real
teaching of Scripture upon this or that point; or he sought to find in
Scripture a sanction for truths which he already believed. And not
merely for definite truths, but for anything which might tend to
edification,--ethical principles, mystical speculations, meditations on
providence and the wonders of creation, the imaginings of pious fantasy,
and even the play of daring wit. There was nothing that could not find a
place in the Haggadah, if it could be linked on to some text or word or
letter of Scripture. The methods employed were, from the point of view
of strict exegesis, often wildly extravagant. No freak of allegory, of
word-play, of fantastic juggling with letters and syllables, is without
illustration in the Haggadah. And the men who employed such methods knew
well that what they were setting forth was not the plain literal meaning
of Scripture. What they saw, with their inward vision, was the divine
truth, holiness, justice, beauty, goodness, love; they read it in their
own experience, and traced it in nature and history and man. They looked
to see it all mirrored in Scripture; for there was the divine
revelation, and there all that they believed to be divine must be. Some
of it could be plainly seen; for, in essentials, the Haggadic teaching
upon ethics and piety kept to the main lines of the Scriptures. What
could not be plainly seen was inferred to be there; and no hint was too
slight to indicate its presence. We say that this means reading into the
text what is not there. And doubtless that is the case. But the
Haggadist did not so understand what he did. If he was conscious of
ideas, thoughts, beliefs, which he felt to be variously good, then,
since Scripture was for him the only vehicle of divine revelation,
somewhere in Scripture must be indicated all that various good. And any
method was justified by which it could be brought forth and made clear.
That I take to be the theory of the Haggadah, the explanation which a
Haggadist would give of the reason for his peculiar treatment of
Scripture. Haggadah, like Halachah, is a natural, perhaps even a
necessary, development of a religion of Torah. Both are integral parts
of Torah; and a thorough understanding of the nature and function of
each is necessary for the understanding of the whole. Halachah and
Haggadah, together with the personal spiritual life of the individual,
cover the whole field of the religious consciousness of the Pharisee.
For it is entirely wrong to say that the Pharisee was wholly taken up
with the Halachah, the discipline of direct precept. No Pharisee that
ever lived confined his thoughts and aspirations, his beliefs and hopes,
within the range of Halachah, nor could have done if he had tried. He
guided his conduct by the Halachah certainly, because he believed that
by following it he was doing the will of God exactly as it ought to be
done. But the Halachah did not teach him, and did not profess to teach
him, how he should think about God, nor did it seek to regulate his own
private communion with his Father in heaven. For this last he sought no
other teacher except the promptings of his own soul and the answer of
God to his prayers. And for the knowledge of God's nature and His works
in providence and human history, he gladly learned from any wise and
gifted teacher who could tell him anything, or in any way help him to
think wisely, to worship devoutly, to live worthily. I shall have more
to say about this in the concluding chapter. I only mention it here,
because it was necessary to show the place which the Haggadah occupied
in the religious thought of the Pharisee, and how it did for him what in
other religions is done by a scheme of doctrinal theology. For the
present I keep to the subject of the Haggadah itself, and proceed to
inquire what can be learned from it as to the main heads of Pharisaic
belief, especially in the period covered by the New Testament. It is
mainly for the sake of this inquiry that I have given the foregoing
explanation of the nature and intention of Haggadah.

The inquiry is by no means an easy one. For, while it is only necessary
to open a volume of the Talmud, or of one of the great Midrashim, to
find on almost every page some Haggadic utterance, often indeed a great
mass of Haggadah, it is wholly unwarranted to say "this" and "this" is
what the Pharisees believed. It may be; and, of course, if it were not
in some way acceptable to Pharisaic minds, according to their canons of
judgment, it would not be found in their books. But the Haggadah does
not carry its meaning on the surface, nor yield it to the hearer or
reader who has only a passing glance for it or a careless ear. And thus,
what really represents the truth believed, or the good discerned, the
element to which the mind assented, and which it gratefully received, is
not expressed in the verbal form of the Haggadah, nor in its
statements,--extravagant and even impossible as they sometimes are.
There was no idea of taking those statements as they stand, as if they
were to be accepted as true, and believed as divine revelations. When it
is said by a Haggadist that since the creation God has been occupied in
making marriages (Ber. R., p. 133^c § 68. 4), that does not represent as
it stands what any Pharisee, or the Haggadist himself, really believed
about God. As George Eliot truly says of that particular Haggadah, "The
levity of the saying lies in the mind of him who hears it"; and, as she
might have added, puts a frivolous meaning on it. The Haggadah is full
of such things; but the Haggadah is not on that account frivolous or
absurd. And when the unwary Christian produces specimens of Haggadah,
and says, "See what those Rabbis believed and taught," the foolishness
which he illustrates is not that of the Rabbis. To get at the real
meaning and serious purpose of Haggadic teaching is one of the
difficulties in the inquiry into what the Pharisees believed. In itself
it is not a great difficulty, but it needs to be recognised.

A further difficulty is presented by the question, how far can the
utterance of some individual teacher be taken to represent a generally
accepted belief, seeing that there was no requirement of uniformity of
belief? To that question a decisive answer is scarcely ever possible,
except within wide limits of probability. If a doctrine can be
formulated upon some topic of theology, it will represent a _de facto_
consensus of belief, rather than the conscious acceptance of the
teaching of any authority; and those who held the belief might still
prefer a different statement of it. Everywhere caution is necessary in
drawing forth from the Haggadah its real meaning, and in forming
conclusions as to the generality of its acceptance.

A still further difficulty, and one which is of especial importance for
the purpose of this book, is that of using, for comparison with the
teaching of the New Testament, Haggadah often of much later date. Of the
enormous mass of Haggadah contained in the Rabbinical literature, only a
small proportion is contemporary with the Gospels, and very little
indeed contemporary with Jesus. One of the most famous Haggadists was
R. Joshua b. Levi, in the middle of the third century of our era. If we
find that he teaches some doctrine, are we entitled to use his words as
evidence that such doctrine was believed by Pharisees in the time of
Jesus and the Apostles? If not, then, of course, the appeal to the
Talmud and Midrash, in illustration of Pharisaism in the New Testament
period, is futile. Here, again, caution is necessary; but, with caution,
the answer is that the later literature may rightly be used as evidence
of earlier beliefs and ideas. We have already met the same question in
reference to the Halachah (see above, Chapter II.). And the answer there
was that the _principle_ of Halachah was accepted, and the development
of that principle was begun long before the time of Christ. What changed
continuously through the centuries was the body and form of ascertained
Halachah, determined by the gradual expansion into greater detail of its
precepts, and their application to a greater variety of cases. The
Halachah, as codified in the Mishnah, is much more extensive than the
Halachah as it was known to the Pharisees in the time of Jesus. But the
intention of it is the same for the earlier period as for the later.
Wherefore it is legitimate to use the Talmud to illustrate the principle
of Halachah as accepted in the New Testament period, as also for the
periods before and after; but it would not be safe to infer that some
particular definition, propounded by Akiba or Judah the Holy, was
already regarded as Halachah, and taken for a rule of conduct by the
contemporaries of Hillel and Shammai. Now, with regard to the Haggadah,
the case is somewhat different, because, as has been already explained,
no uniformity of belief was required, while uniformity of practice was
required. But, allowing for that difference, what was said about the use
of the later literature in regard to the Halachah applies also to its
use in regard to the Haggadah. For here, also, there is an element which
does not change, or not to any great extent, over a period which
includes that of the New Testament and a considerable time before and
after. That element is the general Pharisaic belief about God, Israel,
and the world, about man's relation to God and to his fellow-men, about
virtues, vices, the nature of sin, the function of prayer, and so on.
What the Haggadah did was to teach this, illustrate it in all manner of
ways, and present it in every possible aspect, but not in any great
degree to modify it. Indeed, I think hardly to modify it at all. There
is, in Pharisaism, no such progressive development of doctrine as there
is in Christianity. Of course there could not be, in the nature of
things, a Pharisaic Christology. But there was no progressive doctrine
of a Messiah, nor of the Torah, nor of the resurrection of the dead,
nor, I think, of any of the main subjects of belief. There were general
ideas commonly held upon these subjects, beliefs upon which there was
substantial agreement, and no thought of challenge. And the Haggadah was
the means by which this general body of belief was continually
illustrated and illumined, so that it might have ever renewed power to
refresh the soul. Just as the Halachah was the detailed application of
Torah to conduct, on its practical side, as the doing of the divine
will, so the Haggadah was the detailed application of Torah to the
spiritual life generally, so that the light which God had given might be
shed over the "things which are eternal."

I proceed to sketch out what I take to be the general beliefs of the
Pharisees which form the background, or the substratum, of the Haggadah,
so far as I have been able to make it out. Afterwards I will give some
Haggadic illustrations upon particular points. I purposely do not
attempt a systematic arrangement, because the Pharisees themselves did

The object of worship is God--one, and undivided. He is the Creator of
the world and of everything in it; and no other being shared with Him in
that work. He does what He will; but His will is always just. His
providence supplies the wants of His creatures. He is good, kind, and

It is the duty of man to obey Him. He has made known His will; He
rewards those who fulfil His command, and punishes those who disobey. He
has made all the human race; but Israel stands in a special relation to
Him, because only Israel is bound to Him by a covenant. The Torah was
offered to the other nations, but they would not have it. They are
therefore outside the range of God's favour. They can only come within
it by learning from Israel the Torah. There are, nevertheless, good men
amongst the other nations.

It is the privilege of Israel to have been found worthy to receive the
Torah, and his highest aim is to fulfil it, not only by doing what it
sets before him as the divine will, but by taking to heart all that it
teaches him concerning sacred things.

The Pharisee believed himself to be under the immediate care of God.
Nothing happens to him except by the divine permission. God sees, and
knows all that he does and all that he is going to do. Nevertheless, his
will is free. He is not compelled either to obey or to disobey. If he
obeys, God is pleased with him. If he disobeys, God is angry with him.
Reward will follow in the former case, punishment in the latter. If he
has sinned, repentance will make his peace with God. Forgiveness is
never refused to the penitent. He can always pray to God, and God will
always hear him.

It is his duty to be kind towards his fellow-men, "especially towards
them which are of the household of the faith"--namely, Israel. He must
not wrong anyone, whether Jew or Gentile. He must especially do acts of
charity towards the poor and the suffering. He must not live an idle
life; and in all that he does he must serve God.

Although at present he has much to endure, yet there will be in the
future a better time, when the Messiah shall come and set up the
kingdom of God upon earth. Then Israel will be freed from the oppression
of the Gentiles, and will enjoy peace and prosperity and the fulness of
the blessing of God. When that shall be, no one knows. God will send the
Messiah when it pleases Him to do so. But the sins of Israel hinder his

When life on earth is over, there is a life beyond the grave. For the
righteous there is Heaven, where they will be rewarded; and for the
wicked there is Hell, where they will be punished. The righteous in
Heaven will live for ever. The wicked in Hell will be destroyed and made
an end of. There will be no chance to repent after death.

Man is under the protection of angels, and liable to temptation and harm
from evil spirits. There are many such, and there is a prince over them.
The angels are God's messengers. Each man has in himself two opposing
impulses or tendencies; one towards good and the other towards evil. It
is his duty to control the evil impulse and strengthen the good one.
God will help him to obey the good, and will not prevent him from
yielding to the bad. To keep his mind fixed on the Torah, and filled
with its teaching, is his protection against sin and his incitement to
right living. He is glad that the Torah gives him so many precepts to
fulfil, because it thereby constantly reminds him of God, and provides
opportunities for serving Him. The Torah is the centre and circumference
of all his thoughts and beliefs about religion. In it God has revealed
everything that He has revealed at all. It is the greatest gift He could
make, and He has bestowed it all on Israel, and kept nothing back.

Such, in bare outline, and purposely stripped of all details, I believe
to have been the contents of the religious consciousness of the
Pharisees in general, the beliefs and ideas common to them all. In
different periods, according to circumstances, there would be variety in
the emphasis laid upon particular points.

For instance there might be, as there certainly was, more than one
period when the group of beliefs centring on the Messiah rose into
exceptional prominence, and were held with more than usual fervour. And,
again, the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70, and the final overthrow
of the Jewish national polity in A.D. 135, had a profound influence upon
Pharisaic belief, by laying additional stress on faithfulness to the
divine will, and by causing deeper reflection upon the mystery of that
will as shown in the suffering of Israel. The Pharisees deplored, with
sincerest grief, the loss of the Temple and the cessation of its
services. But they were well able to learn the lesson of a worship and a
religious life, for which such external means were needless. And they
did learn it with wonderful rapidity.

So, too, for individuals according to temperament, some elements of the
general belief would have more importance than others; and there would
be, further, a great variation in the strength of conviction with which
the beliefs were held, as also in the character of those who held them.
It is clear that such a general conception of religion could open a way
for the faults of pride and hypocrisy, charged against the Pharisees, as
it also could open the way for the virtues of humble piety and sincere
devotion. It probably did the one. It certainly did the other. There
were good, bad, and indifferent Pharisees, as there are good, bad, and
indifferent Christians. And all that I am concerned with at present is
the general Pharisaic consensus of belief, thought, and feeling upon
divine things.

If I have described it correctly, then it represents the underlying
meaning of the Haggadah; and whatever is contained in the Haggadah is
intended to illustrate, or enforce, or make prominent, some aspect of
those beliefs. It matters nothing that there is endless variety, and
frequent contradiction, in what the Haggadists say, _i.e._ in the form
in which they clothe their thoughts; nor that they make statements
which are extravagant, or impossible, or absurd, or grotesque, or even
occasionally, in appearance at least, irreverent. What really was in
their mind was the underlying religious truth or ethical principle which
they sought to illumine. That was their serious intention; and it is not
a denial of this if it be admitted that, like all interpreters who use
the method of allegory, they occasionally let their fancy run riot, and
indulged in freaks of exposition whose connection with religion is not
obvious.[18] Trivialities of that kind, however, may be left out of

     [18] As, _e.g._ when they give the name of Lot's wife, which was
     Idith (Tanḥ. i. 45^b), or are able to say that the fare which Jonah
     paid to go in the ship was 4000 gold pieces (b. Nedar. 38ª), or
     that Noah took with him into the ark suitable food for the
     different creatures:--hay for the camel, barley for the ass,
     grape-vines for the elephant, and _glass_ for the ostrich (Tanḥ.

It will be of more use to take some of the points of the foregoing
sketch of Pharisaic belief, and examine them in greater detail. And the
first shall be the doctrine of God, and more particularly certain
aspects of the doctrine of God.

Between the Pharisees and the New Testament teachers there was no
dispute as to the sole sovereignty of God, or that He was the Creator
and upholder of all things. But it is well to lay stress upon the
Pharisaic belief in the nearness of God and the directness of access to
Him; also to make clear the fact that emphatic resistance was offered by
the Pharisees to any idea of a plurality of divine persons. They would
own no being who could be regarded either as in some sense a second God,
or as a mediator between God and man.

That the Pharisees commonly thought of God as a cold abstraction, a
distant and inaccessible Power, is by Christian scholars frequently but
quite erroneously asserted. Of course, it was never denied that God was
the Almighty, the Lord of all worlds, supreme over everything. Indeed,
that was affirmed over and over again, and is one of the axioms of
Pharisaic belief. But, whatever other Jews may have done, under the
influence of Hellenism, the Pharisees never doubted for a moment that
God Himself, the one supreme God, was actually near to every one of His
people; "near, in every kind of nearness," as it was said (j. Ber. 13ª).
That is the really effective belief of the Pharisees, as can be seen on
well-nigh every page of the Talmud and the Midrash. How it was to be
reconciled, if it needed to be reconciled, with the belief in the
abstract infinity of God, was a question which the Pharisees never
troubled to answer, even if they were aware of it. There was no Jewish
philosophy of religion till long after the closing of the Talmud. And
the Pharisees most certainly did not logically develop their conception
of God from their idea of the Torah. Whether, even if they had done so,
they would have arrived at the barren abstraction, which Weber declares
to have been the Pharisaic idea of God (Weber, _System_, etc., p. 149),
is open to question. But they never allowed any theoretical reasoning
which would prevent them from owning the love and goodness of God, or
which would place an impassable gulf between Him and His creatures. The
following piece of Haggadah illustrates this point: "It is said (Exod.
xx. 1), 'And God spake all these words.' He doeth the whole at once
(_i.e._ in one action). He kills and He makes alive, in one action. He
wounds and He heals, in one action. The woman in travail, those that go
down to the sea, travellers in deserts, captives in prison, east and
west, north and south, He hears them all, in one act (of hearing)"
(Shem. R. p. 50^b). And a few lines further on it is stated that He
spoke all the ten commandments in one act (of speaking). There is here
no attempt to explain _how_ God, being Almighty, can take particular
notice of persons; there is the unquestioning belief _that_ He does so.
He may be high in Heaven, but no suffering creature of His suffers
unseen or unheard. "A bird perishes not, without Heaven" (_i.e._ except
by the will of God); so said a great Pharisee, in words that have a
striking likeness to a saying of Jesus on the same subject (j. Sheb.
38^d, and cp. Matt. x. 29). A story is told (Debar. R. 102ª) of a
certain Jew who was on board a ship, where all the other passengers were
Gentiles. The ship touched at an island, "and the sailors said to the
Jew, 'Take money and go ashore, and buy something for us.' He said, 'I
am not at home here; how shall I know where to go?' They said, 'A Jew is
at home everywhere. For whithersoever thou goest, thy God goeth with
thee.'" (The reference is to Deut. iv. 7, "What great nation hath a God
who is so nigh to them.")

The nearness of God is especially emphasised in relation to prayer. He
hears all who pray to Him, and it is He himself who hears and to whom
prayer should alone be offered. "Every man," says the Talmud, "has a
'patronus' (a 'friend at court'). If there comes trouble upon him, he
does not go direct to his patron, but goes and stands at his door, and
calls to the servant or to a son of the house, and he tells the patron
'So and so is standing at the door of thy court.' Perhaps the patron has
him admitted. Perhaps he leaves him alone. But the Holy One, blessed be
He, is not so. If trouble comes on a man (God says), 'Let him pray, not
to Michael and not to Gabriel, but to me, and I will answer him at
once.' And this is that which is written (Joel ii. 32), 'Everyone that
calleth on the name of the Lord shall be delivered'" (j. Ber. 13ª). Here
we have not only the declaration of belief in direct access to God
Himself through prayer, but also the repudiation of any mediator.
Michael and Gabriel may be servants of God, but they do not come between
God and man to keep them apart or to serve as the necessary medium of
intercourse. They were never, in Pharisaic theology, allowed any place
which might seem to impair the divine Unity. The idea of a second God
was steadfastly resisted; and no personification of divine attributes,
or exaltation of archangels, was ever carried so far as to imply a
plurality of persons in the Deity. As against the doctrine of the
Logos, and the Christian exaltation of Christ, the Pharisees maintained
the strict unity of God. Neither the Memra of the Targums, nor the
Shechinah of the Talmud and the Midrash, however personified for
Haggadic purposes, was regarded as being in any sense a personality
co-existent with God Himself. The Holy Spirit was either God, or the
influence of God, but not a personality distinguishable from Him.
Metatron comes the nearest to the conception of a second God; but,
whatever the later Cabbalists may have made of Metatron, the Pharisees
of the Talmud expressly rejected the notion that he was a second God. It
is told (b. Ḥag. 15ª) that the famous Elisha b. Abujah, the nearest
approach to a Jewish heretic, went up into Heaven (Paradise), and there
saw "Metatron, to whom was given power to sit and write down the merits
of Israel." (Elisha) said: "It is taught that on high there is no
sitting, no strife, no parting, and no joining. Can there be, Heaven
forbid, two powers? (_i.e._ two Gods). They brought out Metatron, and
gave him sixty lashes of fire." The commentator on this passage explains
that Metatron was treated in that manner in order to show that he was
not superior to the other angels in kind, and that he was subservient to
God, not on any sort of equality with Him. Metatron, as I have elsewhere
maintained,[19] is the Rabbinical reply to the Gnostic and Christian
doctrines which seemed to threaten the divine Unity. It was perhaps with
reference to Christian doctrine that the Rabbis laid stress on the
belief that God has no Son. Commenting on Exod. xx. 2: "R. Abahu said:
'A parable of a king of flesh and blood; he reigns and has a father or a
brother. The Holy One, blessed be He, saith, "I am not so"; (but) (Isa.
xliv. 6) "I am the first," I have no father; "and I am the last," I have
no son; "and beside me there is no God," I have no brother'" (Shem. R.
51^b). Abahu lived in the third century of our era; and most of the
Haggadic expositions of the unity of God, on the lines indicated, are
later than the New Testament period. But, as they were only developed in
opposition to Christian teaching, it is not likely that in the time of
Jesus or the Apostles the Pharisees were divided or uncertain upon a
point which had scarcely as yet been challenged. Jesus himself never
challenged it, so far as the Synoptic Gospels are evidence; and, upon a
belief so fundamental in Pharisaic Judaism, it is not to be supposed
that he was more consistent than the Pharisees themselves. The challenge
came not from Jesus but from Paul, even though Paul may not have
intended, or been conscious of, any infraction of the unity of God in
his teaching about Christ. The Pharisees took the alarm from him; and,
in opposition to his Christology, and the later Johannine doctrine,
taught with especial emphasis the undivided sole supremacy of God. And
they had no more difficulty than Jesus had in believing that the one God
was both sovereign Lord and heavenly Father, as in fact they called

     [19] See my _Christianity in Talmud and Midrash_, pp. 286-8.

So much for the Pharisaic conception of God. We will now consider
another set of beliefs of theirs upon which a comparison with New
Testament teaching is possible and instructive--the Pharisaic ideas
about Retribution, reward and punishment, merit. There is no consistent
Pharisaic doctrine upon the subject, but rather a comment upon the facts
of human experience from different points of view. That man's will is
free is one of the axioms of Pharisaism. It was stated by R. Akiba,
"Everything is foreseen, and freedom is given, and the world is judged,
and all is according to the amount of work" (M. Aboth. iii. 15). Man is
therefore a moral agent, cognisant of the distinction between right and
wrong, capable of acting upon that distinction, and liable to be judged
accordingly. "All is in the hand of Heaven except the fear of Heaven,"
said another teacher (b. Ber. 33^b). If, then, man serves God, he does
so not on compulsion. He is therefore subject to the approval or
disapproval of God for what he does. Experience, interpreting life,
discerns evident tokens of such approval and disapproval; and Scripture
clearly teaches that God distinguishes between the righteous and the
sinner in His treatment of them. Whatever form His approval or
disapproval may take, they are His certain judgment on human actions, to
be looked for as the consequence of doing those actions.

The Pharisees, like other moralists, expressed this by saying that God
rewarded the good and punished the bad. And they used that principle as
a clue to the meaning of providence, as shown in human suffering and
happiness. They pondered on the problem why suffering should be
inflicted on the apparently innocent? and why the obviously sinful
seemed often to prosper? And they suggested various partial solutions of
the problem, but wisely left it an open question. It might be that there
was no suffering without previous sin, or it might be that suffering
was sometimes the chastisement imposed on the righteous through the love
of God, as it is said: "Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth." It might be
that material prosperity and adversity were the signs by which the
divine approval and disapproval were shown, the reward or the punishment
for human actions; or it might be that these were manifested only
inwardly, in the soul and not in the outward lot. All these different
views find varied expression in the utterance of Pharisaic teachers, and
there is no attempt to set up one as true to the exclusion of the rest.
And when the Pharisee spoke of reward and punishment, he meant to
indicate his belief that in some way it went well with the man who did
good, and ill with the man who did wrong, and both by the divine

In the Gospels, Jesus also speaks of reward, as every reader knows; and
many readers have winced when they read:--"Pray to thy Father, ... and
thy Father shall _reward_ thee." "Great is your _reward_ in Heaven."
"If you do good to them that do good, what _reward_ have ye?" Phrases
like these have an unpleasant sound, wherever they occur, because of the
notions commonly attached to the term reward. No one supposes that
Jesus, in using that term, was appealing to low motives of
self-interest; and I believe that he meant exactly what I have given as
the Pharisaic meaning, namely, that there was a divinely appointed
difference between the condition of the good and that of the bad, as a
consequence of their actions. It is at least not justifiable to say that
Jesus must have meant what he said, according to its best
interpretation, and that the Pharisees must have meant what they said,
according to its worst interpretation. Jesus was one, and the Pharisees
were many; and while he remained ever on the highest plane of spiritual
wisdom, the Pharisees represented different degrees of that wisdom. Some
might, and occasionally did, interpret divine reward and punishment in
terms of material welfare, while others saw more deeply into the
spiritual meaning of those terms. But it is not true that the material
interpretation represents the general belief of the Pharisees, while the
spiritual interpretation is the exception. The truth is that they would
not reject any interpretation which might throw some light upon the
problem; and they cared nothing that different interpretations
contradicted one another.

So far, there is no essential difference, that I can see, between the
Pharisaic teaching and that of the Gospels, or the New Testament
generally, about reward and punishment. The difference that does exist
is due to the fact that Pharisaism was the religion of Torah. For here
the divine approval or disapproval was necessarily associated in an
especial degree with the "Mitzvōth," the precepts which
expressed the will of God for the conduct of man. To say that there is a
reward for doing a "Mitzvah" is no more out of keeping with true piety
than to say there is a reward for praying to the Father which seeth in
secret. In each case it only means that the act of devotion to God,
whatever form it take, is acceptable to Him, and His blessing is given
to the doer of it. Now, the Mitzvōth were clearly-defined,
specific acts; and the Pharisee, as has been already pointed out in a
previous chapter, regarded them not as irksome constraints, but as
welcome opportunities for serving God. The more Mitzvōth
he could meet with the better. If, by doing them, he could thereby
please God, what more could he wish for? Certainly he looked for reward;
but the joy of service and the blessing of God was the reward he looked
for. That is the real mind of the Pharisee in regard to reward. And if
some Pharisees interpreted the blessing of God in a material sense, to
be shown in outward prosperity, while others interpreted it in a
spiritual sense, that is only a difference of temperament as between
particular Pharisees. What the reward should be, in what way God would
show His approval and give His blessing, was as God should please. The
Pharisee served Him with gladness and zeal; and only hoped (as
Christians also have been invited to hope) that God might say to him:
"Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy

It was a Pharisee who said, "The reward of one Mitzvah is the
opportunity to fulfil another" (Aboth. iv. 5); and perhaps no words
could better indicate the Pharisaic view of reward in the service of
God. The service is everything; the reward is God's way of showing that
the service is acceptable. Moreover, the reward, if it were expected to
be anything more than the present consciousness of divine approval, was
not looked for in this world, but would be part of the bliss of the
world to come. "Thou wilt find," said a Rabbi, "no single Mitzvah in the
Torah, to which a reward is attached, which does not depend on the
raising of the dead. 'Honour thy father and mother, that thou mayest
prolong thy days,' and 'that it may be well with thee.'... 'That thou
mayest prolong thy days' in a world which is endless, and 'that it may
be well with thee' in a world which is wholly good" (b. Ḥull. 142ª). And
again it is taught, "What is that which is written (Deut. iv. 7) 'which
I command thee to do them this day?'" To do them _this day_, and not
_to-morrow_. To _do them_ this day, and not to _receive the reward_ this
day" (b. Kidd. 39^b); and on the same page is the express statement,
"Reward for a Mitzvah in this world there is none." Of the nature of the
reward this is said: "The world to come is neither eating nor drinking,
nor increasing and multiplying, nor giving and receiving, nor jealousy,
nor hatred, nor strife; but the righteous sit with crowns on their
heads, and enjoy the light of the Shechinah" (b. Ber. 17ª).

Such ideas were in the minds of the Pharisees when they spoke of the
reward for doing the will of God; ideas not hardened into a formal
doctrine, and perhaps by some only dimly apprehended, but yet indicating
a vision of divine things not very unlike what has floated before the
gaze of Christian souls. But while the Pharisees thus delighted to muse
on the reward, they were emphatic in teaching that the "Mitzvah" was not
to be done for the sake of the reward, as if to obtain thereby some
payment of what was due. The distinction is somewhat fine, especially as
the reward hoped for was spiritual bliss and not material advantage. But
the Pharisees drew the distinction, nevertheless. Thus it is said, in
reference to Ps. i. 2, "His delight is in the law of the Lord." R.
Eliezer says, "Who delighteth greatly in his commandments." "In his
commandments (Mitzvōth), but not in the reward of the Mitzvōth" (b. A.Z.
19ª). The sole reason allowable for doing a Mitzvah is the hope of
pleasing God thereby. And then follows the well-known saying of the
ancient Antigonos of Socho: "Be not like servants who serve their master
for a reward." These are only a few instances out of many to show that
the Pharisee was not actuated by motives of the kind which are usually
ascribed to him in his performance of the things commanded him. If to an
ideal so lofty and so austere, the Pharisee sometimes failed to rise,
and said what was not worthy of it, there is no cause for wonder, since
the same may be observed amongst Christians, and is merely due to
individual human nature. But the Pharisaic conception of religion in
general, and of this phrase of it in particular, is entitled to be
judged by the best to which it looked up, and not to be condemned for
its occasional failure to apprehend that best.

Finally, what about merit? The Pharisees were never afraid to talk about
merit; but what they said must be taken in the light of what has already
been stated. They had no fixed doctrine of merit; and there certainly
never was a general Pharisaic belief in a system of bargaining with God
as between debtor and creditor on business lines. This or that teacher
may have used the terms of such transactions by way of illustration; but
they do not represent the general mind of the Pharisees upon the
subject. The Pharisees certainly believed that to perform many Mitzvōth
was better than to perform one; and they not unnaturally concluded that
there could be no more reasonable criterion for a judgment of character
than the use which a man had made of the opportunities afforded by the
Mitzvōth for serving God. Mitzvōth, being specific commands, could be
counted up; and the degree of goodness shown in doing them, or of
badness in not doing them, could be thought of quantitatively, instead
of qualitatively. This is not, for obvious reasons, the best way of
treating the matter; and the Pharisees have, in consequence, come in for
a great deal of rebuke and contempt for having degraded the relation of
man to God, when all that they did was to use an unfortunate metaphor in
order to express a real distinction. It was perhaps mainly through the
use of this metaphor, this quantitative description of goodness, that
they laid themselves open to the charge of boastful self-righteousness;
and no doubt they were occasionally to blame in that respect. Because a
Pharisee was able to observe, in a quite dispassionate way, the fact
that he had performed so many "Mitzvōth." It would have been better for
him not to have learned that method of self-examination. But,
nevertheless, it is true, though only those who know the Pharisees can
be expected to believe it, that genuine humility could and often did go
along with that candid estimate of good performed.

This accumulation of goodness, through the performance of "Mitzvōth," is
what the Pharisees meant by merit, "Zachuth." And though they were not
in the least ashamed of it, nor saw why they should be, they were
careful to keep the idea of merit within limits. Like the reward hoped
for, the merit acquired was not a motive, but an accessory. They
believed, certainly, that merit counted for much with God. As has been
said, they believed that He judged men according to whether the goodness
of their deeds or the badness was the greater; in other words, by the
amount of merit which they possessed. But they did not presume to set
up a claim against Him; and while they pleaded merit before Him, they
were taught that it was not their own merit they should plead, but that
of others. "He who pleads the merit of others is answered for his own;
and he who pleads the merit of himself is answered for that of others"
(b. Ber. 10^b). Very often it was the merit of the Fathers, Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob, to whose influence with God great effect was ascribed.
Yet what is all this but the idea of intercession, of the good on behalf
of the less good? And as between Pharisaic and Christian ideas on the
subject, the difference is more in the form than the substance. Even the
appeal to the merits of the Fathers was discouraged by many Pharisees,
on the ground that it tended to shift responsibility for a man's own
conduct on to someone else. They never for long forgot that, nor wavered
in their trust that God was a just and loving God, into whose hands they
need not fear to commit themselves. With simplicity of heart, rather
than with profound philosophical acumen, they mused on their experience
of life in the light of Scripture and in the thought of service of God;
and if they did not get much further than the conviction that it is well
with the righteous and not well with the sinner, that God knows all and
will deal justly with all, that some of His ways are plain to be seen,
and others past finding out, and that the whole duty of man is to fear
God and keep His commandments; and that the highest joy is to serve Him
with gladness, and in doing justly, and loving mercy to walk humbly with
Him,--who will say that they are very far wrong?

This was the practical purpose of the Pharisees, the aim of their
serious intention, and, in no inconsiderable degree, the measure of
their achievement.

I have dwelt upon these two aspects of Pharisaic theology as being of
most importance for my main purpose in this book. To include all that
could be said would defeat that purpose by wearying the reader. I have
therefore left unnoticed such topics as the belief in the Messiah and
the group of ideas connected with Eschatology; and I have done so in
order to concentrate attention upon what is of fundamental importance,
namely, the point of view from which the Pharisees looked upon religious
belief and the truths apprehended in it, the special character imposed
upon their general conception of things divine, by the form of Torah in
which all their religious thought was cast. What has been learned in
regard to the two theological topics dealt with in this chapter can be
applied to others; and, in any case, the general mind of the Pharisees
has, I hope, been made easier to understand.

If it has, then I trust to be able to carry the reader with me in what I
shall say in the concluding chapter of Pharisaism as a spiritual



In this concluding chapter I shall make an attempt to indicate what
Pharisaism was on its spiritual side, as the expression of the
Pharisee's personal feeling towards God; or, if I may put it in
colloquial terms, what the Pharisee "felt like" as a religious and moral
being. I shall try to show the meaning of the peculiar type of character
formed under the influence of the religion of Torah, both as regards its
excellencies and its deficiencies. I say its deficiencies, for my aim
throughout this book has been not to extol the Pharisees as if they had
no faults, but to present, as clearly and strongly as I could, what they
meant by their religion and what it meant to them. To say that they held
to it with sincere loyalty, and that they found in it entire
satisfaction, is not to say that it had no limitations, so that there
could not be a more excellent way. But it is to say that Pharisaism was
a genuine religion, so far as it went, able to satisfy the real wants of
living souls. And how far it went, and where it stopped short, is a
question upon which the adherent of another form of faith may have a
decided opinion, and yet may be entirely mistaken. The Christian may be
able, and I hope that the reader will have been able, to recognise that
Pharisaism was a genuine religion. But the peculiar form in which that
religion was expressed makes it exceedingly difficult for the Christian
to recognise in Pharisaism what is familiar to him in his own religion;
and, in consequence, he is extremely likely to misjudge and depreciate
what to the Pharisee was right and good. My task in this chapter is very
far from easy; and I am by no means confident that in performing it I
could satisfy a Pharisee that I have done full justice to his case.

The subject is somewhat intangible, being indeed the inner consciousness
of the Pharisee in regard to religion. I shall deal with it under three
heads: first, the devotional literature available; second, the influence
of the conception of Torah as a factor in the formation of religious
character; and, third, the result of that influence.

The devotional literature properly so called of the Pharisees, at all
events within the period covered by the Talmud, is not extensive. I mean
by devotional literature, writings in the form of hymns and prayers. Of
hymns there are, in this period, so far as I know, none; of prayers
there are a few; some of them included in the liturgy of the Synagogue,
and others being individual private prayers. This very meagre list may,
however, be extended; certainly in one direction, and I believe also in
another. Some of the Psalms ought to be included as being lyrical
expressions of the religion of Torah, whether the writers were
technically Pharisees or not. And, in the other direction, the liturgy
of the Synagogue is the precipitate of Jewish piety through many
centuries, and shows better than anything else how much of deep
spiritual fervour was engendered by the religion of Torah. I shall make
use of the Psalms, or some of them. But of the Synagogue liturgy I shall
use only such parts as fall within the period covered by the Talmud.
Because my concern is with the Pharisees of the early centuries, not
with those of the Middle Ages. And, though I believe it to be the case,
I could not prove that a Pharisee of the first century of our era would
feel that his thoughts about religion found due expression in the hymns
of Jehudah ha-Levi and Ibn Gebirol. Personally, I believe he would; but
the fact remains that the Pharisees in the Talmudic period composed no
hymns, and that fact must be allowed for whatever it is worth. The
reappearance of devotional poetry must correspond, one would think, to
some change in the spiritual atmosphere. But, in regard to the use of
the Psalms, there need be no such hesitation. Some of the Psalms are
unmistakably due to the influence of the conception of Torah in
determining the form of religion; and the whole Book of Psalms was used
by the Pharisees in the Synagogue service, and for their own study. This
latter fact does not prove very much, because the whole of the Old
Testament was also used and studied; and no one would contend that the
Old Testament is throughout an utterance of Pharisaism. Still, it should
be remembered that the Canon of the Old Testament was fixed by Scribes
and Pharisees; and that the book of Psalms was finally completed, and in
part composed, for use in the Synagogue and the Temple, as the lyrical
expression of the religion of Torah.

I shall therefore make such use of the Psalms as will help my purpose,
and will supplement the study of them by an examination of the few
Pharisaic prayers to be found in the Talmud and the early liturgy.
Something was said about the Psalms in the second chapter, and I shall
not repeat it. Here I would go into more detail upon particular points.

On looking through the Book of Psalms, it is seen at once that there are
some which proclaim themselves unmistakably as Torah Psalms. Notably,
Ps. cxix. and the second part of Ps. xix. It is quite inconceivable that
these should have been written before Ezra had instituted the religion
of Torah. Ps. i., also, the general introduction to the whole collection
when finally completed, evidently moves within the circle of ideas
associated with Torah. Occasional phrases in other Psalms may also
reveal the same fact, even though the particular Psalm, as a whole, may
not be specially devoted to the thought of Torah. Thus, in Ps. xxv. 10,
the reference to "covenants" and testimonies, and in Ps. xviii. 22,
"statutes and judgments." Indications like these, however, cannot be
safely relied on; because, as stated in the second chapter, there was
Torah before Ezra, and such phrases as those just quoted occur in
Deuteronomy. The Psalms in which phrases are found, such as "Torah,"
"covenant," "testimony," "statute," "judgment," "precept," and the like,
may be interpreted in various ways, and not necessarily in terms of the
specific religion of Torah due to Ezra. But there is no need to draw any
hard and fast line between those which are and those which are not Torah
Psalms; for the religious frame of mind peculiar to the Torah Psalmist
can be studied in detail in Ps. cxix. That is a Pharisee Psalm, beyond
any question. I do not mean that the writer can be shown to have been a
Pharisee in the technical sense, a member of a pledged company of
separatists.[20] Very likely he was; but whether he were so or not, he
looked upon the Torah exactly as the Pharisees did, as the supreme and
perfect revelation of God.

     [20] It is worth noting in passing that the name by which the
     Pharisees called themselves and each other was "ḥābēr,"
     "companion"; and their societies were "ḥaburoth," "companies." In
     Ps. cxix. 63, the Psalmist says, "I am _companion_, 'ḥaber,' to all
     them that fear thee." Whether the Psalmist used the term because he
     was a Pharisee, or whether the Pharisees borrowed it from the
     Psalm, I do not know; but there is evidently a connection between

Ps. cxix., as everyone knows, is made up of groups containing eight
verses, each beginning with one of the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew
alphabet. There are thus one hundred and seventy-six verses in all. From
an artistic point of view, the structure of the Psalm is stiff and
mechanical; the divine name is introduced twenty-two times,
corresponding to the twenty-two groups of verses. The changes are rung
upon a series of ten words--Torah, statute, righteousness, precept,
judgment, way, ordinance, word, saying, and faithfulness--the number
corresponding, perhaps, to the ten commandments given on Sinai. With one
exception, v. 122, every verse contains one or other of the ten words in
the list just given. The result is a certain monotony, and the Psalm is
not amongst those most generally admired and loved by the ordinary
reader. Whether there is any progression of thought is open to
question; it would not, apparently, make very much difference if the
verses were rearranged according to another pattern. But once we get
past the barrier of artificial method there is thought and feeling in
abundance. The one object of thought is the Torah; and the feeling is
devout wonder in regard to it, and adoration of God who gave it. The ten
words are only so many aspects of Torah, and serve mainly to give
variety to the thought of the divine revelation.

The Psalmist meditates upon the Torah, thus variously indicated, from
two points of view: first, that of its divine excellence and the
goodness of God in revealing it; and, second, that of his own endeavour
to fulfil the precepts contained in it. In reference to the first head,
it is clear that the Psalmist was filled with delight, gratitude, and
praise. The Torah and all connected with it inspired him with joy. There
is not the faintest trace of any feeling of oppression, as if he were
burdened by the precepts; and, for what is not precept but simply
instruction, he received it with devout rapture, as being a precious
gift which God had been pleased to bestow. That God had given that
revelation was to the Psalmist the greatest of all his blessings. There
is in the Psalm but little reference to the past history of Israel, as
showing the divine providence. The Psalmist was deeply conscious of God
in the immediate present, and of his own close relation to Him. Of
course, the Torah, so far as it was a written record, included the
history of all the divine dealings with Israel, down to the time of
Moses; but it was not this aspect of religion which chiefly appealed to
the Psalmist. The providential mercy of God served to give fuller and
richer meaning to the thought of Him as the object of worship. The
following phrases will serve to indicate the Psalmist's attitude towards
God:--v. 7, "I will give thanks unto Thee with uprightness of heart." v.
12, "Blessed be Thou, O Lord; teach me Thy statutes." v. 18, "Open Thou
mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy Torah." v. 41,
"Let Thy loving kindness come unto me, O Lord; Thy salvation, according
to Thy promise." v. 49, "Remember Thy word unto Thy servant; for Thou
hast caused me to hope." v. 57, "Thou art my portion, O Lord." v. 64,
"The earth is full of Thy mercy, O Lord." v. 68, "Thou art good and
doest good." v. 75, "I know, O Lord, that Thy judgments are
righteousness, and that in faithfulness Thou hast afflicted me. Let Thy
loving kindness be for my comfort, according to Thy promise unto Thy
servant. Let Thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live." v. 90,
"Thou hast established the earth and it abideth. They stand this day,
obedient to Thine ordinances; for all beings are Thy servants." v. 132,
"Turn Thou unto me, and have mercy on me; as Thou usest to do unto those
that love Thy name." And v. 176, "I am like a lost sheep; seek Thy
servant." These are only a few of the characteristic phrases of the
Psalmist. He evidently feels towards God reverence, trust, and hope;
and, no less evidently, does not feel that God is far off and
unapproachable, an abstraction rather than a living presence. God was,
for the Psalmist, the creator of the world; but He was also the guide
and protector of those that know Him and keep His commandments. And it
was the privilege of such that they should have been allowed to know
Him, and hold communion with Him. The Torah was the means by which that
privilege was made available to Israel; and the "precepts,"
"ordinances," etc., were the particular occasions on and through which
that privilege might be realised and enjoyed, and the devout worshipper
might come into communion with God. The Psalmist never lost sight of the
purpose of the precepts, in the mere doing of what they enjoined. For
him the doctrine of the _opus operatum_ would have been a frivolous and
mischievous perversion of the truth; in modern phrase, a
"soul-destroying heresy." There is nothing of the taskmaster in the
Psalmist's conception of God; he does not indeed call Him the Father in
Heaven, but that term would more truly express his thought than any
phrase of bondage and compulsion. And we can see how naturally the term
Father in Heaven would take its place in the language of devotion, when
once it had occurred to someone so to use it.

The Psalmist's conception of God, though it is mostly defined in
relation to Torah, does not contradict in any way that which is set
forth or implied in the rest of the Psalms, or in the highest teaching
of the prophets. Compare Ps. ciii., by common consent one of the noblest
utterances of pure spiritual theism that the Old Testament
contains:--"But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
upon them that fear Him, and His righteousness unto children's children;
unto such as keep His covenant, and to those that remember His precepts
to do them." In Ps. ciii., the changeless mercy and love of God are
especially dwelt on--His forbearance towards human frailty; while in
Ps. cxix. the main thought is of God as having given Torah, divine
teaching. But neither Psalmist excludes what the other chiefly dwells
upon. The Psalmist in Ps. cxix. cannot be said to have narrowed the
conception of God. He was in accord with all that the prophets and the
other Psalmists had believed of the greatness and goodness of God. What
this Psalmist did was to utter his praise of God, so conceived, from the
point of view of the means of grace which He had given, the conditions
which He had appointed for personal knowledge and service of Himself.
Unless this be understood, Ps. cxix. is wholly misjudged; and the fact
that it appeals less than almost any other Psalm to the reader, at all
events the Christian reader, is due to unfamiliarity with the Psalmist's
point of view. Once that is found, the whole Psalm shines from end to
end with pure devotion and fervent, genuine piety.

Second, as to the Psalmist's feeling in regard to his own efforts to
fulfil the precepts, and to live in accordance with the Torah. As these
were to him the means of realising his personal relation to God, and of
entering into communion with Him, he was not in despair when he failed
in obedience. He prayed for forgiveness, believing that, if he repented,
God would forgive him. When he broke a precept, he sinned and knew that
he sinned; but he was not conscious of having thereby set up an
insurmountable barrier between himself and God. A barrier certainly; but
one which penitence on his part and forgiveness on that of God both
could and did remove. All the ideas about bondage under the Law, to
which Christians have been accustomed, rest upon a conception of the
meaning and purpose of the Torah which Jews have never held, at least
those who remained Jews. The writer of Ps. cxix. never held it.

This Psalm is marked by careful, sometimes almost painful,
introspection. The Psalmist is continually dwelling upon the precepts as
they affect himself, his love for them, his desire to keep them, his
delight in them, his longing to learn them, and to be more perfectly in
accord with them, his fear lest he should wander from the way of them.
Indeed, the whole Psalm is made up of such meditation, in forms varied
but continually repeated. Which goes to show that a Psalm written under
the immediate influence of the idea of Torah could scarcely fail to be
introspective. And this Psalm is an illustration, on a fairly large
scale, of the fact that the change effected by the work of Ezra, in
turning the religion of Israel into the channel of Torah, tended to make
that religion far more personal and individual than it had been before.

The value of Ps. cxix., as evidence for the spiritual meaning of
Pharisaism, is this, that it shows what was possible under the religion
of Torah, by way of piety and devotion. The Pharisees held precisely
such ideas about the Torah as are expressed in this Psalm; and I know of
no ground for saying that they were without the piety and devotion with
which the Psalmist quickened those ideas.

As has already been said, the Talmudic literature does not contain any
hymns by Pharisees; at least, I have never met with any. Perhaps the
Pharisees felt that the Psalms gave them all that they needed; perhaps
they lacked the gift of sacred poetry. But though there are no hymns in
the Talmud and the Midrash, there are prayers, both public and private;
and these will throw some light upon the spiritual side of Pharisaism.
The earliest prayers of all are those which form the opening and the
close of the so-called Eighteen Benedictions, the "Shemoneh Esreh."
These are ascribed, in the Rabbinical tradition, to the Men of the Great
Synagogue; and though so great an age cannot be proved for them, it is
certain that they are very old. They are the earliest existing portions
of the liturgy used in the Synagogue; and though they are somewhat bare
in their unadorned simplicity, they serve to show something of the
religious spirit of the men who were making "a hedge about the Torah,"
and they indicate that there was something else in that operation
besides waning faith and waxing formalism. I quote one or two of
them:--"Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God and the God of our fathers, the
God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob. God most high, creator of Heaven
and earth, our shield and the shield of our fathers."... "We give thanks
to Thee, O Lord, our God, for all the benefits, the favours, which Thou
hast shown to us. Blessed art Thou, to whom it is good to give thanks.
Bestow Thy peace upon Israel, Thy people, and bless us all as one.
Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who makest peace." These prayers, as they are
found in the liturgy now, are very much longer; I have given what are
believed to be the oldest parts of the three which I have quoted out of
the eighteen. If there is not much warmth in these prayers, as there
certainly is not, neither is there any of the vainglory and
self-righteousness which are supposed to be characteristic of the
Pharisees. And it should be borne in mind that there can be no great
difference in date between these prayers and Ps. cxix.

However, I will come down to a time when the Pharisees, if they ever
became such as the New Testament represents them, must have long
acquired that character. Here is a prayer which dates from the second
century of our era, and is part of the liturgy still in daily
use:--"Lord of the worlds! not trusting in our righteousness, do we cast
our entreaties down before Thee, but trusting in Thine abundant mercies.
Who are we? What is our life? What is our virtue? What is our
righteousness? What is our deliverance? What is our strength? What is
our might? What shall we say before Thee, O Lord God and the God of our
fathers? Are not all the mighty as nothing before Thee? and the men of
name as though they had never been? And the wise are without knowledge,
and the understanding as those who are without discernment. For the
multitude of their deeds is nothing, and the days of their life are a
breath before Thee" (b. Joma. 87^b, mentioned by R. Joḥanan). Christians
usually get their notion of what a Pharisee's prayer was like from Luke
xviii. 11, 12; and I do not deny that Pharisees may sometimes have
prayed after that manner. Nevertheless, what I have just recited is more
true to the real spirit of Pharisaism than the prayer in the Parable.
And even to that there is another side. A well-known prayer, still used
in the liturgy, runs thus:--"Blessed art Thou, O Lord, our God, King of
the world, that Thou hast not made me a Gentile ... a slave ... a
woman." Much scorn has been poured out upon those who have offered that
prayer, as if it were nothing but the utterance of arrogant vainglory.
But, however it may sound to Gentiles, what the Jews meant, and mean, by
it is this, that God is thanked for having given in the Torah the
opportunity of serving Him, in the "Mitzvōth," which were not enjoined
upon Gentiles, slaves, or women. It is not self-righteousness which is
expressed in that prayer, but the acknowledgment of special obligation,
a higher calling, in no way inconsistent with humility and reverence.
The prayer in the Parable was doubtless intended by its author to
represent Pharisaic piety in an unfavourable light; but the example I
have just given is enough to show that a Pharisee would put a different
interpretation upon it.

Here is another prayer from the second century (b. Ber. 16^b), and still
in use:--"May it be pleasing in Thy sight, O Lord my God and the God of
my fathers, that Thou wilt deliver me this day and every day from the
shameless and from shamelessness, from the evil man, from the evil
companion, from the evil neighbour, from evil chance, and from Satan the
destroyer; from stern judgment and from the implacable adversary,
whether he be a son of the covenant or no." This is merely a fragment of
prayer, as indeed the others are which I have quoted. It is only a
variation on the theme "Deliver us from evil," the evil being specified
in concrete forms. And, since it has been incorporated in the liturgy,
it was presumably intended for public use, and was not the private
utterance of its author, who was R. Jehudah, the compiler of the
Mishnah. This distinction is important, because it is often charged
against the Pharisees that they reduced prayer, like so much else, to a
mere mechanical routine; that they regulated, down to the minutest
detail, the words and even the posture and the gestures of the
worshipper; and that they left nothing to the spontaneous volition of
the soul that would seek God. Certainly there are many such regulations
in the Talmud, both as regards what should be said and how it should be
said. But these all refer to the public worship of the congregation, and
not to the private prayer of the individual. Moreover, they are
indications of the process by which the liturgy was compiled, its
contents determined, and the manner of its use appointed. The
worshipper, using the liturgy, was concerned only with the finally
completed order, and not with the stages of its preparation. When the
Book of Common Prayer was compiled, there were discussions as to what
should be included in it and what left out; whether this phrase or that
was to be preferred; whether at such a point the congregation should
stand or kneel; whether the minister should face the congregation or
not; and so on.

Presumably, votes were taken, and resolutions passed upon hundreds of
such points. Are these regulations a restriction upon worship? Does the
worshipper know, or take any interest in knowing, the details of the
process by which the liturgy was produced? He accepts the final result;
and finds in it a help to his worship, unconscious of the fact that
perhaps every line has been canvassed by a committee and settled after
debate. Much the same might be said of the preparation of any liturgy;
and what is found in the Talmud, which offends the piety of the
Christian, is only the same kind of preparatory work as that necessary
in the case of any liturgy. If the Pharisees were extremely careful, as
they certainly were, in deciding what should go into their liturgy, and
how it should be used, why are they more to be blamed than those who
directed, "Here the minister shall say" so and so? The Pharisees
produced a liturgy which, gradually enlarged, has lasted down to the
present day; and though a case may be made out for its revision, still
it has served, for many more centuries than the Book of Common Prayer
can claim, as the expression of the united worship of Israel.

But, while public prayer was thus carefully regulated, there was never
any restriction, imposed or thought of, upon private prayer. It is
expressly said (M. Aboth. ii. 13), "When thou prayest, make not thy
prayer a fixed form, but a prayer for mercy and an entreaty before God."
I do not think that this refers to public prayer; but, even if it does,
it would still show that the Pharisees were careful to keep the
spiritual intention of prayer, while using the prescribed form. But I
believe the reference is to private prayer; and it is certain that this
was left to the spontaneous freedom of the worshipper himself. Prayer
was always an essential element in the religious life of the Pharisee;
not because it was required of him, but because it was the natural
instinct of his soul. "Would that a man could pray all day," said R.
Joḥanan (j. Ber. 2ª). Pharisees knew what it was to withdraw to their
inner chamber, and "pray to their Father which seeth in secret." And it
was not a Pharisee who added:--"Thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall
_recompense thee_."

Of such entirely private prayers there is no written record. But several
prayers are mentioned in the Talmud as having been composed for their
own use by famous Rabbis. Here are some of them as they are found
together (j. Ber. 7^d):--"May it be Thy will, O Lord my God and the God
of my fathers, that Thou wilt not put hatred of us into the heart of any
man, nor hatred of any man in our hearts; and that Thou wilt not put
jealousy against us into the heart of any man, nor jealousy of any man
into our hearts. And may Thy Torah be our employment all the days of our
life; and may our words be entreaty before Thee." To which was added by
another Rabbi: "And unite our heart to fear Thy name; and keep us far
from all that Thou hatest, and bring us near to all that Thou lovest,
and do with us righteousness for Thy name's sake."

The disciples of R. Jannai used to say this (on rising from
sleep):--"Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who quickenest the dead. Lord, I
have sinned against Thee; may it be Thy will, O Lord my God, that Thou
wouldst give me a good heart, a good portion, a good disposition, a good
understanding, a good name, a good eye, a good hope, a good soul, a
humble soul, and a contrite spirit. May Thy name not be profaned among
us; and make us not a byword in the mouth of the people; may our latter
end be not to be cut off, nor our hope the giving up of the ghost. Make
us not to depend on human gifts, and give us not our sustenance by the
hand of men; for their comfort is small and the shame they inflict is
great. And grant our lot to be in Thy Torah, with those who do Thy will.
Build Thy house, Thy temple. Thy city, and Thy sanctuary, speedily, in
our days."

R. Ḥija b. Abba used to pray:--"May it be Thy will, O Lord our God and
the God of our fathers, that Thou wouldst put it into our hearts to
offer sincere repentance before Thee, that we may not be ashamed before
our fathers in the world to come."

R. Tanḥum b. Iscolastiki used to pray:--"May it be Thy will, O Lord my
God and the God of my fathers, that Thou wilt break and take away the
yoke of the evil inclination from our hearts. For Thou didst create us
to do Thy will, and we are bound to do Thy will. Thou desirest, and we
desire it. And what hinders us? The leaven in the dough. It is revealed
and known before Thee, that there is no strength in us to withstand it.
But may it please Thee, O Lord my God and the God of my fathers, that
Thou wilt cause it to pass away from us, and that Thou wilt subdue it;
and we will make Thy will our will, with a perfect heart." R. Joḥanan
used to pray:--"May it be pleasing unto Thee, O Lord my God and the God
of my fathers, that Thou wilt cause love, goodwill, peace, and
friendship to dwell in our habitations; that Thou wilt grant us a happy
end and the fulfilling of our hope; that Thou wilt fill our borders with
disciples, and that we may rejoice in our portion in Paradise. Make us
to acquire a good heart and a good friend; and may we awake to find what
our hearts have longed for, and may there come in Thy presence rest unto
our soul."

I have translated these prayers as nearly literally as our language
would allow, so that the reader may have them as far as possible in
their original form. There is nothing very sublime about them, none of
the eloquence of fervent rapture. But neither is there any of the
vainglorious boasting supposed to be characteristic of the Pharisees.
They are sincere, simple, and earnest, so far as they go, petitions for
the granting of things necessary for the soul as well as for the body.
They may fairly be taken as representative of Pharisaic piety, in the
absence of what is not within our reach, namely, the devotional language
of the Pharisee's prayer to God in the solitude of his own chamber.

The illustrations which have been given from the scanty remains of the
literature of piety left by the Pharisees will have been sufficient to
show a very considerable difference of tone, character, spirit, between
what was produced under the religion of Torah and what is found in the
New Testament. And the impression so created is confirmed by the other
citations I have made, in the course of this book, from the Pharisaic
literature. To one who is accustomed to the New Testament, there is a
certain flatness about the Rabbinical literature, a want of the
sublime, and still more of the beauty of holiness, the fervour of faith,
the personal consecration which marks the New Testament. There is
nothing in all the Rabbinical literature at all like the rapt utterance
in 1 Cor. xiii. That belongs unmistakably to the new dispensation, and
not to the old. The same may be said of much else in the New Testament.
If I may so express it, there is a different "feel" about it, quite
unlike what there is about any Rabbinical writing. As to the fact of
this, I imagine there can be no dispute; but it is well worth the
trouble to try and get at the meaning of it. For it cannot be dismissed
at once as being due to the spiritual deadness of the Pharisees, the
result of engrained hypocrisy and self-righteousness. I trust that
enough has been said in previous chapters to show that the Pharisees
were sincere and in earnest about their religion, however strange to
Christians be the forms in which they expressed their ideas. The very
strangeness of those forms may well prevent Christians from recognising
the meaning and worth of the ideas expressed in them, since Christians
could not use those forms for their own religious ideas.

The question is not whether the Christian or the Pharisaic conception is
the better; because, both for Christian and for Pharisee alike, that is
a foregone conclusion. The question is rather, why did the conception of
Torah, which from the time of Ezra was the controlling factor in the
development of Pharisaism, produce that particular type of piety and
religious character generally, of which so many illustrations have been
given? In what way did the influence of that conception make itself felt
upon those who devotedly accepted it and shaped their lives in
accordance with it? Here I get to the second main head of the present

The Torah, which, it will be remembered, includes both the written word
and the unwritten interpretation embodied in the Tradition, was regarded
as containing the full and final revelation which God had made. It was
a body of divine truth, partly explicit, partly implicit, according as
its contents had or had not been drawn forth and clothed in words. But
it was truth, to be apprehended and learned, to be received in the mind
by the understanding before it could be made the guide of conduct or
could minister in any way to spiritual wants. The reader will remember
that all the terms used in connection with the appropriation of the
contents of Torah are variations on the theme of teaching and learning.
"Talmud," "Mishnah," "Midrash," all express these ideas, and Torah
itself is divine teaching. The significance of this is that the religion
of Torah had its deepest root in the intellectual, rather than in the
moral or spiritual, region of the mind. The moral and the spiritual were
by no means neglected or unprovided for; very far from that. But, if I
may so put it, they came in under the intellectual. The moral sense of
the Pharisee was strong, and his piety genuine, but the exercise of both
was conditioned by the contents of the Torah, duly interpreted. He must
be put in possession of certain knowledge, in order to act either
morally or devoutly. For him, the "seat of authority in religion," and
also in morals, was the Torah; and, while it is quite true that to a
large extent he made the Torah the exponent of his own moral and
religious conceptions, reading into it or finding there a great deal
which does not appear on the surface, it is also true that he regarded
it as an external authority to which he must submit. He had no
difficulty in doing this, since he believed the Torah to be the full and
final revelation of God. It was all good and holy and divine; and there
could be no surer guide for him in all that he had to do and all that he
could think and believe in respect of his relation to God. The function
of conscience was, for the Pharisee, not to pass moral judgments
independent of, still less contrary to, the Torah, but to co-operate
with it, and to confirm its authority. Conscience would be, in him,
clear upon the distinction between right and wrong; but _what_ was
right and _what_ was wrong would be decided by the authority of Torah,
not by the immediate intuition of conscience and reason. And I think
that a Pharisee would be quite unable to understand how any action could
be right which was not in accordance with Torah.[21] Certainly it could
not be right for him.

     [21] _Cf._ what was said, in Chapter III., of the position taken up
     by the Pharisees in regard to the question of healing on the
     Sabbath. See above, p. 149.

So, too, in regard to his relation to God and his worship of Him, the
thoughts and feelings of the Pharisee, the sincere and devout utterance
of his spiritual being, would flow, naturally and with no sense of
compulsion, in the channels provided by the Torah, in such forms of
belief and such expressions of aspiration as were in harmony therewith.
I lay stress on the phrase "naturally, and with no sense of compulsion";
because it is very difficult for the Christian, whose supreme authority
is not the Torah, to realise the position of the Pharisee in this
matter, and to understand that he did not feel himself to be under
constraint. Of course, wherever there is authority, there is that which
on occasion will constrain; and the Christian is, to that extent, no
less under constraint than the Pharisee. But it is not an oppressive
burden, though it may be a hard duty, to submit to an authority which is
owned to be supreme. And the Pharisee, regarding the Torah as the
supreme authority, since it was the expression of the will and mind of
God, did not feel himself oppressed by the duty of submitting to it. He
would entirely agree with what was said, in a very different connection
(John viii. 32):--"Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you
free." He claimed that he _did_ know the truth; it was given him in the
Torah, from God Himself; and in making his life and thought and action
conform thereto, he found his true freedom. "None is free," says the
Talmud, "save he who is employed in the study of Torah" (M. Aboth. vi.
2). Whether the range of freedom is not wider when its limits are
prescribed by direct allegiance to a person instead of to a mental
conception like that of Torah is another question altogether, and one
upon which the Pharisee and the Christian will have each his own
opinion. And while it must not be forgotten that the Pharisee also owed
allegiance to a person, felt himself to be in immediate relation to God,
looked up to Him and prayed to Him, yet he would expect to find the
intimations of the divine will in the Torah, and not in his own
intuitions. It is not that the Pharisee was without the essentials of a
spiritual experience, real faith in God, real communion with Him, real
devotion to His service; for these he certainly had. It was that these
were realised by him only when expressed in terms of Torah. Whatever
could be so expressed took its place at once as part of his religious or
moral consciousness. Whatever could not be so expressed remained
outside, or, at best, held no prominent position in his thought.

The principle here laid down will be sufficient, I believe, to explain
the chief characteristic differences between the Pharisaic and the
Christian type of mind, disregarding, of course, individual variations.
It has been pointed out, in a previous chapter (p. 171), that
Christianity in all its forms centres upon a person, namely, Christ; and
that Judaism in all its forms, and Pharisaism most of all, centres upon
an idea, namely Torah, and will recognise no person as the object of its
devotion, save only God Himself. This is not a proud resistance to the
appeal of a great personality; it is simply a natural and necessary
result of making the Torah the central feature of religious thought.
There cannot be two centres, two authorities both regarded as supreme.
If the Torah be raised to the highest place, as the expression of the
divine will and the medium of the divine revelation, then there can be
no other to divide the allegiance. And not only so, but the demand, or
the appeal, to recognise such a one can only appear as an infringement
of the sovereign rights of the Torah. A Pharisee might admit that it was
conceivable that God should have chosen some other means than that of
Torah as the medium of His revelation. He could not admit that God
actually had done so, without surrendering the Torah altogether. And
this is the ground on which I said, in the third chapter, that the
opposition between Pharisaism and the religion of Jesus was fundamental
and irreconcilable. Not, indeed, that the religion of Jesus himself
centred on a person, as the religion of Paul and all later Christians
did; but that Jesus himself was that person; and his personality could
by no means be expressed in terms of Torah.

It is evident that devotion to a Person will produce a type of mind very
different from that produced by devotion to an Idea; and the difference
will be this, that the seat of moral authority and the source of
spiritual inspiration will be transferred from the Torah without to the
heart, conscience, and reason within. With the result, of course, of
imparting to these a freshness and vigour which they had not, and could
not have, before. Certainly, heart, conscience, and reason were by no
means inactive when applied to Torah; but responsibility for what they
did rested on Torah and not on themselves. They followed, gladly and
willingly, the lead which God had given in the Torah; but they followed
a lead. But in devotion to a person, heart, conscience, and reason, so
to speak, act from themselves, and the responsibility rests upon them.
And the note of the character so formed is not obedience, but
consecration of self. And this, I believe, is the reason why there is
such a marked difference of tone and spirit between the New Testament
and the Rabbinical literature. The former is the result of the
quickening power of a newly awakened devotion to a person, while the
latter is the result of steadfast and most faithful devotion to an
idea. Nor is that all. The devotion to a person leads to a different
form of expression, as the experience to be clothed in words is
different. The New Testament contains abundance of moral and religious
teaching, as the Talmud also does; but the New Testament puts it in the
form of direct appeal to the Christian to do and be so and so, that he
may be a disciple of Christ, and well pleasing unto God. The Talmud puts
it in the form of maxims of conduct, or lessons drawn from Scripture, to
be accepted and acted on because they are portions of Torah, divine
truth and wisdom offered to man, for his good, but not making any direct
appeal to him. And whereas, in the New Testament, the spiritual fervour
of the teacher could utter itself in the glowing rapture of Paul, in the
Talmud the spiritual fervour of the teacher (sometimes not less than
that of Paul) was spent upon the study of Torah: in the one case God was
sought and found through the person of a revealer; in the other, he was
sought and found through the medium of a body of knowledge. The
watchword of the New Testament is Love. The watchword of the Talmud is
Wisdom. And each can claim, as its ideal, the highest and fullest and
noblest meaning of its own watchword.

I pass to the consideration of another effect produced by the conception
of Torah as the controlling factor in Pharisaic religion. Within the
lines of Torah there was room for a highly developed spiritual life, a
pure morality, a devout piety. Also, for warm sympathy and generous
kindness, and in general for the virtues which make human nature

All these were present, in varying degree, as truly as they are present
in Christians. But how about those who stood without the pale of the
Torah? What did the Pharisee consider to be his relation to them? In
practice, of course, this would depend largely on the individual
Pharisee; and no doubt examples might be found of every degree of
exclusiveness, from tolerant regret for those who were deprived of the
unspeakable blessing of the divine revelation down to the arrogant
contempt which said (John vii. 49), "This people that knoweth not the
Torah is accursed." But I shall deal only with the theory, not with the
practice, of the application of the Torah to "them that are without." It
was said above, that what could not be expressed in terms of Torah
either remained outside the religious consciousness of the Pharisee, or,
if admitted, held no prominent place there. It goes therefore without
saying, that Israel's possession of Torah must influence its attitude
towards the rest of mankind. The Pharisees were by no means blind to the
fact that among the Gentiles there were "those who feared God and worked
righteousness"; but, if the Torah was the final and complete divine
revelation, there could not be an equality, still less a real feeling of
brotherhood, between those who did and those who did not accept the
Torah as the guide of their lives. And this would remain true, even
though there were, as there was in the best minds among the Pharisees, a
real concern for the Gentile, and a desire that he too might share in
the blessing vouchsafed to Israel. The Pharisee by no means rejected the
visions of the prophets as, that "the earth shall be full of the
knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." But how could that
be realised unless the Gentiles came in by the way of Torah, and united
themselves with Israel? It was concern for the Gentiles, amongst other
motives, which prompted the assertion, to be found often in the Midrash,
that when God gave the Torah, He offered it to all the nations of the
world. They all, except Israel, rejected it; but at least they had their
chance. It was no arbitrary decree of God which deprived them of it. His
will was to do them good, if they would have it; and presumably they
might yet have it, if they would. In such ways the Pharisee looked out
across the barrier which separated him from the Gentile, not without
the hope and the desire that "all men might be saved," but unable to see
how that could be brought about, except by the coming of the Gentile
within the lines of the Torah. To obliterate those lines was
necessarily, to the Pharisee, unthinkable. It would be to renounce the
very blessing for the sake of which they desired that the Gentiles
should come in. And, even if there were no Gentiles, the Torah was still
the very life and soul of Israel; to part with it would be death; a fact
to which Israel has borne witness through the centuries. In the nature
of things, the religion of Torah as held by the Pharisees could not free
itself from Particularism; and though it could and did cherish a vision
of Universalism, the vision was for the far future, and only floated
fitfully before the gaze of the Pharisee. It hardly counted amongst
those present realities of his religion of which he was most conscious,
and to which he gave his chief thought.

I have tried to indicate what I believe to have been the effects of the
conception of Torah as the controlling factor in the religion of the
Pharisees, having, so far as I am aware, no other purpose than to get at
the real truth about them; in other words, to do them justice. That I
have not refrained from pointing out the deficiencies as well as the
excellences of their form of religion will show that my object has not
been to offer a mere panegyric upon them; they deserve better than that.
I shall attempt, in conclusion, to describe the kind of mind and
character produced by the influence of the ruling conception of Torah,
the Pharisaic ideal aimed at, and more or less realised in practice.
Individual Pharisees, of course, would present many and marked
variations from the type, just as is the case among Christians; and I
take no account of them, except to say that whatever may be true in the
matter of the common charges of hypocrisy, pride, self-righteousness,
and the like, is due to individual defection from the ideal, and is not
an inherent quality in it.

For the basis of such a description of the Pharisaic ideal, I take a
remarkable passage now included in the Mishnah, in the treatise called
the Pirké Aboth, or Sayings of the Fathers (M. Aboth. vi. 6). The whole
chapter, which is later than the rest of the book, is called "The
Acquisition of Torah." This is the passage:--"Greater is Torah than
Priesthood or Kingship. For Kingship is acquired by thirty stages
(_i.e._ there are thirty qualities necessary to the ideal King), and
Priesthood is acquired by twenty-four; but Torah is acquired by
forty-eight things. And these are they:--Study, the listening ear,
ordered speech, the discerning heart, dread, fear, meekness,
cheerfulness, purity, attendance on the Wise, discussion with
associates, argument with disciples, sedateness; Scripture, Mishnah;
having little business, little intercourse [with the world], little
luxury, little sleep, little conversation, little merriment,
forbearance, a good heart, faith in the Wise, the acceptance of
chastisements, [He is one that] acknowledges God, that rejoices in his
lot, that makes a fence for his words, that claims not goodness for
himself, that is loved, that loves God, that loves mankind, that loves
deeds of charity, that loves uprightness, that loves reproofs, that
shuns honour [_i.e._ when offered to himself], that puffs not up his
heart with his learning, that is not insolent in his teaching, that
bears the yoke along with his companion, that judges him favourably,
that establishes him upon truth, that establishes him on peace, that
settles his heart in his study, that asks and answers, that hears and
adds thereto, that learns in order to teach, and that learns in order to
do, that makes his teacher wise, that makes sure what he hears, that
repeats a word in the name of him who said it." The remainder of the
passage has no bearing on the general subject, being only a note upon
the last clause. The author is unknown. The list, which includes
fifty-one qualifications instead of the forty-eight announced at the
beginning, varies slightly in different editions; but it may be taken as
representing substantially the ideal character developed by and under
the religion of Torah. It may usefully be compared with the enumeration
of Christian virtues in Rom. xii.; and, if that comparison is made,
there will be noticed that difference of tone and spirit to which I have
already alluded. But it will also appear, from such comparison, that
there is no contrast as between black and white, hypocrite and holy. The
Pharisaic ideal may seem to be drawn in terms of more level prose than
the Christian ideal as set forth by Paul, and, moreover, to be one more
capable of being attained, in actual life. There is an element of sober
matter-of-fact in Judaism, and especially in Pharisaic Judaism, which
may not be sublime, but has great value, nevertheless, in the practical
conduct of life, even the religious life. Some of the items included in
the Pharisaic list may seem to be of but little importance, such as
those having immediate reference to the study of Torah--argument with
disciples, attendance on the wise, and the repeating a saying in the
name of him who said it. These, and similar items, have to be judged, of
course, by the standard of the supreme worth of the Torah. What that
meant to the Pharisee, how much more than the mere study of a book, I do
not now need to repeat, after all that has been said in previous
chapters. But many of the items indicate the great and substantial
virtues and graces which belong to the higher human nature alike of the
Pharisee and of the Christian. They include love to God, love towards
all mankind (let it be noted especially, that love is not restricted to
Israel alone), sympathy, kindness, forbearance, purity, meekness,
cheerfulness, contentment, patience under trial, and that which a great
Rabbi once said excelled all other qualifications for the perfect
life--a good heart. A man who should strive after such an ideal of
character and conduct would follow no unworthy quest; and, however
different be the form in which he expresses his religious ideas from
the form familiar to Christians, there is no fundamental difference
between them in the desire to seek God and serve Him with the noblest
powers that He has given to the human soul. It is not _quâ_ man, but
_quâ_ Pharisee that the adherent of the religion of Torah is sundered
from the Christian. There was in him the same human nature, capable of
high development in its relation both to God and to man. And the
conception of Torah was for the Pharisee the agent in that development;
while for the Christian the controlling factor is personal relation to
Christ. I am not concerned to judge between these two. I am concerned
only to maintain that the development of human nature through the agency
of Torah did in fact take place, and did produce very great and noble

Pharisaism in history has had a hard fate. For there has seldom been for
Christians the opportunity to know what Pharisaism really meant, and
perhaps still more seldom the desire to use that opportunity. It has
served as a foil to Christianity, the way for such use being prepared by
the New Testament. Its supposed blemishes have been held up to view, in
order that the excellences of the Christian religion might shine the
more brightly by comparison. If learned men like Lightfoot, Wagenseil,
and especially Eisenmenger, explored the Rabbinical literature well-nigh
from end to end, it was mainly for the purpose of reviling what they
found there. And, in our own day, though there is no longer to be found
amongst Talmudic scholars the scurrilous rancour of an Eisenmenger,
there is still the inveterate habit of regarding Rabbinical Judaism as a
means of exalting Christianity; there is nearly always the criticism of
Judaism from the Christian point of view, and judgment given upon
premises which it never recognised. There is scarcely any attempt to
learn what it really meant to those who held it as their religion, who
lived by it, and who died by it, and have done for two thousand years.

Is, then, the Christian religion so weak that it must be advocated by
blackening the character of its oldest rival? And if it should appear,
as I trust in some degree it has appeared, that the religion of Torah as
held by the Pharisees was a real expression of spiritual experience, the
inspiration of holy living and holy dying, is the spiritual power of
Christianity in any degree made less? Why should the one begrudge to the
other whatever is good in it? Especially when the one has grown great
and has become the religion of many nations, while the other has
remained as the inheritance of a lonely people? Why should not the
Christian be glad to own that the Jew, even the Pharisee, knew more of
the deep things of God than he had supposed, and after a way which was
not the Christian way, yet loved the Lord his God with heart and soul
and strength and mind,--yes, and his neighbour as himself? The time is
surely come when Pharisaism should be recognised as a religion entitled
to be judged on its own merits and by its own standards; a religion
widely different indeed from Christianity in its methods and its forms
of expression, but yet a living faith, capable of ministering to the
real wants of human souls; a religion _sui generis_, but none the less
to be acknowledged as one among the many expressions of divine
revelation on the one hand and of human seeking after God on the other?
It is in the hope of helping towards such a sympathetic and unprejudiced
recognition of the intrinsic worth of Pharisaism that I have written
this book. What I have written is scanty indeed, in view of the
greatness of the subject; but it may yet have been enough to give some
idea of what Pharisaism meant to the Pharisee, and to show that the
Saints and Sages of Israel, those more particularly who are included
amongst the Scribes and Pharisees, were not what they have commonly been
called and usually thought to have been. Saints and Sages they were, who
served God faithfully, and found in the Torah His full and perfect word.
And to me, though not walking in their way, nor sharing in all their
beliefs, yet drawn to them across the ages, they have been the
companions and friends of many a year.


  Abahu, R., 265.

  Abraham, 219, 220, 239.

  Akiba, R., 32, 51, 52, 90, 153, 154, 249, 267.

  Am-ha-aretz, 46-47.

  Antiochus Epiphanes, 38.

  Apocalyptists, 6.

  Augustine, 90, 217.

  Authority, seat of, in Pharisaism, 314-317.

  Bacher, W., 232 n.

  Bar Coch'ba, 50.

  Belief, heads of Pharisaic, 251-255.

  Character, Pharisaic ideal of, 326-331.

  Christianity, a protest and revolt, 14.
    founded on a Person, 171.

  Circumcision, 30.

  Common ground of Jesus and Pharisees, 116-127.

  Conscience, function of, in Pharisaism, 314.

  Corban, 141, 156-161 n.

  Divorce, 141, 153-156.

  Eighteen Benedictions (_see_ Shemoneh Esreh).

  Eisenmenger, 332.

  Elders, Tradition of the, 48, 52, 93, 135, 137, 229.

  Eleazar, R., 211.
    b. Dordaia, 212.

  Eliezer b. Horkenos, R., 121, 159.

  Elisha b. Abujah, 264.

  Essenes, 6, 46, 48.

  Exile, the, 8, 10, 64.

  Ezekiel, 64, 134.

  Ezra, 5, 7, 8-28, 62, 74.

  Faith, 218, 219.

  Father in Heaven, 120-124.

  Gabriel, 263.

  Gamaliel, R., 164.

  Gemara, 54.

  Germans, in the Talmud, 7.

  God, Pharisaic conception of, 251-252, 259-267.

  Goths, in the Talmud, 7.

  Greece, influence of, 34-38.

  Ḥaber, 107, 288 n.

  Ḥaburoth, 107.

  Haggadah, 91, 96 n., 226 and Ch. V. _passim_, 240-242.

  Halachah, 27, 90, 91, 96-104, 189 n., 230, 231, 243.

  Ḥasidim, 37-40.

  Heaven, 254.

  Hedge, for the Torah, 22, 26-28.

  Hell, 254.

  Hellenism, 6, 36-38, 208.

  Ḥija, R., 5, 308.

  Hillel, 5,49, 153, 164, 238.

  Hypocrites, 165-167.

  Ibn Gebirol, 285.

  Jabneh, 49, 50, 51.

  Jannai, R., 307.

  Jehudah b. Baba, R., 51.
    ha-Kadosh (_see_ Rabbi).
    ha-Levi, 285.

  Jesus, 112 and Ch. III. _passim_.

  Joḥanan b. Zaccai, 49, 104, 121, 164.
    R. (third century), 301, 306.

  John the Baptist, 117, 128, 129.

  Joshua b. Levi, R., 248.

  Kingdom of Heaven, 117, 129, 130, 144.

  Law (Νὁμος), 58, 183 n., 194, 195, 200.

  Levites, 16.

  Lightfoot, 332.

  Logos, the, 264.

  Lord's Prayer, the, 118.

  Maccabees, the, 31, 36, 38-39.

  Maimonides, 217, 235.

  Manasseh, King, 213-215.

  Mattathias, 38, 39.

  Mediator, 259, 263-264.

  Megillath Taanith, 45.

  Meir, R., 52.

  Memra, 264.

  Merit, 276-279.
    of the Fathers, 213, 279.

  Messiah, the, 142, 143, 250, 253, 254, 256.

  Metatron, 264-265.

  Michael, 263.

  Midrash, 55.

  Mishnah, 48, 53, 54, 102, 158, 160.

  Mitzvah (Mitzvōth), 103-104, 196, 197, 271-276.

  Moses, 11, 60.

  Nehemiah, 9, 13, 19.
    R., 219.

  Nicodemus, 196 n.

  Particularism, 322-325.

  Paul, 172, Ch. IV. _passim_, 266.

  Pentateuch, the, 63, 94, 113, 228.

  Persia, 34.

  Pharisees, Pharisaism, _passim_.

  Prayer, Book of Common, 304, 305.
    the Lord's, 118.

  Prayers, Pharisaic, 298-310.

  Priest, the High, 44.

  Priests, 132.

  Prophets, the, 65, 73.

  Psalms, Book of, 84-87.

  Rab, 104.

  Rabbi (Jehudah ha-Kadosh), 52, 249.

  Repentance, 210-216.

  Resh Lakish, 5.

  Retribution, 267.

  Reward, 267-276.

  Sabbath, 30, 67, 104, 141, 146-152.

  Sadducees, the, 6, 41, 43, 45, 48.

  Sanhedrin, the, 21, 44.

  Scribes (_see_ Sopherim).

  Separation, policy of, 67-74.

  Sermon on the Mount, the, 117-118.

  Shammai, 153, 238.

  Shechinah, the, 264, 274.

  Shemoneh Esreh, the, 298-299.

  Shulḥan Aruch, 231 n.

  Sin, the Unpardonable, 150 n.

  Sopherim (Scribes), 16, 17, 20, 21, 29, 31, 42, 92, 132.

  Spirit, the Holy, 218-220, 264.

  Synagogue (place of meeting), 29, 30, 31, 78-84, 207.
    the Great, 18-28, 43, 89, 298.

  Talmud, the, 3, 4, 7, 17, 18, 19, 25, 26, 27, 28, 54,
    55, 77, 93, 115, 120, 122, 151 n., 154, 218, 226,
    231 n., 248, 249, 260, 264, 284, 285, 298, 303, 304,
    306, 321, 322.

  Tanḥum b. Iscolastiki, 308.

  Temple, the, 8, 30, 44, 48, 50, 80, 81, 256.

  Theology, Pharisaic, Ch. V. _passim_.

  Theology, Pharisaic, not a system, 233-237.

  Torah, _passim_, but especially Ch. II.
    meaning of the term, 58-61.

  Tosephta, 53.

  Tradition (_see_ Elders).

  Uniformity of belief, not required, 234.

  Unpardonable Sin, the, 150 n.

  Vows, 157-159.

  Wagenseil, 332.

  Weber, F., 77, 126, 227, 235, 236, 260.

  Wise, the, 50, 65 n.

  Zadok, R., 159.

  Zugoth, the, 21.


  Gen.          i. 1   75
                i. 27  155
               xv. 6   219

  Exod.       xii. 2   75
              xiv. 31  219
               xv. 1   219
               xx. 1   238 n., 261
               xx. 2   265
               xx. 12  157

  Num.        xxx. 2   157

  Deut.        iv. 7   262, 274
               iv. 30  214
             xvii. 11  59
             xxiv. 1   154,
           xxviii. 63

  2 Chron. xxxiii. 13  214

  Neh.          x.     8, 19, 67

  Ps.           i.     287
                i. 2   275
            xviii. 22  287
              xix.     287
              xxv. 10  287
             lxii. 11  238 n.
             ciii.     294
             cxix.     287-297
             cxix. 63  288 n.

  Prov.         i. 8   59

  Isa.       xliv. 6   265
               li. 7   59
            lxiii. 16  123

  Jer.      xxiii. 29  238 n.

  Joel         ii. 32  263

1 Macc.       vii. 13  39


  Matt.         v. 17, 20     144
              vii. 29         130
                x. 29         262
              xii. 32         150 n.
            xxiii. 163        163
  Mark         ii. 7          168
              iii. 1-6        146
              iii. 22-30      149 n.
              iii. 29         150 n.
               vi. 34         47
              vii. 1-23       156
              vii. 5          48
                x. 2          153
              xii. 34         192
  Luke         iv. 23         117
            xviii. 11, 12     301
  John         ii. 25         170 n.
              vii. 19         195 n.
              vii. 49         46, 323
             viii. 32         316
              xii. 42         196
  Rom.          i. 21, 24-25  182
              iii. 10         182
              iii. 21         183
               xi. 1, 25      186
              xii.            329
  1 Cor.     xiii.            311
  2 Cor.        v. 17         178



  Megillah  iv. 9      122 n.
  Joma     iii. 5      44
  Sotah      i. 7      117
            ix.        121
  Nedarim   ix. 1      159
  Aboth      i. 2      22
            ii. 13     305
           iii. 15     267
            iv. 5      273
            vi. 2      317
            vi. 6      327-328


  Berachoth                  9^b     117
                            10^b     279
                            16^b     302
                             17ª     274
                            33^b     267
  Shabbath                  13^b     134
  Joma                      85^b     152
                            87^b     301
  Succah                     20ª     5
  Ḥaggigah                   15ª     264
  Kiddushin                 39^b     274
  Sotah                     22^b     165 n.
  Gittin                    56^b     49
  Nedarim                    38ª     258 n.
  Baba Bathra                12ª     65 n.
  Sanhedrin                  14ª     51
                           107^b     115
  Abodah Zarah               3^b     58
                             17ª     212
                             19ª     275
  Ḥullin                    142ª     274


  Berachoth                   2ª     306
                             3^b     238
                             7^d     306
                             13ª     260, 263
  Peah                      15^d     109
  Shebiith                  38^d     262
  Joma                      45^b     7
  Moed Katan                83^d     150 n.
  Baba Kamma                 6^c     150 n.
  Sanhedrin                 28^c     213


  Bereshith Rabbah                          52^b     117
                                             89ª     104
                                           133^c     246
  Shemoth Rabbah                            50^b     261
                                            51^b     265
  Debarim Rabbah                            102ª     262
  Pesikta d. R. Cahana                      40^b     105
                                           163^b     211
                                            165ª     _ibid._
  Mechilta, Beshallaḥ                       33^b     219
  Tanḥuma, Bereshith                         2^b     110
                                              4ª     75
  Tanḥuma, Noah                              15ª     258 n.
  Tanḥuma, Vajera                           45^b     _ibid._
  Tanḥuma, Vajeḥi                           110ª     218
  Yalkut Shimoni (on
      Ps. lxii, 11)                        § 783     238 n.


  Mishnah, Amsterdam, 1675.

  Babylonian Talmud, Wilna, 1880-1884.

  Jerusalem Talmud, Krotoshin, 1866.

  Midrash Rabbah, Wilna, 1887.

  Pesikta, edited by Buber, 1868.

  Mechilta, edited by Friedmann, 1870.

  Tanḥuma, edited by Buber, 1885.

  Yalkut Shimoni, Warsaw, 1876.


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  Acts of the Apostles. Adolf Harnack, 12.

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  Anurida. _Vide_ L.M.B.C. Memoirs, 43.

  Apocalypse of St. John, 43.

  Apologetic of the New Testament. E. F. Scott, 28.

  Apostle Paul, the, Lectures on. Otto Pfleiderer, 24.

  Apostolic Age, The. Carl von Weizsäcker, 34.

  Arabian Poetry, Ancient. Sir C. J. Lyall, 20.

  Architecture. Prof. W. R. Lethaby, 19.

  Arenicola. _Vide_ L.M.B.C. Memoirs, 42.

  Aristotelian Society, Proceedings of, 25.

  Army Series of French and German Novels, 35.

  Ascidia. Johnston, L.M.B.C. Memoirs, 42.

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  Astigmatic Letters. Dr Pray, 25.

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  Beginnings of Christianity. Paul Wernle, 34.

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  Bible Reading in the Early Church. Adolf Harnack, 12.

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  Biology, Principles of. Herbert Spencer, 30.

  Blaise Pascal. Humfrey R. Jordan, 16.

  Book of Prayer. Crompton Jones, 16.

  Books of the New Testament. Von Soden, 29.

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  British Fisheries. J. Johnstone, 16.

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  Cancer and other Tumours. Chas. Creighton, 6.

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  Christian Life in the Primitive Church. Dobschütz, 7.

  Christian Religion, Fundamental Truths of the. R. Seeberg, 28.

  Christianity, Beginnings of. Paul Wernle, 34.

  Christianity in Talmud and Midrash. R. Travers Herford, 12.

  Christianity? What is. Adolf Harnack, 11.

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  Colonial Period, The. C. M. Andrews, 1.

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  _Crown Theological Library_, 36.

  Cuneiform Inscriptions, The. Prof. E. Schrader, 27.

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  Dolomites, The, Practical Guide to, 11.

  Dresden and Environs, Guide to, 11.

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  Early Christian Conception. Otto Pfleiderer, 25.

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  Eighth Year, The. Philip Gibbs, 10.

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  Electrolysis of Water. V. Engelhardt, 8.

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  Engineering Chemistry. T. B. Stillman, 32.

  England and Germany, 8.

  English Language. L. P. Smith, 29.

  English Literature, Mediæval. W. P. Ker, 17.

  English Literature, Modern. G. H. Mair, 20.

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  Enoch, Book of. C. Gill, 10.

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  Epitome of Synthetic Philosophy. F. H. Collins, 6.

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  Ethiopic Grammar. A. Dillmann, 7.

  Eucken's Philosophy, An Interpretation of. W. Tudor Jones, 16.

  Euphemia and the Goth. Prof. F. C. Burkitt, 4, 44.

  Euripides and His Age. Prof. Gilbert Murray, 41.

  Europe, Mediæval. H. W. C. Davis, 6.

  Evolution. Thomson and Geddes, 32.

  Evolution of Industry. Prof. D. H. Macgregor, 20.

  Evolution of Plants. Dr. D. H. Scott, 28.

  Evolution of Religion, The. L. R. Farnell, 9.

  Exploration, Polar. Dr W. S. Bruce, 4.

  Facts and Comments. Herbert Spencer, 31.

  Faith and Morals. W. Herrmann, 14.

  Fertility and Fertilisers. Halligan, 11.

  Fertilisers, Soil Fertility and. Halligan, 11.

  First Principles. Herbert Spencer, 30.

  First Three Gospels in Greek. Rev. Canon Colin Campbell, 4.

  Flower of Gloster, The. E. Temple Thurston, 32.

  Foundations of Duty, The. Bishop J. W. Diggle, 7.

  Four Gospels as Historical Records, 9.

  Four Gospels, Light on the. A. Smith Lewis, 19.

  Free Catholic Church. Rev. J. M. Thomas, 32.

  Freedom of Thought. Bury, 4.

  Freezing Point, The. Jones, 16.

  French Composition. Jas. Boïelle, 3.

  French History, First Steps in. F. F. Roget, 26.

  French Language, Grammar of. Eugène, 8.

  French Literature, Landmarks in. G. L. Strachey, 32.

  French Reader. Leon Delbos, 7.

  French Revolution, The. Hilaire Belloc, 2.

  Fundamental Truths of the Christian Religion. R. Seeberg, 28.

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  Gaul, Wall Map of, 18.

  General Language of the Incas of Peru. Sir Clements Markham, 21.

  Genesis and Evolution of the Soul. J. O. Bevan, 2.

  Genesis, Hebrew Text, 13.

  Geography, Modern. Dr M. Newbigin, 23.

  Geometry, Analytical, Elements of. Hardy, 12.

  German History, Noble Pages from. F. J. Gould, 10.

  German Idioms, Short Guide to. T. H. Weisse, 34.

  German Literature, A Short Sketch of. V. Phillipps, B.A., 25.

  Germany, England and, 8.

  Germany of To-day. Tower, 32.

 Germany, The Literature of. Prof. J. G. Robertson, 26.

  Glimpses of Tennyson. A. G. Weld, 34.

  God and Life. Dr John Hunter, 15.

  Gospel of Rightness. C. E. Woods, 35.

  Gospels in Greek, First Three. Rev. Colin Campbell, 4.

  Grammar, Ethiopic. A. Dillman, 7.

  Greek-English Dictionary, Modern, 18.

  Greek Ideas, Lectures on. Rev. Dr. Hatch, 13.

  Greek, New Testament. Prof. Edouard Nestle, 23.

  Greek Religion, Higher Aspects of. L. R. Farnell, 9.

  Greeks: Hellenic Era, 31.

  Grieben's English Guides, 11.

  Gymnastics, Medical Indoor. Dr Schreber, 28.

  Harnack and his Oxford Critics. T. B. Saunders, 26.

  Health and Disease. Dr W. L. Mackenzie, 20.

  Hebrew, New School of Poets, 23.

  Hebrew Religion. W. E. Addis, 1.

  Hebrew Story. John P. Peters, 24.

  Hebrew Synonyms, Studies in. Rev. J. Kennedy, 17.

  Hebrew Texts, 13.

  Hellenistic Greeks. Mahaffy and Goligher, 31.

  Herbaceous Garden, The. Mrs P. Martineau, 21.

  Heredity in Relation to Eugenics. C. B. Davenport, 6.

  Hibbert Journal Supplement for 1909, entitled: Jesus or Christ? 14.

  Hibbert Journal, The, 14.

  _Hibbert Lectures_, 38.

  Highways and Byways in Literature. H. Farrie, 9.

  Historical Evidence for the Resurrection. Kirsopp Lake, 18.

  History of Dogma. Adolf Harnack, 12.

  History of England. A. F. Pollard, 25.

  History of Jesus of Nazara. Keim, 17.

  History of Our Time. G. P. Gooch, 10.

  History of Sacerdotal Celibacy. H. C. Lea, 19.

  History of War and Peace. Perris, 24.

  History of the Church. Hans von Schubert, 28.

  History of the Hebrews. R. Kittel, 18.

  History of the Literature of the O.T. E. Kautzsch, 17.

  History of the New Testament Times. A. Hausrath, 13.

  Holland, Practical Guide to, 11.

  _Home University Library of Modern Knowledge_, 39.

  House of Commons, The, from Within. Rt. Hon. R. Farquharson, 9.

  How to Teach the Bible. Rev. A. F. Mitchell, 22.

  Human Body, The. Prof. Arthur Keith, 17.

  Hygiene, Handbook of. D. G. Bergey, 2.

  Hymns of Duty and Faith. R. Crompton Jones, 16.

  Idolmakers, Among the. Prof. L. P. Jacks, 15.

  Immortality, Some Intimations of. Rt. Hon. Sir E. Fry, 9.

  Incarnate Purpose, The. G. H. Percival, 24.

  India, Peoples and Problems of. Sir T. W. Holderness, 14.

  Indian Buddhism. Rhys Davids, 6.

  Individual Soul, Genesis and Evolution of. J. O. Bevan, 2.

  Individualism and Collectivism. Dr C. W. Saleeby, 27.

  Indoor Gymnastics, Medical. Dr Schreber, 28.

  Industrial Remuneration, Methods of. David F. Schloss, 27.

  Infinitesimals and Limits. Hardy, 12.

  Influence of Greek Ideas upon the Christian Church. Rev. Dr Hatch, 13.

  Influence of Rome on Christianity. E. Renan, 26.

  Initiation into Philosophy. Emile Faguet, 9.

  Initiation into Literature. Faguet, 9.

  Inorganic Chemistry. J. L. Howe, 15.

  Inorganic Qualitative Chemical Analysis. Leavenworth, 19.

  Interpretation of Rudolf Eucken's Philosophy. W. Tudor Jones, 17.

  Introduction to Biblical Hebrew. Rev. J. Kennedy, 17.

  Introduction to the Greek New Testament. Prof. E. Nestle, 23.

  Introduction to the Old Testament. Prof. Carl Cornill, 5, 45.

  Introduction to the Preparation of Organic Compounds. Emil Fischer, 9.

  Introduction to Science. Prof. J. A. Thomson, 32.

  Irish Nationality. Mrs J. R. Green, 10.

  Isaiah, Hebrew Text, 13.

  Jacobite Liturgy. Connolly and Codrington, 44.

  Jesus. Wilhelm Bousset, 3.

  Jesus of Nazara. Keim, 17.

  Jesus or Christ? The Hibbert Journal Supplement for 1909, 14.

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  Job. Hebrew Text, 13.

  Job, Book of. G. H. Bateson Wright, 35.

  Job, Book of. Rabbinic Commentary on, 43.

  Johnson, Dr., and his Circle. John Bailey, 2.

  Journal of the Federated Malay States, 46.

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  London Library Subject Index, 20.

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  Naturalism and Religion. Dr Rudolf Otto, 24.

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    Cuneiform Inscriptions, 27;
    Hebrew Text, Weir, 34;
    Literature, 17.

  Testament, The New, Critical Notes on. C. Tischendorf, 32.

  Testament Times, New, 13;
    Acts of the Apostles, 12;
    Apologetic of, 28;
    Books of the, 29;
    Luke the Physician, 12;
    Textual Criticism, 23.

  Test Types. Pray, 25;
    Snellen, 29.

  _Text and Translation Society_, Works by, 43.

  _Theological Translation Library_, 44.

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  Thermometer, History of the. Bolton, 3.

  Tourist Guides. Grieben's, 11.

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  Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, 33.

  Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 33.

  Truth, The, of Religion. Eucken, 8.

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  Vaillante, Vincent, 35.

  Various Fragments. Herbert Spencer, 31.

  Veiled Figure, The, 33.

  Via, Veritas, Vita. Dr. Drummond, 7.

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  Virgin Birth of Christ. Paul Lobstein, 19.

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  Warfare in England. Hilaire Belloc, 2.

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  Water, Electrolysis of. Engelhardt, 8.

  Weather, Climate and. Prof. H. N. Dickson, 7.

  What is Christianity? Adolf Harnack, 12.

  Winter Sports in Switzerland, Guide to, 11.

  Within, Thoughts during Convalescence. Sir Francis Younghusband, 35.

  Women's Suffrage. Helen Blackburn, 3.

  World, The Old, Wall Map of, 17.

  Writers, Great, of America. Profs. Trent and Erskine, 8, 33.

  Writing of English. Brewster, 3.

  Zoroastrianism. Moulton, 22.


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