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Title: Outlines of Jewish History from B.C. 586 to C.E. 1885
Author: Magnus, Lady Katie
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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OUTLINES OF JEWISH HISTORY


      *      *      *      *      *      *

                          SOME PRESS NOTICES
                                  OF

                   ABOUT THE JEWS SINCE BIBLE TIMES.

                          BY THE SAME AUTHOR.

‘Her history impresses us with a sense of truthfulness and of fairness
quite exceptional.’――THE ACADEMY.

‘A very readable and popular account of most things that ought to be
known about the chosen people in their later development.’――SATURDAY
REVIEW.

‘The result of careful study, and written with candour and
moderation.’――PALL MALL GAZETTE.

‘A model of sober-minded terseness.... That freshness adds to the
pleasure with which this useful and instructive book is sure to be
read.’――GRAPHIC.

‘A book that should achieve deserved popularity.’――WESTMINSTER REVIEW.

‘Conscientiously written, and contains much information. Several
portions are notably good.’――THE WORLD.

‘An eloquent and brilliant work of its kind.’――GLASGOW HERALD.

‘Pleasantly and impartially written.... We sincerely hope that
Mrs. MAGNUS will execute her intention of carrying on the history
of the Jews to the present day.’――JOURNAL OF EDUCATION.

‘Mrs. MAGNUS ... writes with considerable breadth. Her chapters are
full of interest. Her estimates of Jewish character and of the causes
of national pursuits and characteristics are very suggestive.’――BRITISH
QUARTERLY REVIEW.

‘The Authoress is never unfair, even when the most melancholy tales
of spoliation and grief are being told by her. She has succeeded in
treating a very difficult subject with more than the profundity and
exactitude that are the attributes of a solid history writer.’――PUBLIC
OPINION.

‘A clear, spirited, and on the whole a fairly impartial
narrative.... Taken altogether ... combine to form a work of rare
interest.’――SCOTSMAN.

‘A distinct gain to general knowledge on the subject of the
Jews.’――JEWISH WORLD.

‘Even after making all deductions, we must pronounce Mrs. MAGNUS’
history to be above all praise, and we trust that she will continue
it down to the present day.’――JEWISH CHRONICLE.

‘To do the lady justice, she has succeeded where even Dean MILMAN
has failed in making Jewish history interesting to the general
reader. We have read it through from cover to cover with unflagging
interest.’――THE LITERARY WORLD.

‘As interesting as a book of adventures or a novel, and much more
profitable.’――MODERN REVIEW.

      *      *      *      *      *      *


OUTLINES OF JEWISH HISTORY

B.C. 586 to C.E. 1885


      *      *      *      *      *      *

                                _NOTE._


_The late Jacob Abraham Franklin bequeathed by Will to five Trustees
the sum of Five Thousand Pounds for the promotion of certain objects
in connexion with the Advancement of Judaism._

_One of these objects was the publication of religious treatises and
text-books._

_The Trustees, believing the present work to be in accord with the
views of the benevolent Testator, defray the cost of its publication._

      *      *      *      *      *      *


OUTLINES OF JEWISH HISTORY
FROM B.C. 586 TO C.E. 1885

With Three Maps

by

THE AUTHOR OF
‘ABOUT THE JEWS SINCE BIBLE TIMES’

Revised by M. Friedländer, Ph.D.



London
Longmans, Green, and Co.
1886

All rights reserved



   _For ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord_



                          TO THE DEAR MEMORY
                                  OF
                        EDWARD JANVERIN EMANUEL



                               PREFACE.


THESE Outlines of Jewish History are the result of a proposal which
was made to me, some two years back, by the administrators of the
Jacob Franklin Trust, to write a book which should tell the history
of the Jews from Biblical times to the present day, in a form which
should fit it for use in schools and homes. A right of reference to
Dr. Friedländer, the learned Principal of Jews’ College, was one of the
privileges of my commission, and the bringing to him of all my doubts
and difficulties for decision has proved not only an advantage to my
book, but a pleasure to me.

The trouble I have had in endeavouring to keep the book simple enough
for youthful readers, suggests the possible presence of a weak point,
and tempts me to forestall criticism by urging that I have, at least,
been mindful on this head, and have patiently done my best. But so
complicated a history, and so advanced a civilisation as that of
the Jews, is not quite susceptible of entirely simple treatment.
‘They stained their bodies with a plant called woad’ is a perfectly
comprehensive if somewhat bald bit of history, ‘adapted to the use
of schools,’ anent the ancient Britons. ‘In their schools they laid
the foundations for the Mishnah’ would be a correct contemporaneous
statement concerning the ancient Jews, but one that hardly lends itself
to such comfortable brevity and simplicity of style. I can only plead
that I have told the whole sad, beautiful, ‘heroic history’ of my race
with the keenest sympathy; and I can only hope that the moral and the
meaning of it all, which are so very clear to me, may be found to shine
out between the lines.

                                                         KATIE MAGNUS.

  _July 1886._



               _DATES OF CHIEF EVENTS AND CHIEF PEOPLE._


                                                              B.C.E.
  Return from Babylon                                           536

  Dedication of Second Temple                                   516

  Institution of Purim                                          473

  Judea under Egyptian rule                                     320

  Simon I., the Just; high priest                               310

  The Septuagint translation made                               240

  Judea is conquered by Syria                                   203

  Antiochus IV., Epiphanes, King of Syria                   175‒163

  Institution of Hanucah                                        164

  Judea an independent state                                    141

  The Idumeans are conquered, and forced to accept              120
      Judaism

  Judas Aristobulus, the first Jewish king                      106

  Civil war between the brothers Hyrcanus II. and                70
      Aristobulus

  Pompey in Jerusalem                                            63

  Herod I. becomes King of Judea                                 37

  Hillel I. president of the Sanhedrin                           30

  The Temple rebuilt by Herod                                    20


                                                                C.E.
  Judea a Roman province                                          7

  Origin of the Christian religion                               37

  Philo, Jewish philosopher in Alexandria                        40

  Fall of Jerusalem and destruction of the Temple                70

  Jochanan ben Zakkai establishes a college at Jamnia            70

  The Pentateuch is translated into Chaldee by Onkelos,         130
      and the whole Bible into Greek by Akylos

  The Jews rise under Barcochba against the Romans          133‒135

  Akiba dies                                                    135

  Compilation of the Mishnah by Rabbi Judah ha-Nasi             190

  Colleges founded in Babylonia by Rab and Samuel               219

  The Jerusalem Talmud compiled                                 320

  Hillel II. fixes the Jewish calendar (at present              360
      in use)

  The Babylonian Talmud completed                               500

  A Jewish kingdom in Yemen                                     500

  First Gaon in Sura, Mar Isaac                                 658

  Origin of the vowel signs and accents in Hebrew               650

  The Arabs conquer Spain                                       711

  The Chazars embrace Judaism                                   740

  Development of Karaism                                        761

  Saadia of Fajum, philosopher and theologian               892‒942

  Foundation of colleges by Babylonian scholars in
      Western countries                                         950

  Hai, the last of the Gaonim                              998‒1038

  Solomon Gabirol                                         1037‒1070

  Rashi (Rabbi Solomon Yitschaki)                         1040‒1105


  Beginning of the Crusades and of the persecutions            1096
      of the Jews in Europe

  Moses ibn Ezra                                          1070‒1139

  Judah ha-Levi                                           1085‒1145

  Abraham ibn Ezra                                        1092‒1167

  Moses Maimonides                                        1135‒1204

  Benjamin of Tudela, traveller                           1165‒1173

  Persecution of Jews in England under Richard I.              1189

  The writings of Maimonides burnt at Paris                    1233

  The Jewish Parliament summoned by Henry III.                 1240

  Copies of the Talmud burnt at Paris                          1242

  Expulsion of Jews from England                               1290

  Jacob Asheri completes the religious code called             1340
      the Four Turim

  Persecution of Jews in Europe in consequence of the          1349
      Black Death

  Don Isaac Abarbanel                                     1437‒1509

  The first Hebrew books printed                               1475

  Inquisition against the Marannos                             1480

  Expulsion of the Jews from Spain                             1492

  Expulsion of the Jews from Portugal                          1497

  The first ghetto in Venice                                   1516

  Reuchlin for the Talmud, Pfefferkorn against it         1506‒1516

  First complete edition of the Talmud printed                 1520

  Spanish Jews settle in Holland                               1591

  Manasseh ben Israel                                     1604‒1657

  Sabbatai Zevi                                           1626‒1676

  Baruch Spinoza                                          1632‒1677

  Slaughter of Jews in Poland by the Cossacks under            1648
      Chmielnicki

  Manasseh ben Israel came to England                          1655

  First Portuguese synagogue in London                         1656

  First German synagogue in London                             1692

  Moses Mendelssohn born                                       1729

  The edict of Joseph II., Emperor of Austria                  1782

  Moses Montefiore born                                        1784

  Frederick William II. of Prussia abolishes the               1787
      ‘Leibzoll’

  The Jews in France emancipated                               1791

  Jews admitted to the freedom of the City of London           1832

  The Jews’ civil disabilities in England removed              1845

  Persecution of Jews in Damascus: Professor Theodore’s        1840
      letter on same

  D. Salomons elected M.P. for Greenwich                       1851

  Jewish Oath Bill passed                                      1858



                               CONTENTS.


                               _BOOK I._

                         B.C. 586 TO A.C. 70.
                      IN THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD.


                              CHAPTER I.

                         THE JEWS IN BABYLON.

   1. Babylonian Exiles
   2. Persian Conquest of Babylon
   3. The Influences of the Exile
   4. How Cyrus’s Permission was received
   5. The End of the Exile

                              CHAPTER II.

                       THE RETURN TO PALESTINE.

   1. The Rebuilding of the Temple
   2. The Samaritans
   3. The Feast of Purim
   4. Ezra the Scribe
   5. The Work of Ezra and Nehemiah

                             CHAPTER III.

                          LIFE IN PALESTINE.

   1. Condition of the People
   2. Literary Labours
   3. Alexandrian Jews
   4. The Septuagint
   5. Under Egyptian Rule
   6. Under Syrian Rule
   7. Home Rule

                              CHAPTER IV.

                  THE MACCABEAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE.

   1. Antiochus Epiphanes
   2. Antiochus’s Tyranny
   3. Resistance of Mattathias
   4. Chasidim and Zaddikim
   5. The Success of Judas Maccabeus
   6. Institution of Hanucah
   7. Treaty with Rome

                              CHAPTER V.

                     PALESTINE UNDER NATIVE RULE.

   1. Death of Judas Maccabeus
   2. Jonathan the Maccabee
   3. Simon, the First of the Priest-King Dynasty
   4. The Sons of Simon
   5. Reign of John Hyrcanus
   6. His Last Years

                              CHAPTER VI.

       JUDEA DURING THE REMAINDER OF THE RULE OF THE ASMONEANS.

   1. Rival Factions, Pharisees and Sadducees
   2. How they got their Names
   3. Their Tenets and Position, Religious and Political
   4. State Quarrel with the Pharisees
   5. The Essenes
   6. Reign of Alexander Jannæus
   7. After the Death of Alexander Jannæus

                             CHAPTER VII.

                            A NEW DYNASTY.

   1. Antipater the Idumean
   2. Rome arbitrates
   3. Antipater’s plans
   4. The Sanhedrin
   5. The Fall of the Asmonean House

                             CHAPTER VIII.

                            REIGN OF HEROD.

   1. Antipater’s ‘Desire’ fulfilled
   2. How Herod strengthened his Position
   3. Herod as Husband
   4. Herod as Father
   5. Herod as King
   6. The End of Herod’s Reign
   7. Hillel: a Contrast

                              CHAPTER IX.

                         JUDEA BEFORE THE WAR.

   1. Herod’s Will
   2. Judea sinks into a Roman Province
   3. Jesus of Nazareth
   4. Jews in Egypt and Syria
   5. Birth of Christianity
   6. Reign of Herod Agrippa
   7. Caligula and the Jews

                              CHAPTER X.

                          THE WAR WITH ROME.

   1. Agrippa II.; Roman Governors
   2. Vespasian sent to Judea
   3. Preparations for Defence
   4. Josephus

                              CHAPTER XI.

                          THE END OF THE WAR.

   1. The Defence of the Provinces
   2. Affairs in Jerusalem
   3. The War Party and the Peace Party: their Leaders
   4. The Siege of Jerusalem
   5. A Mediator sent: Terms proposed
   6. The Destruction of the Temple


                              _BOOK II._

                           A.C. 70 TO 1600.
                               DARKNESS.


                             CHAPTER XII.

                            AFTER THE WAR.

   1. Titus completes his Conquest
   2. Masada
   3. What became of the Chief Actors
   4. What became of the Country and the People
   5. Salvage
   6. Jochanan ben Saccai; the Schools
   7. An Unforeseen Result of the War: Jewish Christians

CHAPTER XIII.

 THE REVOLT UNDER HADRIAN.

   1. Conquered Jews in the West
   2. Contemporary Jews in the East
   3. Under Trajan
   4. The Policy of Hadrian
   5. The Jews in Revolt: their Leader
   6. Akiba, the Romance of his Youth
   7. Akiba, the Romance of his Age
   8. Hadrian’s Resolve accomplished

                             CHAPTER XIV.

                THE REVIVAL OF THE SCHOOLS: THEIR WORK.

   1. One of History’s Miracles
   2. The Schools: their Work
   3. The Masters of the Schools
   4. The Moral Influence of the Schools
   5. The Political Influence of the Schools
   6. The Literary Influence of the Schools

                              CHAPTER XV.

                    CHRISTIANITY A STATE RELIGION.

   1. How it spread among the Heathen
   2. The First Christian Emperor
   3. Constantine legislates on the Subject; its Effects
   4. Jews in the East under Persian Rule
   5. Julian the Apostate

                             CHAPTER XVI.

      THE BREAK-UP OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE: SOME OF ITS CONSEQUENCES.

   1. Political Changes
   2. Social Changes
   3. Monks and Saints
   4. How Jews became Traders
   5. The Slave Trade
   6. Jews as Slave Owners
   7. Church Councils
   8. Eastern Jews
   9. War between the Persian and the Byzantine Empires

                             CHAPTER XVII.

                       THE RISE OF MAHOMEDANISM.

   1. The Koran or the Sword
   2. What Mahomed learnt from the Jews
   3. Islam
   4. Likenesses between Islam and Judaism
   5. Differences between Islam and Judaism

                            CHAPTER XVIII.

                     THE CONQUESTS OF THE KALIPHS:
              EFFECT, RELIGIOUS AND SOCIAL, ON THE JEWS.

   1. Progress of Mahomedanism
   2. Gaonim
   3. Spain in the Hands of the Mahomedans
   4. The Karaite Movement
   5. Mahomedan Causes for Karaism
   6. The Leader of the Karaite Movement
   7. What became of the Sect
   8. Good out of Evil

                             CHAPTER XIX.

                        LIFE UNDER THE KALIPHS.

   1. Jews in the East
   2. Close of the Schools; some Scholars
   3. Jews in the West
   4. The Policy of the Early Kaliphs
   5. Some Effects of this Policy

                              CHAPTER XX.

                       JEWS IN SPAIN (710‒1150).

   1. ‘Like a Dream in the Night’
   2. The Jew Schools
   3. The first Nagid of Spain
   4. Another Nagid: troubles in Granada
   5. Revival of Catholicism in Spain
   6. Effect on the Jews
   7. The Almohade Dynasty of Kaliphs

                             CHAPTER XXI.

                 JEWS IN SPAIN, CONTINUED (1150‒1492).

   1. Under Catholic Kings in Spain
   2. The Toledo Synagogue
   3. The Downward Slope to Death
   4. The Marannos or New Christians
   5. An Effort at Argument
   6. The Inquisition
   7. Objects and Functions of the Inquisition
   8. Some Statistics of the Inquisition
   9. Edict of Expulsion
  10. Abarbanel’s Intercession

                             CHAPTER XXII.

              JEWS IN CENTRAL EUROPE IN THE MIDDLE AGES.

   1. General Position of European Jews
   2. Jews become Money-lenders
   3. Charges of Usury

                            CHAPTER XXIII.

                  JEWS IN CENTRAL EUROPE, CONTINUED.

   1. The Crusades
   2. Glimpses of Better Things
   3. Life in France till the Expulsion thence
   4. Expelled from France
   5. Treatment of Jews in the German States

                             CHAPTER XXIV.

                     JEWS IN ENGLAND (1066‒1210).

   1. The First Seventy Years
   2. ‘Saints’ and Supplies
   3. Accession of Richard
   4. Treatment by Richard
   5. Under John

                             CHAPTER XXV.

                JEWS IN ENGLAND, CONTINUED (1216‒1290).

   1. The Next Fifty Years
   2. The Caorsini
   3. The First Jewish M.P.’s
   4. Another Device for raising Money
   5. Under Edward I.
   6. Some Ironical Legislation
   7. Dishonest Jews
   8. Efforts at Conversion
   9. Expulsion of Jews from England


                              _BOOK III._

                           A.C. 100 TO 1500.
                              STARLIGHT.

                             CHAPTER XXVI.

            CONCERNING JEWISH LITERATURE AND LITERARY MEN.

   1. Starlight
   2. How the Stars shone
   3. Piyutim
   4. A Specimen Planet

                            CHAPTER XXVII.

                           SOME FIXED STARS.

   1. Solomon ibn Gabirol
   2. ‘Rashi’
   3. Ibn Ezra
   4. A Great Traveller
   5. Jehudah Halevi

                            CHAPTER XXVIII.

       THE GREATEST OF THE FIXED STARS, MAIMONIDES (1135‒1204).

   1. Early Days in Spain
   2. Life in Exile
   3. Becomes a Court Physician
   4. Court and other Employment
   5. His Writings
   6. His Character
   7. The End of his Life

                             CHAPTER XXIX.

                       DARKNESS BEFORE THE DAWN.

   1. The Stars die out
   2. Whither the Exiles went
   3. Life in Germany
   4. A New Crusade
   5. What became of the Spanish and Portuguese Exiles

                             CHAPTER XXX.

                         THE DARKNESS VISIBLE.

   1. Deterioration of Character
   2. Atmospheric Conditions
   3. A Shooting Star――Sabbatai Zevi
   4. How the News was received
   5. The Sultan interferes
   6. Sabbatai resigns his Pretensions
   7. Becomes a Convert to Mahomedanism


                              _BOOK IV._

                          A.C. 1591 TO 1885.
                                 DAWN.

                             CHAPTER XXXI.

                                 DAWN.

   1. Beginnings of Better Days in Holland
   2. The New Jerusalem
   3. Sephardim and Ashkenazim
   4. Spanish Jews in Holland
   5. Their Acquired Intolerance
   6. An Instance in Point: Uriel da Costa

                            CHAPTER XXXII.

                         MANASSEH BEN ISRAEL.

   1. His Early Life
   2. His Writings and his Friends
   3. Manasseh finds his Vocation
   4. Negotiations begun for the Return of the Jews to England

                            CHAPTER XXXIII.

                  THE RETURN OF THE JEWS TO ENGLAND.

   1. Manasseh presents his Petition
   2. A Christian Advocate
   3. What People said
   4. How the Petition was received
   5. End of Manasseh’s Story

                            CHAPTER XXXIV.

                               SPINOZA.

   1. Clouds obscure the Dawn
   2. The Amsterdam Jews at the Time of Spinoza
   3. Spinoza’s Student Days
   4. Things come to a Climax
   5. How Spinoza took his Sentence; his Mode of Life
   6. Unto this Last
   7. His Writings
   8. Results

                             CHAPTER XXXV.

           IN NORTHERN AND CENTRAL EUROPE, BEFORE THE DAWN.

   1. A Long Night
   2. Reuchlin and the Talmud
   3. Another Jewish Influence: Elias Levitas
   4. Some Jewish Results from the Invention of Printing
   5. Influence of Printing on Kabbalistic Literature

                            CHAPTER XXXVI.

      IN NORTHERN AND CENTRAL EUROPE, BEFORE THE DAWN, CONTINUED.

   1. A Group of Stars
   2. Polish Jews
   3. French Jews
   4. Social Life in Germany
   5. Moral and Material Effects upon the Jews

                            CHAPTER XXXVII.

                          MOSES MENDELSSOHN.

   1. Early Days in Dessau
   2. Goes to Berlin
   3. How he fares there
   4. Seed-time
   5. Harvest
   6. Nathan der Weise
   7. Literary Successes
   8. His Home Life
   9. Last Years

                           CHAPTER XXXVIII.

                  THE NEXT HUNDRED YEARS (1780‒1880).

   1. Light and Shadows
   2. Leopold Zunz
   3. Progress of Events and Legislation in Germany
   4. Progress of Events and Legislation in France
   5. Progress of Events and Legislation in Italy
   6. Progress of Events and Legislation in Spain and Portugal
   7. Progress of Events and Legislation in Austrian Dominions
   8. Progress of Events and Legislation in other European States
   9. Progress of Events and Legislation in Russia and Poland
  10. Progress of Events and Legislation in Danubian Provinces
  11. A Glance at the Rest of the Map

                            CHAPTER XXXIX.

          TWO CENTURIES AND A QUARTER IN ENGLAND (1660‒1885).

   1. The First Fifty Years
   2. Influx of Germans and Poles: how received
   3. Converts
   4. Progress of Anglo-Jewish Legislation
   5. Communal Progress
   6. The Nineteenth Century
   7. A Slander revived and slain
   8. The Man of the Nineteenth Century
   9. Conclusion

      INDEX


                                _MAPS._

   1. Palestine
   2. The Roman Empire at the close of the Republic
   3. Europe in the Middle Ages


                              _Erratum._

                 _Page 169, line 22, for 66 read 72._



                      OUTLINES OF JEWISH HISTORY.



                                BOOK I.

                          500 B.C. TO 70 A.C.

                      IN THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD.

                               אֲסִירֵי עֳנִי וּבַרְזֶל
                                        PSALM cvii. 10.

                 ‘_Life fulfils itself in many ways._’



                              CHAPTER I.

                         THE JEWS IN BABYLON.


=1. Babylonian Exiles.=――Nearly two thousand five hundred years ago
Jerusalem fell under the siege of Nebuchadnezzar, and a great many Jews
were led away captives into Babylon. Daniel was one of these captives,
and Ezekiel was another; and most, even of the rank and file, were men
of some character and some learning. Gradually, the exiles took up the
position rather of colonists than of captives. Lands were allotted to
them, they grew to love and own the soil they cultivated, and their
prophets kept alive in them the sense that, though Babylonians now
instead of Palestinians, they were still Jews. The name of Jews instead
of Israelites came into use from this period, as the greater number of
the Babylonian exiles belonged to the kingdom of Judah. No records, in
which much trust can be put, have come down to us of the fate of the
ten tribes which made up the kingdom of Israel. Thousands of them, it
is certain, were carried off into foreign captivity when Palestine was
invaded by Shalmaneser about 130 years before the fall of Jerusalem.
The ten tribes have thenceforward no separate history.


=2. Persian Conquest of Babylon.=――Forty-eight years after the
destruction of Jerusalem the whole of the Babylonian kingdom passed
into the power of Cyrus the Persian. Two years after his conquest he
told the Jewish exiles in Babylon that any or all of them, if they
liked, might return to the land of their fathers, and become his Syrian
instead of his Babylonian subjects. He gave them permission also to
rebuild their temple, and he restored to them the holy vessels which
had been taken away by Nebuchadnezzar’s troops when they sacked
Jerusalem.


=3. The Influences of the Exile.=――Fifty years, we must remember, had
come and gone since the fall of Jerusalem. Sorrows, that seem quite
unbearable at first, grow with time to be lightly borne. ‘By the waters
of Babylon,’ the first exiles had sat down and wept, but on its banks
by-and-by their children ran and laughed. They ‘hung their harps on
the willow trees,’ and refused to sing the songs of Zion for a year or
two, or may be ten. But by degrees the ‘strange land’ grew homelike,
and the harps, we may be sure, were taken down, and strung, and tuned.
After a while every one has to live in the present, however dear or
sad the past may be. The Jews in Babylon learned to face their life in
captivity, and to make the best of it. In many respects they were the
better for it. They grew, indeed, to be truer patriots in exile than
for generations they had been in possession. The loss of their country
seemed to rouse them and to steady them. They became more patient and
united, and less childish and discontented. The counsels of Ezekiel and
Jeremiah, and of the other unnamed prophets of the exile, were listened
to in Babylon as they never had been in Palestine. The law of Moses
was read, and the Psalms of David were probably sung in mean little
meeting-houses, but these poor places were crowded, and included more
devout worshippers than had ever assembled in the marble courts of the
temple. Many people think that it is to these earnest exiles in Babylon
that we owe the small beginnings of our present synagogues. The word
‘synagogue’ comes from the Greek, and means an assembling together;
and though the word itself does not come into use till long after the
return from the captivity, yet places of assembly for prayer and praise
were quite common all throughout Judea long before historians talk of
them by the name of synagogue.


=4. How Cyrus’s Permission was received.=――To many of the Jewish
settlers in Babylon, and especially to those who had been born
there, Palestine must have come to sound like England does to her
colonists――as a name, whenever and wherever heard, brimful of the
tenderest loves and longings, but still more or less a name. To old
folks the old land is a memory, to young people a hope, but to old and
young alike the land where they live and work is home. And Jews are
particularly homelike in their natures, soon fitting into, and growing
fond of, and looking native to, any spot whereon they settle. For some
time they had been fairly and even generously treated by the people
who had led them captive; and thus when the Persian proclamation was
published, there was no eager ungrateful rush to leave Babylon, and
to return to their own land under the protection of the conquerors
of their captors. Love for the old scenes was strong, but a sort
of loyalty to the new weakened the love a little, and made duty a
difficult choice.


=5. The End of the Exile.=――The liberty of return which Cyrus gave
closes the Babylonian captivity. Those Jews who remained in Babylon
remained as voluntary exiles. With some, and they were not few, the
sense that Babylon was the land of their children proved more potent
than the remembrance that Palestine was the land of their fathers.
Neither country was theirs. And in Babylon they were comfortable; and
that condition, in making up one’s mind, counts for much. The fair land
of promise was certainly to all the land of their dreams, but it is not
quite as certain that it was to all equally the land of their desires.
Some 42,000, however, brave and faithful men and women, decided to
make use of Cyrus’s permission, and under the leadership of Zerubbabel
crossed the Euphrates, and set out for the Holy Land; those who
remained behind gave plenty of good wishes, and willingly forwarded
supplies.

  Illustration:                PALESTINE
                         _E. Weller Lithog^r._
           _Drawn & Engraved by E. Weller. Red Lion Square_
                        _London Longman & C^o._



                              CHAPTER II.

                       THE RETURN TO PALESTINE.


=1. The Rebuilding of the Temple.=――The first task of the exiles
when they arrived at Jerusalem was to set about the rebuilding of the
temple. The ruins were cleared away, and early in the second year of
their return, amid great rejoicings, the foundation-stone of the second
temple was laid. There were some very old people in the crowd, who had
worshipped in the first beautiful temple, and to them the scene could
not have been one of unmixed joy. The Bible says, ‘The old men wept.’
But men old enough to remember and to weep over their memories could
not have been many, and hope and rejoicing were the chief feelings on
the occasion.


=2. The Samaritans.=――Very soon the work, so gladly begun, was
interrupted, and by home foes instead of foreign ones. Shalmaneser,
king of Assyria, nearly two hundred years before, had conquered Hoshea,
the last king of Israel, and had carried off many of Hoshea’s subjects
into captivity. Samaria had fallen after a three years’ siege, and in
place of those Israelites who had been killed, and of those who had
been made prisoners of war, the king of Assyria brought some of his own
subjects from Babylon and Cuthea, into the desolated land of Israel.
These new settlers were, of course, heathens, but they adopted, after
a time, some of the rites of the Israelites among whom they lived. The
old inhabitants who had been left in Samaria, and the new who had been
brought thither, all came to be called Samaritans. Their religious
belief was naturally a little mixed. There was much that was heathen
and idolatrous, but a great deal, too, of what was distinctly Jewish in
their thoughts and practice. When Jerusalem was again in the hands of
Jews, and the temple about to be rebuilt, the Samaritans, at any rate,
thought themselves quite Jewish enough to offer to help in the work.
The exiles did not agree with them. The fifty years’ captivity had made
a great change in their way of looking at things. Their Judaism was
of a stronger and a sterner sort than it used to be. They meant the
service in their new temple to be purely Jewish, and it seemed to them
that if they let the Samaritans help in the building of the temple,
it would lead to the introduction of idolatrous rites into Divine
worship. Perhaps they felt, in an illogical sort of way, that the
building itself would be profaned if any part of the work was done
by such half-and-half Jews as were the Samaritans. No one likes to be
pronounced not good enough for any work he himself proposes to do, and
the Samaritans were extremely indignant at the rejection of their offer.
They were mean enough to take revenge by speaking against the Jews at
the Persian court. They were so far successful, that the work in which
they were not allowed to share was presently put a stop to by order of
Cyrus. But some fifteen years later his successor Darius, the Darius
who was defeated at Marathon, gave permission and help too, and, in
spite of the Samaritans, the temple was finished and dedicated, twenty
years after the foundation-stone had been laid. The Samaritans, partly
in imitation, partly in anger, and partly, it may be hoped, from
religious feeling, later on built a little temple for themselves on
Mount Gerizim.


=3. The Feast of Purim.=――The next great event comes with an interval
of nearly fifty years. The meek Jewish maiden who, to serve her
people, became a queen, and who, in her palace, ‘did the commandment
of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him,’ is believed to
have married king Xerxes, the Xerxes who, at Thermopylæ, desired the
Spartans to give up their arms, and to whom Leonidas sent back the
famous retort to ‘come and take them,’ All the romantic facts, which
are told in the Book of Esther, and which led to the institution of
Purim, history seems to show, took place during that monarch’s reign.


=4. Ezra the Scribe.=――The influence of good Jews remained strong
at the Persian court and among the Persian people. The next king,
Artaxerxes, had a Jew for his cup-bearer, and showed himself,
throughout his reign, most kindly disposed towards his Jewish subjects.
He let them appoint their own judges, and readily gave permission
to Ezra to lead another colony from Babylon to join the settlement
in Judea; and he made Nehemiah, who was his cup-bearer, governor of
Palestine. Ezra――the Scribe, as he is called――was a fine character,
strong-handed and strong-hearted too, a many-sided man. He seems to
have got his name of scribe (סוֹפֵר) from his literary powers, which he
chiefly used in transcribing the Pentateuch from old Hebrew characters
to those in use at the present day. The name became by degrees applied
to a whole class. The Sopherim, or scribes, were in turn skilful
writers and careful expounders and patient students of the law. They
were the ‘men of the Book,’[1] the lawyers of the Pentateuch. Malachi,
the last of the prophets, lived at this period, and the scribes to
some extent grew, in time, to take the place of the prophets in the
religious life of the Jewish nation. The נָבִיא, the servant of the Most
High, had spoken His message――the סוֹפֵר, with patient enthusiasm, was at
hand to transcribe it. Their love for the Law and their knowledge of
the Law gave the scribes spiritual power, and by-and-by political power
also. For as the Law became by degrees the only national possession
left to the Jews, those most learned in it naturally came to the front.
The wisest and most skilled in interpreting the Law were called on to
administer it, and to take part in the government of the dispossessed
people. Ezra the Scribe was the first, chief and representative of the
great body of students and teachers who, successively under the names
of Sopherim, Tanaim, and Amoraim, became a power in Palestine.


=5. The Work of Ezra and Nehemiah.=――Both Ezra and Nehemiah were men
of the best type of Jewish character. They loved the Lord ‘with all
their heart and soul and might,’ which may be taken to mean using brain
and heart and hands in the service. They willingly left the ease and
comfort of court life for rough work of all kinds in Palestine. They
desired to help their brethren in every possible way. They found plenty
of preaching to be needed, and plenty, too, of work of a more practical
sort. With equal energy they set about both. The walls of Jerusalem
were in ruins. These, they wisely thought, ought to be repaired and
rebuilt, for a people whose defences are weak are at the mercy of all.
It was no light task; for the Samaritans, led by Sanballat, harassed
and hindered the workers by every means in their power. They spoke
against them and insulted them, and when they found evil words fail,
they tried fighting. The Jewish leaders were equal to the occasion;
they gave their men weapons as well as tools, and in the end courage
and patience won. The walls were rebuilt and the governor’s house was
fortified, and Nehemiah was able to go back for a while to his court
duties. Meanwhile Ezra had been busy in another way. The defences of
the religion as well as of the city had breaches and gaps in it. Many
had married among the heathen, and were bringing up their children to
a weak and most hurtful mixed belief. With a three days’ notice Ezra
called the congregation together. Then, without any roundabout talk, he
said to them, ‘You have sinned; put away your strange wives; do God’s
pleasure.’ It was a hard bidding. God’s pleasure and man’s pleasure are
often one and the same, but not always. To be good and to be happy is
not uncommon, but occasionally if one wants to be good one has to be
unhappy. There comes a conscious choosing between the doing of God’s
pleasure and of our own pleasure, as to these Jews of old. They made
the higher and the harder choice. From love of God, and in obedience
to His law, they gave up their ‘strange,’ sweet, unlawful loves. With
people in such a mood the rest of Ezra’s and Nehemiah’s reforms were
comparatively easy. It was grand material to work upon. There was some
resistance on the part of the more well-off families, who liked to be
left alone, but the efforts of Ezra and Nehemiah for the good of the
nation were not relaxed nor weakened thereby. They insisted on the
proper observance of the Sabbath, they resettled the rights of property,
and they restored the law of Moses to its place as an inspired code for
constant reading and reference. Ezra has been called the second Moses,
and the work he did was certainly of the same sort. Moses the lawgiver,
with direct Divine help, made a tribe into a nation. Ezra the Scribe,
with indirect Divine help, made of a dispossessed nation an undying
people. The means employed was the same in both cases――God’s Law.



                             CHAPTER III.

                          LIFE IN PALESTINE.


=1. Condition of the People.=――After the stress and strain of the
religious revival under Ezra and Nehemiah, things settled down for a
long while into a quiet, uneventful course. It was the seed-time of
national character, the season when growth is active though it does not
show. The Persian conquerors, busy with their Greek wars, did not much
trouble their Jewish subjects in Syria. Every now and again another
little band of exiles would join their friends in Judea, or would
journey on to Egypt to form a new little Jewish community there. Even
the conquest of the Persian Empire by Alexander the Great made little
difference to the Jews. Their personal government was in their own
hands, and changes in political government made little outward sign
in their lives. They were always law-abiding, and neither from Persian
nor Greek did there come any startling or embarrassing demands on their
loyalty. There is a story told of a dramatic meeting at the gates of
Jerusalem between Alexander of Macedon and Jaddua the high priest, when
the armed king, who came in anger, suddenly fell on his knees before
the white-robed priest. But the anger, and the armour, and the robes,
and the kiss of peace, and the meeting altogether, seem, with many
another charming and somewhat shaky relic, to have been swept away by
stiff new brooms into the lumber-room of history.


=2. Literary Labours.=――The quiet time was good for scholars. In
the hundred years between the death of Nehemiah and the death of
Alexander there was a good deal of literary activity in Palestine. To
the Pentateuch which Ezra taught in schools, and read and expounded in
synagogues, a second portion of Holy Scriptures[2]――the Prophets――was
added; and a third portion, Holy Writings――followed. What is called the
canon of the Hebrew Scriptures,[2] in the form and order of our Hebrew
Bible, was definitely arranged yet a little later on. This work was
almost all done in Hebrew, which was still the language of the people.
Then a great store of wisdom, which had been the growth of ages,
began at this period to be collected and sifted, and put into shape.
There were proverbs and parables and wise sayings of all sorts, and
quantities of long arguments and discussions, and some supplementary,
and perhaps not always very accurate, history. It all began to be
looked into. Partly in Aramaic, and partly in Greek, a good deal of it
got gradually written down. Some of the wisdom and a great part of the
history grew, in this and the next century, into what are called the
apocryphal books. These, though they have not the value of inspired
writings, have considerable merit of their own. The best, too, of the
talks and the texts and the legendary lore was gathered together, and
made a foundation for the Midrash, which had for its chief object the
exposition of the Bible, and especially of the Pentateuch. And besides
all these tasks, the energy and earnestness of the people found yet
another channel. They set about formulating a ritual, that is a regular
arrangement of prayer and service.


=3. Alexandrian Jews.=――In the time of Alexander of Macedon,
Alexander the Great, as he is called, the city of Alexandria, in Egypt,
was founded in his honour. A great many Jews joined the Greek and
Egyptian colonists, and were among the early settlers in the city.
By degrees these Alexandrian Jews grew to be a little less Jewish than
the Judean Jews. They had exactly the same rights and privileges as the
Macedonians. Greek culture, Greek habits of thought, were in the very
air they breathed, and they breathed it in more lustily, perhaps, than
those to whom it was native. They spoke Greek, and after a while they
neglected their national tongue, and were unable even to understand
the Scriptures when read in synagogue. But though they let the language
of their fathers grow strange to them, and were somewhat lax and
unobservant, yet they never ceased to be Jews. Whether they were
regular worshippers we do not know, but they certainly had a large and
magnificent synagogue of their own; and in Heliopolis, another city of
Egypt, there was a temple somewhat similar to the temple in Jerusalem.
And it is further related in the Apocrypha that some 300 of these
Egyptian Jews were once staunch enough to their faith to choose to be
trampled to death by wild elephants rather than become converts. The
sequel sounds a little legendary, as the elephants, it is added on the
same authority, could not be induced to make martyrs of the Jews. They
wisely turned aside, and trampled on the spectators instead of on the
intended victims.


=4. The Septuagint.=――The Jews in Egypt grew numerous, and many of
them began to take important positions of trust in the State and in
the army. The study of Hebrew became more and more neglected. These
Egyptian Jews must have grown denationalised, since they grudged the
labour of becoming familiar with their national tongue. But, however
willing to give up the language, they had no mind to give up the
literature. They desired still to read the law and the prophets, if
only it could be managed without too much trouble. They determined to
get a translation made. About 250 B.C. an embassy was sent to Jerusalem
by the Egyptian king, Ptolemy Philadelphus, begging the high priest
for the loan and labour of seventy-two learned scribes. It is said that
each of the seventy-two made a separate translation, and that every
one of the seventy-two translations turned out to be exactly alike.
It is rather a doubtful story. But whether the seventy-two translators
agreed――which, as they worked separately, seems not impossible――or
whether it was their translations which were unanimous, which seems
less likely, certain it is that a Greek version of the Scriptures
was made, which was called the Septuagint. Some of those writers, who
always will differ from the others, say that the scribes had nothing to
do with it at all, but that the Septuagint owes its origin to different
authors, countries, and ages.


=5. Under Egyptian Rule.=――When Alexander died (323 years B.C.), all
his great conquests were divided among his generals. Syria and Egypt
became the rival powers in the East. Palestine, for over a century, was
like a battledore between two shuttlecocks. For a while the Egyptians
had the best of the game, and under the first three Ptolemies the Jews
were very mildly tossed. They had to pay tribute to Egypt, but their
home government was left to their own high priests, and their religion
was not interfered with.


=6. Under Syrian Rule.=――203 years B.C., Antiochus III. of Syria,
called the Great, wrested Palestine from the fourth Ptolemy of Egypt.
This change of masters in itself made no change in the position of the
Jews. They continued to be mildly ruled, and their government was still
left in their own hands. Seleucus, the son and successor of Antiochus,
proved as peaceably inclined as his father. But trouble was brewing.
The civilisation of the Syrians was Greek in its nature, and their
habits of thought and their modes of worship were sure to jar terribly
with the strict notions of Judean Jews. So long as the priests stood
between the court and the people, and all actual contact was avoided,
no collision occurred. When the priests were found wanting the crisis
came.


=7. Home Rule.=――In the course of time the government of the people
had come into the hands of the high priest. The high priesthood was an
hereditary office. From father to son, or to nearest of kin, the office
was handed down, and for the most part worthily exercised as a trust
as well as a dignity. It was not altogether an easy office. The Jews
needed ruling, and their masters――Persian, Egyptian, Syrian, or Greek,
as it might be――needed conciliating. The priests had to be firm in
their faith and pleasant in their manners; a fault in either meant
failure; disunion was to be dreaded, and weakness was altogether fatal.
For a long while the difficulties were overcome. Jaddua and Onias,
and Simon the Just, who was one of the last surviving members of
the Great Synagogue which Ezra founded, were all towers of strength
to the priesthood and to the people. But a certain incapable high
priest, called Onias II. (230 B.C.) very nearly brought his nation
into trouble with Egypt over the tribute-money, which he had let fall
into arrears; and Onias III. (210 B.C.), though a good man, made the
terrible mistake of calling in the Syrians to settle a family dispute.
Antiochus took this opportunity to usurp the right of nominating to
the high priesthood. A brother of Onias had long desired the office
for himself. He offered a bribe to the Syrian treasury, and in further
deference to the ruling state changed his Jewish name of Joshua to
the Greek-sounding one of Jason. He gained his point, and he earned
besides, it may be hoped, both the contempt of those he flattered
and of those he forsook. Presently another candidate, named Menelaus,
arose, and, to get means for the necessary bribery, he robbed the
temple treasury. So far as the Syrians were concerned, the immediate
moral to the Jews was the old one of the bundle of sticks. As long
as the Jews were self-respecting and self-governing, they and their
government and their religion had been respected and left alone. As
soon as their leaders began to riot and quarrel among themselves the
fate of the bundle of sticks fell upon the people.



                              CHAPTER IV.

                  THE MACCABEAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE.


=1. Antiochus Epiphanes.=――Seleucus was succeeded on the Syrian
throne by his brother Antiochus, surnamed by his flatterers Epiphanes
the Illustrious, and by his more candid friends, Epimanes the Madman.
By the date of his accession ancient Greece had lost her supremacy,
and Rome was getting to be the great power in the world. All the little
kings made their little wars, or planned their big projects, with a
thought of Rome in the background. Antiochus was no exception. He had
led an expedition against Egypt, and had been defeated by Rome. He knew
the Roman policy was to break up empires, and to attract the pieces, as
it were, to itself. The geographical position of Judea would make her
a valuable Roman ally. He determined to get rid of this possibility by
getting rid of the Jews. And besides this, the disputes and riots in
Jerusalem over the priesthood were making the Jews and their religion
personally unpleasant to Antiochus. He entered the capital 169 B.C.,
plundered the Temple, offered swine’s flesh on the altar, and put to
death a great many of the inhabitants.


=2. Antiochus’s Tyranny.=――That was only the beginning. He set up
heathen idols in the Samaritan temple as well as in the Jerusalem one.
The Jewish Scriptures were burned, and the reading of the law and the
observance of the law forbidden on pain of death. Great rewards were
offered to those who would renounce Judaism. A mother and her seven
sons were separately and in succession tempted. ‘I can better bear to
see them all die than for one of them to live as a coward,’ said the
brave woman; and they took her at her word, and one after another the
boys were led out to death. An old man, Eleazar by name, did his part,
too, to prove that the calmness of age can be as steadfast as the
impulse of youth. They tried bribes and they tried tortures on him; all
to no avail. ‘Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is One,’ was the last
utterance of his dying lips.


=3. Resistance of Mattathias.=――Things had come to a bad pass. The
martyrs who were steadfast in the covenant were more numerous by far
than the weak-minded folks who yielded, but the persecutors outnumbered
both. There was a passion of resentment felt by weak and strong alike,
and the feeling needed only directing to find forcible expression.
In the little town of Modin, near Jerusalem, there lived an Asmonean
family, of whom an old priest, named Mattathias, was the head. An
officer of Antiochus made a visit to this place, calling on the Jews
to perform heathen sacrifice. Some waverer in the crowd tremblingly
obeyed. Mattathias struck him down, and, aiming another blow at the
altar, called on all those who were ‘zealous for the law’ to follow
him. There was an immediate rally to his side. The enemy was worsted
for the day, and Mattathias and his party left the town at once, and
raised the standard of revolt throughout the country. That was the
beginning of the terrible unequal struggle, which lasted twenty-seven
years, and ended in well-deserved victory for the Jews.


=4. Chasidim and Zaddikim.=――In appealing to those who were ‘zealous
for the law’ to gather round him, Mattathias secured at once a strong
and enthusiastic following. For a large party had grown up among the
Jews who were ‘zealous for the law’ in a very complete sense. They
loved it devotedly, if sometimes, perhaps, just a little ostentatiously.
These men were called Chasidim, Saints; and occasionally, it may
be, they took on themselves the pretensions as well as the qualities
attaching to the name. Side by side with these, there were many who
contented themselves with just conforming to the law and doing their
duty, as it were, in outline. Such were called, in Biblical language,
Zaddikim, or ‘righteous.’ These righteous ones, it is possible, found
the saints a little difficult to live up to. In reaction, they, at any
rate, became occasionally a little less than ‘righteous,’ even somewhat
lax and Grecianised Jews, and were called Hellenists.


=5. The Success of Judas Maccabeus.=――Helped greatly by the Chasidim,
Mattathias soon made head against the enemy. He had five strong, brave
sons to work with him. To the second, Judas, he left the command when,
soon after the campaign opened, he died. The little ragged following by
that time had grown into a disciplined army. ‘Who is like to Thee among
the gods, O Lord?’ (מִי־כָמֹכָה בָאֵלִם יְיָ) was the motto on their flag, and the
answer seemed to come in the beaten ranks of the Syrians. The initial
letters of these courageous, humble words (מכבי) were taken to form a
surname for this family of heroes, of whom Judas is the central figure.
Victory did not come at once nor suddenly. It had to be worked for, and
to be waited for at the sacrifice of much that was dear. The Chasidim
were called on to give up for the cause some very strong religious
scruples, and they showed themselves true patriots, as ready to yield
their opinions as their lives in the service of their country. It
was the mean custom of Apollonius, the chief general of Antiochus,
to attack the Jews on the Sabbath, believing that on that day the
rigid observance of ‘the law’ would prevent the Jews from defending
themselves. The exceptional circumstances, however, were recognised
by the leaders of the people, permission was given, and the Jews, the
Chasidim among the rest, when attacked on the Sabbath, fought for their
land and their faith as bravely as on week days.


=6. Institution of Hanucah.=――Slowly and surely, step by step, this
William Tell of Judaism wrested his country from the tight grip of
the oppressor. The decisive battle of the campaign was fought out and
won on the plains of Emmaus, some seventeen miles to the west of the
capital. Judas Maccabeus marched unopposed with his triumphant troops
into Jerusalem, and on the twenty-fifth of Kislev 3592 (B.C. 169)
the נֵר חָמִיד was gladly and solemnly relighted in the now cleansed and
reconsecrated temple. A joyful dedication service was held, and its
anniversary was instituted as a religious and historical observance
among the Jews.


=7. Treaty with Rome.=――Judea was won back for the Jews. But could
the Jews hold it? That was the question which, after a very short
experience, presented itself to their brave commander. The little
‘kingdom of priests’ had transformed itself into a camp of soldiers;
the nation of ‘witnesses’ had given evidence; but could the possession
they had gained for themselves be kept by themselves? Judas Maccabeus
knew enough of his countrymen to doubt it. He believed that without
allies it would be impossible for the Jews to retain Judea. Syria had
been a dangerous enemy, and seemed likely to prove a yet more dangerous
friend. Not long after the re-dedication of the temple Antiochus
Epiphanes had died, and after the taking of Jerusalem by the Jews
a sort of truce had been arranged. For a short while the Syrian
succession was disturbed by a usurper. When the rightful heir came to
his own, he wished to include Judea in that category. But he proved a
little too paternal in his ideas. He took it upon himself to nominate a
high priest, perhaps reckoning that the party feeling between Chasidim
and Zaddikim would induce a strong difference of opinion on the subject
of the succession, and that the section of the people whom he pleased
by his nomination would become his adherents. He was a little too
clever. The Zaddikim, who were already the Hellenist party in the
State, did seem a trifle flattered at this foreign interest displayed
in their affairs, but Judas and the great body of the Jews rightly
resented it. The Syrian overtures were gravely declined by Judas,
and Alkimos, the Syrian nominee, backed up though he was by a Syrian
general, was deprived of his dignity. Syria fought for her candidate,
and was defeated. His success, however, only made Judas the more
certain of his difficulties. He took the bold step of proclaiming
Judea an independent state, and sent an embassy to Rome to ask for an
alliance. The embassy was kindly received, and the alliance accepted.



                              CHAPTER V.

                     PALESTINE UNDER NATIVE RULE.


=1. Death of Judas Maccabeus.=――In the early part of the campaign,
Eleazar, one of the five brave Maccabean brothers, had been slain, and
now, four years after the taking of Jerusalem, Judas fell fighting in
its defence. ‘The greatest gift a hero leaves his race is to have been
a hero.’ The fortune of war may lose, as the fortune of war may win,
the substantial gifts which a hero brings his race; but his life, if it
be truly heroic, will remain a valuable possession to them ‘throughout
all generations.’ Though he brought no offering to his country but
Khartoum, Gordon belongs to Englishmen as a great gift for ever. And so
it is with Judas Maccabeus, though no inch of the land which he won for
them remains to his race. ‘My Jewish soldiers are veritable Maccabees,’
said the Czar Nicholas to Sir Moses Montefiore, when, in 1846, the
English philanthropist went to plead for his poor downtrodden Russian
brothers, who, except in the army, had so little chance of a fair field.
The name of Maccabee was used by the Russian Emperor as a testimonial
to character. Here was a legacy left to his race by a hero, and
presented 2,000 years after date.


=2. Jonathan the Maccabee.=――Directly after Judas’s death, Jonathan,
another of the devoted Maccabean brothers, took the command of affairs.
He did the work of priest and soldier and statesman too. But a third
brother was lost on the battle-field, and for a while courage and skill
seemed to make no way against the superior force of the Syrians. Time,
however, was on Jonathan’s side. He kept on ‘pegging away,’ and some
ten years after the death of Judas, the enemy found out what stuff
he was made of, and tried to come to terms. At that date a rival was
opposing the reigning king of Syria. This new claimant, Alexander
Balas, and the old opponent, Demetrius, both made overtures to Jonathan
for his alliance. Probably each thought how very useful so clever and
warlike a general would be on his side, and how much pleasanter as an
ally than as an enemy. So the king who was, and the king who wanted
to be, bid against each other for the Jewish general’s friendship.
Jonathan declared on the same side as did Rome, for Alexander Balas.
Then for eight years there was peace and quiet, and Jonathan put aside
his sword, and wore the white robes of the priest, and things were well
for the Jews. At the end of that time another revolution disturbed the
Syrian succession. A usurper called Tryphon claimed the throne, got
Jonathan by treachery into his power, and used it to have him put to
death.


=3. Simon, the First of the Priest-king Dynasty.=――There was only one
left now of the five brave sons of Mattathias. With all the brothers,
patriotism was the strongest of the affections, and Simon gave himself
no time to indulge in grief. He at once put himself at the head of
affairs, and so successfully that the Syrian garrison had very soon
to retire from Jerusalem. Simon renewed the alliance with Rome, and
strengthening his position thereby, found the necessary leisure to
look after peaceable duties, which for some time past had been rather
neglected for the more urgent military ones. He made Joppa a harbour,
which was good for commerce on the coasts, and he saw to agricultural
interests, which encouraged labour in the interior of the country.
Simon was a practical man as well as a pious one. He so far impressed
his people that they recognised his worth in his lifetime. In solemn
assembly, held in the month of Elul 140 B.C., Simon was proclaimed
hereditary high priest and prince.


=4. The Sons of Simon.=――Simon, no more than the other Maccabean
brothers, was destined to die in his bed. Some four years after his
assumption of the priest-king dignity Syria again changed rulers.
The new monarch, Antiochus Sidetes, reverted to the old bad policy of
endeavouring to make Judea a vassal province, instead of recognising
her as an independent and allied state. Bribery, as usual, was in the
first place employed, and a son-in-law of Simon’s was found base enough
to serve the Syrian purpose. With help of this treacherous Ptolemy,
Simon and his elder son Joannan were betrayed and murdered. John
Hyrcanus, the younger son of Simon, escaped, and presently buckled on
his priestly armour.


=5. Reign of John Hyrcanus.=――He wore it for nine-and-twenty years
(135‒106) bravely and uncompromisingly. In the double and divided
duties which devolved upon him, John Hyrcanus was perhaps more king
than priest, more just than merciful. He made short work with his foes,
whether native or foreign ones; and when he had fought and routed the
Syrians, he began to deal with the Samaritans. He would tolerate no
mongrel Judaism. He explained to the Samaritans that in religious
matters they must make up their minds to be one thing or the other,
and to help them to come to a decision he destroyed the temple which
they had built on Mount Gerizim. It was a high-handed measure. His
own subjects greatly approved it, and after their capital was besieged
and reduced to ashes the Samaritans had to acquiesce. The Samaritans
henceforward cease to have any noteworthy history as a separate
religious nationality.


=6. His Last Years.=――There is nothing so successful as success. The
Romans supported John Hyrcanus, and his kingdom grew in extent almost
to the limits of David’s and Solomon’s sovereignty. But a cloud was
rising on the clear sky in the shape of political troubles, and towards
the end of his reign the popular king found himself in opposition.



                              CHAPTER VI.

       JUDEA DURING THE REMAINDER OF THE RULE OF THE ASMONEANS.


=1. Rival Factions. Pharisees and Sadducees.=――Two parties had grown
up in the State. They were rival political factions rather than rival
religious sects, although their differences had been in the first
place, and were still mainly, of a religious sort. Misfortune does not
affect all natures alike. In cases of shipwreck there are always some
people who make a rush at the boats, and some who turn at once to the
pumps. The simile may serve for the Jews at this period. The Babylonian
conquest had threatened national shipwreck, and after the anchorage of
the Exile, a long-sustained struggle for national existence had begun.
More than once it looked as if the waves must close over the people.
There were Syrian storms and Roman winds to make way against, and Greek
sunshine to resist; and the sunshine perhaps was the most paralysing of
all. The different effects of trouble on different natures soon became
manifest. Two distinct parties came to the front. One who at all costs
stuck to the ship. Hot and grimy, and terribly in earnest, these worked
away at the pumps. They kept to that one task, and, in dread of leaks,
patched and cobbled, and by degrees laid down a new keel. The other
set, in all good faith, took to the boats. They carried with them what
they considered essentials for national existence, but what they had
not room for, and thought superfluous, they threw overboard.


=2. How they got their Names.=――The people who stood by the ship,
and who in effect saved it, came to be called Pharisees. There are two
possible meanings to the root פרש from which the name is derived. It
means to enlarge or to explain, and it also signifies to separate or
divide. From either or from both these meanings the Pharisees probably
gained their name. Their first object was to separate from everything
that might pollute them externally or internally. The fear of injury
to their beloved ship, the Law, made them put on it, as it were, an
extra coat of defensive armour-plating. They added line upon line
and precept upon precept to the original proportions. Pride in their
patriotic patchwork induced them also, as we have seen, to accept
the name Chasidim, or Saints, which was given them by outsiders,
and to gradually, and somewhat ostentatiously, separate themselves
collectively as well as individually from the more easy-going part of
the nation. The people who took to the boats, the Zaddikim, who relied
on their own righteousness, grew to be known as Sadducees. Tradition
tells of a certain Sadok, a famous scholar, from whom the Sadducees
derived some of their ideas, and possibly their name.


=3. Their Tenets and Position, Religions and Political.=――The
Pharisees were rigid upholders of the law. They believed it to be the
guiding rule of life, not only for the individual, but for the State.
They tightened and narrowed whilst they strengthened the obligations
of the law. They insisted not only on a high standard of duty, but on
the most minute observance of every precept, Mosaic and traditional.
Many persons believed that the Pharisees overdid it a little,
over-armour-plated the ship, and were in a degree responsible for
some ugly barnacles that came in time to cling about and clog the keel.
Those who thought thus formed the body of the Sadducees. The Sadducees
took it all much more lightly. They were content to conform to the main
rites of Judaism without troubling much about every detail. They looked
on the things of this world and the things of the other world as quite
distinct matters, and on the whole, perhaps, considered this world to
be the more interesting. The Sadducees did not much believe in the
other world at all. They said that right should be done for right’s
sake, and without hope of reward. A pure and lofty doctrine in itself,
yet hardly worth the cost, since it made them go a step further, and
reject altogether the thought of future rewards and a future life.
But the Sadducees were mostly well off, and heaven to them would have
been only a luxury the more. The Pharisees were of the people, the
less wealthy and cultivated classes. They were not all, however, of
the same high type of character. There were as many as seven sorts of
Pharisees, we are told, and these seven sorts varied from real saints
to real shams in their ‘zeal’ for the law. As a power in the State the
Pharisees had numbers and learning on their side, whilst the Sadducees
on theirs had money, and what goes now by the name of culture. To
use political words, the Sadducees called themselves liberal, and the
Pharisees, in their aims, were certainly conservative. The Sadducee,
in fact, rather prided himself on his liberal principles. He would
have told you that he cordially admitted every man’s right to his own
opinions, and that he never meddled with other people’s observance. And
this was perhaps true. But then he stopped there. He never sought to
see things from other people’s point of view, he showed no sympathy in
their researches, no respect for their acquirements. This unprogressive
sort of mind in professed friends of progress was a fatal bar to
liberalism in any just sense of the word. And, in effect, the Pharisees
were the true liberals; and the Sadducees, despite their wide views and
their easy-going way, were the obstructionists. With all their rigid
adherence to the law, the purpose and the practice of the Pharisees
was to extend and to expound it, to make it elastic enough to fit
everybody’s needs. In their passionate desire to keep the ship afloat
they armour-plated it, but equally they never hesitated, on occasion,
to cut away for a while a mast or a spar. The Sadducees, when they took
to the boats, took all they meant to keep with them. They would have
no ‘forms,’ no ‘traditional’ burdens of any kind; they would obey the
law, they declared, in its entirety and in its purity, nothing more
and nothing less. It sounded promising. But a little effort of thinking
will show that a policy of absolute standing still, of contentment with
the present, ignoring of the past, and denial of the future, is not
progress. Nor can the mood which lightly tosses tradition overboard,
refusing to see that it is as likely to prove compass as cargo, be
rightly called liberal. In intention probably the best of the Pharisees
and the best of the Sadducees were both right. The Pharisee wanted to
keep his religion intact, and wrapped it up in observance; the Sadducee,
with perhaps the same object, would have stripped it bare of forms and
ceremonies, and relied only on conduct (צְדָקָה). The Sadducees, it must
be owned, considered the ceremonial law binding, but only as prescribed
in the law, and as applied according to their own interpretation. And,
oddly enough, they who were so easy-going in their habits were much
harder in their judgments than the strict Pharisees. Rejecting the
notion of future rewards or punishments, the Sadducees considered it
a man’s duty to be as severe as possible in judging his neighbour’s
conduct. They aimed at being just (צְדָקָה), whilst the Pharisees were
content to be merciful. Each had the defects of his qualities, but the
defects of the Pharisee were, to superficial sight, of a more patent
and troublesome sort than those of his rival. To be always dreadfully
in earnest makes a man a distinctly uncomfortable companion. The ‘zeal’
of the Pharisees might make them pious and devout, might render them
first-rate martyrs, and even very tolerable bigots, but hardly, under
any circumstances, good courtiers. The Sadducees must always have
been pleasanter people to live with. In the early fighting days,
the ‘zealous’ Chasidim had been a very satisfactory court circle of
soldiers for the warlike Maccabees, and the first two priest-kings
were well content to find their mainstay in the Pharisaic faction. But
as things grew more settled and peaceful the Pharisees grew exacting
and somewhat irksome companions. The numerous restrictions which
traditional law enforces on the will and desires of man made princes
and courtiers look on the Pharisees as uncomfortable people, as
obstacles. At court they grew to be more and more disliked, and towards
the end of the reign of John Hyrcanus there came about a decided
estrangement.


=4. State Quarrel with the Pharisees.=――By the time of John Hyrcanus,
the relation between the court and the people had become so strained
that a very slight cause was in the end sufficient to bring about the
actual rupture. At a big banquet which Hyrcanus gave one day, a person
who happened to be a Pharisee, and to whom, possibly, the seat he liked
had not been given, took occasion to speak loud scandal against the
priest-king’s mother, and to question the consequent right of Hyrcanus
to the priesthood. He seems to have been more strict in his notions,
this Pharisee, than correct in his facts. His impolite conduct would
seem to have had not even the excuse of truth. Hyrcanus was excessively
indignant at the ill-timed and ill-tempered attack; he mistook this
meddlesome Pharisee for a type of his class, and, in his irritation,
during the rest of his reign the king chose his friends and his
officials from among the Sadducees.


=5. The Essenes.=――One other party among the people claims a little
notice. Hardly numerous enough to be called a sect, nor of political
importance sufficient to take rank as a faction, the Essenes yet form
a feature in the period. The Essenes have been called the monks of
Judaism, and they are the nearest approach to anything in the way of
monks that Judaism has to show. They were men who in a sort of holy
selfishness, and in utter weariness of the world, gave it up, so far
as they could, altogether. Their own souls were their chief objects
of interest. They passed their days in praying and preaching, and such
few possessions as they had were common to all alike. They lived in
the very simplest and most uncomfortable fashion, dwelling in caves
and huts and deserted places, more like birds and beasts than men. They
led this sort of life from duty, but it was an odd conception of duty,
and one so entirely opposed to Jewish notions that the Essenes never
gained much sympathy among Jews, and were never regarded as more than
an eccentric offshoot of Judaism. The little body was never numerous,
and gradually died out.


=6. Reign of Alexander Jannæus (105‒79 B.C.).=――The eldest son of
Hyrcanus succeeded him as priest-king, but he only lived to wear the
robes and the crown for a year. His brother, Alexander Jannæus, who
then came to the throne, was very brave and warlike, and, during the
twenty-seven years he ruled, found plenty of use for his energies both
abroad and at home. He was constantly fighting to extend or to defend
his frontier, and in one of his many little wars he found allies and
helpers in Jewish-Egyptian generals. In his own capital a good deal of
desultory rioting went on between the rival factions, rising at times
almost to the proportions of civil war. Once, when he was officiating
as high priest on the feast of tabernacles, some of the neglected
Pharisees, angry at the attitude of the priest-king, pelted him and the
smart Sadducees who stood around him with the citrons which had been
supplied for so very different a purpose. Alexander Jannæus responded
to the attack rather as king than as priest. He charged the people,
and some six thousand of them were killed. He certainly could not have
liked the Pharisees, but he must have thought well of them, for when he
found himself dying he desired his wife to form a government with them
rather than with the Sadducees.


=7. After the Death of Alexander Jannæus.=――Salome Alexandra took her
husband’s advice. She was an earnest, strong-hearted woman herself, and
keen enough to appreciate these qualities in the Pharisees. She turned
to them at once in her trouble, and the Pharisees rose to the occasion.
They forgot themselves, and remembered only the needs of the kingdom.
They proved wise counsellors and staunch friends to the widowed queen,
and for the nine years in which Salome Alexandra lived to rule over
Judea, the country was prosperous and at peace. She had two sons. The
elder, Hyrcanus II., who was rather a sleepy, indolent sort of person,
was made high priest. The younger, Aristobulus, who was of a much more
energetic nature, busied himself in State affairs, and took an active
interest in the army; and differing from his mother and brother, he
looked for his friends and his supporters among the Sadducees.



                             CHAPTER VII.

                            A NEW DYNASTY.


=1. Antipater the Idumean.=――When the wise queen Salome Alexandra died
(B.C. 70) the differences between the characters and the interests of
her two sons resulted in open discord. A certain Antipater, the son
of a governor of Idumea, found opportunity for his ambition in fanning
the flame. He was a bold, crafty, unscrupulous man, this Antipater, and
wanted the sovereignty for himself. He grasped the position at once. He
saw that it would be important not to make enemies of both brothers. To
gain his object he must seem to espouse the cause of one or the other.
He did not covet the position of priest-king, only of king. Hyrcanus,
the weak elder son of Alexander Jannæus, was already installed in
the priesthood. Antipater determined, for the present, to support him
in the double dignity. He shrewdly thought that it would be easier
to hoodwink, and, when the time came, to supplant such a puppet as
Hyrcanus, than to make a tool of the younger brother.


=2. Rome arbitrates.=――So after the death of their mother the two
brothers began fighting for the crown. The Pharisees were mostly on
the conservative side of Hyrcanus, and the Sadducees with the more
attractive Aristobulus. In an evil hour Aristobulus asked Pompey, the
great Roman consul, to arbitrate on the matter. Pompey was busy himself
at the time with his conquests in Asia, but presently he received
envoys at Damascus from the rival brothers. For a while Pompey’s
decision was held doubtful, and the impatient Aristobulus one day
withdrew without waiting for it any longer. This disrespectful action
helped Pompey to come to a decision. The victorious Roman general
determined to settle the dispute in his own fashion. He marched against
Jerusalem, reduced it after a three months’ siege (B.C. 63), declared
the possessions of Alexander Jannæus to be forfeit to Rome, proclaimed
Aristobulus a rebel, and confirmed Hyrcanus in the priesthood, but with
the lower title of ethnarch instead of king. It was a strong measure on
the part of Pompey. Still it was strictly political and not religious
warfare, and in that sense to be honourably distinguished from the
tactics of Antiochus Epiphanes. Pompey made war on the Jews, and not
on Judaism. Though the Temple was in his power, he left its altars
undesecrated and its treasures untouched.


=3. Antipater’s Plans.=――It turned out a fortunate arbitration for
Antipater. He was very clever and quite unscrupulous. He recognised
the power of Rome, and having no feeling for Judea except as regarded
himself, determined at all costs to keep friends with the Roman
government. Great as Rome was at this time, she did not despise small
partisans; and, like the mouse in the fable, Antipater more than once
made himself really useful to the lion. Little by little he gained his
object, and saw his own house rise and the house of the Asmoneans fall.
He got his two sons, Herod and Phasael, appointed to the governorships
of Jerusalem and Galilee. Later on, he arranged a marriage between his
son Herod and a beautiful girl called Mariamne, the great-granddaughter
of Alexander Jannæus. This alliance, he thought, made another firm
rivet in the family chain he was forging. If he had only known, that
seemingly strong link was fated to be the first to snap. But if he
had known, it would probably have made no difference in his selfish,
headlong course. Hyrcanus was such a puppet that he was left in
possession of such shadowy dignity as the priesthood conferred.
Antipater transacted state business in Hyrcanus’s name, and minor
and local matters in the provinces were settled on the spot by
representative councils, which were set up in five different places.
Supreme authority on all subjects was exercised by the Sanhedrin, which
had its seat in Jerusalem.


=4. The Sanhedrin.=――The Sanhedrin was a council consisting of
seventy-one learned men, chosen entirely for their goodness and their
wisdom. Character was the great point; no proselyte, no money-lender
was admissible. The members of the Sanhedrin were taken from all ranks
of the nation, but the high priest himself could not _claim_ to be
a member, and the king was excluded, lest his opinion, backed by his
lofty position, might carry too much weight. Young men, too, who might
be hasty in their judgments, and unmarried men, who might be harsh,
were alike ineligible. Grave cases, of the sort which come before our
English judges in the criminal courts, were brought to the Sanhedrin
to decide upon, and it was finely thought that men, who had not the
sympathy and experience which years and children bring, could not
rightly weigh the temptations which lead less happy folks to sin.
The Sanhedrin could settle small disputes arising out of civil or
ceremonial law, and in serious cases it had the power of punishment,
under some limitations, even to the extreme penalty of death. But this
right was taken away by the Romans about the year 30. From that date
the procurator had to confirm the order to any capital sentence which
the Sanhedrin might pronounce. Some people think that the beginning
of this national court of justice may be traced, like so many other
good things, to Ezra. They think that the men of the Great Synagogue,
which Ezra founded on the return to Palestine, gradually developed into
the councillors of the Sanhedrin. Other historians say that the Great
Synagogue and the Sanhedrin were quite distinct institutions, though
both names come from Greek roots, and mean the same, an ‘assembling
together.’


=5. The Fall of the Asmonean House.=――Aristobulus and his two sons
were taken prisoners to Rome by Pompey (61 B.C.). They escaped, and
were recaptured, and revolted again; and a few years later Aristobulus
died, and the elder son, Alexander, was beheaded by command of Pompey.
Yet a few years more, and the younger son, Antigonus, after a desperate
struggle, was executed by command of Mark Antony (37 B.C.). The
interval was a stormy one. Under the successive changes in the Roman
Government Judea remained tributary to Rome, and the Asmoneans were
treated as rebels. Hyrcanus continued to reign, but did not govern,
as the Roman nominee. Pompey, Cæsar, Cassius, and finally Mark Antony,
all favoured Antipater, who was the virtual ruler. So much power had
he, even over the Sanhedrin, that when his son Herod, the governor of
Galilee, was once summoned before that assembly to answer for a lawless
act of bloodshed of which he had been guilty, the very judge lost
courage to accuse the son of the dreaded usurper. Herod, on his own
responsibility, had had some captives executed. Sentence of death was
the distinct, and solemn, and seldom exercised right of the Sanhedrin
alone. It was, nevertheless, only with great difficulty that the
poor weak Hyrcanus had been induced to summon the council. Herod
came forward, bold and defiant, and at the sight of him and his
armed followers, all the members of the Sanhedrin, save the old judge
Shemaiah, lost their courage and dignity, and, with much greater haste
than he had summoned it, Hyrcanus dissolved his council. There were
endless insurrections. Under the triumvirate (Cassius, Cæsar, and
Pompey) there was a serious revolt, and Jerusalem was occupied and the
Temple robbed (52 B.C.). When Julius Cæsar came to be first consul of
Rome and first power in the world there was a little breathing-time.
He showed himself friendly to the Jews, and his murder (44 B.C.),
which was so great a blunder that one a little forgets the crime of it,
was nowhere more deplored than in Judea. The grief of the Jews lasted,
perhaps, the longer because Julius Cæsar’s successor, Cassius, imposed
a very heavy tribute on them. Herod was collector-in-chief, and showed
himself more Roman than the Romans in his activity of extortion. The
Roman government, so supported by the Idumean usurpers, continued
consistent in its support of them. Antipater was poisoned during the
consulship of Cassius, and his murderer was executed by Roman soldiers.
At last Antigonus thought he had a chance. It was after the battle of
Philippi, when Mark Antony came to Palestine (40 B.C.). Antigonus got
the Parthians to help him, and for three years this brave descendant
of the Maccabees held Jerusalem against the enemy. He got Phasael and
Hyrcanus into his power, and Herod barely escaped. Phasael seems to
have lacked the Idumean audacity; he killed himself in his prison.
Poor old Hyrcanus had his ears cut off――a hard fate for the gentle,
inoffensive old man. But the hope of Antigonus was not only an Asmonean
restoration, but to unite and renew in his own person the offices of
priest and king. No mutilated priest might stand at God’s altar, so
Hyrcanus, by having his ears cut off, was as effectually put out of his
nephew’s way as if he had been put to death. Possibly Hyrcanus, if he
had been consulted, might have preferred the latter fate as the more
merciful. He had it in the end. The triumph of Antigonus, great as it
was while it lasted, lasted only a very little while. The Roman and
his legions were more than a match for the Asmonean prince. Mark Antony
took Jerusalem at last (37 B.C.), exactly twenty-six years, to the day,
after Pompey’s capture of the city. Antigonus was put to death, and
Herod the Idumean was proclaimed King of Judea.



                             CHAPTER VIII.

                            REIGN OF HEROD.


=1. Antipater’s ‘Desire’ fulfilled.=――In the seventy-eighth Psalm there
is a sort of dramatic summary given of some of the early experiences
of the Israelites. We are told the story of the sins and sorrows in
the wilderness, of ‘the fire that was kindled against Jacob,’ and ‘the
anger that came up against Israel.’ Presently we come upon the verse,
‘And He gave them their own desire.’ If we did not know the sequel, how
gladly we should stop at this happy-sounding little verse, thinking,
‘Now surely their troubles are over; here is peace at last for those
grumbling wayfarers, since God has granted them their own desires.’
But we do know. The whole story is before us, not spelled out bit by
bit, as it was with them. And we know that the gift of their own desire
was just the worst of all their troubles. The moral is easy to see,
if a little difficult to apply. All of us, now and then, have greedy
longings for ‘flesh in the wilderness.’ We cry for it, and pray for it,
with eager angry passion. And sometimes we are given our ‘desire,’ and
allowed to eat to the full of the unwholesome food we crave. It was so
with Antipater. He had longed to found a royal house, and had schemed
and sinned to that end. He was ‘granted his desire.’ His son Herod was
now King of Judea, and of all the rightful family none were left but
the old, deaf Hyrcanus and a young lad named Aristobulus, the brother
of Herod’s wife Mariamne.


=2. How Herod strengthened his Position.=――This Aristobulus, the
great-grandson of Alexander Jannæus, was of course the real heir to
both crown and priesthood. The crown was out of the question, but Herod
thought he might indulge his wife and please his mother-in-law, and
perhaps conciliate the people, by letting this young Asmonean wear the
high priest’s robes. So Aristobulus was installed in the office. He was
handsome and brave, like all that race of heroes; and the people, who
never quite forgot that Herod was an Idumean and a usurper, were more
pleased at Aristobulus’s installation than the king had reckoned on or
thought safe. Presently Aristobulus was drowned, accidentally it was
said, but those who knew held the king accountable for the ‘accident,’
and called it murder. The widowed mother of Aristobulus, and his
beautiful sister Mariamne, were miserably angry at his death――the
sister, who was also a wife, perhaps too miserable to show her anger.
But the mother’s suspicions of Herod were so strong, and her desire
for revenge so great, that she sent secret appeals to Cleopatra to urge
Mark Antony to interfere. The Roman woman felt for the Jewish woman
through all the difference of their circumstances. Herod was forthwith
summoned to Rome, and commanded to explain his conduct. He explained
so well that Mark Antony not only did not doubt, but was delighted with
him, and Herod came back to his capital, triumphant. Later on, when
Antony was defeated at the battle of Actium (B.C. 31), and fled away
with Cleopatra, Herod, in doubt as to what might turn out to be the
policy of the conqueror, Octavius, thought it safest to let poor old
mutilated Hyrcanus quietly disappear. It was given out that he died.
Perhaps he did. If so, his death was singularly opportune, for it
removed the last faint chance of Roman interference, or of a popular
rally on behalf of the Asmoneans. Then Herod went to Rome, and had an
interview with Octavius. His manners must have been better than his
morals, for the great Roman was charmed with him. His friendship with
the defeated Antony was forgiven him, and Octavius readily renewed and
confirmed the valuable Judean alliance with Rome. Herod returned to
Jerusalem, his position assured, and proud and pleased at the result
of his diplomacy.


=3. Herod as Husband.=――Delighted with his success, Herod reached
his palace, hoping to receive from his wife the sympathy which would
be most welcome of all. He was disappointed. To further his ‘desire,’
Antipater had, as we know, married his son to the young Asmonean
princess. It was a diplomatic marriage, which did not turn out a
success. Mariamne, if she had any feeling for her race, could scarcely
be expected to feel any love for the man who had planned and profited
by its downfall. Herod, to do him justice, did love her in his way.
But it was not a nice way. He was jealous and mistrustful. Both times,
before he set out for Rome, he left secret orders that, if accident
befell him, she was not to survive. The secret leaked out. Mariamne was
no patient Hindoo wife to submit to involuntary suttee. She was a proud
and passionate princess, and she did not care for her husband. She
never wanted his love, and she was bitterly indignant at these crooked
proofs of it. There were thus no bright congratulations to greet Herod
on his return, but the coldest, angriest reproaches. And there was a
mischief-maker at court, a certain Salome, a sister of Herod’s, to make
matters worse between the royal couple. Salome hinted that the informer,
who had told Mariamne of the secret compact, was a great admirer of the
beautiful queen. It was altogether a most miserable home-coming, and
Herod, between his love, and his suspicion, and his ambition, and his
disappointment, was half mad. Perhaps wholly so, for the time, for in
his fury he ordered the execution, first of the informer, and then of
Mariamne herself. At this point in his career one pities Herod. His
remorse was deep, and more lasting than his rage.


=4. Herod as Father.=――In this relation, too, he failed. ‘On the
whole, I had sooner be Herod’s swine than Herod’s son,’ said the Roman
Emperor Augustus, and Augustus was Herod’s friend! Poor Mariamne had
quite a little regiment of successors, none of them loved so deeply,
and none treated quite so brutally as she had been; but these eight,
some say ten, successors gave rise between them to endless quarrels
and conspiracies in the palace. Herod feared, or was led to fear by
one or other of the later wives, that two boys of his, who had called
Mariamne mother, would one day avenge her death. So these two sons were
executed. Another son, Antipater, was more than once in danger from
this extraordinary father’s suspicions, and in the end, and only five
days before his own death, Herod had him also killed.


=5. Herod as King.=――Disappointed in gaining the affections of his
family, Herod was equally unsuccessful in attaching his subjects to
him. He made great efforts. He restored the temple at immense cost; he
built a great palace for himself to give work to the unemployed; and
when a time of pestilence and famine afforded him his chance, he was
really helpful and generous to the sufferers. But it was all in vain.
He gained at best but a sullen submission. For one thing, he never
understood the people. Even when well-intentioned, he made mistakes
and jarred on them. He introduced into Jerusalem the Roman fashion of
public games and fights with wild beasts. He did it to amuse and please
his subjects, but it was a dire offence to Jewish feelings. And his
home life was a standing scandal to all the good Jewish husbands and
wives who lived happily and respectably with their children. Altogether
his kindnesses were distrusted and his motives suspected, and his
pleasant relations with Rome were regarded as so many concessions to
heathenism. Herod boasted, and not untruly, that Jews in all parts of
the great Roman Empire were protected because of him and through his
influence. The favour in which the Roman Emperor held him was, in truth,
useful to the Jews. But nevertheless, in all his thirty-three years of
kinghood, Herod never won one bit of loyal love from any one Jew who
was near enough to him to know him.


=6. The End of Herod’s Reign.=――He died at last, four years B.C.
The long unlovely reign of the Idumean usurper was over. ‘He was not
estranged from his desire; and while the meat was yet in his mouth the
wrath of God overtook him.’ So miserably conscious was the bad, unhappy
king of the rejoicing which his death would cause, that he actually
left orders for wholesale executions to take place on the day of his
funeral. He longed, with an intensity that is somehow pathetic, in
spite of the grotesque wicked form it took, that some sound of mourning
should be heard in the city. But his unrighteous will, which in life
had been fulfilled from fear, in death was disregarded. He lived, and
men and women wept; he died, and they smiled on one another.


=7. Hillel: a Contrast.=――There is never a cloud without a silver
lining. Whilst Herod the Idumean raged in the palace, Hillel, ‘the
greatest of the Rabbis,’ taught in the schools. Hillel was president
of the Sanhedrin from 31 B.C. till the year 9 of the common era. He
was one of the first, and certainly the most famous, of the presidents
to whom the title of Nasi[3] came to be given. Hillel was born in
Babylon, but when quite young he went to Jerusalem, which was a sort
of university for students. He was very poor, and had some difficulty
once in getting admittance to a certain school. It is said that, one
winter’s morning, he climbed up on the window-sill of the class-room,
and there listened as well as he could till the cold and the cramp
made him drowsy. The lesson went on, and the master fancied that the
room was darker than even the thick-falling snow would account for.
He went to the window, and there was poor Hillel curled up fast asleep
and more than half frozen. When Hillel grew up and became teacher
instead of student, pupils in his school met with no such adventures.
He was always ready to listen and to help, and as painstaking and
sweet-tempered as he was wise. ‘As patient as Hillel,’ and ‘as modest
as Hillel,’ came to be used as proverbial standards. One day there
came a knock at his school door. A heathen lad stood there, laughing
and defiant. ‘Teach me the law,’ he cried, ‘in the time in which I can
stand on one leg.’ He meant to mock at the Rabbis and at the Law they
taught, and he had already been driven away from the door of Shammai,
another famous Rabbi. Shammai took impertinence as a personal affront.
Hillel looked on it rather as a sign of disease or deficiency. ‘A
sensible and well-bred man will not offend me, and no other can.’ That
was the spirit in which Hillel received the rude jester. ‘Certainly,’
we may imagine him saying to the lad in his dignified way, ‘it is
rather a short time for a lesson, and, possibly, standing before me in
the usual attitude would be more comfortable for you. But I can teach
you what you want to know whilst you stand on one leg. “Do not unto
another what you would not that another should do unto you. That is
the whole of the law; the rest is commentary.”’ Often Hillel would robe
his wisdom in wit, as is somewhat a Jewish trait. ‘I must hurry home
to a guest I have been rather neglecting of late,’ he said one day as
he finished his lecture at the school, ‘a guest who is here to-day and
gone to-morrow.’ Some of his disciples wondered, but some were quick
enough to divine their master’s meaning. Hillel meant his soul, the
guest who has his ‘lordly dwelling-place’ in the body, but often has
very little given beyond the lodging.

A great many of Hillel’s sayings have been preserved. Here are two
helps against conceit and hasty judgment. ‘Do not believe in thyself
till the day of thy death.’ ‘Do not judge thy neighbour until thou hast
stood in his place.’ And Hillel had another charm which, perhaps, is
not quite so universal as wit and wisdom amongst scholars. He was very
particular as to personal appearance. ‘They wash the statues,’ he used
to say, ‘and cleanse and beautify the temple. How much more attention
ought we to give to the temple of the soul!’ His work, too, was as good
as his talk. He plodded away at the traditional store-heap, and made
some order and system out of the chaos. He set to work on the numerous
injunctions, and made a beginning at their collection. He laid down
certain rules――seven in number――for the interpretation of the Law. His
labours were of great use to other workers in the same field, later on.
His own life, however, was the very best of all his lessons.



                              CHAPTER IX.

                         JUDEA BEFORE THE WAR.


=1. Herod’s Will.=――So ill brought-up a family as Herod’s naturally
took to quarrelling about his property after his death. His will
was characteristic. It left much of his wealth to Rome, and divided
his dominions. The crown, with Jerusalem and the greater part of the
kingdom, was bequeathed to a son named Archelaus; another son, Herod
Antipas, was to have Galilee and Petræa; and to a third son, Philip,
was given the northern provinces. But as Herod himself was only a
tributary king, the whole will had to receive the approval of Rome
before it could be carried into effect. The Emperor Augustus did not
decide quickly, and meanwhile the rivals indulged in endless rioting.
The country endured all the miseries of civil war, with no motive to
lend it dignity. Beside the regular rivals named in the will, impostors
and pretenders to the crown arose, and each claimant had his own little
set of adherents, and each behaved as if might were right. The only
point on which there was any approach to agreement was the very general
desire to share all round in Herod’s treasures. Of all the deputations
which waited on him, the Emperor Augustus must have inclined to receive
most favourably the one which brought to him a humble petition to
abolish altogether kingly rule in Judea. At last the Roman Emperor gave
his decision, and in all important points Herod’s will was confirmed.


=2. Judea sinks into a Roman Province.=――Under the title of ethnarch
instead of king, Archelaus ruled Judea and Samaria for nine years. He
imitated in a weak sort of way the vices of his father, and in the year
6 of the new era he was deposed and banished by Roman decree to Gaul.
His dominions were declared forfeit to Rome, and Roman governors of
Judea were appointed and given their head-quarters in Cæsarea. These
procurators, as the Roman governors were called, were subject to the
Syrian proconsuls, and these, in their turn, to the supreme power of
Rome. Each procurator, during his term of office, was given the right
of nominating all Jewish officials, including even the high priest.
The responsibility of signing death-warrants was vested solely in the
Roman governor for the time being, and the authority of the Sanhedrin
was reduced to the limits of an active synagogue council. In view of a
subsequent charge brought against the Jews of this period, it is well
to bear in mind this fact concerning the strictly defined judicial
power of the Sanhedrin. The Roman court alone could pronounce, or carry
out, the sentence of death. The procurators followed each other in
rapid succession. Their oppressions had a terrible sameness, and the
many revolts and riots caused by their extortions differed but little
in character.


=3. Jesus of Nazareth.=――In every direction Rome was tightening that
iron grasp of hers, and each new tax and each fresh restriction was an
occasion for revolt. The miserable, impatient people were longing for
a leader, for another Judas Maccabeus to raise the standard and ‘break
their bonds asunder.’ And if such a hero had arisen, and had dealt
with the Romans as Judas Maccabeus had dealt with the Syrians, he would
assuredly have been hailed by the Jews as Messiah, the anointed of the
Lord. The restlessness and rioting, which had their centre in Jerusalem,
prevailed throughout the whole of Palestine, and nowhere more strongly
than in Galilee, the northern province, in which Jesus, the son of
Joseph a carpenter, first attracted attention. When Jesus was a tiny
child a certain Judas of Galilee, a very ordinary hero indeed, only
just escaped the perilous distinction of being altogether believed in
by his countrymen. Judas the Galilean had headed a frantic outburst
of passionate patriotism. It had been locally successful. Led by him,
the Galileans had revolted and the Romans had retreated, and, like his
great namesake, this Judas conquered for a while. But it was for a very
little while; and his followers had not time to turn this leader of
theirs into Messiah before he was crucified by the Romans as a rebel.
The enthusiastic reception which was given to this poor straw of a hero
shows the tendency of the time and the temper of the people. The very
stones seemed crying out for a Redeemer and Deliverer to come unto Zion.
Under the circumstances a Messiah was almost bound to appear. And just
in proportion to his pretensions and to their own wild hopes would be
the rage of the populace if their Messiah disappointed them, which, if
quite true and honest, he could scarcely fail to do. In all their dire
need Jesus of Nazareth was never recognised as Messiah by the Jews. His
title came to him in the Greek form. Christ means Messiah, or anointed;
but it means it in Greek, and not in Hebrew. Jesus of Nazareth never
got any real hold upon his own people. His followers in his lifetime
were few, and of an unimportant and illiterate sort. The Jews of the
time took little notice of his existence and his doings. He lived and
worked just as many other Jewish teachers then lived and worked. He
went about from place to place, healing, helping, and exhorting, and
rousing in the hearts of those who heeded a sense of better things.
But many of the Essenes preached and tended the sick, and the virtues
of humility and charity, and contempt of worldliness, were virtues
common to all honest Pharisees. It was chiefly in Galilee, among the
heathen and among such Jews as had wilfully or heedlessly gone astray,
that Jesus attracted attention. The bulk of the nation were not so
much hostile as indifferent. Yet, though the sympathies of Jesus were
avowedly with the ‘lost sheep of the house of Israel,’ the wholesale
and indiscriminate denunciations reported in the New Testament as
made by him against the Pharisees are the inventions of a later time,
when Christians had begun to take up a hostile attitude towards their
mother religion. There were, doubtless, shams and hypocrites among
the Pharisees, who well deserved to be denounced; but also we know
there was a whole class of them――they must have been pretty numerous
to be classified――who ‘did the will of their Father which is in heaven,
_because they loved Him_’ (Jerusalem Talmud, Berachoth, ix. 5). Jesus
himself probably never denounced Pharisees nor Judaism. But of Jesus
himself very little that is trustworthy is known. It was not till
long after his death, perhaps fifty years, that even the first of
his biographies, which are contained in the various books of the New
Testament, came to be written.

The Jews readily admit that Jesus of Nazareth, an enthusiastic
preacher of their own race, was good and virtuous. They regard
the morality he preached as identical with the morality which
forms the basis of Judaism. They look on it as pure to the point of
unpracticality, on which point it differs from the Jewish ethics which
were its inspiration. They consider ‘Love thy neighbour as thyself’
(Old Testament) a sufficient injunction. The command, ‘If he ask thy
coat, give him thy cloak also’ (New Testament), they venture to think
excessive. They trace the text of the Law, which Jesus declared he
‘came not to destroy,’ in all the discourses of Jesus; they find the
influence of the prophets in his parables, and they read Hillel between
the lines of the famous sermon on the mount. But at the same time
Jews reject altogether the divine pretensions of Jesus; they deny the
possibility of the Law, revealed by the Almighty, being abolished,
and they abhor every deviation from the pure doctrine of the absolute
Unity of God. As to the death of Jesus, the Jews disown all religious
responsibility for it. They look on it as a Roman execution, and one
due to political, rather than to religious, causes. Jesus was brought
before the Roman procurator Pontius Pilate in the year 29, and was, by
him, condemned to die, on the charge of provoking revolts against Roman
authority. On the cross was inscribed ‘King of the Jews,’ which goes
far to show that it was as a pretender against Rome, and not against
Heaven, that Jesus was crucified.


=4. Jews in Egypt and Syria.=――Alexandria, the capital of Egypt, and
Antioch, the capital of Syria, at this period took rank with Rome in
all the arts of civilisation; and in science, and in philosophy, and in
commerce, the Jews were in no wise behind their neighbours. Egypt had
at this time a great number of Jewish inhabitants, perhaps a million
altogether. They were artisans and merchants for the most part, but
there was a goodly sprinkling too of soldiers and of scholars. And to
the capital came, as it were, the cream of all the cultivation of the
country. The Alexandrian philosopher Philo, who has so wide a classical
reputation, was a Jew, not only by race, but by conviction and sympathy.
He was born about the year 1 C.E. Both in Egypt and in Syria the
civilisation was wholly Greek, and the Greeks were what is called
pagans or heathens. Now there are pagans and pagans. The cannibals who
murdered poor Captain Cook were one sort; these were not at all of that
kind. The Greeks were cultivated, delightful, attractive heathens, and
the science and philosophy, and the charm and polish, that the Jews
of Egypt and of Syria gained from their intercourse with the Greeks
was of distinct benefit to them. The drawback of it all, the weak
point, was of course the paganism, which proved almost as catching
as the polish. Greek Jews grew to be different from Palestinian Jews.
To the Palestinian Jews, the Law, in sober truth, was ‘a light,’
and the commandment ‘a lamp.’ They hungered after no other ‘wisdom;’
and although its paths were no longer ‘the paths of peace,’ its
‘ways’ to them were ‘ways of pleasantness,’ and often the only ways of
pleasantness they knew or cared to know. Greek Jews would have said,
perhaps, that they took broader views of Judaism. They certainly took
views broad enough to overlook a good deal, and their wide way of
regarding things made them a trifle inexact about ancient landmarks.
To Grecianised Jews the rigid practices of Judaism had become a little
irksome, and the mystical rites of paganism a little attractive.


=5. Birth of Christianity.=――Christianity, as a new religion in
opposition to Judaism, was founded by Paul of Tarsus, who proclaimed
the abolition of the Mosaic code of laws. Paul had not known Jesus. He
had been at first an opponent of his doctrines, but he was converted
about the year 37, and soon went much further than his master. What
Jesus preached was scarcely a religion, and Christianity is something
perhaps a little different even from the so-called religion of Christ
which Paul formulated. Paul became the apostle to the Gentiles, who, in
a sense, were ready for him. The cultivated heathens were wanting, by
this time, a more spiritual religion than their own, and they were used
to worshipping so many gods, that to require belief only in three was
a great simplifying of their faith. To strict Jews the Trinity would
have been unthinkable. What Paul taught was in effect a new faith――new
in dogma, and new, to some extent, in doctrine. Jesus had distinctly
said ‘not one jot nor one tittle of the Law should pass away.’ Paul
disregarded this, and definitely and deliberately cast aside the
obligations of ‘the Law.’ Strict Mosaic observance was a burden which
the pagan would not have taken upon him, and was one from which the lax
Jew was glad to be relieved. Antioch and Alexandria were the cradles
of the new faith, and, stripped of its Jewish swaddling clothes, the
infant Christianity was soon strong enough to run alone, and pagan
images, like Dagon, fell before it.


=6. Reign of Herod Agrippa.=――In the year 36 the procurator Pontius
Pilate was recalled to Rome, and in the person of a grandson of Herod’s
there came about a restoration of the Herodian dynasty, which lasted
for seven years. When, some five-and-forty years before, Mariamne’s
sons had been put to death by order of their half-mad father, there
had been a mother and a tiny baby left desolate by the execution. The
wife of the murdered Aristobulus had fled with her little orphan boy to
Rome, and the Emperor Tiberius’s sister-in-law, who was also a widow,
had formed a strong friendship for the poor Jewish lady. The Emperor
had a young son called Drusus, of about the same age as Herod Agrippa,
and the two boys were constantly together at court. When Drusus died
the Emperor found it at first too painful to see Herod Agrippa, as
it reminded him so much of the loss of his son; and later on, when
an intimacy sprang up between the pleasant young Jewish prince and
Caligula, the Emperor’s grand-nephew and probable heir, Tiberius seemed
to find this new affection as trying to his feelings as the memory
of the old. Perhaps he was jealous of his heir, and grudged him his
friends. At any rate, Herod Agrippa, who had been a court favourite,
became a court prisoner, and iron chains took the place of golden ones.
In the year 37 Caligula became Emperor, and one of his first acts was
to take his friend Agrippa out of prison and to find a throne for him.
Herod’s son Philip, who had been ruling the northern provinces of Judea
as tetrarch since the year 4, when the Emperor Augustus had confirmed
Herod’s will, just at this juncture opportunely died. His uncle
Philip’s possessions were given to Herod Agrippa, and presently the
dominions of Herod Antipas were added, and the title of king conceded.
The Roman governors were withdrawn, and a Herod once more reigned over
Judea. Herod Agrippa was a very different man from the original Herod,
his grandfather. Prosperity and adversity are each, in their different
ways, sharp teachers, and Agrippa was an apt pupil. He hung up in his
palace his iron and his gold chains side by side; and the iron that had
entered his soul, and the gold that had gilded his circumstances, put
rivets and framings to a very complete life. Herod Agrippa was a good
Jew and a good king. He ‘strengthened the foundations’ in a double
sense. He built a third wall round Jerusalem, and he began to build up
in his people a sense of comradeship and of self-restraint which would
have been to them as a triple line of defence against their enemies.
But he had so little time. He died in 44, in his fifty-third year, and
only seven years after his accession.


=7. Caligula and the Jews.=――Such influence as his friendship gave
him, Herod Agrippa exercised over Caligula for the good of his Jewish
subjects. But it is impossible to put into a quart vessel gallons
of water. Caligula could only appreciate Herod to the extent of his
capabilities, and these were not great. He was his own hero, so,
necessarily, his power of hero-worship was low and limited. He believed
in himself, this Caligula, and it was such a poor self to waste belief
upon. His vanity drove him mad. He had his statue cast in gold and
put up in his own heathen shrines, and then he gave orders to have the
like erected and worshipped in the Jewish temples of Jerusalem and of
Alexandria. To a man the Jews resisted. From Alexandria they sent a
deputation to Rome, and the philosopher Philo left his Greek studies
to head this deputation and to plead for his fellow-Jews. In Jerusalem
Agrippa made a grand banquet, and introduced the appeal to the
Emperor after dinner. Both temples gained a reprieve from this impious
insult. How long it would have lasted we cannot tell; but Caligula was
assassinated in 41, and under his successor, Claudius, the religious
liberty of the Jews was not interfered with.



                              CHAPTER X.

                          THE WAR WITH ROME.


=1. Agrippa II. Roman Governors.=――Herod Agrippa’s son, who was named
after him, was only seventeen years old at the time of his father’s
death. Judea was once more, to all intents, a Roman province; for
although the Emperor Claudius left the young Herod Agrippa in nominal
possession of his dominions and his title, and was personally on
pleasant terms with him, yet Roman governors of Judea were again put
in commission. This Roman governorship was like an open wound to the
Jews. It was not only that the procurators were often plunderers and
oppressors; the people might have borne that more or less patiently;
but the very presence of foreign rulers, alien in faith and race, kept
up a constant irritation. And for another thing, they were unwisely
selected. Once an apostate, a nephew of Philo, was put in command, and
the people were expected to obey a man whom they very properly despised.
Another time a brother of a favourite slave of the Emperor Nero was
appointed governor, and this relationship was the sole qualification
for the appointment that any one ever discovered in him. Jews are
always, at the best of times, a little impatient of authority. They
were not too easy to manage even under Moses. Under these unsympathetic
Romans, and that Rome-patronised king of theirs, they grew turbulent
and desperate. Herod Agrippa, in truth, was not of much use to them.
He had a beautiful sister, Berenice, and on occasion she would kneel
in picturesque attitudes, and he would plead in eloquent periods, to
one or other of the Roman oppressors; but, on the whole, Herod and
Berenice both kept on excellent terms with Rome, and prudence rather
than patriotism was their ideal. They came of a self-seeking race,
this royal brother and sister. Herod Agrippa preached peace when there
was no peace to his subjects; and when he found his smooth counsels
were unheeded he retired with his sister to Rome, and there found
other things to talk about with Titus. Meanwhile in Judea riots grew
into rebellion, and rebellion into organised revolt. In 66 the Roman
garrison at Jerusalem was overpowered and put to death by the Jews,
and the Roman governor, Cestius Gallus, had to appeal to the prefect
of Syria for assistance.


=2. Vespasian sent to Judea.=――The war had begun in earnest. The
Emperor Nero could not understand a repulse to the Roman arms from
this small corner of the world; yet judging, from the accounts which
reached him, that the desperation of the Jews was making the Judean
revolt a somewhat serious affair, he sent the famous general Vespasian
and his son Titus with orders to quell it at once. From a distance
it did not seem a difficult order――the skilled cohorts of Rome, with
obedient Syria for their base of operations, against that handful of
undisciplined desperadoes. But it took four years to do――four long,
dreadful years of terribly unequal struggle. Rome found these Jews no
ordinary rebels, and the invasion of Judea was no ‘walk over’ to the
conquerors of the world. The Romans encountered a people with a history
and a faith, fighting valiantly for both, and found them very hard to
conquer.


=3. Preparations for Defence.=――The Jews saw at once that, with such
a foe as Rome, pitched battles in the open would be a mistake. Their
best chance lay in defending the fortified cities, and in endeavouring
to wear out by resistance the patience of the invader. There was no
trouble to find commanders, the difficulty lay rather in the selection.
There were volunteers in plenty for the post of officers, more in
proportion perhaps than for that of privates. But supplies and troops
were both forthcoming, and north, south, east, and west the country
roused itself for the effort at freedom.


=4. Josephus.=――The province of Galilee was put in command of a man
named Josephus, a descendant of the Asmoneans, who lived to earn for
himself a better reputation as a chronicler of his country than as a
soldier in its service. At this time (66) Josephus was about thirty
years old, extremely clever and capable, and well inclined to play
the part of his famous ancestor, and lead his followers to victory,
if victory was to be won. It all lay in the ‘if,’ for Josephus was
a very different sort of man from Judas Maccabeus. If Judas had been
defeated by the Syrians he would have died fighting; he would never
have surrendered. Judas Maccabeus fought in the uncompromising spirit
that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego have made historical. ‘We are
not careful, O king, to answer thee in this matter,’ said those model
Jews: ‘if our God whom we serve will deliver us from the fiery furnace,
He will deliver us; _but if not, be it known to thee, O king, we
will not serve thy gods_.’ Josephus had no thought of cutting off all
possibility of retreat in that fashion. His service was more after the
sort of the half-hearted heathen, Naaman. He would fight for Judea, but
Rome was his Rimmon in the background, and, in his most enthusiastic
moments, Josephus was never unmindful of his own interests. He
organised his troops, and defended in person a fine fortress built on
a rock at Jotapata. This citadel he held for forty-seven days against
Titus, and his soldiers supported him gallantly. The Romans were more
than once repulsed, and presently Titus set up a strict blockade,
intending to starve the garrison into surrender. The Jews liked
fighting better than starving, and surrender was out of the question.
They had no food, and hardly any water left, but they soaked their
clothes in those last few precious bucketfuls, and hung the dripping
garments in the sun. The Romans could not believe in such wilful
defiant waste, and believing the garrison must be better supplied
than they had imagined, they raised the blockade and began the attack
again. The famine-stricken garrison fought like heroes――again and again
the Romans were driven back. At last ‘the battle was to the strong,’
and Jotapata fell. The Romans entered the fortress, and found none to
receive them save the dead and the dying. Josephus, and just a few like
him, had made good their escape to a neighbouring cavern, and to this
safe little retreat a Roman envoy from head-quarters was presently
despatched. Vespasian was most anxious to transform Josephus from
an enemy into an ally, and Josephus was equally anxious to give his
strength to the stronger side. But it had to be managed. His followers
were not so ready as he, to act like the rats in the proverb. The envoy
was desired to wait. ‘We must submit to the will of God,’ Josephus
piously began, and, pressed by his companions for clearer counsel, he
proceeded to urge that the death of martyrs during the siege having
been denied to them, it were vain to seek that distinction now. The
faces around looked but half convinced, and then, more boldly, the
tempter hinted, ‘We may live to serve God and our country in other
ways.’ The eager listeners frowned; they had faltered enough to flee,
but not to altogether fall. Such counsels sounded to them like pious,
unpatriotic platitudes. The crafty commander was quick to note the dark
looks of his companions, and changed his tactics. He professed to agree
with them. ‘You are right,’ he exclaimed; ‘it is better to die than to
surrender. Let our own swords be the preservers of our honour.’ This
was more welcome advice to men in an exalted mood, and they all agreed
to die by each other’s hands, and the last left, it was arranged,
should kill himself. They cast lots to settle in what order they
should die, and in the end, whether by good luck or by good management,
Josephus was one of the only two remaining. Josephus at once politely
offered to be executioner, but the other man hesitated, and offered
his services in that capacity to Josephus. Neither really wanted to
be victim, and so both made up their minds to live, and left the cave
together. Josephus accompanied the waiting envoys to Rome, and was
received by Vespasian with every mark of respect. The fact of the
surrender was slurred over; Josephus called himself a prophet instead
of a renegade, and claimed to be fulfilling events which he had all
along foreseen. Vespasian smiled quietly at these pretensions. He had
gained what he wanted, the co-operation of Josephus, and the qualms of
the man’s crooked conscience were no concern of his.



                              CHAPTER XI.

                          THE END OF THE WAR.


=1. The Defence of the Provinces.=――The story of the siege of Jotapata
repeated itself throughout the country. One fortified place, and then
another, fell after heroic resistance. Tarichea and Gamala and Gischala
are names as honourable to the Jews of the first century as are Lucknow
and Sebastopol to Englishmen of the nineteenth. To students of history
the ancient and the modern names alike recall memories of patience
and pluck undaunted by overpowering numbers. But with the Jews the
heroism was all in vain. Gamala, like Jotapata, fell, and Gischala was
abandoned, and Tarichea was betrayed, and the end was always the same
though the means varied. Vespasian and his son Titus, accompanied too
by the time-serving Agrippa, pushed northwards through the country in
a miserable sort of triumphal progress. The beautiful Lake of Tiberias
flushed red as they passed, not in the sunset, but in blood; and gates
were opened, not in welcome, but in response to battering-rams. There
was a brief lull whilst Vespasian was taking possession of his imperial
dignities in Rome, but in 69, when crowned emperor, he thought it quite
time, for his own credit’s sake, that the furious little dependency
should be completely crushed. Titus was ordered to advance against
Jerusalem, the Emperor judging that when the capital should be in the
hands of the enemy, the sullen, dogged resistance of the provinces
would cease.


=2. Affairs in Jerusalem.=――The capital was not ready for the foe. It
was showing itself stronger in defiance than in defence, and wasting
time and energy and supplies in miserable internal strife. There was
a war party and a peace party in Jerusalem, and each split up into
various factions, and each finding some separate form of expression.
The war party were the most numerous and the most noisy. Every one
was eager to fight, but every one had his own opinions as to the best
manner of fighting; and if each one did not exactly expect to have a
post of command himself, he at least held strong views as to the merits
and claims of his immediate neighbours. The zealots who had fought
under Judas the Galilean in the year 4 had grown fiercer since his time,
and worse men had joined, and lowered, the standard of revolt which he
had raised. Those who had cried that they would obey only the Law of
God, protested now that they would not obey the law of Rome, which was
a different position to take up. In effect, it pretty nearly came to
mean being a law unto themselves and rejecting all recognised authority.
In many cases these men had put themselves into the power of the
law, and so had personal reasons for hating and defying it. The other
extreme section of the people, the most timid, would have had peace
at any price. They cowered at the very name of Rome, and losing their
trust in the ‘strong Hand and outstretched Arm,’ grew fearful and
superstitious. Strange stories were tremblingly repeated from mouth to
mouth of ‘a light that never was on earth or sea,’ which came and went
in the starry heavens, and disclosed by fitful gleams an awful conflict
raging between awful combatants. Bands of the most lawless of the
zealots, under the well-earned name of Sicarii, or assassins, patrolled
the streets, whilst the poor souls who saw visions slunk in the shadows.
The ‘terror by night’ had come upon the doomed city, the ‘arrow that
flieth by day’ was nearing its walls.


=3. The War Party and the Peace Party: their Leaders.=――In the
beginning of his career Josephus had had a rival in a certain John, who
was subsequently appointed to the command of Gischala. John conducted
the defence of that place ably enough, but was at last compelled to
capitulate. He accepted the Roman terms, and then, by flight, evaded
them. A delay in admitting the enemy into Gischala had been asked and
granted, and John had taken advantage of this delay to make off with
all his armed followers. When the Romans marched into the city, there
were only women and children there to be led away captive. John reached
Jerusalem safely, and, a fugitive in reality, was received as a warrior
and a patriot, come to lay his arms at the service of the distracted
city. Circumstances, rather than his merits, ensured him a welcome. The
true story of the fall of Jotapata had only just reached the capital.
News travelled slowly in those days, and the people had supposed
Josephus to have died fighting at Jotapata at the head of his men, and
had mourned him sincerely as a hero and a martyr. When the secret of
the dark cavern became known to them, and they found that the commander
whom they had trusted had betrayed his trust, and was a comfortable
traitor in the Roman camp, their indignation knew no bounds, and in
their rage John of Gischala found his chance. He joined in the outcry
against the unpatriotic Josephus, who had once been preferred to him.
‘These be thy gods, O Israel!’ he cried, and the impulsive populace,
remembering only that the man had been a rival of the hated Josephus,
and had been passed over for him, were eager now to make amends. They
took John of Gischala for a leader on his own evidence, and they were
not calm enough to hear the false ring under his brave words, and
were too blind with rage to see how ambitious and useless were his
fair-seeming designs. It was a terrible time. The Zealots had called
on the Idumeans to help in the defence, and their presence in the
city added another element of discord. Party was pitted against party,
house was divided against house; even members of the same family took
different sides, and hands and weapons that were sorely needed against
Rome were turned with fierce anger and suspicion against fellow-Jews.
The more moderate of the people had come by this time to sadly see that
no possible heroism could avert the Roman conquest, that the defence
of Jerusalem was at best the most desperate of chances, and that under
such men as led the war party the struggle must be hopeless. This
minority believed that a timely yielding might soften the severity of
the foe, and preserve to them their religion even at the cost of their
country. The truer patriots counselled conciliation, and at the head of
these was the good old high priest Ananias. But his gentle advice was
shouted down, and his supporters were accused of sympathy with Rome and
hooted at as traitors, and the poor old man himself, before the end of
the war, met with a violent death at the hands of the Zealots.


=4. The Siege of Jerusalem.=――It was a strong and beautiful city on
which Titus looked as he slowly rode round the walls to reconnoitre.
Jerusalem was built in a bowl of mountains. Even in its ruins, and
eighteen centuries later, it is written of the city which its poets
called the ‘joy of the whole earth,’ ‘I never saw anything more
essentially striking, no city except Athens whose site is so
pre-eminently impressive.’[4] In those days it was fortified by three
enormous walls, and the Temple, in all its glory, stood within the
innermost. To the Jews it seemed impossible that even the first and
outermost of these protecting walls should be taken. Begun by Herod
Agrippa, and formed of great blocks of unhewn stone, the wall stood now
45 feet high and 17 broad, and 150 battlemented towers were built up
in it at intervals. But battering-rams thundered night and day, and the
first wall fell after a desperate defence, and then the second, and at
last only the third and innermost was left to guard the Temple.


=5. A Mediator sent: Terms proposed.=――Titus, throughout the war, was
consistently disinclined for unnecessary slaughter. When the first wall
was taken he had hinted at capitulation, and had offered to distinguish
between the people and the garrison in his punishments. He had reviewed
his splendid troops in full view of the famine-threatened city, in
the hope of inducing them to surrender, and he had sent back mutilated
prisoners of war to arouse a wholesome dread of his severity. It was
all in vain; all idea of compromise was scouted, and when a breach was
made in the second wall the defenders lined it with their living bodies,
and for three dreadful days actually barred the conqueror’s progress.
But this wall, too, was taken, and then Titus, at his wits’ end, sent
Josephus as an envoy to see if it were possible to come to any terms,
short of slaughter, with his countrymen. The case was desperate; Romans
were without the city, and rioters within. ‘In hunger, in thirst,
in nakedness, in want of all things,’ they were enduring ‘the siege
and straitness of their enemy.’ And now came a messenger to them with
proposals of peace. Josephus――he is the historian of it all――gives us
an account of this interview with curious frankness. He retails his
own eloquence at full length, and expresses his astonishment at the
indignant refusal of any party of the people to even listen to it.
Perhaps there was some mutual astonishment on the occasion. If Titus
was sincere in wanting to come to terms, Josephus was certainly an
oddly chosen ambassador. The sight of that fluent traitor, who had
fallen so comfortably on his feet, must have been enough, in truth, to
make the most peaceable citizen clutch at his sword. His mission, of
course, failed. Josephus went back to his Roman patron, and his people
went back to their impossible defence. A forlorn hope is sometimes
better than an accomplished desire. Not one of that heroic garrison,
for all their misery, would have changed places with Josephus.


=6. The Destruction of the Temple.=――As befitted a kingdom of priests,
their Temple had become to the Jews, in literal truth, their stronghold
and their tower of defence. If only they had worshipped within those
‘borders of precious stones’ with half the fervour that they fought
there, the end might have been very different. On the 7th of Ab, 3830
of the Jewish era (corresponding to the year 70 C.E.), fire was set to
the cloisters of the Temple. All that day and all the next the flames
smouldered, and the people, faint with hunger and sick with misery,
looked on with dull eyes, unregarding. Then again their mood changed,
and on the morning of the 9th, with desperate, despairing effort,
they rushed forth on the Roman swords. They were driven back, and
Titus, seeing the crisis had come, summoned a hasty council of war to
decide upon the fate of the Temple. His generals, smarting under their
repulses, voted for its complete destruction. Titus had some touch of
human feeling, some sympathy with that passion of defence. He would
have spared the Jews their Temple, and have been content to plant the
Roman eagle on its walls. It was saved that last degradation. On that
same evening a detachment of Roman soldiers was told off to put out
the smouldering cinders of the blackened cloisters. The pent-up people,
faint with famine and restless with misery, burst out once more in
ineffectual fury. Once more they were driven back to the very door of
the Temple, and a Roman soldier, in careless wrath, took up a burning
brand and tossed it after the retreating crowd. It fell on some
inflammable stuff in a porchway, and quickly the Temple itself was on
fire. Titus rushed to the spot, and tried with hand and voice to stay
the work of destruction. It was too late. The shadow of the sword was
lifted in the light of the flames. Then that too faded and died out,
and darkness closed in upon the Jews, a thick darkness that could be
felt.



                               BOOK II.

                              70 TO 1600.

                               DARKNESS.

                               וַיְהִי חשֶׁךְ־אֲפֵלָה
                                        EXOD x. 22.

                  ‘A fifteen hundred years’ tragedy.’



                             CHAPTER XII.

                            AFTER THE WAR.


=1. Titus completes his Conquest.=――With the taking of the capital
the war was practically at an end. Jerusalem, ‘grander in her fall
than even in her days of magnificence,’ was in the hands of the Romans,
and Titus did not loiter nor grow lenient over the rest of his work.
What fire and sword had left standing was ordered to be deliberately
destroyed, and the ruins of the city and its Temple and its walls were
all made level with the ground. The chief leaders of the defence were
taken to Rome, and John of Gischala made a strong point of interest in
Titus’s triumphal entry. There was presently a ceremony in which the
ambitious Jewish soldier once more played the first part; he was led
out to public execution.


=2. Masada.=――There were three fortresses which held out even after the
fall of Jerusalem, and one of them, Masada by name, in a certain sense
was never taken by the Romans. The garrison of this place was commanded
by a descendant of Judas of Galilee, named Eleazar. Eleazar was quite
hopeless of victory and quite fearless of death. When he found that
the entry of the enemy was only a question of hours, he called all his
little world together and made them a speech. He told them of the Roman
way of dealing with prisoners of war, and bade them make their choice
between surrender and self-inflicted death. Like the voice of one
man came the answer of the nine hundred men who listened to him. ‘We
will die by our own hands, we and our wives and our children; rather
death than dishonour.’ Then they deliberately set fire to their poor
dwellings and exchanged death-wounds. Thus, guided by fires lit by dead
hands, and stumbling over unresisting corpses, the Romans entered the
silent city, and came into possession of the last Jewish stronghold.


=3. What became of the Chief Actors.=――By the events of the war Herod
Agrippa had lost his kingdom and his reputation, but he had contrived
to save his fortune, and that kept for him the friends he cared about.
In Rome he was very much appreciated. He and his money and his charming
sister Berenice were all made very welcome at the court of the Emperor
Titus. Josephus was very often one of the party. He, in his retirement,
took to literature, and almost managed to make that disreputable. He
wrote the ‘Wars of the Jews’ and the ‘Antiquities of the Jews,’ and his
own most instructive autobiography. All these works are very valuable
contributions to history――are, in fact, the chief, and almost only,
records extant of these events; but each one of his books shows proofs
of the authorship plainly enough to make it a trifle untrustworthy. In
compliment to his Roman patrons Josephus took the surname of Flavius.
He lived in the full sunshine of imperial favour, and managed to find
three women in succession to marry him. We may conclude that they were
not Jewesses.


=4. What became of the Country and the People.=――Palestine was
parcelled out into lots; parts of the land were given as loot to the
Roman soldiers, and parts were sold to the highest bidders. Many of
the people were slaughtered outright; many were reserved to be killed
more artistically in gladiatorial shows, or in combat with wild beasts.
Some of them were carried off into slavery, and some remained as slaves
on the soil. The slave markets of the world were glutted, and Jewish
captives became a drug in the marts. As citizens of a separate state
the Jews ceased to exist. They had no longer a national centre. Long
before the destruction of Jerusalem the dispersion of the nation had
begun, but now it was complete, and, so to speak, official. There
had been Jews in Alexandria from the time of the Ptolemies, and in
Rome from the days of Pompey; they were to be found at this date in
every place important enough to be remembered, throughout the wide
Roman dominions. There were numbers of Jews in Antioch, in Greece, in
Italy, on the north coasts of Africa, and in the sunny islands of the
Mediterranean. But each and all of these dispersed and separated Jews
had hitherto turned in loyal thought to Jerusalem, and a self-imposed
tax from ‘him that was near and from him that was far off’ had been
regularly forwarded to Jerusalem every year towards the support of the
Temple. This very tax was now used as a means to crush the nationality
out of the people. Titus decreed that a like sum should henceforward be
contributed by every adult Jew in his dominions towards the support of
the temple of Jupiter.


=5. Salvage.=――To put up tamely with preventable evils is only less
weak than to fret unceasingly over unpreventable ones. The Jews, at
this crisis in their history, fell into neither error. They realised
the wreck, and looked bravely round to see what could be rescued. Their
country was gone, their nationality was threatened, their religion was
in danger. Their ‘Law’ remained to them. They made a raft of that, and
saved Judaism.


=6. Jochanan ben Saccai: the Schools.=――After the fall of Jerusalem,
some members of the now houseless Sanhedrin asked, and gained,
permission of Titus to establish themselves with their scrolls at
Jamnia, a village on the sea-coast, not far from the port of Jaffa.
Jochanan ben Saccai was president of the Sanhedrin at the time, and he
at once called his disciples together and set up a school. Soon such
schools became general, but the one in Jamnia was the first and the
most famous, and was known as the Vineyard. A good name, and prophetic,
as it turned out; for a store of life-giving wine that vineyard came
to yield. Their Law, in very little time, took the place of the Temple
in the hearts of the people. It became the new Jewish stronghold,
and by-and-by the Rabbis garrisoned it. It was a wise movement, and
Jochanan was just the character to head it. He had sense as well as
sentiment, and he was as practical as he was patriotic. ‘Fear God even
as ye fear man,’ was the very last bit of counsel which Jochanan gave
to his disciples. He was old then, and ill unto death, and some of
those who listened criticised the words. They did not seem enough for
the occasion. So much is expected of a last utterance. ‘What!’ said
the disciples doubtingly, ‘fear God only as we fear His creatures?’
‘Even so,’ came the answer, in weak, thrilling tones. ‘You fear to do
wrong in the presence of man; you are always in the presence of God:
therefore fear Him as you fear your neighbours.’


=7. An Unforeseen Result of the War: Jewish Christians.=――There was one
wretched and long-lasting consequence of the war with Rome, which grew
naturally out of the circumstances, but which cannot be laid directly
to the charge of Rome. Thirty years had passed since the death of Jesus
and the conversion of the zealous apostle Paul. The little following
had become a sect, not very large, not very important, nor as yet very
pronounced in their opinions. The members of the sect were known as
Jewish Christians, and were perhaps at this time quite as much of the
one as of the other. The war with Rome made the division between Jews
and Christians sharp and final. The struggle on the side of the Jews
had been a fight for life, for national existence. So impassioned were
they, and so much in earnest, that even the help of the Samaritans and
of the Idumeans, for the first time in their history, had been accepted
by the Jews. In the great and pressing need for united action all
differences seemed small, and to be overlooked in face of the fact
that their country was in mortal danger. The one unforgivable sin in
the eyes of the Judeans was that any Jew, for any reason whatever,
should coldly stand aloof. There was a peace party among the Jews;
a small minority who, as we have seen, honestly and sadly believed in
the impossibility of victory, and who counselled conciliation on the
principle of saving what could be saved. This party would have let
the country go――provided their religion was left to them intact. They,
even, were not too popular. But the Jewish Christians were different
from these. They hoped for the success of the Roman arms, and it was
in the name of religion that they refused to help their countrymen.
They professed to see the fulfilment of prophecy in the destruction
of Jerusalem. They declined to be on the other side to the prophets.
They believed the Temple was decreed to fall, and they would not
fight to avert its fate. All this they urged quite earnestly and quite
religiously in the light of their new and latest interpretation of the
Scriptures. At any other time their opinions would have provoked only
a discussion in the schools; at this crisis of national history it
provoked national resentment. From the point of view of patriotic
Jews, these others, Jews by race and by kinship, Jews who refused on
religious grounds to strike a blow for Judea, were not only apostates,
but traitors. The precepts of Jesus, and the practice of these his
earliest followers, came by degrees to be regarded as cause and effect.
The whole movement grew hateful to the Jews, socially and religiously
and politically hateful. Hate begets hate, and deepens division. The
small sect of Jewish Christians grew gradually less and less Jewish,
and more and more Christian. The distinct position they had taken up
in the war gave them a certain standing, and was another cause of their
growth in numbers and in importance. The rift which had been so tiny
at first between the old teaching and the new widened and deepened, and
new causes for enmity forbade it to close as the years rolled into the
centuries.



                             CHAPTER XIII.

                       THE REVOLT UNDER HADRIAN.


=1. Conquered Jews in the West.=――The first few years after the fall of
Jerusalem, by contrast with what had gone before, were not, strange as
it may seem, an altogether unhappy time for the Jews in Palestine. The
worst had come, and the worst proved hardly so terrible as the waiting
for it. The Romans were stern masters, but not vindictive ones. So
long as the Jews accepted the new conditions, these were not cruelly
enforced, nor were any of the private religious arrangements of the
dispossessed people interfered with. The slaves, in many cases, bought
their liberty. Their schools supplied an interest to the conquered
Jews, and a link between them; and dispersed as they were, and despised
to some extent as they were, the Jews did not become degraded. The
existence of their Sanhedrin with its dignified literary labourers,
chosen from their own ranks, kept up their sense of self-respect. Deep
was the loyalty felt towards the president of the Sanhedrin. He became
in some sort an uncrowned king of this fallen people. They called him
their נָשִׂיא ‘prince’; and, without one inch of territory, a very wide
and a very real dominion this spiritual potentate grew to have over
the hearts and minds of his brethren. The internal government of the
different Jewish communities in the Roman Empire varied. In Alexandria
a head and chief, whom the Greeks called ethnarch, presided over a
council of seventy elders. In Rome, each of the many synagogues had
its own separate administration and its own separate name. Almost every
place where Jews congregated had its own little council, a sort of
miniature Sanhedrin, which looked after local Jewish matters. But all
the various communities of the Western world, widely separated as they
were, had one thing in common: they all acknowledged as supreme the
authority of the נָשִׂיא or president for the time being of the Sanhedrin
in Palestine. He came to be called the patriarch, and his head-quarters
were first at Jamnia, then at Sepphoris, and afterwards at Tiberias.


=2. Contemporary Jews in the East.=――The exiles and captives in
Babylonia and Mesopotamia had led a quiet life for centuries. They,
like their brethren, were a captive race, but the Parthian kings, like
the Persian kings, were milder masters than the Romans, and perhaps the
Babylonian Jews themselves were more patient than the Palestinian Jews.
It was, at any rate, an easier thing to be subject in exile than to
be subject on native soil. The scattered communities settled between
the Tigris and Euphrates had gradually established schools and seats of
learning in the Babylonian country. Besides the heads of these schools
(רֵישֵׁי כַלֵי), there was a political head or chief whom the Eastern Jews
invested with a good deal of general authority, and whom they called
רֵישׁ נְּלוּתָא, Head or Prince of the Captivity.


=3. Under Trajan.=――The quiet time for the Jews ended in the reign of
Trajan, who was Emperor of Rome from 98 to 117. He made a campaign
against Parthia, and this roused all the Jewish subjects of Parthia to
revolt, partly in help of their Parthian masters, and partly, perhaps,
in dread of Rome and of the fate of their Western brethren. Trajan
conquered Parthia in 114, but his death ended the Jewish fear of Roman
rule in the East, for Trajan’s successor, Hadrian, gave up this latest
conquest.


=4. The Policy of Hadrian.=――Hadrian, when he became Emperor in 117,
restored Parthia to the Parthians. He found he had enough to do to
keep what he had got. But the Jewish readiness to revolt against Roman
supremacy was not lost upon him. He did not forget how quick the Jews
had been to fight. East or west, it seemed to him that if but a breath
of freedom were in the air, it was fanned among this Jewish race into
a perfect whirlwind. Why should they not submit to Rome, and sink their
own nationality? Greater nations than they had passed more or less
peacefully under the Roman yoke, whilst to subdue this tiny troublesome
dependency had tasked a Titus! To conquer Jews was not enough; they
wanted crushing. That was this new Emperor’s view of the case, and
he proceeded to set about it. He was keen enough to see that there
was religion at the root of this dogged Jewish resistance; that the
Jews had fought for their convictions as much as for their country;
that they were the people of the Book as well as the people of the
Land. And reasoning thus, the Emperor Hadrian determined that he would
pluck up this Jewish religion by the roots, and not be content to lop
away at the branches as his predecessors had done. He would pass the
ploughshare over Jerusalem, he would build a new city with a new name
on its site, and where the Temple had stood he would erect a shrine to
Jupiter. And he did all this, and yet he failed. The heathen Emperor
did not know that Judaism was quite beyond the power of his legions. He
had never heard ‘No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord.’ If he had heard,
he probably would not have heeded. But he certainly did his best,
according to his lights, to effect his object.


=5. The Jews in Revolt: their Leader.=――No Josephus has left a minute
record of the last struggle between the Jews and Rome, and a great
many details are altogether absent. We know generally that the Jewish
resistance to Hadrian lasted three years, from 132 till 135; and that
Julius Severus had to be summoned from Britain before the Roman success
could be assured. The Jews fought against Hadrian as, fifty years
before, they had fought against Titus, with the obstinate courage of
men who valued their own lives less than the life of the nation. They
were led by a man who, at the beginning of the revolt, they called, in
their enthusiasm, Barcochba, son of a star; and at the end, in their
despair, Barcosba, son of a lie. His real name we do not know. He
fought and he died fighting, and in defence of the truth as he believed
it; and so far, and although he failed, he takes his place among the
heroes of history, and earns a right to the title first bestowed upon
him. His claim to the second is, happily, less clear. Tradition tells
of tricks he played to incline the people to believe that his powers
were supernatural; and there are tales, too, told to his discredit,
which, if true, might make ‘impostor’ a free translation of Barcosba.
But the only facts of which we are sure are that he led the Palestinian
Jews in their second revolt against Rome, from the year 132 till 135;
that for a little while the forlorn hope of the people seemed possible
of realisation, and that Barcochba took possession of the ruins of
Jerusalem; that he and his followers were dislodged from thence, and
that the last stand against the Roman enemy was made at a fortified
place called Bither, which fell on the same sad anniversary, the 9th
of Ab, which was already so full of fatal memories to the Jews.


=6. Akiba: the Romance of his Youth.=――There was one good and famous
man who believed in Barcochba, and who stood by him to the end. This
was Akiba, one of the greatest of the Rabbis, who left his books
and his home to share the dangers of the campaign, and to carry
the standard by the side of the Jewish leader. And books, and home,
meant more to Akiba than to most men, for he had not inherited these
happinesses, but had had to work and to wait for them. His was a
romantic story. He, like Moses, had been a shepherd. By craggy torrents
and by grassy plains he had wandered with his flocks, until one day
he had met a fair maiden, and they had walked and talked together, and
then the long sweet summer day had seemed unaccountably to shorten. He
and the maiden had straightway fallen in love with each other. But she
was a rich man’s daughter, and her father, when he heard about it, was
extremely angry. He declared she should not marry ‘that beggar,’ which
was calling names, and not quite true ones, for Akiba was no beggar.
Then the father threatened. He said she should have no fortune if she
persisted in her ‘folly.’ The girl was much too much in love to care
about money, and Akiba, who might have hesitated, and not thought it
honourable to marry a rich girl, gladly took her now that she was to
be poor and friendless. So they married, and for a while they were most
unreasonably happy. But of course it was not a prudent marriage. They
were very poor, they had to sleep upon straw, and to go out into the
fields to gather that. Akiba’s wife was a sensible woman as well as
a loving one; the sort of woman who would do her husband good and not
evil all the days of his life. She saw this could not go on. She knew
her husband had talent; she advised him to go away and get admitted to
one of the schools, where his talents would be recognised, and he would
have the opportunity to study. She would not go with him, she said,
to be a drag on him: he must labour, and she would wait. So he went,
and the years went on, slowly and sadly for her, for her father was
unforgiving; slowly and successfully for him, for strangers were kind.
He had not only talent, but perseverance, and when at last he was
chosen head of the college which he had entered as a poor student,
he travelled back to his native place for his reward. He was a famous
Rabbi by this time, and crowds flocked round him in eager welcome. One
shabby, large-eyed woman hung back a little, but Akiba saw her and knew
her at once, though all the girlishness and half the beauty were gone.
He drew her to the front and held her close, and proudly told the story
of her patience and of her trust in him to the sympathising onlookers.
And as they listened a message came from the rich man, who had not
joined in the common crowd of welcome. He desired to consult the famous
Rabbi, whose visit was an event and an honour to the place. This rich
man must have been one of those Jews who call themselves Jews in their
heart; he evidently was not a Jew in his actions or his interests,
or he would have surely heard that Akiba was something more than a
distinguished stranger. However, Akiba went to him, and found that his
advice was wanted. The rich man told the Rabbi of the vow which he had
made never to see or help his daughter; he was getting old now――was
there any way the Rabbi could suggest in which the vow could be
conscientiously broken? ‘Would you have minded your daughter marrying
a distinguished scholar, even had he been poor?’ asked the Rabbi. ‘No,’
said the father, puzzled; ‘but she married a stupid beggar.’ ‘Well,’
said Akiba, smiling, ‘I know not if I be the distinguished scholar that
men call me, but I do know I am that Akiba who married your daughter.’
So it all ended happily, and the good, patient wife regained her
husband and her father at the same time.


=7. Akiba: the Romance of his Age.=――That was the home side of Akiba’s
life story. In the schools he won a distinguished place, and all his
life he was as loyal to his duties as to his affections, and faithful
to both even unto death. In the revolt against Rome the scholar turned
soldier, and the husband was patriot. Akiba stood by Barcochba to the
last, and when Bither fell, he was taken prisoner by the Romans, and
by them most cruelly put to death. But his beautiful enthusiasm did
not desert him even under torture. There is a Talmudic legend that he
smiled at his executioners, and that one of them tauntingly exclaimed
to the poor old man slowly dying under their hands, ‘Why, you look as
if you rejoice!’ ‘And I do,’ came the unflinching answer. ‘Every day of
my life I have repeated the שְׁמַע. To-day, for the first time, I _feel_
what it is to love the Lord my God with all my heart, and all my soul,
and all my strength. How should I not rejoice?’


=8. Hadrian’s Resolve accomplished.=――Akiba’s death was the last act
in this war, which the Talmud calls ‘the war of extermination.’ Hadrian
did what he had proposed to himself to do. A ploughshare was passed
over what had been Jerusalem, and the foundations of a new city were
laid, and it was called Ælia Capitolina――Ælia in honour of the Emperor,
Capitolina in honour of Jupiter. ‘One hundred and fifty years later
Jerusalem was a term of ancient geography.’[5] The Jews of Palestine
were massacred by thousands. Numbers were sold as slaves at the same
price as horses at the annual fair held near Hebron. Judea was left,
practically, a desert. Wolves and hyenas prowled about the ruined city,
and such of the people as were not sold or slaughtered lived a banished,
frightened existence in the caves among the mountains. One right the
Roman Emperor conceded to the Jews he had ‘crushed.’ Once a year they
were given the opportunity of ‘buying their own tears,’ as the Church
historian, St. Jerome, expresses it. Throughout all the long months
they were forbidden, on pain of death, to approach the city. But on
each anniversary of the sacking of Jerusalem all Jews who wished might
come near and look upon what had been ‘the joy of the whole earth.’ The
outcasts might come and lean against the bit of broken wall which was
all that was left to them of all that had been theirs. They might weep
and pray; but if they asked to wait and weep a little longer than the
limited time by law permitted, then the Roman guard who watched could
fix his own price for the privilege. He could make them ‘buy their
tears.’



                             CHAPTER XIV.

                THE REVIVAL OF THE SCHOOLS: THEIR WORK.


=1. One of History’s Miracles.=――If, shivering in the winter, we stand
in a frozen field, full of dry brown trees, all stumps and twigs and
branches, looking all alike and all lifeless, we can hardly believe
that, six months hence, that bare field will be a blooming orchard,
with the sunlight flickering down on it through a canopy of pink and
white and green. It seems a miracle, and in a sense it is one. Like
nature, history, too, has her miracles, and both sorts of marvels are
easy to understand when we remember that ‘kings of the earth and all
people,’ like ‘snow and hail and stormy wind’ עשָֹׁה דְבָרוֹ, ‘fulfil His word.’
Hadrian left Judea a desert, and the life, as he thought, crushed out
of Judaism. He was hardly dead――he died on the first day of the year
138――when the seemingly sapless twigs began tremblingly to put out
their little tender shoots. What one may call the oak of the forest,
the glorious Temple, was hopelessly shattered by the storm, but, to
keep up the simile, little cuttings from it were planted, and watered
with tears, and they took root and grew. Small meeting-houses for
prayer became general throughout the country. And these meeting-houses
served, too, a double purpose, showing the intimate practical relation
which exists between charity and religion. ‘He prayeth well who loveth
well.’ These little buildings were used also as temporary homes for
poor strangers, who were therein provided with free board and lodging.
The recital of the קִדּוּשׁ in our synagogues on the eves of Sabbaths
and holy days, and of the הַבְדָּלָה at the going out of Sabbaths and holy
days, is a remnant of this institution. And in these ancient, humble
synagogues, as in our grander modern ones, the presence of ten men
(_minyan_) made a sufficient beginning of a congregation. One after
another, too, the schools of Palestine reopened, and by the year 175
the Sanhedrin was in active work, with Simon, the sixth president in
direct line from Hillel, at its head.


=2. The Schools: their Work.=――The head-quarters of the schools of the
west were fixed at Tiberias, and the centre of the eastern group was
at Sura. The נָשִׂא, or Prince, was the patriarch of the western Jews; and
the רֵישׁ נְּלוּתָא, or Prince of the Captivity, ruled the eastern division.
But there was a great difference, both of social and of religious
position, between the patriarch and the prince. The patriarch in the
west was president of the Sanhedrin, and generally distinguished by
learning and knowledge of the Law; the prince, in the east, was merely
a political vassal of the Persian or Parthian court. Some ‘princes’
acquired distinction in the knowledge of the Law, but it was an
accident of their position, and not a cause or a consequence of it.
Each eastern school had its own president. The high colleges, or
Kallahs, were not always sitting; they met only for some months during
the year. The work they did was not quite on the same lines as the
university education of these days, although the name Kallahs may
possibly bear a like meaning. Some commentators find the root of the
word in כל, which means all or universal. The teaching was certainly
that, in every sense. A week before each of the festivals popular
lectures were given, and any one who liked might enter the halls.
Tents were often put up to accommodate the extra numbers. One teacher
of the period is said to have had 1,200 regular pupils of his own. The
professors, however, did not deliver lectures, of which their students
took more or less attentive notes. The instruction in these colleges
was carried on by means of discussion and debate. Question was met by
counter-question, and answers were often wrapped up in a parable or an
allegory. The widest digressions were encouraged. The mere mention of
some historical personage who had lived somewhere would lead perhaps
to a long debate on political geography; this might glide off into a
description of the physical peculiarities of the place or the people
named, and this again into an animated botanical or even physiological
discourse. All sorts of subjects were included in the ‘course’ of
study――ethics, metaphysics, jurisprudence, and all the science that
the period was capable of. Astronomy was one of the favourite subjects,
and a certain famous scholar named Samuel, who died about the year 250,
and who was a friend of Shapor, king of Persia, said, ‘The paths of the
heavenly bodies are as clear to me as the streets of Nehardea.’


=3. The Masters of the Schools.=――If the method of instruction differed
somewhat from our modern sort, no less different were the instructors.
Many of the most eminent ‘doctors’ were only humble tradesmen.
Tentmakers or shoemakers often, or carpenters, or weavers, or bakers.
One of them, Rabbi Zadok, distinctly taught, ‘Use the Law, not as a
crown to shine with, nor as a spade to dig with.’ Their practice gave
expression to their belief that labour is one form, and perhaps not the
least admirable form, of praise. They hated idleness, and they loved
learning. They managed to give full employment to their heads and their
hands, and they kept their hearts too in active and healthy condition,
since the good of others rather than self-culture was the aim of their
studies. The _Tanaim_[6] did not indulge in writing books, but they
made good shoes, and good tents, and good loaves, and they turned
out good and fairly educated young Jews by the score. So we, their
descendants, may be grateful both for what they did and for what they
did not do.


=4. The Moral Influence of the Schools.=――Dispersed as the Jews
were amongst all people, these schools became a breakwater against
the floods of barbarous ignorance and ungodly cultivation which surged
around. The schools gave a religious education in the widest sense of
the word, since the word of God supplied the text for every discussion
and for every discourse. A guide for health, a code for justice,
a theme for literature, a field for every branch of historic and
scientific inquiry, was sought and found in the Bible. ‘Turn it, and
turn it again,’ says the Mishnah, ‘for everything is in it.’ The ‘Law’
was to the Jew a treasury of knowledge as well as a ‘tree of life.’
The minor moralities, the everyday virtues of sobriety, and of content,
and of cheerfulness, the students must have learnt by example in the
persons of their humble and hard-working teachers.


=5. The Political Influence of the Schools.=――Politically, these
schools united the Jews and kept them a nation. Each community was
visited in turn by a legate of the Patriarch, and this brought the
whole of the scattered people into close and intimate relations.
And besides this official connection with one another, there was the
feeling of freemasonry which always exists among scholars, and which
keeps up a bond of mutual interest. The constitution of the schools,
too, helped and confirmed this sense of community. There were no
class distinctions in the Kallahs, no broad line of division between
‘town and gown’――absolutely no differences, save of character and of
brain power, between student and student, or even between student and
professor. Those who taught and those who learnt were all workers, and
all of the people. This old Jewish school system produced a democracy
of a very pure and patriotic sort, and with no opening for demagogues.


=6. The Literary Influence of the Schools.=――The literary influence
was the most lasting of all, for the Talmud was its outcome. ‘Moses
commanded unto us a law.’ From the very first, the ‘Law’ had to be
explained and applied. The unwritten record of the numberless instances
in which it had been so explained and applied, from the time of Moses
unto that of Ezra, had become by this date an enormous traditional
store. There had come to be a commentary and a precedent attaching to
every phrase and almost to every word in the Pentateuch. The comments
on the Law dated from its giving, on Sinai. Take, as an instance, the
command, ‘Ye shall dwell in booths.’ It looks at first simple enough.
But questions would soon arise. Did the ‘ye’ mean men, women, and
children? did the ‘dwell’ include sleeping and eating? of what sort and
material were the ‘booths’ to be? All such points were endless subjects
for commentary, and were practically settled by custom. Commentary by
this time had grown to an unmanageable bulk, and custom, in dispersion,
had grown somewhat uncertain and unsettled. Whilst the Temple stood,
and the people dwelt in their own land, wise and educated men were
always at hand to expound the Law, and there was no need for all
the shifting wealth of tradition to be stored, as it were, in one
bank. But when the schools were scattered, and might at any time be
closed, the fear grew that the currency, so to speak, might be debased,
and perhaps some valuable bits of it altogether lost. A resolve was
gradually formed to make the oral Law into a written one, and to turn
the traditions of seventeen centuries into an authoritative code. In
one sense it was a pity, for wise men, who obtained a knowledge of the
Law of Moses with its traditional interpretation through _vivâ voce_
instruction, were better able to get at the true spirit of the Law and
of the tradition than those who had to rely on the dead letter of books.
Once written down, misunderstandings might creep in, and what had been
useful as a guiding rein might be twisted by awkward hands into a yoke
or a halter. There was a danger even of very earnest folks receiving
this new written law with so much enthusiasm that they would count it
as a second revelation, and hold it equal with the Law itself. But few
things are unmixed good or unmixed evil. In most matters there is a
balance to be struck, and here it was certainly better to risk some
drawbacks from making the oral Law into a written one, than to face the
grave chance of its being by degrees forgotten altogether. To Hillel,
30 years B.C., had first occurred the idea of collecting and sifting
the enormous traditional store; and, about the year 200, Jehudah
the Prince, or Jehudah the Holy, as he is often called, the seventh
president of the Sanhedrin in succession from Hillel, seriously
began the work of compilation. It was no light work. Rills from the
‘fount of living waters’ which first flowed at Sinai had run into two
channels――Halacha, rule; and Hagada, legend――the one an arguing and
legal sort of commentary on the Law, the other a chatty and poetic
and discursive one. Jehudah ha-Nasi gathered up all the vast store
of Halacha; the traditions and interpretations of the wilderness, the
decisions of the judges, the constitutional customs under the kings,
the earnest communings of the exile, the vivid expoundings of Ezra, and
the later commentaries and discussions in the schools. Jehudah ha-Nasi
classified all this accumulation of Halacha, and by the year 200,
he had arranged it all, under six different headings, into some five
hundred chapters. Rabbi Jehudah’s compilation became known as the
Mishnah, from the root שָׁנָה, to learn by heart, as contrasted with
Mikra――which stood for Bible-reading, from קָרָא, to read from a book.
The Mishnah contains nearly four thousand rules, under the six heads
of Seeds, Festivals, Women, Civil and Criminal law, Sacrificial laws,
and laws of Cleanliness. To this code, later on, was added the Gemara,
which is a sort of complement and commentary to the Mishnah, and
includes the store of Hagada. Mishnah and Gemara together form the
Talmud. And as the Talmud literature grew, which was a literature
more or less intended for the learned, and was the result of learned
discussions in the schools, there grew up also a system of popular
lectures, and Biblical expositions and sermons for the people. These
discourses were given in the synagogues, and formed the basis of the
Midrashim literature (Midrash, from דָּרַשׁ, to expound). The language of
the Talmud is partly Rabbinical Hebrew, partly Aramaic. There are two
Talmuds in existence, the Jerusalem Talmud and the Babylonian Talmud.
The Babylonian one is the more perfect and authoritative, and was
completed by a certain learned Rabbi Ashi, about the year 500. Long
before that date the Palestine schools, one after the other, had to be
closed, and the Palestinian scholars had mostly emigrated to Babylon.



                              CHAPTER XV.

                    CHRISTIANITY A STATE RELIGION.


=1. How the new faith spread among the Heathen.=――Whilst the growth
from the seed which Moses had sown was being threshed out in the
schools, the gleanings of the apostle Paul were being garnered as
harvest in high places. The new religion had made progress in its first
three hundred years of existence, but without the practice of universal
love which it professed to teach. The Christian command, ‘Love one
another,’ was being, indeed, even less generally obeyed three hundred
years after the death of Jesus than had been the Mosaic injunction on
which it was founded, ‘Love thy neighbour as thyself,’ three hundred
years after the death of Moses. But notwithstanding that sects in
Christianity were already both plentiful and pugnacious, the new faith
was driving paganism to the wall, and it is not difficult to understand
how it was that this had come about. To Jews, the dogma of a Trinity
was, and always is, unthinkable; but to heathens it was a welcome
thinning of the ranks of their crowded Olympus. Christianity gave them
a much purer and simpler idea of Divinity than they had hitherto held,
and such selections from the old morality as they were bidden to accept
with the new doctrine were not of an irksome sort. All the observances,
and many of the restraints, of the Jewish Law, Paul, we know, had cast
aside, and thus his teaching had been well received by the heathen
almost from the first. Paul was accommodating, and proselytes in the
early days had been won by persuasion; but Christianity, grown stronger,
had grown aggressive, and by the end of the third century it had become
a political as well as a religious danger to pagan supremacy. In the
year 306, when Constantine, after a struggle, had succeeded in gaining
the imperial dignity, he clearly saw the advantage which putting
himself at the head of the Christian party would secure to him.
He faced both ways for a while, but before the end of his reign
Christianity was the state religion of Rome.


=2. The First Christian Emperor.=――Constantine was sixty-two years old
at the time of his formal conversion. He had been a quite comfortable
heathen all these sixty-two years, and on his accession had ruled at
first with fairness and justice. But when political motives, and his
mother, the Empress Helena, who was an ardent believer in the new
doctrine, had united to make him change his faith, he changed with
it his character. He became both cruel and unjust. It seemed as if he
really could not understand why, if he were converted, pagans, or Jews
either, should remain unconverted. He never could grasp the fact that
he, in his unconverted state, had been a heathen; whilst the Jews,
in their unconverted state, were Jews. But this really made all the
difference.


=3. Constantine legislates on the Subject: the Effects.=――Constantine
tried to force the Jews into Christianity by making Judaism difficult
to them and distasteful to others. All sorts of harsh and oppressive
measures were passed into law. Throughout the Roman dominions Jewish
subjects were forbidden to hold slaves or property, and, unless
baptized, every office in state or army was closed to them. No new
synagogues were allowed to be built, and restrictions were put upon
Jewish forms of worship. On the place in Jerusalem where the Temple had
stood a grand church was raised to the memory of Jesus. The permission
to make occasional pilgrimages to the ruins of the city was withdrawn.
Jews might no longer draw near the walls of Jerusalem and buy the
privilege of weeping there. Constantius, the son and successor of
Constantine, was just as zealous in the new faith as his father, and
quite as unsuccessful in his object. His Jewish subjects did not become
converts to Christianity, but crowds of them throughout the Roman
Empire left their homes, and joined their brethren in Babylon and
Mesopotamia, or made new settlements on the shores of the Tigris
and Euphrates. The schools of Palestine were gradually closed, and
the power of the Patriarch, with his followers so thinned, naturally
declined. It was one of the last of the patriarchs, Hillel II., who
fixed the permanent Jewish calendar which is still in force. Before his
time each president, for the time being, of the Sanhedrin had, month by
month, fixed the date of the new moon by observation, and had settled
at the beginning of each year, by calculation, what the character of
the year was to be, whether a leap year or an ordinary year. Gamaliel,
who died in 420, was the very last patriarch נָשִׂיא, or president, of the
Sanhedrin.


=4. Jews in the East under Persian Rule.=――The Eastern Jews, reinforced
by these Western ones, remained under their Persian masters unmolested
for quite another century. The Persians were fire-worshippers, and
their simple belief forbade persecution under the name of religion. The
sun was their divinity, and every morning as they stood on the hilltops
to salute it as it rose, and watched it shining impartially on sea
and on land, on the pinnacles of a king’s palace and on the twigs of a
bird’s nest, they made a beautiful meaning out of the beautiful sight.
They saw that there was no limit and no selection in their sun-god’s
rays. As he warmed the roses into life, he did not stay to ask if
they were going to be white roses or red ones. So these Persians who
worshipped the sun tried humbly to imitate its wide and generous ways.
They did not stay to ask any questions of their fellow-citizens, but
like the sun with the roses, so long as each was good ‘according to its
kind,’ gave each his due share of warmth and light with the rest. Thus,
under the kindly protection of the fire-worshippers, the Babylonian
schools flourished when the Palestinian schools were closed. And as
the patriarch of the West lost his followers, the reigning Prince of
the Captivity רֵישׁ נְּלוּתָא gained extra state and influence. He came to be
greatly respected by all the scholars of the period, whether native
subjects of Persia or immigrants from the Western world.


=5. Julian the Apostate.=――The zeal of the early converts, and the
legislation of the first two Christian Emperors, made life very
difficult to the Jews; and Christianity, in the name of which they
were persecuted, grew very distasteful to them. When on the death of
Constantius, in 360, an emperor was crowned who proclaimed himself a
pagan, there was great and barely concealed delight amongst the Jewish
subjects of Rome. One’s estimate of men or things depends so much on
the point of view. By the fathers of the Church this pagan Emperor
is called Julian the Apostate; by the heads of the Synagogue he must
have been looked upon as a saviour. Immediately on his accession he
declared all the persecuting laws to be a dead letter; he reduced
taxes, abolished disabilities, and finally gave permission to the Jews
to rebuild their Temple. Great were the rejoicings wherever this good
news travelled. East and west, throughout the Roman dominions, Jews
met and congratulated each other, and all hastened to send gifts and
contributions to Jerusalem, like as in the old days when the Tabernacle
was furnished in the wilderness by loving, liberal hands, which had
to be ‘restrained from giving.’ Those on the spot set to work with
a will, and the walls rose as by magic; and it really seemed to the
Jews, in the exalted mood they were in, as if the ruins were helping
to transform themselves into the Temple. It was all like a dream――so
hurried, and so wonderful, and so unreal. Julian’s whole reign only
lasted three years. He was crowned Emperor in 360, and he died in 363,
and his death put a stop to it all. Even before his death a check
had come. There had been a slight earthquake, or explosion, on the
site of the ruins, which had greatly startled and terrified the
excitable workmen. This incident gave rise to all sorts of tales of
supernatural interference with their purpose; and very soon the work,
so enthusiastically begun, was despairingly abandoned. A new and
Christian Emperor was crowned in Rome, and the old bad state of things
was re-established. Altogether, this brief lapse into paganism in the
middle of the fourth century is like a flash of lightning from out
dense thunder-clouds. It just enables us to see the surrounding ‘thick
darkness.’

  Illustration:                                       _Edw^d. Weller_
                           THE ROMAN EMPIRE
                     AT THE CLOSE OF THE REPUBLIC

                        _London Longmans & Co._



                             CHAPTER XVI.

                   THE BREAK-UP OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE:
                       SOME OF ITS CONSEQUENCES.


=1. Political Changes.=――Theodosius, who died in 395, was the last of
the Roman Emperors who held undivided sway over those vast dominions.
After his death the ancient empire of Rome was split up into two great
states, and styled the Empire of the East and the Empire of the West.
The Northern barbarians found their opportunity in this division, and,
in 410, and again in 455, great hordes of Goths and Vandals swooped
down on beautiful, debased Rome, and plundered it. Within a century
of the death of Theodosius the Roman Empire of the West had ceased to
exist. The Emperors of the Eastern division――the Byzantine Emperors,
as they were by-and-by called――fixed their court at Constantinople,
and kept up their title and much of their power for over one thousand
years――till the year 1453, in fact, when Constantinople was sacked by
the Saracens. The general shifting of boundaries which ensued on the
break-up of a great power like Rome brought about various changes in
government, which are easier to recognise than changes in sentiment
and circumstance. We will look at the political changes first, and the
map will be a help to the understanding of them. The conquests of the
barbarians resulted in new names and new masters to the old historic
sites. Goths and Vandals, Lombards and Franks, rose on the ruins of the
great Roman state. From the latter half of the fourth century to the
end of the fifth there was general storm and upheaval throughout those
dominions, in almost every province of which Jews were to be found. Not
to speak for a moment of the Eastern division of the empire, there were
Jews in Italy, in Greece, in the Archipelago, in such parts of Germany
as were civilised, in Gaul, and in Spain. By the beginning of the sixth
century, things had settled down a little, and we can see some order,
and find some well-known names and landmarks. Justinian was at that
date Emperor of the Eastern remains of the great Roman state; Recared,
the first Christian king of the Goths, ruled in Spain; Chilperic, who
has been called the Nero of France, was his contemporary; and towards
the end of that same century Pope Gregory I. was the head of the Church.


=2. Social Changes.=――At this period of stress and storm, Jews were
scattered in all the places where it was felt. But the legislation of
the age forbade them to take the part of Roman citizens in the struggle.
They were not regarded as Roman citizens either by Church council or by
State code. In the eye of the law they were heretics, to be compelled
or converted into Christianity, but to stand distinctly outside of
it meanwhile. War was the all but universal profession. Jews might
not hold military rank. They might not even be civil guardians of the
peace, since ‘no Jew in any cause could be witness against a Christian.’
They might neither aspire to be owners of land, nor leaders of men.
There were difficulties put in the way of their holding property,
and difficulties in the way of their bequeathing it. By the time of
Justinian (530‒560) the ‘must nots’ and the ‘shall nots,’ of which the
Jews were the occasion, amounted to quite a considerable portion of the
famous Roman code. This sort of legislation, and the warfare consequent
on the break-up of the Roman Empire, together produced one very
noteworthy effect. With the fall of Jerusalem the people of the Land
became in a sense the people of the Book. With the fall of Rome they
seem to gradually become, and for many centuries to remain, the people
of the ledger. It was another and a narrower change, and one for
which the Jews themselves must be held wholly free from blame. Cruel
legislation turned a people with the strongest home instincts into
an almost willing community of wanderers. It reduced men who, through
generations, had loved to live by the work of their hands, to the
necessity of living by the exercise of their wits. There was no leisure
to train workers of the Bezaleel and Aholiab type into ‘skilfulness in
all manner of cunning workmanship,’ for rough weapons were the chief
demand of the age. There was no longer a chance for the old to sit,
in peaceful sense of proprietorship, under their own vine and fig tree,
whilst young tillers of the soil vigorously ‘gathered in their corn
and their wine and their oil.’ The oliveyards and the vineyards and the
corn-fields were often battle-fields, or sometimes pleasant adjuncts
to the monasteries which were beginning to be built. In any case they
were not for Jews, who might not be landowners, save in the sense that
‘six feet of English soil’ were offered in perpetuity by our English
Harold to the invader.


=3. Monks and Saints.=――In the practical occupation of their lives,
Jews and Christians were distinctly divided by legislation, and through
religious sentiment they were drifting further and further apart. About
this period, the end of the fifth century, the Church hero of the day
was a certain Simon Stylites, afterwards canonised as saint, and added
to that long roll of deified beings, to be prayed to and protected by,
which was making the Christian heaven something of a heathen Olympus.
Saint Simon Stylites’s claim to saintship and to hero-worship lay in
the fact that he was living on the top of a pillar, and that ‘living’
meant to him not the common round of daily duties and daily cares,
but a miserable and useless existence, persevered in from the purest
motives. Saint Simon Stylites may serve as an extreme example of
what was then, and for centuries after, the highest Christian ideal.
There came to be a whole class of men called monks, and of women who
were called nuns, who of their own free will gave up all the innocent
pleasures and happinesses of life. They prayed, and fasted, and
scourged themselves at regular intervals, and chose to live in bareness
and discomfort, and often in actual dirt. They put peas in their shoes,
and hair shirts on their backs; and the kindnesses they did――and they
did many――were done from duty to God rather than from love of man.
In the intervals of their set prayings and fastings they doctored the
sick, but they seldom remembered that ‘a cheerful heart doeth good like
a medicine.’ There was once a small sect among the Jews[7] who thought
they could best serve God by selfishly withdrawing from the world in
which He had placed them, who chose to suffer rather than to do, and
who made an especial study and an especial care of their own souls.
This sect, the Essenes, which was scanty and short-lived, was never in
sympathy with the body of the Jewish nation. It was a system altogether
repugnant to Jewish notions of what is pleasing to God. Cleanliness, in
the Jewish code, is not even next to godliness, but is a detailed and
indispensable part of it. Wilful dirt, and discomfort, and dismalness,
are, all alike, considered immoral, and the whole teaching of the Bible
is on the lines that ‘the servants of the Lord shall rejoice before
Him,’ and ‘serve Him with gladness.’ The monks of Christianity were an
exaggerated outcome of that outlived error, the Essenes of Judaism; and
we can understand how the silent, cowled, and barefooted monks, and the
multitude of the readily worshipped ‘saints,’ made the principles of
Christianity distasteful to the Jew, in like manner as the persecuting,
blundering populace rendered the practice of it disgraceful. More and
more the Jews lived a distinct and separate life from the peoples among
whom they dwelt, separated by religious thought as well as by so-called
religious legislation.


=4. How Jews became Traders.=――Leisure and a sense of security are
needed for any industrious or cultivated occupation. The irruption of
the barbarians, with the warfare which it brought in its train, not
only gave little leisure for industry, but the constant movement of
armed hosts made settled work of any sort impossible. There was also
the less occasion for skilled labour, as food and clothing and weapons
were the principal wants of those conquering and uncultured hordes
from the North. The misery, however, which these men caused as they
marched was felt less by the Jews than by the natives of the soil,
whose peaceful homes and whose growing crops were destroyed. Jews, by
this time, were used to most minor hardships. They had, for very long,
been wanderers and pariahs. They had been learning now for centuries,
to ‘hold all mortal joys with a loose hand.’ ‘I do not call my wife
wife, but home,’ said a Jewish scholar once. The tender little love
speech came to have a very wide and literal meaning. Home, in our sense
of the word, was to the Jew often roofless, and his pack served for
his pillow. But steadfast, faithful affection, as often, walled the
roofless dwelling round like a fenced city, and wife and children made
‘home’ to him out of the most unlikely places.

Jews accepted the new state of things. They bravely adapted themselves
to the altered circumstances of their lot, and made the best of it.
They had to live, though a hard and hurried and undignified sort
of living it became. With a quickness which experience taught and
self-interest quickened, they tried to make themselves useful and
acceptable. Their own wants, as wayfarers in strange lands, made
them swift to perceive the wants of others. They used their sorrows
for stepping-stones. They had known ‘straitness and the want of all
things;’ surely they could supply some. Such property as they managed
to keep must needs have been of a portable sort, and much of it of
a serviceable kind, and likely to prove useful to rough new-comers.
Barter would naturally ensue, and what the purchaser could not get from
the Jew at hand could probably be obtained, through his medium, from
a Jew farther off. And this was the very small beginning of the great
system of international trading, in which Jews have so large a share.
The descendants of David the sweet singer, and of Ezra the Scribe, and
of countless unrecorded generations who ‘gathered in their wine and
their oil,’ and were ‘skilful in all manner of workmanship,’ turned
to buying and selling, and often to haggling and to hoarding. It was
circumstances which made traders out of the studious, vine-growing
handicraftsmen of the Book. And it was circumstances, quite as much as
their own wits, which made them successful and proficient at their new
calling. Jews were widely dispersed and yet closely connected, and were
forced to be onlookers rather than actors in the world’s affairs. This
position gave them exceptional opportunities for trading. They were
denied all healthy and ordinary ambitions, and thus money-making became
to them an interesting and sometimes an absorbing pursuit, even when
it was not; which it mostly was, a painful and sordid necessity. Jews
ceased to be producers; the Land and the Book seemed alike to be closed
against them. They developed into the chief traders and financiers of
the Middle Ages, ranging from pedlars and hawkers to contractors of
State loans.


=5. The Slave Trade.=――The incessant warfare, and the imperfect
civilisation, of these early centuries made of men and women and
children a recognised article of commerce. Selling people into slavery
has a dreadful sound, but in those days it was not quite so dreadful
a thing, nor even so avoidable a one, as it would be in these. Great
tracts of cultivated land were constantly being laid waste; what was to
be done with the vanquished dwellers thereon? In that rough and ready
system of waging war, it was centuries too soon for trying any of our
modern methods of treaties of peace or diplomatic settlement. The
hostile inhabitants of a conquered state had to be exterminated or to
be rendered harmless. It really resolved itself with the victors into
a question of slaughter or of slavery. And of that hard choice, slavery
was possibly the less uncomfortable fate to the conquered, whilst to
the conquerors it was decidedly the more economical arrangement, and on
the whole, perhaps, the more humane; for, transformed from enemies into
property, the slaves were pretty sure of fair treatment from buyer and
from seller both, and their chief hardship would be the chance of being
sold in separate lots, and of being divided from their families as well
as from their country.


=6. Jews as Slave-owners.=――In their owners, at any rate, as events
turned out, the captives were, for the most part, fortunate. The
principal purchasers of slaves were found among the Jews. Jews were
so widely scattered by this time that they seemed to be always and
everywhere at hand to buy, and to have the means equally ready to
pay. They were the kindest of masters. ‘Remember how ye were slaves
in the land of Egypt,’ is the preface to God’s law on the treatment
of dependants. ‘For ye know the heart of a stranger,’ is further and
tenderly urged. To the credit of these trading Jews, so often tempted
to drive a hard bargain, to seem and even to be hard, and sordid, and
grasping――to their credit be it said that they acted in the spirit of
their Law, and proved the gentlest and most generous slave-owners the
world has ever known. So fond grew the grateful slaves of their Jewish
masters, that they very often desired to become Jews themselves, and
were thus the indirect cause of an immense deal of harsh and suspicious
legislation. The Church conscientiously abhorred Jews. It could not be
expected to look on calmly at the possible manufacture of more of them.
So council after council of the Church busied itself in devising plans
to prevent, or in imposing penalties to punish, any conversions to
Judaism.


=7. Church Councils.=――The early Church, in its practice as in its
precepts, borrowed much from the ancient Synagogue. The Sanhedrin was
something of a model for the Council. Both assemblies claimed a supreme
authority quite independently of political conditions. The new faith
had held its first deliberative sitting at Jerusalem about the year 50,
when the matter to decide was the question, which had been raised at
Antioch, whether heathen converts could dispense with the Abrahamic
covenant. According to Church tradition, a brother of Jesus presided
at this assembly, and Paul opened the discussion. At any rate, this
was the very first so-called Council of the Church. As time went on the
meetings multiplied, though the debates were rarely decisive of such
great issues as was that first one. Jews were a frequent and favourite
subject for discussion, and concerning them the expression of opinion
and the consequent legislation were apt to be, unhappily, unanimous.
There were occasional exceptions. The Pope or Father of the Church, for
the time being, was the head of these councils, and towards the end of
the sixth century, when Gregory I. was Pope, his firmness and humanity
for a brief while gave some check to the persecuting mania. Pope
Gregory was just as much in earnest as any of the Church dignitaries,
past or present, in hating the slave trade, but he hated it because
it was slavery, and not only because Jews were slave-owners. He loved
righteousness and he hated wrong-doing, but he did not put Jewish or
Christian labels on these things, and love or hate accordingly. Pope
Gregory was several centuries in advance of his age.


=8. Eastern Jews.=――Whilst the Goths and the Vandals were overrunning
Europe, and the Jews of the West were turning into pedlars, the Jews
of the East were also beginning to have a history apart from their
schools. For nearly 500 years the history of the Babylonian Jews was
almost that of the happy nations who have none. From the time when
Jerusalem fell, till the beginning of the sixth century, the troubles
of the Jews who were settled on the banks of the Tigris and of the
Euphrates had been but slight; occasionally irritating, but very rarely
serious. In Mesopotamia, for a very long period, Jews as citizens
were undistinguishable from other citizens, and they on their side,
as a certain Rabbi Samuel expressed it, ‘respected the law of the
land no less than the law of Moses.’ Their Judaism was absolutely
uninterfered with, and they had leisure for little scholarly quarrels
among themselves. There was, it is true, a fanatic sect among the
fire-worshippers, who were often trying to disturb the pleasant and
peaceful terms on which the Jews lived with their Persian masters, but
they seldom succeeded. Unluckily, however, neither the peace nor the
pleasantness was secure; both depended on a good many causes, among
which the disposition of the reigning ruler counted for much. At the
beginning of the sixth century troubles began for the Eastern Jews,
and speedily grew formidable. In the year 530 their reigning רֵישׁ נְּלוּתָא
Prince of the Captivity, was hanged by order of the State. This act
was followed by other persecuting measures. Many Jewish religious rites
were prohibited, and the schools were closed. Luckily, by this time
the great work of the schools was accomplished, the Babylonian Talmud
having been finished by Rabbi Aschi some forty years before.


=9. War between the Persian and the Byzantine Empires.=――Early in the
next century there was a terrible struggle between the Persians and the
Romans, or, to be exact, between the Persians and that Eastern division
(all that was left by this date) of the great Roman Empire which held
its court at Constantinople, and which was now called the Byzantine
Empire. The Jews throughout the Persian dominions, despite recent
differences, were loyal to their Persian masters, and helped them to
fight and to conquer. Egypt and Syria were wrested from the Romans,
and Jerusalem fell before the Persian arms. Throughout the war the Jews
helped the Persians loyally as Persian subjects, but in Jerusalem it is
to be feared that the Jews fought rather as personal, than as Persian,
enemies of Rome. The old scenes brought back the old memories, and Jews
remembered only too well and too fiercely. There was terrible fighting
in Jerusalem. The church which Constantine’s mother, the Empress Helena,
had built on the ruins of the Temple, was pulled down, the Christians
were cruelly massacred or sold as slaves, or sometimes sold as slaves
and then massacred. It was to a great extent a religious war, which
accounts for its bitterness. The Persians were monotheistic in their
faith, and they hated what was pagan in Christianity, the trinity of
Gods, the plurality of saints, and the worship of relics. The successes
of Chosroes, the Persian Emperor, did not, however, last long. Twenty
years later the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius reversed it all. He reduced
the Persian ruler to submission, he made Syria and Egypt come again
under his control, he rebuilt his churches in Jerusalem, and forbade
the Jews, as in the days of Hadrian, to approach within a certain
measured distance of its walls. This was contrary to the promise which
the Emperor had made to the Jews, and was a weak concession to the
wishes of the bishops, who readily, however, gave him absolution for
breaking his word.



                             CHAPTER XVII.

                       THE RISE OF MAHOMEDANISM.
                              (600‒650.)


=1. ‘The Koran or the Sword.’=――Another change was impending. Persians
and Romans both were soon to be put on their defence against a common
enemy. By the beginning of the seventh century it was clear that
boundaries were again to be altered, and faiths to be again unsettled.
A new and mysterious movement had begun, with Mahomed, half soldier and
half prophet, at its head. The end Mahomed had in view was conversion;
the means he employed was conquest. Across the deserts of Arabia came
his cry of ‘the Koran or the sword.’ It sounded a fierce and fanatic
cry enough, but at least there was a suggestion of choice about it, and
that may have been part of the secret of its success. People by this
time were so used to the threat of the ‘sword,’ that many were more
than half willing to accept, without any inquiry, the ‘Koran,’ which
was offered as an alternative. And those who did inquire were, for
the most part, all the more ready to accept. For the Koran, or sacred
book of Mahomed, was a simple book. The unity of God was its one dogma.
It promised much in the way of reward, and demanded little in the way
of belief. Its acceptance was the main point, and to the ‘faithful,’
things were to be made pleasant in both worlds. The Koran was a
formidable rival to the books of Zoroaster, and to the Gospels of the
Christian Church. The fire-worshippers in the East, beset by civilising
influences, were ready for a new creed, and the Christ-worshippers
in the West, possessed as they were by the persecuting spirit, and
materialised as they had become by pagan influences, were making their
religion dishonoured and unacceptable. So the victorious cry of ‘the
Koran or the sword’ swept onward like a trumpet call, and the man who
raised it, before he died――and he died in 632――found half the inhabited
world ready to cry with him that ‘Allah was God, and Mahomed was His
prophet.’


=2. What Mahomed learned from the Jews.=――From very early times there
had been a settlement of Jews in Arabia. Tradition says that the Queen
of Sheba travelled thence to pay her famous visit to King Solomon. But,
however that may be, there are tolerably trustworthy records which tell
of Jewish dwellers in Arabian valleys before the Christian era. At one
time there undoubtedly existed an Arab-Jewish state. Its limits and
dates are not very exactly defined, but over this Himyerite kingdom, as
it was called, there was certainly a Jewish king ruling at the time of
its downfall in the year 530. It was brought to an end by a Christian
king of Abyssinia, who in his turn was defeated by Chosroes II. of
Persia. There is also a story, seemingly legend, and yet historical,
of a people called the Khozars, whose king, Bulan, became a convert to
Judaism, and who founded a Jewish dynasty and ruled long and happily
by the shores of the Caspian Sea. But however much or however little
of truth there may be in these traditions which treat of kings and
dynasties, certain it is that, divided by the desert from the pursuit
of persecutors all round, Arabian Jews did live, century after century,
in their fertile valleys, secure in the possession of perfect freedom
of faith. In the northern parts of Arabia these Jews were wandering
herdsmen like their Ishmaelitish brethren, but in the south and east
they carried on a considerable trade with India and Persia and the
Byzantine Empire. They were much more civilised than the native Arabs
among whom they dwelt. The Jews were people with a past, which is
in itself impressive. They could tell tales without end, of heroic
ancestry, or could speak of the higher life with the authority
befitting descendants of seers and prophets. They were the direct heirs
of Abraham; these other Arabians, fulfilling the destiny of Ishmael,
whose ‘hand was to be against every man, and every man’s hand against
his,’ had the blood of Hagar the bondwoman in their veins. The Arabian
Jews came naturally to have that influence over the native tribes which
the higher always exercises on the lower. And thus it came to pass that
the new faith, which Mahomed came from Arabia to preach, showed many
signs of the Jewish surroundings in which its founder had been born and
brought up.


=3. Islam.=――The very name which was given to Mahomedanism has a
certain Jewish suggestiveness about it. Arabic and Hebrew belong to the
same group of languages, the Semitic. The Arabic ‘Islam’ and the Hebrew
שָׁלוֹם are derived from a like radical term, which denotes soundness,
or a perfect and unimpaired condition. Peace is another rendering of
the word, and expresses a very similar meaning, since ‘peace’ would
naturally ensue from a sound and healthy state of things.


=4. Likenesses between Islam and Judaism.=――There was a kinship of
religious thought, as well as of language and of race, between the Arab
and the Jew. The Unity of God is the first principle of Islam as it
is of Judaism. Abraham and Moses are the heroes of the Koran as of the
Pentateuch, and the covenant of Abraham and the dietary laws of Moses
are enjoined by Mahomed on his followers.


=5. Differences between Islam and Judaism.=――But there were differences
too, and these of a very vital sort. ‘Allah was God.’ That doctrine
of the new faith, the Jews, worshippers of One, might agree with. That
‘Mahomed was His prophet’ was debatable. Moses, even, was not always
unquestioningly obeyed. There was small hope for Mahomed. And much of
the teaching of the new prophet soon showed that the deserts of Arabia,
and not the heights of Sinai, inspired it. Judaism, for all its minute
bodily observance, is essentially a spiritual religion. Future rewards
are not mapped out after any human pattern, and such Hereafter as
is hinted at is of a purely spiritual kind. ‘In My presence there
is fulness of joy,’ is the nearest glimpse God vouchsafes of His
heaven. ‘Allah’s’ promised paradise was of a quite different sort.
Creature comforts, and very earthly delights, were to be the portion of
believers in him, and in Mahomed his prophet. It was a programme likely
to appeal to a lower class of mind, and the Jews remained unaffected
by it. Mahomed was never able to count the Jews among his converts.
From among the Jews of Arabia he met, indeed, at first with contempt
and opposition. They would not grasp the hand that held the Koran,
and so the other, the sword-arm, was lifted against them. There was
some fighting, and much bad feeling, at first between the Jews and the
followers of Mahomed. During the lifetime of the Prophet some Jews were
oppressed and some were exiled, and some were forced to serve under
the banner of Islam. But after his death, and as the tide of Mahomedan
conquest swept on, the Jews found cause to rejoice in the more tolerant
treatment which they experienced from the rulers who adopted the faith
of Islam.



                            CHAPTER XVIII.

                     THE CONQUESTS OF THE KALIPHS:
              EFFECT, RELIGIOUS AND SOCIAL, ON THE JEWS.

                              (600‒800.)


=1. Progress of Mahomedanism.=――There were great changes brought about
in the position of the Jews from the spread of the new faith. The
followers of Mahomed conquered east and west. First Syria was overrun,
and the Christian subjects of the Byzantine Empire driven out of
Jerusalem, and a mosque, sacred to Allah, was erected on the ruins of
the Jewish Temple and of the Christian church. The power of Persia was
broken and finally subdued by the Mahomedans,[8] and their victories
over the Persians were rendered the easier by the help and sympathy
which they found among the oppressed Persian Jews. Then from Asia the
followers of the Prophet turned to Africa, and, establishing themselves
in Egypt, looked threateningly across the straits at Spain. Within
fifty years of the death of Mahomed the enormous empire of the kaliphs,
as his successors were called, extended from the Caspian Sea to the
Straits of Gibraltar, and was soon to bridge these, and to come to its
greatest triumph in the Peninsula. It was just in these countries that
Jews most congregated, and therefore the history of Islam has a special
importance for the students of Jewish history.


=2. Gaonim.=――The first effect of the Mahomedan supremacy was felt in
the neighbourhood where it arose, and chiefly amongst those scholars of
Babylon who, within the memories of elderly men, had seen their schools
closed and their רֵישׁ נְּלוּתָא hanged. It was no part of the Mahomedan policy
to make war on schools. Conquest once assured, the conquered might
occupy themselves as they pleased. So long even as contrary beliefs
did not take the active form of opposition to Islam, the holders of
such beliefs were contemptuously and good-naturedly ignored. It was a
pleasant experience for the Jews. Under the tolerant sway of the first
kaliph, Omar, who had reason, in his quarrels with the Persians, to
make friends with the Jews, the schools were reopened, an heir of the
murdered רֵישׁ נְּלוּתָא was reinstated, and the heads of the colleges took
on themselves all their old duties and dignities with the new name of
Gaonim.[9] Talmudic studies were again revived, and the _kallahs_ (high
colleges) of Sora and Pumbaditha grew to be quite celebrated centres of
learning. They were diligent students, these Gaonim, and a Gaon called
Jehuda, who was blind, and who lived about the year 750, was one of the
most active of them all in compiling the laws and decisions contained
in the Talmud, and arranging them in systematic order. The Gaonim
gradually became the great authorities on all religious and legal
questions; and only political matters, and subjects which lay a little
outside of the keenest interest, were left to the management of the
רֵישׁ נְּלוּתָא. His authority waned again. Some of those who wielded it were
not very wise, and managed to come into collision with the Mahomedan
rulers. Then from an hereditary dignity it became an elective one, and
the succession provoked quarrels. At a certain stage in their history
the Jews would seem to have prized scholars more than ‘princes.’ At
any rate, the Gaonim came to the front, and the office of Head of the
Captivity grew to be of less and less importance. Finally, under the
combined influences of neglect from the Jews and of some jealousy from
the Mahomedans, the office, after having existed for 700 years, expired
altogether, as we shall see, in the tenth century.


=3. Spain in the hands of the Mahomedans.=――Eighty years after the
death of the Prophet, the Koran and the sword, having made their
triumphant way in Asia and in Africa, the Mahomedans proclaimed the
one and sheathed the other in Europe. In 710 the flag with the crescent
floated from the cathedrals and citadels of Spain, and Mahomedan
kaliphs ruled in the place of Catholic kings. It made an enormous
change in the condition of the Jews. Christian legislation had been
hard on them for centuries. In public life it kept them from ‘use and
name and fame,’ and in private life it prevented any sort of dignity or
pleasantness. A Jew might neither be born nor be married, neither love
nor work nor play, without penalties and restrictions. He might have
the children he had begotten, or the servants he had bought, taken from
him at any moment without excuse or possibility of redress. He could be
forced into a church and made to listen unwillingly to bad sermons, and
if he resisted he might be scourged. Would he be converted, or would
he have his property taken from him? was a common form of question to
the Jews. And when, about the date of Mahomed’s death, a Catholic king
named Sisebut was reigning in Spain, even so much of choice, as was
implied in this, was withdrawn. Not conversion or confiscation, but
baptism or exile, was the alternative presented to his Jewish subjects
by this royal fanatic Sisebut. It was a terrible state of things, for
the difficulty to the Jews was to find any place where they should be
better off. Dagobert was the contemporary king of France, and the laws
he administered, and those that his predecessor Clotaire had had to
administer, were precisely of the same sort. Heraclius, the ruler of
the Byzantine Empire, had only lately renewed those edicts of Hadrian
and Constantine which forbade Jews to approach Jerusalem; and with his
recent experience of the part which Jews had taken in his struggle with
Chosroes, Heraclius could not have been in a very friendly mood towards
Jews generally. They could anticipate no welcome in any corner of
Heraclius’s dominions. They might perhaps have tried Italy, where the
Popes were powerful; for the Popes, as a rule, were not unjust to the
Jews. And some did, and found in the comparative kindness of the heads
of the Church good cause for believing that religion was not always
a motive for persecution, though it too often served as an excuse for
cruelty and plunder. And many had migrated to the East; and many, who
were obliged to remain in Europe, had taken upon them, in hate and fear
and trembling, the forced disguise of converts. Then came the conquests
of the kaliphs, which brought about an altogether new state of things
for the Jews. In Spain, we shall see that it made a brilliant silver
lining to the clouds, a rift in that thick darkness which had descended
upon the nation when Jerusalem fell.


=4. The Karaite Movement.=――Mahomed did not succeed in converting the
Jews, but nevertheless the indirect influences of the faith he preached,
helped perhaps a little by communal disputes, did produce a distinct
sect among the Jews about the middle of the eighth century. There is
so little that is really new, that many historians call Karaism only
an old school of thought revived under new conditions and with a fresh
name, and consider Judaism to be quite as accountable for it as Islam.
We know that there were anciently three Jewish sects: the Essenes, who
never struck root in Judaism at all; the Pharisees, the best of whom
developed into the great earnest body of Rabbis; and the Sadducees,
of whom Josephus said ‘they were able to persuade none but the rich,’
and who did, in truth, all but die out with the prosperous days into
which they had fitted so easily. With Islam triumphant the prosperous
days seemed dawning again, and once more the yoke of the Law began
to be grumbled at. The oral law was now a written and settled code,
and the obligations of codified tradition were more numerous than the
injunctions of the Law. The murmurers said that they would observe
the text, but not the commentary; they would read the Law, but they
would skip the traditional interpretations. These grumblers grew
numerous enough to be recognised: they were called Textualists, or
Scripturalists; and yet more distinctively Karaites, from the Hebrew
root קָרָא, to read.[10]


=5. Mahomedan Causes for Karaism.=――In their objection to tradition
the Sadducees and the Karaites were alike, and so far it seems
probable that the one sect was a survival of the other. But there
were other influences at work, which may account for the appearance
or the reappearance, as it may be, at this period of the later sect of
separatists. The Arabs, by whom the impressionable Jews were surrounded,
had enthusiastically accepted a most simple form of faith, a faith
which had no priesthood and but one prophet. No sooner did tradition
gather about Islam than a sect arose among the Mahomedans to throw it
off. There had come quickly a Sunnah to the Koran, as there had grown
slowly a Talmud to the Law. A party in Islam rejected the stricter
traditions of the Sunnah, and a party among the Jews, about the same
date, grew openly impatient of the Rabbinical ruling of the Talmud.
Rebellion of any sort is catching, and there can be little doubt that
each set of grumblers helped the other.


=6. The Leader of the Karaite Movement.=――The man who first gave
expression to the Jewish discontent with tradition was a certain Anan,
son of David, a native of Babylon. Anan had a personal grievance of
his own, a position which gives a certain point and eloquence to any
general sense of injury. He had wished to be made רֵישׁ נְּלוּתָא. But the
election had come and gone, and he had been passed over; and, worst
slight of all, a younger brother of his own had been appointed to the
office. So Anan, disappointed of being patriarch of his people, and of
leading them on the old and orthodox road, determined to become their
spokesman and advocate in the new direction.


=7. What became of the Sect.=――Their tenets never made much way.
They were, in fact, impossible. The Karaite said he would obey ‘the
Law’――the strict and literal text, but would have nothing to do with
tradition. Now let us see his difficulty. Take, as an instance, the
command, ‘Ye shall kindle no fire in your habitations on the Sabbath’
(Exod. xxxv. 3). A ‘literal,’ consistent Karaite, living in a cold
climate, would have to freeze for twenty-four hours regularly every
seventh day, for he could not accept traditional observance, which
lightens the yoke of the Law by limiting the meaning of the ‘ye’
to Jews, and permitting fire to be kindled in Jewish dwellings by
the friendly hands of outsiders. Commentary――that is, explanation
of some sort――is necessary to every law, and personal and off-hand
interpretation is no more likely to be right than traditional ruling.
It is somewhat conceited to think our own wisdom is all-sufficient,
and that of our ancestors must be wrong; and it is just a little mean,
perhaps, to be over-eager to throw off burdens which good men have
deliberately borne. As our English poetess[11] wisely says,――

                                        ‘If we tried
              To sink the past beneath our feet, be sure
              The future would not stand.’

The Karaites never grew very numerous nor very powerful, though they
were occasionally very troublesome. At the present day, stray remnants
of the sect are discoverable in Jerusalem, and in parts of Turkey,
Egypt, Galicia, and the Crimea.


=8. Good out of Evil.=――Sects never do prosper among Jews. The ideal
of the nation, like the ideal of the religion, is Unity. The Karaites
made but little impression in the way they wanted, which was a separate
and a harmful way, but the means they employed brought about another
and a very useful end. Rejecting all commentary, and relying entirely
on the text of Scripture, they were forced to examine the text very
closely. The Rabbis, to refute them, had to be equally particular about
their interpretations. No arbitrary renderings could be given where
both parties were inclined to be so positive. Each would examine, and
re-examine, every phrase and word and letter for himself. This contest
between Karaites and Talmudists brought about a very exact sort of
scholarship; and accuracy is, we know, one of the conditions of truth.
The Scriptures were exhaustively studied; the language was treated
grammatically and scientifically; punctuation was added to the text,
and the Pentateuch, after being divided into portions and paragraphs
(פַרְשִׁיוֹת and סְדָרִים), was thus, as it were, put under the microscope. This
work was mostly done by the Karaite scholars, and it was called the
Massora[12] text. Thus the chief effect of the Karaite movement was to
bring about a religious-literary revival. Historians who are fond of
tracing back big events to a small original germ tell us that among
the causes which led to the English Reformation (1525) may certainly
be counted the spirit of earnest and profound inquiry into Scriptural
renderings which Anan, son of David, aroused among the Jews. In this
sense the Karaites are sometimes called the Protestants of Judaism.



                             CHAPTER XIX.

                        LIFE UNDER THE KALIPHS.
                              (700‒1000.)


=1. Jews in the East.=――With Persia and Mesopotamia under the sway
of the Mahomedans, the _kallahs_ of Sora and Pumbaditha flourished,
the Gaonim pursued their studies, and the Head of the Captivity had
his settled rank as one of the many vassals and tributaries of the
kaliphate. The position of the Jews was much improved. In the time
of Omar, the second kaliph, the coinage, which was of course a very
important trust, was given into the charge of a Jew. Early in the
next century, the ninth, under the famous kaliph, Haroun al-Raschid,
a Jew named Isaac was employed as ambassador, and sent on a delicate
diplomatic mission from the court at Bagdad to Charlemagne of Germany.
But nevertheless, although individual Jews rose to eminence, and
Jewish institutions were unmolested, some amount of prejudice against
the nation still lingered in the East. Perhaps the remembrance of
the opposition which their Prophet had met with from the Jews had
a stronger influence on his successors among the scenes where he
had personally moved; for the early kaliphs or sultans, as they are
indifferently called, were not always so favourably inclined towards
their Jewish subjects as was Omar and the great Haroun al-Raschid. In
the beginning of the eighth century a Mahomedan ruler named Mutavakel
was very hard upon Jews and Christians both. He made them wear a
leathern girdle, to distinguish them in their dress from his ‘faithful’
followers, and neither Jew nor Christian in his dominions was allowed
to ride on horses, only on donkeys or mules. This sultan would
certainly seem to have been an all-round persecutor, and rather an
exceptional one. The insecure position, however, of the Jews in the
East at this period was due as much to dissensions from within as to
persecutions from without. More and more the office of רֵישׁ נְּלוּתָא grew to
be a stumblingblock and an offence. The succession was a constant cause
of quarrel among the Jews, and these squabbles made it impossible for
the kaliphs to either respect the dignity or to ignore it, either of
which attitudes on the part of the Mahomedan sovereign would have been
a comfortable one for his Jewish vassals.


=2. Close of the Schools: some Scholars.=――The schools did some good
work, and produced some good scholars, before the end came. Towards
the middle of the ninth century we hear of a complete dictionary of
the Bible being compiled by a certain Rabbi Menahem ben Saruk. The book
is still in existence. Then there was a celebrated Gaon called Saadia
ben Joseph (892‒942), who translated the Bible into Arabic, which
language was now becoming a second mother-tongue among the Eastern
Jews. Another of the more celebrated of the Gaonim was named Sherira,
and he has left us quite a detailed chronicle of these Babylonian
schools. Sherira was very nearly the last of the Gaonim. He upheld the
office worthily for thirty years (967‒997), and towards the end of his
patriarchate he associated his son Hai with him in the dignity. The
ruling kaliph cast a jealous eye on the old man’s wealth and honours.
On a trumped-up charge, both father and son were cast into prison,
and their riches confiscated. Hai escaped, and a little later, another
attempt at this dangerous dignity was made by a certain Hezekiah. It
failed, and this last Gaon was executed (1036) by order of the kaliph.
All the Eastern schools were now closed, and the scholars were once
more scattered. Palestine and the whole of the Byzantine Empire
became almost deserted by Jews, and the interest shifts to the Western
division of the world.


=3. Jews in the West.=――In Italy, during the Middle Ages, we hear but
very little of the Jews. The Lombards and Florentines were the chief
merchants and money dealers, and the Popes, who were paramount in Italy,
neither patronised nor persecuted the Jews. As a source of revenue the
Popes did not need the Jews. From all quarters, and under all kinds
of pretences, streams of money were continually flowing into the Papal
treasury. Absolutions, indulgences, dispensations, had each a price,
and a heavy one. Rich sinners were even more numerous than rich Jews,
and quite as profitable. The Popes were for the most part too busy, and
often, it may be said, too religiously indifferent, to turn persecutors
for conscience sake. They lived in great state, and were intent on
extending their political as well as their spiritual sovereignty.
In these superstitious Middle Ages, which recognised in the Pope the
actual ‘infallible’ agent of God, the most effectual weapon in the
Popish arsenal would have been powerless against Jews. Jews would have
cared nothing for that most dreaded of all punishments in Catholic
countries, the Papal malediction. Thus, their money and their souls
alike insignificant in the sight of the Popes, the Jews throughout
the Papal dominions were mostly let alone. In the northern parts of
Europe, where the influence of Mahomedanism had hardly penetrated, the
Jews were subject to the old Roman law. They might not enter military
service, and had to pay largely for local ‘protection’ from the
lords of the soil. In our own England, Jews up to this period have
no history. There are but two very slight mentions of them in all the
Saxon Chronicles. They would seem not to have settled in England in
any numbers before the Conquest, when probably some came over from
France in the train of William the Norman. The interest centres now in
Southern Europe, and chiefly in Spain, where the kaliphs attained to
their greatest state, and where the Jews attained to their greatest
prosperity since the captivity.


=4. The Policy of the Early Kaliphs.=――When the empire that had been
founded by help of the Koran and the sword was once firmly established,
the sword was sheathed, and the Koran ceased to be flourished as
a weapon. The kaliphs resolved to uphold their sovereignty by the
seductive arts of peace rather than by the exterminating process of war.
They aspired to something beyond barbarian chieftainship. They aimed
at becoming leaders of men and patrons of learning, and of controlling
the thoughts as well as the destinies of nations. To this end they
cultivated the Jews. The Arabian rulers had the keenness to appreciate
the reserves of patience, of loyalty, and of scholarship in the Jewish
people. They desired to graft these valuable qualities on their own
rather rough and ready followers. They wanted the arts of civilisation
to adorn their new dominion; they longed to be as great in the schools
and in the marts of the world as they had proved on its battle-fields.
‘The teachers of wisdom are the true luminaries and legislators of
the world,’ was a saying of the Kaliph Al-Mamun, who ruled from 813
till 832. The Mahomedan rulers knew how much of all that they desired
could be learned from the Jews in their midst. And so, throughout the
kaliphate, political and social equality was granted to its Jewish
subjects, and the energies and the capacities of the nation were given
room to grow.


=5. Some Effects of this Policy.=――The Empire of the Kaliphs was of
immense extent. By the tenth century it had three separate seats of
government――at Bagdad, at Cairo, and at Cordova, and the influence of
each of these three kaliphates was felt even beyond its own immediate
boundary. The Carlovingian dynasty in France caught for a while
something of the enlightened spirit of the Mahomedan rulers, and in
France as in Spain, Jewish physicians and Jewish teachers and Jewish
merchants became quite the fashion. Not only did there come to be
crowded colleges presided over by Jewish Rabbis in the sunny southern
cities of Europe, but fleets of trading vessels, commanded by Jewish
captains, were to be seen sailing in the Mediterranean. The sight awoke
some slumbering enmities. In the ninth century a certain Archbishop
of Lyons was as concerned for the worldly interests of his countrymen
as the most zealous of Church dignitaries could have been for their
spiritual ones. This Archbishop Agobard presented a petition, in 829,
to his royal master, Louis le Débonnaire, praying that the commerce
of good French Christians might be protected against the wicked Jews.
Conscience would have been a safer cry than commerce to have raised,
and a fairer one to have invoked religious legislation about. King
Louis refused to receive the worthy archbishop’s petition. He was
evidently in favour of free trading, and so long as the vessels were
seaworthy, and the freight honest, he did not appear to consider the
religious opinions of the supercargos to be any of his business, or
of his archbishop’s either. King Louis had a Jewish physician, and it
seems as if this doctor――Zedekiah was his name――managed to keep his
royal patient healthy in mind as well as in body. At any rate, whether
from nature or from ‘treatment,’ this King of France was, certainly,
possessed of fine principles. ‘Divine law,’ we find him writing in one
of his despatches, ‘bids me protect my subjects who share my belief;
but it nowhere forbids me to be just towards those who differ from me.’
His acts matched his convictions, and under the more tolerant treatment,
which had been first introduced by the Mahomedans, the Jewish position
in all the south of Europe improved greatly in the eighth and ninth
centuries. Not only were commercial operations extended, but Jews were
largely employed in public and in private positions of trust. They were
often made collectors of revenue, and stewards in the great households
of the nobles. They were allowed to serve in the army, and there is
evidence that at least in one province, that of Languedoc, they were
permitted to be landowners. In Narbonne, for years, one of the two
annually elected prefects or mayors of the town was a Jew. Their
synagogues and their schools multiplied, and those of Salerno, and
Montpelier, and Toulouse, and Marseilles, and, a little later on, of
Paris, produced some famous Rabbis, and many crops of diligent students.



                              CHAPTER XX.

                            JEWS IN SPAIN.
                              (711‒1150.)


=1. ‘Like a dream in the night.’=――Life in Spain, for the four
centuries during which the dynasty of Ommeyade kaliphs ruled, was to
the Jews like a brilliant dream breaking in on the long night of their
history. There was to be by-and-by a terrible awakening, but while
the dream lasted they gave themselves up to its delight. ‘An earthly
paradise,’ ‘a garden of Eden,’ Spain is fondly called by old Jewish
writers of those days. The liberty it gave was so new, so wonderful,
so sweet. Men might work and might worship at their will. Women might
be fair without fear. Children might grow up clever, and find no locked
doors, labelled ‘conversion,’ barring their pathway to success. Wealth
might be honestly won and pleasantly enjoyed, taking its rightful
place as a means for diffusing happiness. Each country, says a recent
writer,[13] has the Jews it deserves. Mahomedan Spain deserved good
Jews, and it had them, and it was richly repaid in its own generous
coin. In the Middle Ages, Spain led the van in culture and in commerce,
and in her loyal Jewish subjects she found, literally, her guides,
philosophers, and friends. They stood by her as loyally on the field
of battle as in the council-chamber and in the mart. Jews must have
been also a valuable contingent of the army, for in 1086 we find the
generals on both sides, on the eve of a decisive engagement, agreeing
so to fix the day that it might not interfere with the Sabbath of their
Jewish soldiers. The kaliphs took, too, an intelligent interest and a
keen pride in their scholarly Jews, and there was plenty of space in
that beautiful land for every one to enjoy his little corner and his
little book.[14] The memory of the sunny skies and the gracious leisure
of Spain took deep root in grateful Jewish hearts. The long dream
of liberty was so sweet that the sharp awakening to persecution was
forgotten, or, at least, the fragrant shade of the orange groves would
seem to have been remembered longer than the fierce heat of the fagots
and the stake. It is good to be able to ‘write injuries in dust, and
kindnesses in marble.’ In 1492, the Jews were wickedly expelled from
the land in which they had been, for centuries, so happy, and 200 years
later we hear of descendants of those cruelly exiled Jews sending
secretly to Spain and Portugal for citrons and branches of the palm,
that their סוּכּוֹת might look ‘homelike’ in the bleak north lands in which
their lot was cast.


=2. The Schools.=――Once given a fair field and some choice, Jewish
activity showed itself, as of old, in an intellectual direction. The
schools of Spain soon became as famous as the _kallahs_ of Babylon.
Cordova and Granada and Toledo took the place of ancient Sora and
Pumbaditha, and of yet more ancient Jamnia and Tiberias. Cordova under
the kaliphs was the Athens of the Middle Ages to Southern Europe; and
as for Toledo, a Hebrew poet[15] shall speak for himself on the subject
of its charms:

               ‘I found that words could ne’er express
                The half of all its loveliness;
                From place to place I wandered wide,
                With amorous sight unsatisfied,
                Until I reached all cities’ queen,
                Tolaitola,[16] the fairest seen.’

And among the fairest of the sights in these fair cities were the
crowded colleges in which Jew and Arab learned often side by side, and
from which Jewish Arabic professors turned out students by the score,
wise in literature and in philosophy and in medicine, as well as in
their own especial theological line. It is said on good authority, that
at this period, nearly a thousand years before the era of Board schools,
there was not a Jew in Spain who could not read the Bible in Hebrew and
in Arabic.


=3. The First Nagid of Spain.=――One day in the year 948 there was a
sudden stir and commotion in the famous college of Cordova. A knotty
point had come on for discussion, and puzzled silence had ensued
in place of ready answers, when, from an unnoticed corner, a very
shabby-looking stranger quietly got up and solved the difficulty.
All eyes were turned on the ragged scholar, and the president rose
impetuously from his high seat, and in tones of earnest admiration
exclaimed to the astonished assembly, ‘Yon slave in sackcloth is my
master, he must be yours.’ It was a hasty decision to come to, but it
was fully justified by the facts of the story. The stranger in the mean
garments was in truth an escaped slave, or, to speak quite accurately,
a captive redeemed. In the lately closed schools of Babylon he had been
one of the most learned of the Rabbis. He had had thrilling adventures
since those quiet days at Sora, which place he had left, accompanied by
three other scholars, for the purpose of collecting contributions for
the maintenance of the schools in Babylon. His wife and his young son
had travelled with Rabbi Moses ben Hanoch, and all of them had fallen
into the hands of pirates, and had been carried on board a privateering
vessel engaged in the slave trade. In dread of worse than captivity,
the wife had thrown herself overboard during the voyage, the three
companions had been sold at ports at which they touched,[17] and
Rabbi Moses and his son were exposed for sale in the slave market in
Cordova. It was considered, in those days, a paramount duty of every
congregation to redeem captive brethren, and a kind-hearted Jew, seeing
two co-religionists in such evil plight, had at once bought them at
the current price, which was not high, for their attainments were not
known, and were therefore not counted in, and had set them free. Then
father and son, sad and yet grateful, had wandered through the stately
streets of Cordova, and some instinct had led them to the doors of the
synagogue and the schools, with the result we have seen. ‘Moses clad
in sackcloth,’ as he was called, became quite a celebrated character in
Cordova. The reigning kaliph, Abderahman III., was a very enlightened
ruler, and took a scholarly, as well as a kind-hearted, interest in
the learned Rabbi. Abderahman had, too, a Jewish minister named Hasdai
ben Isaac, whom he greatly valued; and it is quite possible, since
the whole Jewish nation is often judged by single specimens, that the
kaliph’s experience of the upright Hasdai influenced his general policy
towards the Jews in his dominions. Moses ben Hanoch lived long as
president of the schools, and his son, Hanoch ben Moses, succeeded him.
Hanoch ben Moses’ powers and privileges were considerably extended,
and he was given the title of Nagid, or prince, of the Jewish community
in Spain. It became an office somewhat more honorary and less official
than, but yet very similar to, that held of old by the רֵישׁ נְּלוּתָא Head of
the captivity, in Babylon, and thus the dignity that had died out in
the East was revived in name, at least, in the West.


=4. Another Nagid: Troubles in Granada.=――Another famous Nagid was
Samuel ha-Levi ibn-Nagrela, who was born in Cordova nearly fifty years
later (993). In 1013 the kaliphate of Cordova had suffered from a
barbarian invasion, and many of the great people had moved into other
cities of the Peninsula. The colleges at Granada grew famous, and
Samuel ha-Levi, or Samuel ha-Nagid, as he is generally called, who
was at their head from about 1025 till 1055, was not only a first-rate
theologian and a tolerable poet, but a clever statesman and a very
charming companion. Like Hasdai ben Isaac, Samuel ha-Nagid held the
post of minister at the court of the kaliph, and like him again, he
held it to the benefit of his sovereign and of his co-religionists.
His son Joseph inherited his honours, but not all his fine qualities.
He had not good manners, and he was imprudent. During his Nagidship
there was a very serious riot in Granada (1066). The Jews were accused
of converting their neighbours. This was a fault of which they were
so very unlikely to be guilty, that one has to look deeper for the
cause of the disturbance. One may find it perhaps in the fact that the
populace spent their wrath not on the synagogues, but on the houses and
warehouses of the Jews. That looks as if plunder had more to do with
the matter than religion. It is, however, quite possible that the Nagid
Joseph, through want of tact, had managed to excite some ill feeling.
If it were so, he paid the penalty. He was killed in the course of the
riot. A great deal of property was destroyed and more stolen, and some
fifteen hundred Jewish families had to leave Granada, and to find an
asylum in the other provinces of Spain. This riot in Granada was the
first interruption to the 350 years of pleasant and peaceful relations
which had existed between the Mahomedans and the Jews. But the Granada
riot was like the ‘little cloud’ that Elijah’s servant saw ‘rising up
out of the sea,’ after the long drought. The cloud was at first, we
read, no bigger than a man’s hand, yet very soon ‘the heavens were
black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain.’


=5. Revival of Catholicism in Spain.=――Two causes helped to bring about
the change that was impending on the Jews, and the first, sad to say,
was the gradual return of Spain to Christianity. From the time of the
Mahomedan conquest in 711, a small remnant of the Visigoths, who were
Christians, had managed to keep their hold on some of the mountain
passes in the north of Spain. From the very first this tiny settlement
had never ceased trying to win back their country from the Moors. The
little Christian remnant had grown bigger and stronger by degrees, and
one by one, very slowly, but very surely, several Mahomedan states had
been won from Islam, and separate crowns had been set on the heads of
Catholic sovereigns. By 1060, Castile, Leon, Asturias, Arragon, Navarre,
and Portugal were all independent kingdoms, separate from the Kaliphate
in politics and in religion. In 1085 the important city of Toledo was
added to the confederation under the presidency of Alfonso VI., and
became the capital of his kingdom of Castile.


=6. Effect on the Jews.=――So long as the Mahomedan power was
paramount in the Peninsula, the partial return to Catholicism made
little difference in the position of the Jews. The Catholic kings did
not like their Jewish subjects in the same way as did the Mahomedan
kaliphs, but, in their newly established kingdoms, they found Jews too
serviceable and too much respected to make it either safe or politic
to ill-use them. Their own footing was hard to win and hard to keep.
It needed constant fighting, and even then it was not too secure.
Meanwhile, the whole business of life could not be carried on by
soldiers. People had to be fed, to be taught, to be healed; and all
these very necessary functions were most admirably filled by Jews. It
would not have done for the kings to snub such useful subjects, and
it was hardly possible at that stage to persecute them. One wants both
hands free for earnest work of any sort. Catholicism was not yet strong
enough in Spain to strike out a different line of action from Islam. It
is even possible that the kings learnt some lessons from the kaliphs,
and got to see, as they did, something of the value and of the virtues
of Judaism. It is quite certain that at the close of the eleventh
century, when crusades came into fashion, neither Alfonso (VI.) of
Castile nor Peter of Arragon, who were both good Catholics, would allow
the cry of _Hep, Hep,_[18] to be raised in their dominions. And it
is equally certain that this same king Alfonso put down with a strong
hand an outburst at Toledo, in 1108, which threatened Jewish peace and
Jewish property. The early kaliphs of Spain practised toleration as a
principle; the early kings, perhaps, more as a habit; but the result to
the Jews was the same. Whilst the Ommeyade dynasty yet maintained its
supremacy in Spain the Jews still prospered, and Judaism was unmolested.


=7. The Almohade Dynasty of Kaliphs.=――The second cause of the
change in Jewish fortunes was the result of a change in the Mahomedan
succession to the Kaliphate. The Ommeyade kaliphs were enlightened,
just, and liberal rulers, enthusiastic in their belief, and therefore
tolerant in upholding it. The Almohade dynasty, which came into power
about 1150, introduced a quite different state of things. The Almohades
were a sect of fanatic warriors. They had already conquered Barbary,
and it was an evil day for Jews and Christians both, when, flushed
with their barbarian successes, they succeeded in governing Spain.
One of the earliest edicts of Abdel-Mumen, the founder of this line of
Mahomedan sovereigns, was directed to the conversion of his subjects.
Very soon, Islam or exile was the only choice given to Jews or to
Christians. Some took upon them the disguise of the alien faith and
held their own in secret, but many more chose the harder and nobler
course of exile, preferring ‘dreary hearths to desert souls,’ Numbers
of Jews left the country altogether, and joined their co-religionists
in Egypt and in the Mediterranean islands. There were schools at this
date in Egypt, uninterfered with by the tolerant Mahomedan sultans,
whose seat of government was at Cairo. Of one very celebrated
student, whose family sought refuge in that country from the Almohade
persecution in Spain, we shall hear later.[19]



                             CHAPTER XXI.

                     JEWS IN SPAIN (_continued_).
                             (1150‒1492.)


=1. Under Catholic Kings in Spain.=――Most of the Jews who were driven
into exile by the Almohade persecutions, travelled no further than
those provinces of Spain which had seceded from Mahomedan rule. The
Catholic kings were ready, for their own sakes, to give a welcome to
the learned, useful Jews. Alfonso VIII., who reigned in Castile from
1166 till 1214, was particularly well affected towards them. It was
said that he loved a beautiful Jewess of Toledo named Rachel; the poor
girl, at any rate, was murdered by good Catholics on the suspicion of
it. For the next hundred and fifty years after the Almohade persecution,
the position of the Jews in Spain was still seemingly, and on the
surface of things, a position with which to be satisfied. They were
rich, they were at ease, and they were of use to their countrymen
in a hundred ways. But as Spain grew, by sure degrees, less and less
Mahomedan, and more and more Catholic, the Popes began to take a more
active interest in its affairs. The head of the Church disliked the
sight of so many synagogues in Christian Spain, and in respect to
heresy in general, and to the Jews as special examples of heresy, the
clergy were often more Papist than the Popes. The earlier Catholic
kings, however, were too alive to their own interests to be tempted
into persecution from religious motives only. They needed the Jews.
They depended on Jewish loyalty in their armies, and on Jewish brains
in their offices. They could not afford to alienate such service. When,
in the middle of the thirteenth century, Pope Gregory IX. tried hard
to stir up Alfonso the Wise to join in the general European craze
of the time against the Jews, we find Alfonso, proving one of his
claims to that surname of his, by refusing to be stirred up. Alfonso’s
predecessor, Ferdinand the Saint, had shown a like wisdom under similar
circumstances. The Popes notwithstanding, the kings of Spain continued
to personally employ Jews as physicians and as ministers of finance,
and in every branch of culture and of commerce in their kingdoms,
remained well content to see Jews come to the front. So life went on
smoothly under those sunny skies, but the volcano was only slumbering,
and every now and then ominous little rumbles gave forth a warning of
the explosion that was in store.


=2. The Toledo Synagogue.=――Toledo, the capital of Castile, had become
in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries a second Cordova. In 1360, when
Pedro the Cruel was king, very serious trouble arose for the Jews of
Toledo. Pedro earned that surname of ‘Cruel’ from his own subjects, and
not from his treatment of the Jews. To them he meant to be kind, but
he was a bad man, and even the tender mercies of the wicked, we read,
are cruel. Like most of his predecessors, Pedro had a Jew, Samuel Levi,
for his finance minister. One of the duties of such a minister is to
raise taxes. This office Samuel Levi performed with such a will for
his royal master that he became most unpopular with the people. Whilst
they were groaning under their imposts, they saw this favoured Jew
living in great state, accumulating a large fortune, and building at
his own expense a magnificent synagogue in Toledo. They looked on this
synagogue as built with their money, and grew to detest the sight of
the worshippers in it. In an illogical sort of way they hated the man,
and his religion, and his wealth altogether. It was but a step from
feeling the hatred to expressing it. One sad day the Jews lost their
beautiful synagogue, and poor Samuel Levi was tortured to death. His
fortune was confiscated, and King Pedro, his sympathy notwithstanding,
took a large share of it. Personally, however, Pedro seems always to
have done his best to protect and be pleasant to the Jews, and they
were wonderfully faithful to him. In a long struggle which he had with
his brother Henry of Transtamare for possession of the crown, the Jews
fought loyally for their liege lord Pedro. Henry triumphed in the end,
and both during the civil war, and at the close of it, there was more
slaughter and plunder of the Jews than could be put down to the strict
account of the war. Religion was made the excuse for a great deal of
the cruelty. ‘Kill them like sheep if they will not be baptized,’ said
one famous knight of the period, Bertrand du Guesclin. The illustration
had a grim and unintentional point about it. Jews were generally killed
‘like sheep,’ their fleeces being first carefully sheared.


=3. The Downward Slope to Death.=――From the date of Pedro’s death
(1369) things grew gradually worse for the Jews of the Peninsula.
Perhaps the episode of Samuel Levi hurried events a little. It may
have taught people that to confiscate a Jew’s wealth was a quicker
way of getting rich through his means than to employ his services. The
kings of Spain had begun to have more need of money help than of brain
service, for their position had grown to be more secure, and their
subjects more cultivated. And they themselves became, to a certain
degree, infected by the fanatic enthusiasm of the age. Their religion,
interpreted by the priests, had impressed upon them for centuries
that Jews were heretics, and their own observations showed them that
Jews were rich. They put the two facts together, and acted upon them.
‘Be converted to Christianity,’ they began to cry, ‘or at least let
your goods be confiscated to Christians.’ And in their subjects the
sovereigns of Spain found keen supporters of these views. That the
Jews had grown rich because they were thrifty, and temperate, and
industrious, gained them no popularity among neighbours who were just
a little short of these virtues. The clergy, too, had great influence
over the populace, and they all but uniformly used it to the prejudice
of the Jews. Though so woefully mistaken, it is quite likely that some
of the clergy were conscientious in their efforts, and honestly longed
to make proselytes of the Jews. Perhaps not one of the least of the
trials of the time was an edict which, to this end, decreed that Jews
might be marched off to listen to long sermons preached with the object
of converting them. Eloquence, however, was by no means depended on
by itself; sterner measures were resorted to. In 1380, Jews who openly
clung to their religion began to be legally deprived of the rights of
Spanish citizens. They were no longer allowed to hold office in State
or army, or to practise among Christians as physicians. Their Nagid
from that date had no recognised authority, and Jews were requested to
have their dwellings apart from the other inhabitants of the cities and
towns. The Jewries were to be the distinct quarters for the Jews. This
sort of legislation produced its natural effect. Ten years later (1391),
after a terrible riot at Seville, in which 4,000 Jews are said to have
perished, some of the more brave took heart of grace and made an appeal
to the Cortes, or council of the nation, against this state of things.
The Cortes, which sat at Madrid, responded to the appeal, acknowledged
the injustice, and sent a commission of inquiry to Seville. It did
little good. A fierce and eloquent preacher, named Ferdinand Martinez,
roused the rabble to further violence by declaiming against State
interference with religious doings. It was the bounden duty of a
Christian, declared this fanatic demagogue, to hunt down Jews, and it
was the inalienable right of a free-born citizen to defy his government.
The commission proved powerless, and nobody was punished. Similar
outbreaks soon occurred in other cities of Castile, and spread to the
neighbouring kingdoms of Navarre and Arragon. On a certain saint’s day
in 1391 there was a terrible massacre in Barcelona.[20] The Jewry was
sacked, the synagogues were pulled down, and the streets were heaped
with dead and outraged bodies. In this riot, however, some Crown
property was destroyed by accident, and so punishment was dealt out
to some of the ringleaders.


=4. The Marannos, or New Christians.=――For a hundred years this state
of things went on throughout the Catholic dominions of Spain, which,
by this date, included nearly the whole of the country. Not only did
the unrighteous laws set Jews apart in their dwellings and in their
occupations, but in their dress also there was a mark set upon them.
They might wear only the coarsest materials, and no trimmings or
ornaments; and the men might not shave nor the women adorn their hair.
These impertinent, everyday degradations must have sorely hurt a people
like the Jews, who delight in taking life pleasantly. The alternative
of baptism became a terrible temptation, and very many yielded to it.
They let the waters of baptism flow over their limbs, and they stood,
unprotesting, whilst the sign of the cross was made on their foreheads.
In the eyes of the Church these men, who lied with their lips and in
every outward action of their lives, were new Christians, and eligible
for all offices of trust and state. In the language of the synagogue,
they, who thus sold their souls and took the profit, were Marannos, a
corruption of the word maranatha,[21] which means ‘anathema,’ or ‘curse
on thee.’ In their own sight they were Jews still――‘Jews in their
hearts,’ they would have said, for secretly, and at some risk, they
practised Jewish rites, holding the Passover service often in cellars,
and singing the Sabbath hymns under their breath, with doors and
windows fast shut. Perhaps the truth lies between the two extremes,
and it needs Him who ‘sees with larger, other eyes than ours’ to judge
justly of this human weakness and hypocrisy. If the sin was great, so
also was the penalty.


=5. An Effort at Argument.=――Early in the fifteenth century an attempt
was made by a Jewish convert to have the question between Judaism and
Catholicism discussed and settled, if possible, by force of talk. Under
the presidency of the Antipope Benedict XIII. a prolonged sitting was
held at Tortosa, in Spain, between Rabbis and monks. The conference
held sixty-eight meetings, and lasted twenty-one months (from February
1413 till November 1414). It must have been conducted rather on the
model of the famous argument between the wolf and the lamb in Æsop’s
fables, for, as the upshot, the Rabbis were dismissed, and the Pope
issued a bull imposing new penalties on the Jews, and forbidding them,
among other things, to read the Talmud.


=6. The Inquisition.=――In 1469, Isabella, sister of Henry IV. of
Castile, married Ferdinand, Crown Prince of Arragon. This marriage made
a united and Catholic Spain; for Granada, the last of the Mahomedan
cities, fell before the end of their reign. The young sovereigns
were very anxious that their beautiful kingdom should be quite and
altogether Catholic, free from any touch or taint of alien faith.
They both agreed that, for the air to be entirely pure, no Jews or
Mahomedans ought to breathe in it. Isabella really thought this, for
she was sincere in her bigoted belief, and good according to her dim
lights. Ferdinand, it is to be feared, had a second thought for his
treasury. He liked to convert Jews, but he also very much liked the
confiscated possessions of unconverted Jews. The first official act of
the royal pair was to ask from the ruling Pope, Sixtus IV., permission
to set up a tribunal which might make searching inquiry into the
religion of any suspected subjects. The request was granted, and in
1480 the Inquisition was started, with the Pope’s blessing, at Seville.


=7. Objects and Functions of the Inquisition.=――The inquiry was aimed
not at the Mahomedans, who were open and nearly vanquished enemies,
nor even at those Jews who were living honest and unheeded if poor
and degraded lives in their Jewries, but in reality at the converted
Marannos. The Marannos were rich and prosperous, and by this date so
numerous that it is said quite a third of the whole population of Spain
were New Christians. Many of them were nobles in the state, and for a
century past they had been marrying and intermarrying amongst the best
Catholic families. These were the people who were suspected, and truly,
of being still Jews in their hearts, and in secret observance. The
chief object of the Inquisition was to hunt out this hidden Judaism,
and to make it an excuse for despoiling the ‘New Christians’ of the
evident wealth and state which were so envied. Under penalty of being
himself excommunicated, every loyal Spaniard was invited to become
a spy. No one was safe from this terrible tribunal. A child might
denounce his parent, a wife her husband, a brother his sister, or even
a criminal his judge. The accused was not allowed to know the name of
his accuser. He was not permitted to have any legal adviser. Torture
was resorted to on mere suspicion. There was no possibility of appeal.
The punishments of the Inquisition, which were wholly capricious,
varied from penance, scourging, and imprisonment, to death. All degrees
of punishment were accompanied by confiscation of goods to the State.
The executions were solemn ceremonials, and were called _autos-da-fé_,
or acts of faith. The accused was clothed in a long flame-coloured
garment (the _san benito_), a cross was placed in his hand, and then,
with a crowd of victims similarly robed, he was led to the _Quemadero_
(place of burning). A pause was made whilst a sermon was preached to
ears dulled a little, we may hope, to this profanation of ‘the Name.’
Then, at a given signal, fire was set to the fagots, and, in presence
of king and queen, and court and crowd, the act of faith was finished
in flames.


=8. Some Statistics of the Inquisition.=――On its first establishment
15,000 arrests were made. From January 1481 to November of the same
year, 2,000 people were burned in the province of Cadiz, and 400 in
the city of Seville alone. The prisons overflowed, and even the dead
were not let lie in peace, for graves were opened and desecrated. In
1483 a monk of the order of St. Dominic, named Thomas Torquemada, was
appointed chief Inquisitor, and the powers of the office were extended
to Arragon. Under the direction of Torquemada the work went on, faster
and fiercer than ever. In eighteen years of Torquemada’s Inquisitorship
over 10,000 persons were burnt at the stake, and over 97,000 underwent
varying degrees of ‘punishment.’ The Pope himself trembled at the
monster he had raised, and wished, perhaps, that he had heeded the
stern Jewish command, ‘Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil.’
But the scruples of the Pope were powerless before the passion of
Torquemada, and the Inquisition continued denouncing and confiscating
and burning, and in this awful reckoning, 6,000 victims are counted to
Torquemada’s personal share.


=9. Edict of Expulsion.=――‘When thou passest through the fire, thou
shalt not be burned.’ ‘No weapon that is formed against thee shall
prosper; this is the heritage of the servants of the Lord.’ Did
Ferdinand and Isabella, by chance, in chapel or at confession, hear
some echo of these words in the year 1492? Did they reflect how utterly
futile were thousands of mortal burnings against God’s eternal will?
Did they tremble for the ‘prosperity’ of that threatened ‘weapon’ of
theirs, the Inquisition? And was it in hate, or in fear, or only in
desperate foolishness that they resolved upon another method of rooting
out the Jews? We shall never know; but in the March of that year, 1492,
a royal edict was suddenly published that all Jews, men, women, and
children, on that day four months were to be expelled from Spain. They
were to take no property with them, except such as they could carry;
and one alternative only, that of being converted to Christianity,
was offered to them. It was an awful sentence. Not only had Spain for
centuries been home to the Jews, but in all Europe at that date there
seemed no chance of finding another. It was exile without hope. And
yet, to the everlasting credit of Jews and Judaism, that alternative of
conversion was never entertained for a minute, and for conscience sake,
the whole body of Spanish Jews, some 300,000, literally and truly left
_all_ to follow after righteousness. All history cannot show a finer
example of national steadfastness and suffering for the truth.


=10. Abarbanel’s Intercession.=――An effort was made at the last moment
to soften the hard hearts of Ferdinand and Isabella. They had a Jewish
treasurer called Abarbanel, a learned, upright man, who used all the
weight of his influence and his character and his services on the
side of his unhappy people. He even condescended to bribe the king,
and offered to pay 3,000 ducats into the treasury as a ransom. The
mercenary Ferdinand hesitated. The property of the Jews was as precious
to him as their souls――perhaps, on the whole, more so, and the edict
might have been repealed after all, had not Torquemada passionately
broken in on the interview. He held a crucifix on high, and exclaimed,
‘Behold him, whom Judas sold for thirty pieces of silver! Are you
bargaining to sell him yet again, and at a higher price?’ The king and
queen were frightened at this threatening eloquence, and held to their
resolve. And on the 30th of July, 1492, to the disgrace of the rulers
and to the ruin of their country, every unbaptized Jew and Jewess was
turned out of Spain.

  Illustration:                                       _Edw^d. Weller_
                                EUROPE
                                in the
                              MIDDLE AGES

                        _London Longmans & Co._



                             CHAPTER XXII.

              JEWS IN CENTRAL EUROPE IN THE MIDDLE AGES.


=1. General Position of European Jews.=――Some faint reflection of the
happiness and prosperity that was, for so long, the portion of the Jews
in Spain, fell fitfully, and for a short while, to the share of their
neighbouring brethren in France, and in the few civilised states of
Central Europe. Such happiness and prosperity, however, was nowhere,
and at no period, even for the brief intervals in which it lasted,
secure. The tolerance extended to the Jews, in the Middle Ages, was
based on no appreciation of their higher qualities, and was dictated
wholly by self-interest. The scholarship of the Jews was very little
cared for, perhaps not at all, unless it showed itself in medical skill.
And even then it was a perilous, rather than a precious, possession,
for if a Jewish physician cured his patient he was quite likely to
be accused of witchcraft, or if, despite all his care, the patient
died, some affectionate relative or some disappointed legatee would
very possibly bring a charge of poisoning against the poor doctor.
This happened once in a very distinguished case. Charles the Bald of
France died rather suddenly in 877, and it was widely said that he
was poisoned by Zedekiah, the Jewish physician of his good father,
Louis le Débonnaire, and from that date the fortunes of the Jews in
France steadily declined. The schools in the south of France certainly
flourished, and were maintained even in the less settled districts in
the north and east, and in small towns on the Danube and the Maine, for
Jews hunger after education as much as they do after bread; but to the
eyes of the outer world the Jews of Central Europe, in these centuries,
were just a big mercantile firm planted in a community of boors and
warriors. The circumstances of the age, as we have seen,[22] made
traders of them, and the tendency of the age was to despise trade, and,
while profiting by Jewish enterprise, to put every difficulty in its
way. Jews were thus a caste apart. ‘Society,’ in the Middle Ages, knew
of only two classes――the lords who owned the soil, and the serfs who,
swearing on the Gospel their oaths of fealty, tilled the soil and
went with it. In neither rank――in that of landowners nor in that of
land-cultivators, were Jews to be found. In the feudal system there
was no place for Jews. The only two socially recognised professions
were the Church and the army. The first, Jews could not enter; and
the second, in almost all Europe, they might not. Shut out from all
else, they became the universal providers of the Middle Ages. They
promoted commerce by the interchange of commodities, and they promoted
civilisation by the constant communication so kept up between the East
and the West. It was a descent, perhaps, from the scholarly rank which
Jews had held in the past; it was less pleasant, certainly, than their
old pursuits of tilling, and sowing, and planting the grateful earth:
but the position was forced upon them; they had practically no choice
in the matter, and there was no reason why they should not cheerfully
make the best of it. They accepted the state of things, and so long as
they were let alone, commerce, too, became in Jewish hands a dignified,
a useful, and an honourable calling. They dealt in slaves, as was the
necessity of the time, and these slaves were the better off for having
Jewish masters; their trading fleets sailed on the Mediterranean, and
their ready-tongued travellers brought the products of the East to
the markets of the West. But gradually all this sort of commerce
became impossible. The troubles of the tenth century, when the Eastern
schools were closed, and the Eastern Jews migrated, and lost both
their position and their wealth, affected the Jews of Europe. They
found themselves deprived of correspondents for extended trading. Then,
by force of feeling as well as by law, the slave trade was put down.
And not only would the merchant vessels have less freight under these
changed conditions, but the Norman pirates in the tenth and eleventh
centuries made the peaceful navigation of the Mediterranean uncommonly
difficult. Thus, from no fault of their own, all the larger mercantile
undertakings of the Jews gradually failed, and they were thrown back
on retail traffic. They were industrious, and honest, and patient,
and they grew rich even on that; and then idle, envious eyes looked on
them, and one after another of their rights and privileges, as traders,
was taken from them. So far as Jews were concerned, trading was made
difficult, dishonest, and disgraceful. Among Christians there existed
semi-religious associations, or ‘guilds,’ as they were called, of
masters and workers. In the thirteenth century such organisations
were general in all trades. From these recognised and respectable
guilds, Jewish apprentices and Jewish employers of labour were equally
excluded. In the cities, and in the free towns, Jewish traders were
put on a footing different from, and altogether lower than, the other
inhabitants. Agriculture, commerce, public and professional employment,
even honest citizenship, were all made impossible to the Jew of the
Middle Ages. And almost at will he might be plundered. ‘_Les meubles
du juif sont au baron_,’ was a proverb. His possessions were held on so
precarious a tenure that there came to be need for them to be portable
and of an easily hidden sort, and thus it was that the Jews, in the
‘dark’ ages, grew by degrees to deal chiefly in money.


=2. Jews become Money-lenders.=――Jews had no liking for the trade of
money-lending, but if they were to live at all, some means of earning
a living had to be hit upon. Coin and jewels and deeds and documents
which represent money, were the easiest sort of property for hunted
folks to hold or to hide. There were plenty of needy people, too proud
or too idle to work, and just a little too scrupulous to rob outright,
who were always eager to buy on credit and to borrow on interest. The
knight might want a suit of armour, or trappings for his horse, or a
set of ornaments for his lady love; the priest might covet a jewelled
cup or cross for his altar, and from king to peasant a loan might be
needed for any purpose. Every one with such wants would go to ‘his
Jew’ to supply them, and if the actual things were not forthcoming, the
money was generally at hand to procure them elsewhere. The very fact
of being able to lend gained Jews a chance of consideration from eager
borrowers. Only a chance, perhaps, for the mood when borrowing differs
greatly from the mood when repaying. The goods or the money once had,
the obligation to pay was frequently altogether forgotten, and the
Jew’s reminder of what was due to him was often bitterly resented by
the debtors, and his demand for interest on the debt denounced by them
as usury.


=3. Charge of Usury.=――Usury was a favourite accusation and a plausible
excuse for ill-treatment of the Jews in the Middle Ages. Charges of
killing Christian children and using their blood in passover rites,
and accusations of poisoning the drinking wells, were both excellent
means in their way of provoking a riot, and of justifying an ignorant
populace in the plunder of Jewish quarters; but such charges had this
drawback, that Passover, the presumed season for the bloodshedding,
came only once a year, and an epidemic of disease, the effect not of
poisoned wells, but of unclean living, was an even less regular and to
be reckoned upon occurrence. Borrowing, however, was always going on,
and there was just enough of dangerous half-truth in that charge of
‘usury,’ as applied to Jews, to make it always a safe cry to raise when
creditors became urgent.

   ‘A lie which is all a lie may be met and fought with outright;
    A lie which is half a truth is a harder matter to fight.’

The word usury has a Latin root, and means simply interest on money;
Shakespeare speaks of usance.[23] When Jews first became traders,
instead of scholars and agriculturists, especial Rabbinical legislation
was found necessary, and was brought to bear on the subject of lending
on ‘interest’ (נֶשֶׁךְ, which word is translated, in the Authorised Version
of the Bible, ‘usury’). The strict Mosaic prohibition, ‘Thou shalt not
lend to thy brother upon interest,’ was then, as in Bible times, in
full force. But because of the altered condition of things, Jews of
a more elastic conscience were gradually led to give a wider meaning
to the 19th and 20th verses of the 23rd chapter of Deuteronomy. Large
trading operations involved the employment of capital, and capital
could not be employed without interest. Transactions, therefore, which
necessitated the use of money as a marketable commodity, gained, in
course of time, a sort of sanction from precedent, and fair interest
on money passed between Jew and Jew as between Jew and Christian, or
between Jew and Mahomedan. Money, and just ‘interest’ on money, could
be legally taken by either, or from either, it being always understood
that the borrower should be of full age, of sound judgment, capable
of completely understanding the full conditions, direct and indirect,
of the bargain, and that the transaction should be, in every sense, a
matter of public business and of mutual convenience. For the abuse of
this state of things, for the demand of a usurious rate of interest for
the loans required of them in those days, the Jews were not responsible.
The value of money is variable. The lender may legally make his rate
of interest vary with, and be more or less in proportion to, the risk
to which his capital is exposed. The worse the security and the less
the chance of ultimate repayment, the higher naturally would be the
‘interest’ asked. Usury is unjust interest, and ‘divers weights and
divers measures,’ and ‘a false balance,’ are all by Jewish law an
‘abomination to the Lord.’[24] Usury, therefore, is contrary to the
laws and religion of the Jews. There have been Jews who have been
usurers, but it has been in distinct despite of their Judaism. And
in so far as the poor Jews of the Middle Ages may have defiled and
disgraced the Name by usurious practice, the blame may certainly, in
fairness, be divided between those who lent and those who borrowed.



                            CHAPTER XXIII.

                 JEWS IN CENTRAL EUROPE (_continued_).


=1. The Crusades.=――Towards the close of the eleventh century there
came to be national as well as individual causes for borrowing of the
Jews, and national and religious, as well as individual and especial,
grounds for plunder and persecution. In the year 630, Mahomed had
entered Jerusalem as a conqueror, and for over 400 years the mosque
which he had erected to Allah stood unchallenged on the ruins of the
Empress Helena’s church. This particular conquest of Mahomed’s was
a religious as well as a political eyesore to Catholic Europe. It
asserted the ascendency of Islam on the very spot of all others which
was to Christians most sacred. As Catholicism spread, the desire to
regain the sepulchre of their Saviour from unbelievers grew strong
amongst the followers of Jesus. The warlike spirit of the age sought
a pious motive for its expression, and thus, blessed and encouraged on
all sides, sworn soldiers of the cross set off from France and Germany
and England to wrest Jerusalem from the Mahomedans. ‘Zeal is a good
thing, but love is a better.’ This sudden fury of fanaticism had very
sad results for the Jews. To them, as a matter of sentiment, it made
little difference whether Christian or Mahomedan ruled in their lost
land, and whether the cross or the crescent was set up where the שְׁכִינָה
had shone. In either case alike their shrine was desolate and deserted,
and Jews must have looked on this struggle between Christians and
Mahomedans, for the possession of their own lost city with a sullen
sense of unhappy indifference. And yet, as a matter of fact and history,
the Crusades were of very terrible import to the Jews. By a process
of reasoning which it is not difficult to follow, the massacre of Jews
and the plunder of Jews were held to be rightful preliminaries to each
of these chivalrous expeditions to the East. It was ‘unbelievers’ whom
the crusaders were setting off to fight, and here were ‘unbelievers’ of
an older sort, dwelling in their midst; was it not well to begin with
them? Money, too, was wanted for their holy wars; was not Jewish wealth
conveniently close at hand? Killing Jewish unbelievers was surely no
murder; plundering Jews, to use their treasures in so holy a cause,
was still less ‘robbery.’ This was crusading logic. Jews are always
a little slow to appreciate the much-sung chivalry of the Middle Ages.
They saw its seamy side.

An era of most wicked persecution opened for the Jews of Central
Europe with the first crusade in 1096. The frenzy of intolerance and
fanaticism which was called forth under the fair names of religion
and chivalry spread like an epidemic. At Trèves it began; and there,
the rabble, under the direction of heartless and impecunious knights,
sacked the Jewish quarters and massacred the inhabitants. The example
set at Trèves was followed at Metz, at Strasburg, at Mainz, at Worms,
at Cologne, and at Spires. All along the banks of the Rhine, of the
Moselle, of the Maine, and the Danube, in the flourishing towns which
Jewish enterprise had made wealthy and prosperous, Jewish men and women,
and even little children, were slaughtered like cattle. The spoils
gained from murder and robbery went to defray the costs of the holy
wars. Sometimes the alternative of baptism was given to the victims;
oftener no choice was offered, but sacrilege followed on sacking,
and murder on robbery. Some commanders burnt the Jews; some contented
themselves with burning only Jewish books and scrolls. But it is a
remarkable fact that although their books were burnt, lest those who
read them should be contaminated, it was never thought necessary to
subject their valuables in coin and jewels to the like purging process!
On the whole, burning was the favourite fashion of killing Jews, but
occasionally some town or some leader would hit on a more original
method. Spires, for instance, drowned her Jews, and Mainz once drove
hers into wholesale suicide, and Strasburg got rid of two thousand at
one time in an enormous bonfire.

In 1098, Jerusalem, after many a repulse, was safe in the crusaders’
hands, and the conquerors celebrated their success by so complete a
massacre of the Jews then living in Jerusalem and its suburbs, that
when the city was again retaken by the Mahomedans, hardly a Jew was
left to exult at the reversal of Christian arms. For fifty years
Jerusalem remained a Mahomedan conquest. At the end of that time
(1147) a second crusade was organised to retake it. All who joined
this expedition were solemnly released by Pope Eugenius III. from all
obligations to pay any debts which they might owe to the Jews. And in
this second crusade, as in the first, a broad red track of Jewish blood
marked the way which the crusaders took to the East, and the flames
from burning Jewries were beacon-lights on their path.


=2. Glimpses of Better Things.=――There were occasional incidents which
show like light in the darkness of that cruel age. The Spanish Jews,
whose misfortunes were of later date, did not neglect their unhappy
co-religionists. More than once we find the still prosperous Jews of
Spain sending sympathetic messages and substantial supplies to the
persecuted Jews of France and Germany. And amongst Christians there was
many a brave, good man who had the courage to be humane, and to stand
out as an exception to the general line of conduct which was pursued
towards the Jews. The Bishop of Spires and the Bishop of Cologne both
did their very best to protect the Jews in the terrible scenes that
preceded the first crusade (1096). And in the second crusade (1147)
the famous monk, St. Bernard of France, distinguished himself in the
same way. He did all he could, by voice and hand and pen, to check
the prevailing fashion of cruelty. Pope Alexander III. was another
advocate of fair treatment for the Jews, and Pope Innocent IV. actually
issued a bull laughing to scorn the accusations brought against them of
killing children for the flavouring of passover cakes, and denouncing
as ‘crimes’ the cruelties which were practised by Christians upon Jews.
But how sadly exceptional such instances were may be judged from the
fact that Church historians try to explain away the humanity of that
good Bishop of Cologne in 1096 by saying that he was bribed by the Jews,
and that his kindness to them was bought with their own money. ‘Save me
from my friends,’ that poor bishop might well exclaim. It was defending
his orthodoxy at the expense of his honesty with a vengeance.


=3. Life in France till the Expulsion thence.=――From the date of
Charles the Bald’s death (877), and the accusation of poison brought
against his Jewish doctor Zedekiah, the position of the Jews in France
grew slowly and gradually, but quite steadily, worse, till injustice
reached its climax in an edict of expulsion (1394). From the ninth to
the twelfth century Jewish schools and synagogues continued to exist,
and the people were tolerably protected from violence. So late as 1165,
when a famous Jewish Spanish traveller named Benjamin of Tudela was
visiting France, he found such institutions flourishing in most of the
towns which he included in his travels, and he seems to have made a
very comprehensive tour both north and south. In Narbonne the traveller
speaks of great tracts of land being cultivated by Jews and being held
by them, under what we should call a leasehold tenure, from the lords
of the soil. Paris seems to have been a favourite city with the race
even at that time, and Christian writers confirm Benjamin of Tudela’s
account of the prosperous and respected condition of the Jews who were
dwelling there. The crusades, and the need of money for conducting
them, were the chief causes for the persecutions which were so soon
to follow. The sufferings of the Jews in France were, as a rule, due
less to bigotry and religious hatred on the part of the priests and the
populace, than to the avarice of the kings. In Spain, Jews were hunted
out of the country as heretics. In France they were treated more as
sponges, first squeezed, and then tossed away. Towards the end of the
twelfth century King Philip Augustus ordered them, in a body, out of
his dominions (1180), and the purchase-money that the Jews gave for
the right to return brought them a short interval of ‘protection.’
Expelling the Jews, and selling permission to them to come back, was
found an excellent means of raising a large sum of money, and the
process was repeated in 1306, when Philip IV., one of the most cruel
sovereigns who ever sat on any throne, was King of France. Before they
were expelled, in 1306, their goods were pillaged and confiscated to
a great extent, and it must have been difficult for the poor exiles to
raise the enormous sum which was demanded, a few years later, for the
right to return. Like Noah’s dove, which in the whole wide world found
no resting-place for the sole of her tiny foot, the Jews, at this date,
had small choice or chance of safe asylum in any country, or we might
wonder at their paying for permission to go back to such inhospitable
shores. Under ‘Saint’ Louis (Louis IX., 1226‒1270) a new form of
persecution was hit upon. Killing Jews and plundering their property
was commonplace; it was decided to destroy their literature. So a
raid was made on Jewish libraries, and, as a beginning, twenty-four
cart-loads full of Talmudical books were burnt in Paris. It was under
this king, too, that the Jews were prohibited from practising as
physicians, and that they were all compelled to wear a conspicuous
garment. It was called the _rouelle_, and its distinctiveness consisted
in a bit of blue cloth being sewn in front of, and behind, the outer
dress of both men and women. Louis the Saint must have the virtue of
originality added to his other claims for saintship.

In 1320 there was another crusade, another accusation against the
Jews, and another large sum of Jewish money paid into the royal
treasury. These three contemporaneous occurrences, examined closely,
seem to have a somewhat suspicious connection with one another. The
crusade of 1320, which was called the rising of the shepherds, was set
on foot by peasants, who were presumably too poor to pay its expenses,
and a preliminary crusade against the Jews was a very convenient way
of raising the necessary money for the holy expedition. So a cry was
raised against them of poisoning the wells. Any charge against Jews
was sure to result in plunder, or in a bribe big enough to make plunder
unnecessary. In 1348‒1349 the Black Pestilence was raging in Europe.
This frightful epidemic was said to spare the Jews. So far as it did
spare them, their cleanlier lives and their more temperate habits
would be quite sufficient explanation for all reasonable people of the
somewhat doubtful fact. But the reasonable people would seem to have
been few in those days, and the fanatics many. The Jews were accused,
both of causing the pestilence and of not suffering from it, and again
that ridiculous charge of poisoning the wells was brought against them.
It must have been taken for granted that Jews lived without drinking!
The accusation, however, was good enough for its purpose. The Jews
died by the sword if not by the plague; they were not permitted the
choice granted to David their king, who elected to be punished by the
pestilence rather than by the sword, to fall by the ‘hand of God rather
than by the hand of man.’


=4. Expelled from France.=――On September 17, 1394, on יוֹם כִּפּוּר, when
Charles VI. was king, with a six weeks’ notice, the Jews were commanded
to leave France altogether, and this third expulsion was decided and
general, and included all the Jews in all parts of the country.


=5. Treatment of Jews in the German States.=――In the ninth and tenth
centuries many French Jews had crossed the Rhine, and, emigrating into
Germany, had established colonies there, which the crusaders, some
two centuries later, on their way to the Holy Land, found conveniently
handy to pillage. From Germany the Jews were never expelled in a body
as they were from France and Spain, and, as we shall presently see,
from England, but there were many local and partial expulsions; and
German Jews, from the ninth till nearly the nineteenth century, lived,
as it were, in the midst of alarms, and led, for the most part, a
miserable existence. Throughout the Middle Ages, their legal position
in these dominions was that of serfs of the Emperor, and they paid
a certain tax for somewhat uncertain ‘protection.’ The Emperors
themselves were often kindly inclined towards the Jews, and Frederick
Barbarossa, who ruled in the twelfth century, was particularly humane.
A greedy fanatic once entered this Emperor’s presence with the news
that three Christian children had been found dead in a Jew’s house on
the eve of the Passover; and ‘what was to be done?’ the man excitedly
asked. ‘Three children dead!’ said the Emperor calmly; ‘why, let
them be buried, of course.’ But all the Emperors of Germany were not
like Frederick Barbarossa, and very few of the princes. The Jews were
shunned and oppressed in the German states, even when and where they
were not openly and violently outraged. They walked among men with
Cain’s mark set upon them without Cain’s sin. Each city, each street,
each house nearly in the German dominions could ‘tell sorrowful
stories.’ And because _finis_ was never written on the page of Jewish
history in Germany as it was for a while in Spain, and France, and
England, the sad tale in this part of the world comes to no abrupt and
dramatic conclusion, and breaks off with no certain and settled date.



                             CHAPTER XXIV.

                     JEWS IN ENGLAND. (1066‒1210.)


=1. The First Seventy Years.=――Beyond a rare mention in the Saxon
Chronicles, there are no records concerning English Jews till after
the Conquest (1066), when Jews from France and Germany, seeking happier
homes, may have crossed the Channel in the train of William the Norman,
on the chance of finding such. They were probably accepted by William’s
new subjects as one of the many consequences of the invasion, and Jews
gradually gained a tolerably comfortable and secure position in the
towns in which they settled. London and Oxford became head-quarters.
The selection of London, the capital, is sufficiently explained. The
attraction of Oxford was, in all likelihood, its scholarly reputation.
King Alfred’s idea of making Oxford a seat of learning was already
being realised in the eleventh century, and although none of the
colleges bear much earlier date than that of the thirteenth, yet the
names of some of these――Moses-Hall and Jacob-Hall, for instance――give
silent evidence of the presence of Jews and of the growth of Jewish
teaching, and, it may be, of Jewish trading influences in Oxford.
Little colonies of Jews established themselves also in York, and in
Lincoln, and in Norwich, and in various other towns, and set up small
businesses, and always managed, however poor they might be at first,
to find some small room which would serve as a meeting-place for
prayer and for school work. In London they were soon numerous enough
and prosperous enough to gain the great privilege of being allotted
a ‘burying place for their dead.’ This first בֵּית חַיִּים of the Jews in
England was situated in St. Giles, Cripplegate. Thus things went well
for a time. William I. was a conqueror, but not an oppressor; William
Rufus, though dissolute and dishonest, was yet a mediæval sort of
gentleman, who, having once promised protection, kept his word, and
Henry I. was a scholar, and had some sympathy with the historic race
who were so bravely and patiently accommodating themselves to altered
circumstances. It was in the reign of Stephen (1135‒1154) that the
troubles of the Jews in England began.


=2. ‘Saints’ and Supplies.=――The civil wars, consequent on the
disputed succession after Henry’s death, had drained the country
of money. The wealth of the Jewish traders was in close and awkward
contrast with the poverty of the Christian knights. An evil eye was
cast on these riches, and as the conscience of the country was scarcely
yet hardened to the open and unprovoked plunder of Jews, men cast about
them for a plausible excuse for robbing them. Nothing more original
was found, nor was perhaps necessary, than the one which had so often
served on the Continent――the accusation of child-killing for Passover
purposes. One day, in the town of Norwich, a certain small boy, named
William, was missing, and straightway he was declared to have been
murdered, and the Jews were accused of having murdered him. It is
not even certain that the body of the little lost boy was ever found.
William of Norwich, however, was made into a saint, and added to
the muster-roll of miracle-working martyrs, whilst the supposed
perpetrators of a never committed crime were hanged, and the English
Jews generally were taxed to the estimated, and somewhat fancy, value
of the sainted child. The real martyrs in the affair were certainly the
Jews, and the real miracle was the easy raising of vast sums of money
through such manifestly ridiculous charges. The Jews had to submit to
be plundered, and it was better for them, perhaps, that their goods
should be ‘confiscated’ at the order of the king, than at the mercy of
the populace. The fashion that Stephen set was found to be a convenient
and ready mode of raising supplies. St. William of Norwich was the
first saint that the Jews in England contributed to the calendar, but
he was, during the Middle Ages, the type of a class of what might be
called the patron saints of impecunious kings, and lazy priests, and
‘chivalrous’ nobles. These so-called saints always managed to fill
the empty coffers of their devotees, and to that extent miraculous
powers may certainly be conceded to them. The most celebrated of them
all is a certain Hugh of Lincoln, who is said to have lived and died
in the reign of Henry III. The local celebrity of this small saint was
secured by the hanging of twenty Jews of that town, the imprisonment of
more than a hundred, and a general confiscation of Jewish property in
Lincoln. The literary interest attaching to the little Hugh, which has
outlasted the religious, was ensured by Chaucer selecting him for the
hero of one of his famous Canterbury Tales.[25]


=3. Accession of Richard.=――In 1189, Richard the Lion-hearted, the
hero of so many romantic stories, ascended the English throne. The Jews,
who had been growing more and more unpopular all through the long reign
of Henry II., thought that the accession of this, the most hopeful of
his sons, might bring about a favourable change in their position. So
to the coronation ceremony there came a little body of Jews, selected
by their co-religionists as representatives, from every town in England
where Jews had settled. The members of this deputation were all of
the richest and most respected class. They were grandly dressed, and
were the bearers of rich gifts, which were to be presented to the
king in the name, and with the loyal congratulations, of the whole
Jewish community in England. They never got the chance of making
their contemplated pretty speeches, nor of offering their handsome
propitiatory presents. Possibly the sight of so much wealth, brought
as a free-will offering, suggested the idea of plunder. If Jews could
give so generously, unasked, what might they not give with a little
pressure? In this way reasoned the populace, and the result was that
the deputation never reached the palace. It was pitilessly set upon and
robbed, and one of the number, a Jew from York, named Benedict, was so
badly hurt in the course of the rioting, that he reached home only to
die of his wounds. In his fright, this Benedict had even submitted to
be baptized, but the poor man’s cowardice availed to save neither his
life nor his fortune. Perhaps his ‘conversion’ became the means of
attracting more attention to him and his neighbours, for although the
London outrage was rivalled in various parts of the kingdom, it was
at York, on this occasion, that the Jews suffered most of all. History
is said to repeat itself, and certainly the story of the fortress of
Masada, in 72,[26] has a grim counterpart in that of the castle of York
a thousand years later. In that terrible coronation month, the Jews
of York had shut up their houses, and tremblingly taken refuge in the
castle. The mob surrounded the walls, and resistance became hopeless.
Then the Jews of York, in wild fear of the English, like the Jews
of Masada in wild fear of the Romans, set fire to the unsheltering
walls of the fortress, and headed by their Rabbi, and by an eloquent
co-religionist named Joachin, killed first their wives and children,
and then themselves. Thus the English in the eleventh century, like
the Romans in the first, conquered a citadel, to find it garrisoned
by corpses. Some say 500, and some say 1,500 Jews were massacred in
York alone, in that year 1189. A commission of inquiry was subsequently
held, and some punishments were inflicted on the ringleaders. But
not on account of the massacres. In the course of the sacking of the
Jews’ houses, various deeds and titles to property, of which the value
had not been recognisable at a glance, had been burnt or destroyed.
The owners were presumably dead. By the law of the land in those
days, all such ownerless property reverted to the Crown. The massacre
of the missing owners was a fault that leant to virtue’s side, but
the careless destruction of the missing records was fraud on the
exchequer――a very grave crime indeed.


=4. Treatment by Richard.=――Richard, probably, showed himself
altogether averse from such riotous proceedings. He had lost his
coronation presents through it, and the intermittent plundering which
went on during his crusading expeditions, he must have reflected, was
all a distinct and further loss to the treasury. On his return from
captivity he put the whole thing on a legal footing. The Jews were
registered as chattels of the Crown, and a special court in the king’s
exchequer was set apart for the management of Jewish matters. The
amount of every Jew’s property throughout the kingdom was ascertained
as nearly as it was possible, was duly entered on the books, and
then a scale of tolls and taxes was drawn up in accordance with this
list, and an efficient staff of Jews and Christians appointed to
act as responsible collectors. It was a hard system, but it was open
and to-be-reckoned-upon robbery, and the Jews were infinitely the
gainers by it. Richard was not cruel, nor capricious, nor persecuting.
He constituted them ‘his Jews,’ and it was his interest, and it
probably was his pleasure, to protect them, and to permit no extra nor
unauthorised plunder at the hands of priests or barons or populace. It
was unfortunate for the Jews of England that Richard only reigned ten
years.


=5. Under John.=――The dissolute, unprincipled, and untrustworthy
John of Anjou succeeded his brother in 1199. During Richard’s frequent
absence from England, John had plotted for the crown, and had found
Jews very useful in supplying the wherewith for him to keep up the
character he had assumed of a liberal, open-handed prince. He had been
lavish in profession and in promises of good-will, and the grateful
Jews had sought by good offices to keep and deserve the favour of their
future sovereign. Lulled into a sense of security by his fair speeches,
they had even persuaded many of their rich Continental co-religionists
to come to England, and in the first years of John’s reign, so
encouraged, the Jews began to hide their money a little less, and to
enjoy it a little more. It may be that in their security they were even
a trifle ostentatious. And it is possible that the populace had grown
irritated at the royal favour shown to the despised Jews, and somewhat
jealous of the wealth they now displayed, and of which, for many years
past, royalty alone had reaped the benefit. Or it may be that such
favour as John had bestowed was wholly capricious, and that he had
played with his victims as a cat with the mouse she means to devour.
At any rate, his mood changed, and in 1210, quite suddenly, without
warning or provocation of any sort, all the Jews in the kingdom were
imprisoned, and their goods declared to be confiscated. Those who
would not disclose the whereabouts of their treasures were tortured,
and John is said to have himself stood over a certain Jew in Bristol,
seeing tooth after tooth extracted, till a ransom was agreed on for the
victim’s right to retain the two or three that were left in his head.



                             CHAPTER XXV.

                    JEWS IN ENGLAND (_continued_).
                             (1216‒1290.)


=1. The Next Fifty Years.=――Throughout the minority and during the
long reign of Henry III. (1216‒1272) things grew worse and worse for
the Jews. The ‘_Hep, Hep_,’ had not sounded so often for the last
century without leaving echoes. Even when and where the connection of
the cry with the crusades had grown somewhat faint, it kept its full
and terrible significance for the Jews. Church, and State, and people,
all seemed to unite in oppressing them, and each to have its own
separate cause and justification for oppression. The Church, which
had grown fierce in its fanaticism, hated Jews simply as Jews, and
persecuted them religiously. The State regarded them as a gold mine,
to be worked as profitably, and with as little personal or familiar
contact, as was possible. The populace, who were necessarily brought
into closer relations with Jews than were either the priests or the
barons, looked on them with a curious mixture of unwilling admiration
and superstitious dislike. They could not but recognise that the
superior intelligence and thrift of the despised Jews were at least
among the causes which contributed to their greater wealth. It is not
pleasant to have to acknowledge that one’s social inferiors are morally
and intellectually superior to one’s self. The Jews of England at
this period were very different from the Jews of Spain, but there are
degrees of difference; low as they had fallen from the level of what
Jews should be, they were yet far less ignorant and superstitious than
were most of their neighbours. They prayed to God instead of invoking
saints, and they trusted in temperance and cleanliness, rather than in
doubtful ‘relics,’ to ward off physical ills. Their knowledge, however,
like their religion, was often another danger to the Jews. If they
tried to teach the child of some Christian neighbour, or succeeded
in healing a sick person, or in helping a poor one, any such kindly
ministration was more likely to be looked on with suspicion than
with gratitude. Jews were compelled, too, in this reign to wear a
distinctive dress, and how could the wearers of a white badge[27] move
about among their fellows without a sense of aloofness which must have
made any familiar and wholesome intercourse impossible? And often,
in order that the royal treasury might be kept well filled, and the
‘protection’ of the king secured, the Jews were forced to prey upon the
people. Their neighbours could not have liked them if they would, and
thus, Jews were quite alone in the kingdom, left to themselves, without
the chance of making a friend among the populace, or the priests, or
the nobles.


=2. The Caorsini.=――Besides enmity and prejudice from Church and
state, Jews had, what might be called, professional enemies in a class
of money-lenders called the Caorsini. The Caorsini were originally
bankers and collectors of the Pope’s revenue, and lived in the town
of Cahors, in Italy. Then some of them came to England, and gradually
developed into a regular and recognised craft of dealers in money. This,
in a sense, was poaching on Jewish ground, and it was hard upon the
Jews, because the Caorsini were not fair rivals in an equal and open
competition. The Caorsini had the advantage in position, being, as it
were, licensed dealers in money; and they had, further, no unpopularity
of race to handicap them. Jews, to cover the grave risks to which their
property was always exposed, had often to ask a higher rate of interest
than contented the Caorsini. This angered the customers of both, and
the competition introduced an unhealthy trade jealousy and distrust
between the rival money dealers, which state of things pressed, of
course, most heavily on those who were already burdened and weakened
with the weight of prejudice.


=3. The First Jewish M.P.s.=――The constant quarrels between Henry and
his barons exhausted the treasury, and new means of raising money had
to be hit upon. The old accusation of crucifying Christian children
was revived, and little Hugh of Lincoln served as pretext for a
pretty extensive robbery. But this well-worn device was not wholly
satisfactory, being necessarily confined to one locality at a time.
In 1240 an entirely new mode was found of raising supplies. A Jewish
Parliament was summoned. Writs were issued in due form, no reasons
being given for the extraordinary proceeding. The larger towns were to
return six Jewish representatives, and the smaller, two. When the newly
elected members met, they were bluntly told their business, which was
to collect, without the smallest delay, 20,000 marks[28] from among
their co-religionists to replenish the royal treasury. The Parliament
was then dissolved. These members, of the date 1240, are the very first
Jewish M.P.’s in England.


=4. Another Device for raising Money.=――The supply of Jewish wealth
still proved unequal to the constant demand for it, and a little
later, Henry, who must have had a really original mind, thought
out an entirely new scheme. The Jews, we must remember, were, by
constitutional law, ‘his Jews.’ He had got money out of his property
by every conceivable way known to conscienceless holders of property;
now, why should he not sell it? Profits might be turned over afresh in
fresh hands. So actually King Henry III. sold his Jews to his brother
Richard, receiving 5,000 marks as their price, and, by the terms of
this remarkable bargain, Richard, Earl of Cornwall, became the legal
owner, with ‘all rights reserved,’ of all the Jews in the kingdom. The
terms of the sale would seem, however, to have considered the property
rather as leasehold than as freehold in its nature, for presently we
find the king reclaiming ‘his Jews,’ and subsequently selling them
again to the Caorsini.


=5. Under Edward I.=――In 1272 the long, cruel reign of Henry ended;
and if, like Herod, he had desired that the sound of Jewish weeping
should be heard at his funeral, he could hardly have devised surer
means of securing that satisfaction than his latest statute afforded.
By this statute it was decreed that all real property possessed by
Jews, in the form of land or houses, was to be wrested from them,
and any mortgages held by them on securities of this sort were to be
formally given up and confiscated to the Crown. Edward I. confirmed the
unrighteous statute, and to show some aptitude for persecution beyond
that of imitation, he made an order that the distinctive badge worn by
the Jews, and hitherto white in colour, should henceforward be yellow.


=6. Some Ironical Legislation.=――The State at this period showed also
some care, although it must be confessed of a somewhat unpractical
kind, for the moral condition of the Jewish portion of its property.
The Jewish habit of ‘usury’ is gravely condemned by the statute-book
of this date, and advice offered that manufacturing and agricultural
arts should be followed by Jews instead of, or besides, their all
but universal pursuit of retail trade. At the same time new taxes
were imposed, and the old statute, which forbade Jews to hold ‘real’
property of any sort, remained unrepealed. So the good advice was
somewhat ironical, and the concern expressed for outraged morality
sounds a trifle hypocritical. For how were men who might not hold an
inch of land to feel any interest in sowing and in planting it? and
how could artisans or labourers, working at a small wage, earn a tithe
of the tolls and the taxes which alone gained for Jews the right of
existing at all? Whilst legislation compelled men to dwell apart and
to dress apart, and claimed, at its own caprice, an unjust share of
their earnings, it forced such men into mean occupations, and made it
difficult to them to follow even these in an upright and honourable
fashion.


=7. Dishonest Jews.=――In truth, the terrible pressure put on the Jews
for money, drove many of them into dishonest ways of obtaining it.
The vast sums continually demanded could not possibly be raised in any
legitimate way. In their dreadful straits, Jews clipped and adulterated
the coin of the realm. Although, in strict equity, those who called
for money, which they knew quite well could not be honestly come by,
really caused this crime, and were as guilty in some respects as those
who perpetrated it, still, two wrongs never yet made one right, and
no amount of poverty is any justification whatever for dishonesty. It
is better to starve than to steal, to be shunned than to cheat. There
is, therefore, no cause for complaint in the fact that fraudulent
practices, whenever discovered, were punished in the severest manner.
In November 1279, all the Jews in the kingdom were arrested, on a
tolerably substantial charge against some of them, of having clipped
and adulterated the coin. Many non-Jews were likewise arrested, but
their punishments, when found guilty, were of a much less severe sort
than were pronounced upon the Jews. On this occasion, eighty Jews were
executed in London alone.


=8. Efforts at Conversion.=――Although their wealth was the chief
interest which Jews possessed for those in authority, yet their
conversion was always a secondary object, and was never quite lost
sight of. It served sometimes as the excuse, and sometimes as the
occasion, for a little extra persecution. During the reign of Edward I.,
Pope Honorius IV. issued a bull denouncing usury and fraud, which, all
men would agree with him, are practices quite justly to be denounced.
But Pope Honorius went further; he denounced them as _Jewish_ practices,
and took the occasion to speak strongly against the Jewish religion
generally and the Talmud in particular. This bull of his was issued
especially for the guidance of the Archbishop of Canterbury and of the
English clergy, and it was supplemented by an English statute of about
the same date, which compelled Jews, under penalties, to attend places
where Dominican friars preached proselytising sermons. Whether these
sermons checked usury or promoted conversion may be doubted, but such
compulsory attendances must in any case have provoked bad feeling, and,
further, put the Jews into a false position with the priests and the
populace.


=9. Expulsion of Jews from England.=――At last the wrongs and miseries
of the Jews in England reached their climax. Heavy pressure from his
clergy was brought to bear upon King Edward, and towards the end of the
year 1290, he signed an edict which ordered every Jew in his kingdom,
under penalty of being hanged if he remained, to leave England on
November 1. All debts owing to Jews were cancelled, and only strictly
portable property was to be carried away by them. Homes had to be
broken up; old folks, sick folks, little children, to all of whom
roughness and shifts and changes might mean agony or death, were
not considered. The decree was absolute and unconditional, and none
were exempt from it. King Edward was not wholly responsible for the
barbarous act, nor personally vindictive in its execution, yet it seems
to have been carried out with circumstances of peculiar cruelty. The
safe-conducts granted by the king were not always respected. One party
of refugees was left stranded on a desolate part of the coast at the
mercy of the incoming tide, whilst the master of the vessel they had
chartered sailed away with their poor belongings. Of the 15,000 or
16,000 Jews (accounts vary as to the exact numbers) who were expelled
from England in 1290, very many perished on their outward bound
journey, some by accident and illness, some, it may be feared, by more
or less of direct cruelty. The survivors were deposited at the nearest
foreign ports. Thence, they made their way inland to such places in
Central Europe as still permitted Jews to lead sad lives under State
‘protection.’



                               BOOK III.

                               100‒1500.

                              STARLIGHT.

                              לְךָ יוֹם אַף לְךָ לָיְלָה
                                        PSALM lxxiv. 16.

             ‘_Then stars arise, and the night is holy._’



                             CHAPTER XXVI.

            CONCERNING JEWISH LITERATURE AND LITERARY MEN.


=1. Starlight.=――The darkness which closed in upon the Jews when
Jerusalem fell, in the year 70, lasted for 1,500 years. Through all
those long centuries the clouds of prejudice and of persecution hung
low and lowering over all the countries in which Jews dwelt, and it
was only in Spain, and for a comparatively short interval, that there
was any break in the gloom. Through all those centuries, the race was
outcast and alien, under the lash of the Church and under the ban of
the State. Church and State changed faiths and names, old dynasties
and old beliefs gave place to new, boundaries were shifted, and
civilisation took fresh forms, but the darkness that had fallen on
the Jews when Titus ruled over pagan Rome, never lifted in all those
centuries, save for that brief period during the Mahomedan occupation
of Spain. In the dense gloom, the word of God was, to His ‘witnesses,’
in literal truth what David had declared it should be, ‘a lamp unto
their feet.’ It did not keep them from stumbling, but it saved them
from being utterly lost and cast away in the terrible thick darkness.
Burdens were heavy, and a ‘lamp unto the feet’ was sorely needed, for
men stooped under their loads, and their eyes looked mostly earthwards.
But also, from time to time, through that long night of sorrow, stars,
as it were, rose on the black background, giving, to those who could
look up, some trembling and uncertain light on their weary way. Good
men, and wise men, and successful men, at different periods, and in
different countries, stood out from the ranks, and made the name of
Jew a name of honour, and not of reproach. Some of these men were like
shooting stars, just raising a bright swift track of light, and dying
down as quickly, having lit up only their own pathway. And some gave
forth but tiny rays, yet, grouped together in patient scholarship,
these unnamed units gradually grew into useful constellations. And just
a few, in their great gift of shining, were like fixed stars, and the
wide white light of their wisdom endures even unto these days.


=2. How the Stars shone.=――But every star has its own especial orbit.
The men who made starlight in the long night of Jewish history were
not of the sort who mostly make epochs in national history. It has been
well said that there are some great men, who are not doers nor speakers,
but influences. Among a dispersed people there was small room for doers
or for speakers. For warriors or for statesmen there was no place, and
but little opportunity for ‘heroes’ in any generally received sense of
the word, and thus, the names of eminent Jews, from the fifth to the
fifteenth century, include no doers of startling deeds. But if there
be heroism in endurance, in patient fulfilment of duty when desire
is altogether unsatisfied, in earnest endeavour for good, with evil
rampant all round, then these Jewish men lived heroic lives, although
it was life lived from within rather than from without. They worked on
without hurry and without rest, and in trust when hope failed. Their
outward action on passing events was small, but the impression they
made on the spirit and intellect of their time was great, and on the
liturgy and the literature of their people they have left enduring
marks. And truly, as the Bible says, ‘the light is sweet.’ The mere
light cast on dark places by the sight of men living clean, and
wholesome, and scholarly lives, must have been doubly ‘sweet’ in those
dark days when all refining and ennobling influences were so sadly
needed.


=3. Piyutim.=――Apart from the work of the schools, which found
its outcome in the Talmud,[29] the earliest Jewish literature of
post-Biblical times comes to us in the form of _Piyutim_. _Piyut_ is
derived from a Greek word which is rendered poet.[30] A large number
of _Piyutim_ are in existence, which range in dates of composition
over some thousand years, and represent contributions from all parts
of Europe. They are chiefly found in the _Machzor_ (prayer-book for
festivals――literally cycle) of the various _minhagim_, or rituals. In
this store there is a whole section of what are called _Selichoth_,
or penitential poems. The word _Selichoth_ comes from the Hebrew סְלִחָה,
meaning forgiveness, and the theme of most of these singers of the
synagogue is of hope for divine forgiveness, founded on the memory
of human sorrow. The _Selichoth_, and many of the _Piyutim_, tell
a never-ceasing tale of persecution and oppression. They take the
form sometimes of dirge and sometimes of elegy, and now and again
the recital of an actual experience becomes poetic through its very
literalness. ‘We are abused,’ says one _Selichah_, ‘spat upon, treated
like mire in the street.’ ‘We are trampled upon like mire, seethed
in the caldron, threshed like straw, and crushed as in a winepress,’
begins another. Sometimes the suffering teaches strength, and a poet
protests in all his pain, ‘Because I fear the one Lord God, I fear
amongst the many――none,’[31] or counsels his companions in misery
to ‘endure dispraise for fearing Him whose name is One. And never
be through idols raised to power and might.’[32] But sometimes the
undoubting belief in God which is breathed forth in these productions,
takes, as is hardly unnatural under the terrible circumstances, an
expression of passionate appeal to Him for active interference, or even
of a more distinct cry for divine vengeance on the ‘tyrants and their
race.’

The earlier of the _Piyutim_ are quite rugged and rhymeless, and
about many of them there is considerably more suggestion of martyrdom
than of minstrelsy. It must have been difficult for the _Chazan_ of
the synagogue to make this so-called poetry form any musical part of
the service. And here it is as well to note that the familiar title
_Chazan_ is derived from the Hebrew word חָזָה, to see, and was used in
the same sense as _Episcopus_, bishop, which means literally inspector,
or superintendent. The חַזָן of the synagogue, in addition to other duties,
read or intoned the prayers, and in course of time the reader or singer
became, and was called, the minister of his congregation. And hence
the word _Chazanuth_, a word which is only applied to the melody, and
not to the poetry of the synagogue, and which may be rendered sacred
minstrelsy. In actual fact, till about the tenth century the _Piyutim_,
which up to this date are mostly anonymous, have little claim to any
musical or rhythmical charm. They are more or less articulate cries
of exile, uttered by patient generations of men, who told of miseries
past singing, almost past praying about. Towards the second half of the
tenth century, the French and Spanish Jews, who were more cultivated
and more happy than the rest of their European brethren, begin to add
their share to the store of national religious poetry, and at once
a change comes over the style. It grows more polished in form, and
less uniformly mournful in subject. In these _Piyutim_, God resumes
His place as Creator and Father, as well as Protector and Avenger of
mankind, and His glories and His powers, and man’s hopes and man’s
duties, and the relations of the human spirit to the divine, are
said and sung in more metrical language. ‘Let me make the ballads
of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws,’ was once acutely
remarked, and the saying is often quoted to show how much influence
national songs have upon national character. In this sense it is very
interesting to find what was the general tone and tendency of Jewish
‘minstrelsy’ through all those long centuries of darkness and of
degradation. And first we notice that it was mainly of a religious
sort――that the intellectual wealth of the Jewish nation flowed chiefly
into the channels of the synagogue. In all the unutterable misery
of the Middle Ages, the national poetry of the Jews never ceased to
be religious, and it never, under all that cruel provocation, became
revolutionary. The tone of some of the _Piyutim_ is fierce and vengeful,
but it is never cowardly even in its hate. The writers recount openly,
and often passionately enough, the wrongs suffered by their race, but
for all redress they ‘lift up their eyes to the hills, whence cometh
their help.’ To the credit of these patient poets of the _Selichah_
be it said that they never used their power of national song to rouse
their people to any secret plotting, nor to any working of harm against
their oppressors. But to keep up a feeling of pride and hope in the
poor Ghetto folks old tales of ancient glories are recited over and
over again. It is somewhat curious to see how, through all the sad
and often despondent strains of the _Piyutim_, there sounds every now
and then a note of self-satisfied trustfulness, that seems, at first,
almost like a sign of national arrogance or conceit.

                 ‘A race that has been tested,
                  And tried through fire and water,
                  Is surely prized by Thee,
                  And purified from sin,’

is an instance of the kind. But it was probably just this sure
sense that God never would desert His people that saved them from
utter degradation. And so, if the _Piyutim_ occasionally insist a
little strongly on God’s especial and peculiar love for Israel, under
Israel’s especial and peculiar need for it in those days, the slight
exclusiveness of their religious aspirations may well be forgiven to
them.


=4. A Specimen Planet.=――Astronomers, before they begin to study the
orbit of any particular star, like to be familiar with the general
aspect of the heavens; and students of history, who wish to learn about
any special period or personage, have to follow much the same course,
in order that they may be able to fill in for themselves the background
to any prominent figure. The general condition of the Jewish people in
the chief countries of Europe during the Middle Ages is now, perhaps,
sufficiently familiar to us for this plan to be possible, and, as each
star peeps out from its own particular corner of the dark sky, we can
picture somewhat accurately the nature of the surrounding darkness
which it illumined. Thus, the end of the ninth century, and the country
Egypt, recalls to memory the tempestuous close of a long period of
literary activity. The labours of the Gaonim were becoming, by that
date, intermittent and interrupted, and Jehuda the Blind, one of the
most active of them all, was already nearly a hundred years dead, when
in 849 the Sultan Mutavakel[33] imposed those intolerant and degrading
disabilities on the Jews of the East which were the beginning of the
end. Oppressed from without, and divided by jealousies from within,
the schools of Babylon gradually closed, one after the other, and
the scholars migrated to Egypt and to Spain. In 892, to one of these
settlers in Upper Egypt there was born a child who grew up and grew
famous under the name and title of Gaon Saadia.[34] He became head
of the college at Sora, and was a great authority on all theological
matters. He translated the Bible into Arabic, which language was
growing to be a second mother-tongue to the transplanted Eastern Jews.
Saadia fought a good fight against Karaism and its principles, which
seemed so wide and were so narrow.[35] His arguments in many forms were
directed against the plausible and impracticable doctrines which, about
the middle of the eighth century, Anan ben David had done his best to
spread. But Saadia’s chief original work was called אֱמוּנָה וְדֵעוֹת, Faith and
Morals. This book battles against unbelief, and sums up the arguments
in favour of holding by ‘tradition’ under seven excellent and pithy
heads. It shows that there is ignorant denial quite as often as
ignorant belief, and that doubting comes more often from knowing too
little than from knowing too much. But Saadia was no bigot. He taught
that religion has no cause to fear research, and that if research is
only carried far enough it confirms revelation. He wrote, all these
centuries ago, in the same spirit as the Poet Laureate in these days,――

                ‘Let knowledge grow from more to more,
                 But more of reverence in thee dwell.’

And Saadia led an active life apart from his books. Like Mordecai,
‘he sought the prosperity of his brethren, and the peace of all his
seed.’ But in these efforts our Rabbi was not successful, or only very
partially so. The spirit which asks, ‘Who made thee a leader over us?’
was as active in the days of Saadia as in the days of Moses, and the
Jews of Babylon were just as impatient as the Jews of the wilderness
of wise direction and control. However, if Saadia’s moderate counsels
did not always prevail among his people in his lifetime, the influence
of his written words remains to them, and are a fine record of fifty
years of useful life. He had a great deal of trouble, in consequence of
communal disputes with the רֵישׁ נְּלוּתָא, David ben Sakkai. A reconciliation,
after many years’ discord, was effected between David ben Sakkai and
the community, and David’s grandson, who was the last רֵישׁ נְּלוּתָא, was
brought up in Saadia’s house. Rabbi Saadia ben Joseph died in 942.



                            CHAPTER XXVII.

                           SOME FIXED STARS.


=1. Solomon ibn Gabirol (1021‒1070).=――This poet and philosopher, who
was born at Malaga in 1021, is a very good example of what tolerant
Mahomedan Spain produced among her Jews. The truest lives, it has
been said, are those which have been cut rose-diamond fashion, that
is to say, many-sided, and each side answering to some useful aspect
of the life around them. This many-sidedness is perhaps a distinctive
feature of Jewish genius, and due as much to circumstances as to nature.
Solomon ibn Gabirol is an instance in point. He was poet, patriot,
astronomer, and philosopher in one, and equally distinguished all round.
Of his own life-history we unfortunately know almost as little as we
do of Shakespeare’s, for biographies and autobiographies were not so
much in fashion in those days as in these. But sonnets and poems with
Gabirol, as with the great Englishman, take often a personal turn, and
from these we learn that the Spanish poet was early left an orphan, and
that he found a friend and protector in a certain Jekuthiel ibn-Hassan,
the chief minister of the reigning kaliph. There are verses in
existence which tell us of the friendship, and verses, too, of a
sadder sort, which tell us of that friendship’s ending. Jekuthiel died
when the boy he loved, and who loved him back again as only boys and
poets can, was but eighteen, and the sorrow that came thus early into
Gabirol’s life shadowed it henceforth. He seems always to have been
of a somewhat sombre temperament, and it is possible that the loss of
his parents when he was a child, and then the loss of this good friend
just as he was entering manhood, may have made him more inclined than
even he was naturally, to take sad views of things. He wrote a really
wonderful elegy for so young a poet, on the death of Jekuthiel, and
for the rest of his life he seems to have turned to work as a cure for
heart-break. The most valuable of his writings is called ‘The Fountain
of Life,’ and its philosophy was so wise and so original that the book
grew more celebrated than the author. It was translated about 1150,
from the Arabic language in which it was written, into Latin, and under
its name of _Fons Vitæ_ it was greatly prized by learned schoolmen
of the period, and in time it became a puzzle to identify the writer.
‘Avicebron’ was received as the name of the author, but who Avicebron
might be was only conclusively solved in these days, when the French
_savant_ Munk proved, to the satisfaction of all who knew most about
the facts, that the unknown and celebrated ‘Avicebron’ of general
fame, and the known and loved Gabirol of Jewish fame, were identical.
To Jewish literature his chief contributions were numerous _Piyutim_,
to be found in the various rituals, and the כֶּתֶר מַלְכוּת, or Kingly Crown,
which forms part of the New Year service in the Prayer-books of the
Spanish and Portuguese and the British Jews. This is a most beautiful
religious poem, beginning ‘Heavenly and earthly creatures bear
witness that they decay, and that Thou alone dost endure.’ The German
astronomer and philosopher, Humboldt, said of this composition of
Gabirol’s that it was a worthy and noble echo of ancient Hebrew poetry.
It has a certain scientific as well as a theological value, for the
first part of the prayerful poem gives a scholar’s rendering of the
truth that ‘the heavens declare the glory of God,’ by presenting to the
reader a faithful picture of what was the astronomical knowledge of the
period in which the author lived. The כֶּתֶר מַלְכוּת has been translated into
almost every European language. Another work of this many-sided man was
the composition of a Hebrew grammar in verse, and a more interesting
one was a small collection of wise and witty saws and sayings. This
little book was called a ‘Choice of Pearls,’ and here are a few sample
jewels:――

‘Questioning is halfway to wisdom.’

‘Courtesy is halfway to cleverness.’

‘Thrift is halfway to wealth.’

‘He who soweth hatred soweth regret.’

‘Man’s friend is his reason, and ignorance is his enemy.’

‘Who is wise? He who seeketh wisdom.’

‘A body without wisdom is like a house without foundation.’

‘Kings rule the land, wisdom rules kings.’

‘Forbearance is the best counsellor, courtesy the best companion.’

‘What is a test of good manners? Being able to bear patiently with bad
ones.’

The string on which these pearls, and such as these, were strung, was
a neat system of headings, such as ‘Friendship,’ ‘Patience,’ ‘Wisdom,’
and so on, under each of which headings the maxims were arranged.
Gabirol did not live to be an old man; he died at Valencia before he
was quite fifty years old, but, as Ben Jonson says,――

           ‘It is not growing like a tree
            In bulk, doth make man better be,
            Or standing long an oak, three hundred year,
            To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere.’

It is not the number of our years, but the things done in them, that
will be counted to us in eternity. Ibn Gabirol lived his life to the
full, although it was twenty years short of the allotted sum.


=2. ‘Rashi’ (1040‒1105).=――Something more of a scholar, and something
less of a poet, was Rabbi Solomon Isaaci, a French contemporary of Ibn
Gabirol, who was born at Troyes in the year 1040. Though accusations
against the Jews of France had grown frequent, and their position ever
more and more insecure since the death of Charles the Bald in 877, yet
their schools, particularly in the south and south-east of the country,
were still flourishing and uninterfered with at the date of the little
Solomon’s birth. His father and his uncle were both learned men, and
the child was a student almost from his cradle. He was born, in fact,
into a community of scholars, and something of the simplicity, and
something too of the poverty which belongs to the scholarly life clung
to him all his days. His means were small, but his wants were few, and
he seemed always extremely content with his portion of ‘plain living
and high thinking.’ He married at eighteen, which is, perhaps, some
explanation both of the poverty and of the content. But happiness
did not quench his thirst for knowledge. So eager was he to learn all
he could possibly be taught, that, like Akiba before him, he did not
hesitate to leave his wife and children in the pursuit of study. He
went to the then celebrated theological colleges of Mainz and Worms,
and worked there to such good purpose that his fellow-students dubbed
him פַּרְשַׁנְדָּתָא, which is a Chaldaic equivalent for ‘Explainer of the Law.’
He is said to have made פְּשַׁט of the Talmud, which means to have arrived
at a clear and simple rendering of the text――a great feat if we are
to accept it literally. He made also a commentary on the Bible, which
gives evidence of wide research and clear thought, but his Talmud
commentary is considered, by competent judges, to be the more valuable
of the two. With all his learning, Rabbi Solomon Isaaci would seem to
have been one of those delightfully genial people who naturally earn
nicknames among their companions, or, at least, get long-sounding
titles affectionately shortened. In the very little we know of the
inner lives of these long dead heroes, it is often necessary to
add inferences to facts, and it is very suggestive that many of the
greatest of these scholars used what Dean Swift calls the ‘little
language’ among each other. The famous Maimonides was familiar Rambam
in his own circle. Ibn Ezra was known as Raba, and something of the
modest, happy nature of the wise Rabbi Solomon Isaaci seems to be
revealed to us when we hear that this learned scholar and distinguished
commentator on Bible and Talmud is seldom called by his grand full
names, but only by the initials ר ש י,‎ ‏(רַבִּי שְׁלֹמֹה יִעְחָקִי) and it is as ‘Rashi’
he is famous.


=3. Abraham Ibn Ezra[36] (1092‒1167).=――Ibn Ezra, who was born at
Toledo in 1092, was a star that shone in many different ways. He was a
man of vigorous intellect, and as active in body as in mind. For those
quiet days he was a famous traveller, and we find him enjoying a visit
to London when he was in his sixty-seventh year (1159). He was just
sixteen years old when the fanatic outburst against the Jews in his
native town was put down by King Alfonso of Castile,[37] and possibly
it was the sense of impending troubles in Spain which first set him
thinking of seeking his fortunes abroad. His ‘fortunes’ he never seems
to have found, but failures in that direction did not trouble him
much. He would laugh at his own disappointments, and say, ‘If I were
to take to shroud-making, I do believe men would leave off dying, or
if I adopted candle-making as a trade, I am certain the sun would take
to shining by night as well as by day till I gave it up.’ Ibn Ezra’s
travels were rather the result of a restless and inquiring spirit than
of a settled and sustained object. He would learn for a while, and then
teach for a while, and do both equally thoroughly, and to the delight
of either masters or pupils. And then he would travel again, and prove
the most charming and entertaining of companions to any one whom he
might chance to meet. He stayed once for a long time in Italy, and his
influence amongst scholars there caused quite a revival to take place
in grammatical and analytical study. He was an excellent critic, and
his philosophic and scientific commentaries on the Pentateuch, and
on some other parts of the Bible, are very valuable. Astronomy, also,
was a favourite pursuit of his, and he was a first-rate mathematician.
Ibn Ezra must have been, as the phrase goes, a very able man. Yet
all qualities have their corresponding defects, and the charm of
many-sidedness, when undirected by any high aim, has a tendency to run
into indistinctness of outline. Ibn Ezra, it must be confessed, was
all his life just a little of a rolling stone, and mere restlessness
appears to have had a good deal to do with his frequent change of place
and pursuit. His intellect seems to have been more active than his
emotions, and it looks almost as if he had more mind than heart. And
so the light this star gave forth, though brilliant, was of a somewhat
wavery and uncertain sort.


=4. A Great Traveller.=――Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela was a Spanish
merchant, who, between the years 1165 and 1173, visited the Jewish
communities then existing in Europe, in Asia, and in Africa, and
has left the most valuable record extant of the general condition of
the Jews at that period throughout the three continents. It is quite
likely that commercial pursuits shared with the pursuit of knowledge
the motive of Rabbi Benjamin’s wanderings. For, in the modern sense,
he certainly did not ‘make a book’ of his travels. The Itinerary of
Benjamin of Tudela is the plainest and most unvarnished record of
experiences, and, on the face of it, the work of a man who had no great
literary ability. There is a lack both of detail and of polish in these
rather rough notes of twelfth-century travel, and some critics have
gone so far as to account for this meagreness by suggesting that Rabbi
Benjamin might, in strict truth, have dated some of his despatches
from Tudela. But more charitable and better informed commentators do
not accuse our traveller of this bad faith, but explain his baldness
of description and his occasional omissions by the much more likely
suggestion that parts of the diary may have been altogether lost. The
text which we now possess is considered by competent judges to be an
abridgment of the original, and if this be the case, it would account
for many otherwise unaccountable omissions. For instance, there is very
little space indeed given to the Jews of Germany, who were numerous
enough in the twelfth century to have afforded plenty of material to
a traveller bent on recording his impressions. There would seem to be
no cause for any wilful omission of this sort on the part of Benjamin,
but the accidental loss of the German descriptions would easily explain
it. With all its drawbacks, the book is extremely valuable. It gives
us a glimpse of Jews, ‘toiling, rejoicing, sorrowing,’ in the midst of
alien peoples, and it enables us to see how they looked to the eyes of
a very keen-sighted and very plain-speaking traveller, who spent eight
years in visiting all the chief cities of the world in the second half
of the twelfth century. Rabbi Benjamin wrote his journals in Rabbinic
Hebrew. They have been translated into Latin, French, Dutch, and
English, but, strange to say, never into German. Possibly the Germans
considered a book of travels, which did not say much about them and
their country, to be too trivial for the trouble of translation.[38]


=5. Jehudah Halevi (1085‒1140).=――When the cry of _Hep! Hep!_ was
ringing in all its first fierce frenzy over Europe, there were just one
or two quiet corners in the Continent where the sound was forbidden.
Peter of Arragon and Alfonso VI. of Castile were the Caleb and Joshua
of their age, who stood steadfast, refusing to join in a ‘false report,’
and follow a multitude to do evil. Within the century that had just
closed, France, Italy, Germany, Bohemia, and Greece had each been, at
different times, the scene of terrible persecutions of the Jews. In
Spain alone, under the mild sway of the Ommeyade kaliphs, Jews found
peaceable homes. By the beginning of the twelfth century the Catholic
kings were fast winning back Spain from the Moors, but the tolerant
policy of the Mahomedans was yet, for a while, maintained. Space and
liberty were still accorded to Jewish subjects, and it was on the safe
soil of Old Castile, whilst Alfonso VI. reigned, that the poet, Jehudah
Halevi, of whom a sober historian[39] gravely writes that the words
‘created in the image of God,’ when applied to him, read like the most
simple and literal of descriptions, passed his childhood. As Jehudah
grew up he became the very centre and chief of the group of tuneful and
unworldly sages who, whilst the world was hurrying after vain shadows,
and forgetting all about such beautiful realities as learning and
humanity, remind us, by their calm and studious and religious lives,
that such things did exist even in the dark ages. The quiet, uneventful
histories of such men have been almost covered up from sight in the din
and dust raised by recurring crowds of ‘chivalrous’ crusaders. Even in
the age in which they lived, these gentle old scholars were not very
visible, nor very prominent figures. They seem to stand a little apart,
writing their poetry and philosophy, studying among the wise, teaching
among the ignorant, and rarely eager for fame, and never for reward.
Like the scholars of an older period, these, whom we find behind the
scenes of the Middle Ages, used ‘the Law’ neither as a spade to dig
with, nor as a crown to shine with. A modest livelihood was contentedly
dug out of some handicraft or profession, and as to shining, they never
thought about it at all.

Jehudah Halevi, physician and poet, was the highest type of this
old-fashioned class of authors, and in his lifetime was far wider
known as a doctor than as a poet. Even his doctoring was done on
old-fashioned lines. As he stands in his laboratory he writes:

                 ‘This draught that I myself combine,
                  What is it? Only Thou dost know
                  If well or ill, if swift or slow,
                  Its parts shall work upon my pain.
                  Ay, of these things, alone is Thine
                  The knowledge. All my faith I place
                  Not in my craft, but in Thy grace.’

His ‘faith’ was perfect; it never failed him.

           ‘When I remove from Thee, O God,
            I die whilst I live; but when I cleave to Thee
            I live in death,’

is another saying of his, and so beautiful a one that it has found a
worthy setting in the יוֹם כִּפּוּר service. But, intensely religious as was
Halevi, and perhaps because he was so religious, he was of an extremely
happy nature, and he seems to have had, in addition to his other
doctoring gifts, the ‘cheerful heart which doeth good like a medicine.’
This cheerfulness is very apparent in all his compositions, and a great
many of his poems seem actually to be bubbling over with joyousness.
Though, like most of the Jewish authors of his age, Halevi was an
Arabian scholar, and thoroughly well read in Greek literature, he
wrote mostly in Hebrew, and, as it seems, by preference as well as
from principle, used his genius on Jewish subjects. He drank at the
classic well, he recognised to the full its charm and its use, but he
was too thoroughly Jewish for it ever to be to him as ‘the fount of
living waters.’ He warned his people, indeed, against the fascinating
influences of ‘Grecian wisdom.’ ‘It bears not fruit, but only blossom,’
he says in his charming poetic fashion. There could be to Halevi but
one ‘tree of life.’ His chief prose work is founded on the somewhat
doubtful history of that Bulan, the Jewish king who is said to
have reigned over the Khozars in the eighth century. The legend――it
is hardly history――tells that Bulan, startled into religious
self-questionings by a vision of the night, summoned, next day, Jewish,
Christian, and Mahomedan divines to talk to him of their faiths,
in order that, open-eyed, he might choose from among them the most
satisfying. The arguments of the Jewish doctors, it is said, proved the
most convincing to Bulan, and the legend concludes with his conversion
to Judaism, and the founding in his person of a Jewish dynasty which
lasted some two hundred years.[40] This was a tale after Halevi’s own
heart. He saw it all as it might have been, and made it not only into
a stirring story, but into an interesting discourse concerning Judaism;
and, that it might have the more readers, he wrote it in Arabic.
Halevi’s love for his race and his religion was enthusiastic. ‘Israel
among the nations,’ he says, ‘is as the heart among the limbs.’ But he
was practical as well as poetic, and loyal as well as loving. He never
neglected a patient for the sake of a poem, nor was he the less a
faithful citizen of Spain because Jerusalem was to him, as he expresses
it, ‘the city of the world.’ He had always a great desire to visit the
lost land of his fathers. ‘Oh! had I eagles’ wings, I’d fly to thee,’
he writes in his beautiful poem on Jerusalem. But as he had not eagles’
wings, but only the plodding feet of a steadfast and God-fearing man,
he set himself to do the work that lay straight before him, and made of
his unsatisfied longings no excuse for sloth, but a spur to endeavour.
It is said by some writers that he did at last go to Jerusalem, and
died there; and others assert that he was murdered by Arabs on the road
thither; and yet others, that he never had even the happiness to start
on the long-desired journey. In truth, of the actual facts of Halevi’s
life we know, as absolute certainty, but few, and we have to build up
his character, and guess at his circumstances, from his writings. These
are fortunately plentiful, and there is no difficulty at arriving at
some settled conclusions. From the love poems, which are 800 in number,
we gather some knowledge of a happy home, and of a wife of ‘rarest
worth and sweet exceedingly.’ Then there are quantities of letters to
prove to us that Halevi was as faithful in friendship as in love. One
of these epistles, written to a companion while absent on his travels,
after regretting the loss of his society, adds, prettily and poetically
enough, ‘Within our hearts thou ne’er art out of sight.’ Another, which
is addressed to Moses Ibn Ezra, begins, ‘How can I rest whilst we are
absent one from another? Were it not for the glad hope of thy return,
the day which tore thee from me would tear me from all the world.’ An
elegy, which Halevi wrote in 1138 on the occasion of Moses Ibn Ezra’s
death, is one of his best known and best liked compositions. Moses Ibn
Ezra was a relative of the witty, wandering Abraham Ibn Ezra, and one
of that brotherhood of poetic philosophers. But the most characteristic
of Halevi’s writings are his religious poems, and these show us our
poet in the truest aspect of his short but many-sided life. ‘For Thy
songs, O Lord, my heart is a harp,’ he says in one place; and here is
a specimen of the melody of his heart-strings:

           ‘Lord! where art Thou to be found?
            Hidden and high is Thy home.
            And where shall we find Thee not?
            Thy glory fills the world.
            Thou art found in my heart,
            And at the uttermost ends of the earth.
            A refuge for the near,
             For the far, a trust.

           ‘The universe cannot contain Thee;
            How then a temple’s shrine?
            Though Thou art raised above men
            On Thy high and lofty throne,
            Yet art Thou near unto them
            In their spirit and in their flesh.
            Who can say he has not seen Thee?
            When, lo! the heavens and their host
            Make, silently, Thy presence manifest.

           ‘I sought to draw near to Thee.
            With my whole heart I sought Thee,
            And when I went out to meet Thee,
            To meet me, Thou wast ready.
            In the wonders of Thy might
            And in Thy holiness I have beheld Thee.
            Who is there that should not fear Thee?
            The yoke of Thy kingdom is the yoke of all.
            Who is there that should not call upon Thee?
            Thou givest unto all their food.’



                            CHAPTER XXVIII.

                   THE GREATEST OF THE FIXED STARS.
                       MAIMONIDES. (1135‒1204.)


=1. Early Days in Spain.=――At Cordova, in Spain, on March 30, 1135,
there was born, in the family of a certain Rabbi Maimon, a little boy,
who was named Moses. The mother died soon after the baby came, and
so, in very early days, the little Moses did not get quite his fair
share of petting. And soon his father married again, and besides some
older brothers and sisters, there were presently several younger ones,
to claim the new mother’s care, and between them all Moses seems to
have been, at first, just a little neglected and misunderstood. It is
possible that his own mother, if she had lived, would have found him
somewhat slow and sensitive, for other folks, more hastily judging,
pronounced him to be a rather sulky and stupid little boy. Among the
family circle, in his childhood, Moses ben Maimon held somewhat the
position of Hans Andersen’s Ugly Duckling, and like this famous little
farmyard hero, he was fated, as he grew up, to astonish them all.
His capabilities were soon recognised by his teachers in the schools,
where, as we have seen, the Law and the Talmud were the text-books. The
study of these included a wide range of subjects, but the education of
Moses ben Maimon was not gained only from books. He had in his youth
the advantages which extended travel confers, and not travelling of the
sort which has idleness for its motive and pleasure for its aim, but
journeying undertaken from a cause, and with an object, which must have
greatly roused the enthusiasm of an intelligent and high-minded boy.
Cordova, his native place, had been, for the four centuries during
which the Ommeyade kaliphs ruled in Spain, the centre of civilisation
in Europe. In 1148, when Moses ben Maimon was a boy of thirteen,
Cordova was taken by the Almohades, and under their fierce and bigoted
government an era of persecution set in for Spanish Jews and Christians.
The Almohades gave only the choice of ‘death or exile’ to such of their
subjects as would not be converted to the faith of Islam. Some, hard
pressed, took upon themselves the disguise of an alien religion, and,
loyal in secret, and so far as circumstances permitted, to their own
faith, remained as professed Mahomedans in their old homes. Others
were brave enough to follow truth at all costs, and amongst those who
emigrated with this object, were Rabbi Maimon and his family.


=2. Life in Exile.=――Moses ben Maimon was old enough and cultivated
enough to take in new impressions, and to benefit by new experiences.
For years the family moved about from place to place, since safe
‘cities of refuge’ for Jews at that date were but few and far between.
They finally settled down at Fostat, in Egypt, where an elder brother,
David, seems to have been the chief bread-winner in the family. David
ben Maimon was a dealer in precious stones, and Moses is said by some
historians to have helped his brother for a while in the cutting and
polishing of these gems. Although other historians vehemently deny that
Moses had ever anything to do with trade, yet, knowing the respect in
which manual labour is always held by Jews, and how often literary men
of the race have been handicraftsmen, there seems, on the face of it,
no improbability in the story, and rather a reason for giving credence
to it, since all agree that at one period in their lives David ben
Maimon took upon himself the care and support of his young brother. But
whether Moses ever helped in the workshop or not, it is quite certain
that he was no idler. He read and wrote most industriously, and before
he was twenty-three he had published a treatise on the Jewish calendar,
which shows some considerable knowledge of mathematics, and for years
he worked away steadily at the production of a learned commentary
on the Mishnah. When the time came for choosing a profession――for
again, of course, the Law could not be ‘used as a spade’――Maimonides
decided to become a physician. That even did not promise to be a very
profitable pursuit, for his services were always at the disposal of the
class who could not pay fees, but he took the keenest interest in all
his patients, and it was not very long before his skill attracted the
notice of influential outsiders.


=3. Becomes a Court Physician.=――In the middle of the twelfth century,
Saladin, titular sovereign of Syria, was virtual Sultan of Egypt, and
was proving himself, in every action, a hero fit for reality as well
as for romance. Saladin had many kingly qualities, and not least among
them was his aptitude for finding out good men, and honouring them when
found. Saladin seems to have heard of Maimonides through his vizier,
Alfadhel, who, first knowing the Jewish doctor professionally, had come,
as he knew him more intimately, to regard him with great admiration
as a friend. The introduction to the Sultan proved very fortunate, in
a worldly sense, for Maimonides. He was put on the roll of physicians,
which gave him a recognised position in the profession, and, in return
for certain fixed hours of attendance at court, a pension was allotted
to him. The appointment was made about 1186, when Maimonides was more
than fifty years of age, and the most valuable thing about it was the
freedom it gave him from money anxieties, which especial worry is quite
fatal to the production of good original work.


=4. Court and other Employment.=――But the court appointment gave him
no freedom from work, nor any license to be idle. And still less did
Maimonides let his successes in the outer world make him indifferent
to the wants and the welfare of his own community. It is possible that
the physician of Saladin, whose services, report said, had even been
solicited by Richard of England, became, by degrees, a little more
in request among his own congregation than had he remained only the
congregational doctor. But as he grew famous, Maimonides was far too
generous to recall whether his fame had come first from without or
first from within, and his talents and his services were always at
the disposal of all who needed him, poor or rich, Jew or Mahomedan,
without much thought of self in the matter. Maimonides was a famous
correspondent, and an extract from one of his letters to a friend at
this stage in his life will give some idea of what work meant to a
popular physician in the Middle Ages.[41]

‘With respect to your wish to come here to me, I cannot but say how
greatly your visit would delight me, for I truly long to communicate
with you, and would anticipate our meeting with even greater joy than
you. Yet I must advise you not to expose yourself to the perils of the
voyage, for beyond seeing me, and my doing all I could to honour you,
you would not derive any advantage from your visit. Do not expect to
be able to confer with me on any scientific subject for even one hour,
either by day or night, for the following is my daily occupation:――I
dwell in Mizr [Fostat], and the Sultan resides at Kahira [Cairo]; these
two places are two Sabbath days’ journeys (about one mile and a half)
distant from each other. My duties to the Sultan are very heavy. I am
obliged to visit him every day, early in the morning; and when he, or
any of his children, or any of the inmates of his harem, are indisposed,
I dare not quit Kahira, but must stay during the greater part of the
day in the palace. It also frequently happens that one or two of the
officers fall sick, and I must attend to their healing. Hence, as a
rule, I repair to Kahira very early in the day, and even if nothing
unusual happens, I do not return to Mizr until the afternoon. Then I am
almost dying with hunger; I find the antechambers filled with people,
both Jews and Gentiles, nobles and common people, judges and bailiffs,
friends and foes――a mixed multitude, who await the time of my return.
I dismount from my animal, wash my hands, go forth to my patients, and
entreat them to bear with me while I partake of some slight refreshment,
the only meal I take in the twenty-four hours. Then I go forth to
attend to my patients, write prescriptions and directions for their
several ailments. Patients go in and out until nightfall, and sometimes
even, I solemnly assure you, until two hours and more in the night.
I converse with them, and prescribe for them while lying down from
sheer fatigue; and when night falls I am so exhausted that I can
scarcely speak. In consequence of this, no Israelite can have any
private interview with me, except on the Sabbath. On that day the whole
congregation, or, at least, the majority of the members, come unto me
after the morning service, when I instruct them as to their proceedings
during the whole week; we study together a little until noon, when
they depart. Some of them return and read with me after the afternoon
service until evening prayers. In this manner I spend that day. I have
here related to you only a part of what you would see if you were to
visit me.’


=5. His Writings.=――Busy as he was, yet, like most very busy people,
Maimonides always found plenty of time for everything, and he continued
to write and to study and to prescribe, in a way that seemed wonderful
to those who were not in the secret of how good work gets done. To say
he was ‘a genius’ does not quite explain it. Maimonides’ genius was of
the steady sort, that has industry for its roots, and grudges neither
years of labour nor daily efforts of self-denial. The precious leisure
of ten whole years was spent by Maimonides in the production of a
single book, and this ‘leisure’ of early manhood must have included
very many monotonous hours, which might have been given to personal
pleasure or to active enjoyment. And even odd minutes were utilised
by Maimonides. In the intervals of his great works he would write a
treatise on medicine or mathematics, or throw off a poem, or indulge
in an epigram.

The title of the ten-years book is הַיָּד הַחֲזָקָה, ‘The Strong Hand.’ It
consists of an introduction and fourteen sections or books. In the
introduction he describes the chain of tradition from the time of Moses
till his own days, and the rest is a religious code, containing the
Jewish laws――written and oral――systematically arranged and presented
to the reader without discussion or argument. This work was published
in 1180, when Maimonides was forty-five years old, and it was well
received by most of the people who were wise enough to understand it.
In 1191 a very important book was brought out by Maimonides, which,
under the name of מוֹרֶה נְבוּכִים, ‘a Guide to the Perplexed,’ attracted an
immense amount of attention, but not altogether of a favourable sort,
to the author. The book deals with the perplexities of religious belief,
and tries to solve some of the many puzzles in life and in religion
to which God Himself gives and withholds the key, when He says to the
children of men, ‘My ways are not your ways, neither are your thoughts
My thoughts.’ Maimonides, in a reverent but still in a philosophising
spirit, tried to reconcile these ‘thoughts and ways,’ and to lift the
lower to a comprehension of the higher. His efforts were not always,
nor altogether, understood. In the then debased state of the Jews, the
pressing need of a God who should be ‘near’ to them, had led, in many
instances, to an ideal of divinity something a little different from,
something a little lower than, what ‘the Lord, the Spirit of all flesh,’
should mean. There was a tendency, here and there, to materialise
God, to localise His favours, and to dogmatise concerning His doings.
Against all this, Maimonides patiently and persistently strove. To take
as an instance a very famous chapter in this book, which has excited
much controversy. The theme is the Jewish code concerning sacrifice.
Maimonides argues that the blood of ‘cattle on a thousand hills’ could
never have been, at any time, a desirable, or even an acceptable,
offering to a loving and merciful God. He ‘guides the perplexed’ to the
conclusion that the sacrificial system of the Jews was designed as an
education, with the object of weaning a people living in the midst of
idolatrous nations from worse, and of leading them to better, things.
He considered the laws on sacrifice as designed against idolatry. But,
in his view, the value of sacrifice, like the value of prayer, lay in
the fact that it was a means to an end, and not an end in itself. He
held that ‘sacrifice’ was designed to teach self-denial and practical
repentance, and that the especial form, through which, in the world’s
early history, such lessons were taught, was suited to the conditions
under which it was given. Such reasoning sounded to many, not the
loving argument it really was in favour of a spiritual idea of
God, but a reasoning away of old received and literal renderings of
time-honoured texts.

And even this much-resented chapter on sacrifice did not produce so
much discussion and bitter feeling as did some chapters on prophecy,
in which Maimonides appeared to represent the power of prophecy as,
in degree, a _natural_ development of man’s intellect. The conflict
between faith and philosophy was waxing strong among Christians. There
was a growing tendency to call names on both sides, to denounce science
as paganism, and to sneer at religion as superstition. The sounds of
this conflict between philosophers and theologians, in the larger world
around them, found echoes among the Jews. We must remember that, except
in Spain, the poor Jews of Europe, for centuries, had had no healthy
interest whatever outside of their religion. Their Law was their
‘light,’ and their Talmud was the only window through which that light
was let in upon their lives. Oftentimes they ‘darkened with counsel’
the rays of Law and Talmud both. The endeavour of Moses Maimonides was
to clear away the gathering mists, and to broaden the window-panes,
that the knowledge of the Lord might shine out on all the multitude.
But the poor persecuted Jews clung to their Law and their Talmud, to
every line of Mishnah and Gemara, with a love that was so personal
and passionate, that any sort of criticism on such prized possessions
was suspected and resented. Maimonides’ views on God and angels and
prophets were based on Greek philosophy, and these views did not seem
to his opponents any better than their own notions, which were drawn
from the national sources of _Midrash_ and _Hagadah_. Hence it is
hardly surprising that some Rabbis forbade the study of מוֹרֶה נְבוּכִים, and
called its author a heretic. When the opinion of the Rabbis became
known to the Dominicans, these latter had copies of the book burnt in
the market-place of Paris.


=6. His Character.=――In the writings of Maimonides we discover the
talent of the man, but it is in his attitude under the response which
these writings met with that we find out his character. He never grew
angry at the mistaken zeal of his co-religionists. He understood the
circumstances, and could make allowance for injustice, and pass over
personal annoyance. And yet he was by no means a patient man. He did
not like stupid nor ignorant criticism concerning essential principles
of Judaism, and he could express himself in no very gentle language
when he or his writings met with opposition of that sort. Still, he
showed every respect to his opponents. He saw that there was a good as
well as a bad side to the clamour and the seeming narrow-mindedness;
and to enthusiastic, earnest natures like Maimonides’, intolerance
is easier to bear than indifference. At this crisis in his life,
Maimonides showed that he had ‘staying’ power. He could wait as well
as he could work. He let his faith――

                            ‘Rest large in time, and
              That which shapes it to some perfect end.’

And his trust was justified. Called ‘heretic’ by some faithful,
fearful co-religionists whilst he lived, posterity has deliberately
and unanimously reversed their sentence. Among the great men of Israel,
Maimonides has long been accorded a place in the foremost rank. ‘From
Moses unto Moses,’ says one Jewish proverb, ‘there has been none like
unto Moses.’[42] His books, once condemned, forbidden, and burnt in
the open market-place, are now among the works which no orthodox Jewish
theologian’s library may be without. Some of his doctrines, certainly,
still leave room for amicable discussion, but the important hymns of
אְדוֹן עוֹלָם and יִנְדַּל which are founded on his teachings have an honoured home
in the Jewish prayer-book.


=7. The End of his Life.=――In 1204, when not quite seventy years old,
Maimonides died, rich in ‘honour, fame, and troops of friends.’ He
was happy in his domestic relations, and his honest, earnest belief
that the good of all creeds and of all nations have a share in the
life to come, made him in full sympathy with ‘all sorts and conditions
of men’ in this life. An upright and consistent Jew, he lived on
the pleasantest terms with the large Mahomedan circle of which he
was a prominent and distinct figure. He was courteous without undue
concession, helpful without unnecessary interference, and thus
self-respecting, was universally respected. Maimonides had to bear
the sorrow of the death of several children, but a good and clever
son survived, to follow the great Jewish philosopher to his honoured
grave in Tiberias.



                             CHAPTER XXIX.

                       DARKNESS BEFORE THE DAWN.


=1. The Stars die out.=――Maimonides was not only the greatest of the
fixed stars in the Jewish literary firmament of the Middle Ages, but
he was also the last star that found a chance of shining through the
ever-gathering gloom. Denser and denser grew the thick clouds, and, one
by one, the stars waned and died out. Even had stars continued to arise,
brilliant enough and near enough to pierce that terrible thick darkness,
life to the Jewish nation was fast becoming so mere a hurrying from
death, that the frantic, stumbling struggle would have left little
opportunity or inclination for stargazing. There was no leisure to
look up. Jews had to ‘take heed to their ways’ in the saddest and
most sordid sense. And even the heedfulness was hopeless of result.
The brute force, and the bigoted faith, of the age were both arrayed
against the Jews, and oppressions culminated in edicts of expulsion. In
1290 the race was exiled from England, in 1394 from France, and in 1492
from Spain.


=2. Whither the Exiles went.=――The English exiles had little choice
of asylum. The ‘sea-girt isle’ pushed them from her shores, and the
nearest ports must have seemed to promise least misery in the way of
transit, and most chance of safe landing somewhere. As the opposite
coast of France came in view, it must have looked to those poor
sea-sick and heart-sick fugitives as if the worst of their troubles
were over. They disembarked at any and all of the French ports which
would take them in, and journeyed hither and thither inland, eager and
grateful to share the comparative security of their French brethren.
They did not stay to think how unsafe it all was; they did not look
back to see how, but sixteen years before, under a decree of Philip the
Fair, the Jews of France had been in like evil case with themselves,
nor did they look forward through a gloomy hundred years to see all
this dreary drama of exile acted over again, with added details of
hardship. It was, perhaps, well for them that they could only see a
little way at a time.


=3. Life in Germany.=――The English Jews who went further, and found
a refuge in the German states, like the Continental Jews who joined
them there, when exiled a century later, were certainly no better off.
Germany, so called, extended from Russia in the east to the Netherlands
in the west; and Jewish settlements existed in all the principal states
and provinces. In the flourishing cities on the banks of the Danube or
the Elbe, on the Maine or the Rhine, the Jews were all nominally ‘serfs
of the Imperial Chamber,’ and avowedly under the protection of the
Emperor. This ‘protection’ consisted in the Emperor, for the time being,
possessing the first, and, in theory, the sole right of plunder. German
Jews were the Emperor’s Jews――his absolutely. He might sell them, or
pawn them, or make presents or legacies of them. And, as a rule, the
Emperors did protect this property of theirs from other depredators.
If the vassal princes of the various states desired to plunder the
Jews, they had to do it after a fashion that should not be found out.
For this ‘protection,’ the Jews, of course, had to pay a tax to their
protector. On some occasions it was raised so high as a third of each
man’s ascertainable property. To regular, or irregular, taxation the
Jews generally submitted, for any outbreak of resistance only made
matters worse.

Towards the end of the thirteenth century, with the new influx of
French exiles, things altogether looked so desperate in the German
states, that a large number of Jews, principally from the Rhenish
provinces, determined on emigrating to Palestine. Rudolph of Hapsburg,
the then reigning Emperor, was very angry at this prospect of losing so
large a slice out of his revenue. He at once confiscated all the Jewish
goods on which he could lay his hands, and, as a speculation, seized
on the chief Rabbi of Germany, and held him as a prisoner in one of
his castles in Alsace. Rudolph calculated on getting a large ransom for
his Rabbi, and the Jews would gladly enough have paid generously for
his release. But the Rabbi refused to be ransomed. He would not play
into his enemies’ hands in that way. It was too easy a mode of raising
money, and one that, if he yielded to it, would most certainly become a
precedent. So the Rabbi declined his liberty on such terms, and he died
a prisoner.

Unlike England and France and Spain, Germany never went to the length
of expelling her Jews altogether, but she would hunt them, now and
again, from place to place in her dominions, and the hospitality she
extended to them was, at best, the hospitality of a sponging-house.
There is not a state, nor a province, nor a city of now united
Germany which has not, at some time or other, taken its evil share in
ill-treatment of the Jews. Prague, in Bohemia, could, perhaps, tell
the most sensational tales of all, if it were well or wise to write out
such sad stories in sober pen and ink. But the good old rule is best:
‘Write kindnesses in marble, and _injuries in dust_.’ It is sufficient
to say emphatically that things did not improve. Towards the end of
the fifteenth century the poor persecuted Jews of Germany made another
effort at emigration, but not to Palestine this time, for the feeling
which inspired the crusades had done its work, and the site of the
‘Holy Sepulchre’ was considered, at this date, too holy for Jewish
feet to profane with their tread. By order of the Popes, the masters of
vessels, bound for any parts connected with Palestine as a destination,
were forbidden to carry Jewish freight or Jewish passengers. Their own
land was denied to outcast Jews. Emigration, however, of some sort was
growing imminent. Poland and Turkey, in their undeveloped civilisation,
were found to be tolerant of aliens, and in these countries Jewish
settlements began to be made. There was no general desertion of the
German states, but the Jewish element in many of the cities perceptibly
dwindled, and, by degrees, only Frankfort, Worms, and Ratisbon
continued to be important centres of Jewish life.


=4. A New Crusade.=――At the beginning of the sixteenth century there was
a new sort of crusade got up against the Jews, and what might be called
a paper warfare opened upon them in Germany. It was mostly the fault
of one man, a wretched apostate named Joseph Pfefferkorn, who, from
the same vulgar love of profit and notoriety which had induced him to
change his faith, published a silly and offensive pamphlet, ridiculing
and abusing the habits and customs of his former co-religionists.
Such a crusade as this wretched convert inaugurated was sure of
supporters. His chief point for malicious attack was the Talmud, which
he represented as the stronghold and storehouse for Jewish crime,
stupidity, and superstition. He invented his examples to prove his rule.
And the Talmud, for such an object, was well chosen. It is extremely
easy to make assertions against a book which very few people can read.
Those who were ignorant of the real contents of the Talmud naturally
did not like to confess to their ignorance. Jews were an unpopular
subject, and it looked so wise and dignified to agree in a condemnation
which was apparently founded on much learned research. The Emperor
Maximilian listened to Pfefferkorn’s lying revelations, and we may be
sure that the priests pricked up their ears. It was all but decided
that the ‘horrible book’ which Pfefferkorn denounced should be burnt
wholesale. But a saviour was at hand for ‘Rabbi Talmud,’ as some of the
most ignorant of all called it, actually believing, in their hot haste,
that all this wickedness which they were called on to shudder at was
contained in a man, and not in a book! There was living at the time a
sensible and learned Christian scholar named Reuchlin. He was heartily
ashamed of all the stupid malignity, the spite, and the folly. He made
a spirited appeal, and not in vain, to the Senate of Frankfort and
to the Elector of Mayence. ‘Read the book,’ he bravely urged, ‘before
you burn it. The best way to fight Judaism is to try and understand
something about it. Burning is no argument.’ The Dominican monks were
very angry with Reuchlin, but he gained his point, and the Talmud was
not burnt that time.[43]


=5. What became of the Spanish and Portuguese Exiles.=――The Jews who
were expelled from the Peninsula underwent awful experiences. There
were so many of them seeking new homes, that governments, not cruelly
disposed, yet hesitated in their own interests from offering asylum
to such crowds. In Italy, to which many turned in the hope of a genial
climate and congenial pursuits, scant hospitality was experienced.
Genoa distinctly closed her gates against the fugitives; Venice
received them, but shut them up in a _ghetto_ (1516); and Rome, even
the Jews of Rome, were very doubtful as to the expediency of extending
a welcome. Naples was more generous, but the result was hardly more
fortunate for the Jews. In deference, perhaps, to Abarbanel, who led
a party of refugees to his kingdom, Ferdinand of Naples received them
graciously, and took Abarbanel into his own service. But hardly were
they settled in their new homes, when the Black Pestilence broke out in
Ferdinand’s State, and for a whole year made ravages among his subjects.
Great numbers of the Jewish exiles crossed the Straits of Gibraltar,
and made settlements on the northern coast of Africa, and in Egypt.
A painful difference, at best, such rough colonising must have proved
to the cultured grandees of Spain, and worse than roughnesses were in
store for them. The resources of civilisation, in those parts of the
world, were not equal to such a sudden influx of strangers needing
to be fed, and, delicately nurtured and luxuriously brought up as
these Jews had been, they had to suffer the horrors of actual famine.
Of those who managed to survive, many were seized by captains of
privateering vessels, and sold into slavery, and some lingered on, to
meet a worse fate at the hands of the natives. The barbarous tribes
of Africa had not arrived at the civilised pitch of persecuting Jews
for religion’s sake, but they had mastered the elementary reasons for
persecution. They had got so far as to believe that Jews, however poor
they looked, were potential mines of wealth, made and designed for
plunder. On this belief they acted in a shockingly literal manner.
Numbers of Jews who fell into the hands of these savages were actually
ripped open by them, in the hope that gold was the ordinary lining of
Jewish bodies.

Some eighty thousand of the exiles travelled no further than
Portugal, and there, for three or four years, they seemed tolerably
secure. But in 1496 dynastic considerations induced King Manuel of
Portugal, contrary to his own convictions, to follow the lead of
his parents-in-law, Ferdinand and Isabella. An edict of expulsion
against ‘Jews and Moors’ was pronounced. Ten months were granted for
preparation, and then the Jews of Portugal were dispersed, as their
Spanish brethren had been, over Italy, Africa, and Western Turkey, and
gradually, and by degrees, a small contingent found a safe asylum in
the Netherlands.

From 1497 till 1808, when Napoleon put an end to the ‘holy court’
of the Inquisition, no declared Jews were to be found in the Spanish
Peninsula. Plenty of secret Jews remained, who, under their name of
Marannos, or New Christians, continued, generation after generation, to
fill high offices in Church and State. The Marannos were true at heart,
and by stealth, to Judaism, and not seldom at the tribunal of the
Inquisition they had to pay the penalty of the suspicions which their
deceit excited. The Marannos preferred, when they could, to marry among
themselves, but there were, of necessity, frequent alliances, prompted
by love or by ambition, between the highly placed New Christians and
the grandest and most orthodox Catholic families of Spain. In course
of time there were very few Catholic nobles who could not trace back
to at least one Jew or Jewess amongst their ancestors. In the middle of
last century, Joseph, King of Portugal, wishing to make a distinction
between his subjects of pure, and those of mixed, descent, asked
his minister Pombal if he could arrange for a peculiar hat to be
recommended to the wear of New Christians. The next day Pombal
brought his master three of such hats. ‘For whom are these?’ asked
the king. ‘One is for your Majesty, one is for me, and one is for
the Inquisitor-General,’ answered Pombal. The minister’s genealogical
researches, we may suppose, rather disconcerted the king, but as they
went to show that the new hats would have to be pretty generally worn,
King Joseph gave up the idea of distinguishing the Jewish descended
grandees of his kingdom.



                             CHAPTER XXX.

                         THE DARKNESS VISIBLE.


=1. Deterioration of Character.=――The effects of all the evil
treatment which we have traced, began to be clearly manifest in the
Jewish character. The ravages on Jewish life and on Jewish property
were not the worst results of these ages of persecution. The real
injury done to the Jews went far deeper than any amount of outrage
or wrong might inflict on an individual. ‘Few natures,’ writes the
Laureate, ‘are of such fine mould, that if you sow therein the seed of
hate, it blossoms charity.’ Jewish nature is of ‘fine mould,’ or under
such a course of manuring, and such a season of neglect, it might well
have become altogether overrun with rank weeds. Seeds once planted can,
nevertheless, only follow the law of nature, and blossom and bear fruit
according to their kind. Forced into secret and sordid ways, denied
hope, aim, or ambition of any worthy sort, contemptuously shunned when
they were not actively hunted, ‘protected’ by princes and persecuted
by priests, what wonder if Jews at last became ‘degraded,’ never indeed
to the level of what they were thought, but something undoubtedly below
the level of what they should have been? Agur’s prayer was a wise one.
‘Give me, O Lord,’ he says, ‘neither poverty nor riches: lest I be full,
and deny Thee; or lest I be poor, and steal.’ Jews, for generations,
were subject to the extreme of both the temptations which Agur prayed
against. The cultivated Marannos of Spain yielded to the one; they were
‘full,’ and for continued wealth and ease they denied their God. The
ignorant clippers of coin in England yielded to the other temptation;
they were poor, and stole.

The higher ideals which keep men straight were sometimes lost sight
of in the gloom. Honour and honesty came often to be regarded as
impossible virtues. Life was so uncertain that it grew unduly dear,
and men and women, in their terror, became, not unseldom, selfish
and cowardly. Instances crop up in contemporary records, though they
are happily rare, of Jews being denounced and betrayed by Jews. The
carefully guarded secret of a co-religionist’s hidden hoards would
now and again be disclosed to the enemy, as a means of averting the
‘evil eye’ from a too close scrutiny into the traitor’s own concerns.
Men were even found capable of owning to untrue accusations, and of
inventing stories of never-designed plots, with the object of gaining
favour and ‘protection’ for themselves and their families. Under the
terrible conditions of their life, the very virtues of the Jews turned
to vices. The old Jewish characteristics of steadfastness, and prudence,
and intelligence, seemed to take new and lower forms; for bare life’s
sake, the loyal, large-minded Jew learnt to be narrow, and secret,
and cunning. There was such awful need to be rich. Rich Jews could
gain at best a lofty tolerance, and for poor Jews there must have
seemed no cause nor excuse for living at all. Money-getting became the
one absorbing pursuit of the race, the one ambition of life, the one
possible protection against cruel and tortured death. And the money got,
it brought no leisure, no gracious possibilities with it of refinement
or of culture. To toil for wealth which they might not openly enjoy,
and to passionately believe in a religion which they might not openly
profess, was the portion of the Jews for centuries. It was a sort of
suffering which sapped at the very roots of self-respect, and which
inevitably resulted in defects of bearing and of conduct. The outcast
Jew learnt to stoop where he should have stood upright, and to swagger
and to push when standing room was grudgingly allotted him. He came by
degrees to merit, in his outward aspect, some of the contempt which he
had never earned, and in this sadly changed aspect of the heirs of the
prophets, the darkness of the ‘dark ages’ was made visible.


=2. Atmospheric Conditions.=――Nothing, again, perhaps shows more
plainly the density of the darkness than the extraordinary light which
was cast upon it in the seventeenth century by a baleful shooting star,
which rose like a rocket in the East, just as the dawn was beginning
to break in the Western world. The miserable condition of the Jews had
by this time a little shaken their faith. They had been martyrs, and
mute inglorious martyrs, for so long. They suffered, among other things,
from suppressed religion. Their faith in God was as fervent as ever,
but the fervour, denied any honoured and open expression, had come to
be of a dangerous and an emotional sort. This spiritual weakness, such
as it was, did not lead them, however, in the direction of doubt, but
of credulity. They did not think that the Lord’s ‘hand was shortened,’
that it could not ‘save,’ but they grew over-eager to see it stretched
out on their behalf, and far too ready to welcome any sorry impostor
by way of Saviour. As had happened before the fall of Jerusalem, and
again before the coming of Barcochba, the very air that was breathed by
unhappy Jews seemed full of portent and prophecy, and a ‘Messiah’ was
almost bound to appear in response to the wild and superstitious hopes
in which they indulged. And when, at length, such a one came forward,
he found he had marvellously little to do to keep up the character.


=3. A Shooting Star: Sabbatai Zevi (1626‒1676).=――Smyrna, in Turkey,
was the birthplace of the wretched impostor who, for some three years
in the latter half of the seventeenth century, ‘made,’ as an old
chronicler expresses it, ‘a madness among the Jews.’ The father of
Sabbatai Zevi was a merchant, and in no wise remarkable. The son
was something of a scholar, and gained a certain amount of unwelcome
prominence in his youth by propounding some rather startling religious
theories, an exploit which led to his being banished from the city
by order of the authorities of the synagogue. Before his exile he was
twice married and twice divorced. We do not know what effect these
domestic experiences may have had on his character, but we hear of him
next (1664) at Jerusalem, interesting himself greatly in all Jewish
questions, and finding in a certain Jew of the place, named Nathan, an
enthusiastic listener to all his wild plans. Whether the sight of the
fallen city may have inspired Sabbatai with a genuine and passionate
desire to help in its restoration, or whether he was a conscious
impostor from the very first, and only influenced by the desire of
revenge on the Smyrna synagogue, it is difficult to decide. It is not
easy to think that, within the very walls of Jerusalem, a Jew could
plan a deliberate imposture on his nation. In his actions, however,
it is certain, Sabbatai was never honest. Quite suddenly he proclaimed
himself the Messiah of the Jews, appointed Nathan his prophet, and
proceeded to predict the very date when he, Sabbatai Zevi, should
be acknowledged sole monarch of the universe, with the capital and
head-quarters of his kingdom fixed in a restored and beautified
Jerusalem.


=4. How the News was received.=――The news of a Messiah having arisen
spread like wildfire through all the cities of Turkey. Business of
every sort was suspended, and men and women abandoned their ordinary
occupations, and gave themselves up entirely to what they called good
works. Believing that they were about ‘to inherit all things,’ rich
and poor alike refused to labour. Those who had led self-indulgent
lives now fasted and scourged themselves, and became so lavish in their
charity, and were so urgent to make amends, that the beggars had an
extremely good time. There must have been something very persuasive
about Sabbatai Zevi, for a certain Samuel Pennia who began by making
a strenuous stand against all this folly, ended by becoming a violent
convert to it. Sabbatai presently went to his birthplace, Smyrna.
In that city early recollections stirred some of the people to just
sufficient doubt to make them ask their old townsman to perform a
miracle in proof of his Messiahship. Sabbatai, says the same old
chronicle, ‘was horribly puzzled for a miracle,’ but his effrontery was
equal to the credulity of his dupes. In an audience before the cadi or
judge of the city, Sabbatai suddenly and gravely exclaimed, ‘See you
not a pillar of fire?’ Many of the crowd, in the hysterical excitement
of the moment, really believed that they saw something of the sort, and
those who did not see were silent, hardly liking to proclaim their want
of faith or their defective sight. Sabbatai was triumphant, and men who
refused to acknowledge him were actually, in some cases, excommunicated
by the synagogues.


=5. The Sultan interferes.=――But an end was coming to this
extraordinary imposture. The Sultan of Turkey, Mahomed IV., thought
it time to put a stop to the tumult and confusion which the man was
creating in his dominions. So when Sabbatai, shortly after the visit to
Smyrna, made a mission, as he would have called it, to Constantinople,
he was seized by order of the sultan upon his arrival, and imprisoned
in a dungeon. It was an unpleasant experience for Sabbatai, and it
made a very great difference in his way of looking at things, but on
his infatuated followers, strange to say, his reverse of fortune made
little or no impression. In a dungeon or in a palace, as martyr or as
prince, they believed in their Messiah. Poor deluded people, there is
something very pathetic about their enthusiasm; it seems to suggest so
plainly how few objects in life they must have had worthy of belief or
of reverence.


=6. Sabbatai resigns his Pretensions.=――The sultan was quite
determined to make an end of all this madness. At the end of two
months he demanded a miracle of Sabbatai as the price of his release
from prison. But it was to be a miracle of the sultan’s own choosing
this time. Sabbatai was to be stripped naked, archers were to shoot at
him, and his ‘divine’ flesh was to remain proof against their arrows.
Now, two months in an uncomfortable dungeon had considerably sobered
Sabbatai Zevi. He was not the sort of stuff of which heroes are made,
and he had not the slightest ambition to be a martyr. All his audacity
ebbed away from him, and he, of course, refused the test. Then, like
the coward he was, seeing the game was up, and tired perhaps of the
whole thing, he owned that he was nothing but a very commonplace
charlatan, who had traded on the credulity of his countrymen.


=7. Becomes a Convert to Mahomedanism.=――The confession, humiliating
as it was to Sabbatai, did not altogether satisfy the wise sultan. He
wanted to make an example of the cheat, and to show his dupes what a
poor creature they had believed in. So the sultan said that as Sabbatai
had proved himself so bad a Jew, he must try if he could do better as
a Mahomedan. Quite cheerfully Sabbatai consented to conversion, and had
the effrontery to add that to be a Turk had long been his ambition! And
as a Turk, and a rather popular one, this impostor continued to live,
and it was in the rather mixed character of a ‘Jew-Turk’ that, some ten
years later (1676), he died.



                               BOOK IV.

                              1591‒1885.

                                 DAWN.

                           עַד שֶׁיָּפוּחַ הַיּוֹם וְנָסוּ הַצְּלָלִים
                                        SONG OF SOL. ii. 17.

          ‘_Who counts the billows, when the shore is won?_’



                             CHAPTER XXXI.

                                 DAWN.


=1. Beginning of Better Days in Holland.=――At last, after the thick
darkness and the waning stars, some faint streaks of dawn began slowly
to appear. It was on ugly, flat, Dutch marshes that the new light of
liberty first tremblingly broke, and its unaccustomed rays touched the
sluggish canals and solid bridges of the ancient city of Amsterdam into
a beauty that had been lacking to the picturesque minarets of Spain,
and gave to the respectable Dutch burghers a dignity that is somehow
absent from the stateliest of Spanish grandees. It was in 1591 that
the first small settlement of Jews was made in Holland, and these
earliest settlers were Marannos from Spain. Religious intolerance in
the Peninsula had grown no less fierce since the days of Torquemada,
and under the gloomy fanatic Philip II., the widower of our poor,
merciless Queen Mary, all the worst terrors and persecutions of the
Inquisition had been revived. The New Christians, or Marannos, as
the disguised Jews of Spain and Portugal were called, felt, under
Philip’s sway, less secure than ever from suspicion and its terrible
consequences. Emigration seemed their only chance of safety, but, as
of old, there was small choice of safe asylum. England and France were
still closed against declared Jews; the Popes and princes of Italy
were hostile to them; Germany was cruelly inhospitable; and Turkey
sounded very foreign and very far off to these cultivated and somewhat
self-indulgent Marannos. At last in their straits they bethought
themselves of brave little Holland, whose people had fought as sturdily
to guard their shores from the inroads of Inquisitors as from the
inroads of the ocean, and had made of their enemy, the sea, an ally
against the Spaniards.[44] In the States which had revolted from the
cruel supremacy of Spain, and had struggled so heroically for national
and religious independence, there seemed to be a certainty of freedom
of conscience being accorded to all citizens. The Marannos had come to
be very tired and very impatient of their masks, worn though they were
amid the palms and the orange groves. And so it came to pass that, at
the end of the sixteenth century, a little party of Spanish Jewish
refugees made this fresh experiment for life, and were most kindly and
generously received by the Protestant inhabitants of the new republic
of the Netherlands.


=2. The New Jerusalem.=――The emigrants who thus sought the hospitality
of the States were, in truth, of a sort to make the Dutchmen very
satisfied with their own unfashionable virtue of religious tolerance.
It was no hungry, pushing crowd of traders, eager only for bare
livelihood, who made their way to this new country. Spain, for all the
fetters she had laid for centuries on the consciences of her subjects,
had also for centuries given full opportunity for every energy which
they might possess to develop in the service of the state. Jews do
not restrict themselves to commerce when they have chance and choice
of other pursuits. As open and declared Jews so long as they could,
and then, when they could not, as Marannos, the Jews of the Peninsula,
since the occupation by the Moors, had held office as statesmen and as
finance ministers, and had been distinguished among the physicians and
scholars and poets of their country, as well as among its landowners
and its merchants. It was thus a highly intelligent, and cultivated,
and fairly well-off little community which threw off its disguise of
New Christians, and hastened to settle down as self-respecting Jews in
Amsterdam. They lost no time in building themselves a synagogue, and
in establishing schools. Their first synagogue was built in 1598, and
seventy years later there were several prosperous places of worship.
The old scholarly instinct of Judaism, which had asserted itself in so
many epochs, and in so many parts of the world, at Jamnia and at Sora,
at Alexandria and at Cordova, revived again, and Amsterdam grew into
a quaint Dutch likeness of them all. The men of light and leading in
Holland gave a glad welcome to these congenial spirits from Spain,
and Amsterdam, with its happy, honoured, and rapidly increasing Jewish
colony, came to be called the New Jerusalem. In 1619, sufficiently full
legal rights were secured to the immigrants, and the Jews of Holland
gradually became no inconsiderable addition to the commerce and the
culture of the country.


=3. Sephardim and Ashkenazim.=――Many delightful qualities have their
corresponding defects. The refugees from Spain had some drawbacks
to their cultivated minds and their refined manners. They were very
superior, but they were also, on occasion, not a little selfish. They
valued much their training in the old country, and the consideration
which it gained for them in the new. They valued it, in fact, so much,
that they desired to keep it wholly to themselves, and not to risk any
loss of social standing by contact with less creditable co-religionists.
Naturally enough, when the poor downtrodden Jews of Germany heard of
this happy little settlement in Amsterdam, many journeyed thither,
hoping to find toleration from strangers and a welcome from their
brethren in faith. In this latter hope they were disappointed. The
Spanish and Portuguese Jews kept themselves proudly and distinctly
aloof from the German Jews, refusing even to intermarry with them. The
Sephardim and Ashkenazim[45] Jews of Holland were, from the very first,
entirely separate communities, worshipping in different synagogues,
learning in different schools, supporting each their own charities,
and using each their own prayer-books, with not even the pronunciation
of the ancient language in common. The German Jews, as a body, were,
it is undeniable, of a distinctly lower tone, in regard to occupation
and education and refinement, to these others. It was impossible, from
the widely different antecedents and experiences of both communities,
that things should have been otherwise, and many of the differences
between them were quite inevitable. Still, that resolute aloofness
from the unattractive Ashkenazim was not a nice attitude on the part
of the prosperous and respected Sephardim. Excuses may be found for
them; their own position was certainly not very secure. Still the fact
remains that the Sephardim, under pressure of circumstances, did what
the prophet Isaiah warns us all from doing――they ‘hid themselves from
their own flesh.’


=4. Spanish Jews in Holland.=――Quite as surely, if not quite as
conspicuously, as the Ashkenazim showed signs of the treatment to
which they had been subject in Germany, did the Sephardim bear traces
of the experiences which they had undergone in Spain. The defects which
persecution had developed in the one case were the more disagreeable
and more apparent, but they were hardly as harmful as some tendencies
which a long course of religious hypocrisy had created in the other.
The German Jew had worn the yellow badge for centuries, and something
of the look, and something of the habits, of an outcast disfigured
him still; the Spanish Jew, to escape the fate of the persecuted, had
taken upon him the disguise of the persecutors, and some remnants of
the fierce, intolerant Catholicism of Spain unhappily clung to him for
a long while after his close-fitting mask of New Christian had been
flung aside.


=5. Their Acquired Intolerance.=――It is a sad thing to find that Jews,
who had so suffered from the terrors of the Inquisition, should have
set up a little tribunal of their own, and invested it with similar
powers over religious offences; and very strange that those who had
experienced the horrors of penance and excommunication should have
imitated the proceedings of those persecutors in the treatment of
members of their own faith, whom they considered heretical in religious
matters. But this actually happened. The effects of persecution have
now and again made Jews a little ‘mixed’ in their morals as well as
in their manners. The Jews of Holland, with that long-denied gift
of religions freedom at last in their hands, grasped it somewhat
over-tight, and in their delight at holding their Judaism fast and
firm in the sight of all men, they were not always quite as careful as
they might have been to do unto others as they were so very thankful to
be at last done unto.


=6. An Instance in Point: Uriel da Costa.=――Amongst those disguised
Jews of Spain who, the better to conceal their Judaism, went even to
the length of taking the office and performing the rites of Catholic
priests, was a certain Uriel da Costa. When the Amsterdam settlement
gave its chance to Jews of living true lives, da Costa gladly enough
left Spain, threw off his disguise, and joined his brethren in faith.
But he had been for too many years dwelling as a Catholic among
Catholics to be able to become all at once a strict and orthodox Jew.
He had grown used to ceremonial of one sort, ceremonial of another
sort, perhaps even, for a while, of any sort, was irksome to him.
He neglected Jewish observances, and, what was less pardonable, he
spoke and wrote against many cherished Jewish practices, denouncing
and ridiculing them as relics of formalism and superstition. It was
something more than imprudent. His own long failure in courageous
profession of his faith should have led da Costa to consider himself
quite unfitted to give any opinion whatever as to the correct forms
of its observance. He had expressed his Judaism throughout the best
part of his life by entire silence: silence would better have become
him still. He had submitted to circumstances, and lived a life of
active religious deceit: it could have been no great strain on such
a seasoned conscience to conform to what the bulk of his people were
content to accept. Little sympathy can be felt with the hasty attitude
of opposition in which da Costa conceitedly placed himself to the
congregation of Amsterdam, but still less for the unfortunate spirit
in which his opposition was resisted. He was first excommunicated
by theological authority, and a little later, when he had published
an attack upon the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, he was
sentenced by the Dutch civic authority, which the congregation most
unwisely invoked, to a term of imprisonment. So closed the first act
in this discreditable affair.

Some years later, da Costa, grown older and perhaps wiser, wished to
be reconciled with his co-religionists, and made formal application for
the ban of excommunication to be lifted from him. Here was an excellent
opportunity for burying the hatchet, and for the authorities to accept
da Costa’s overtures as a sufficient acknowledgment on his part that he
had been in the wrong. Unluckily, old associations with that dreadful
Inquisition were deeply implanted in the members of the Amsterdam
congregation. They were no longer New Christians, but they were also
not quite yet true Jews. It was resolved that Uriel da Costa should
be pardoned, but there was a horrible and grotesque imitation of
Torquemada’s barbarous programme when the penitent was received back
into the synagogue. A special service was held, a ‘confession’ of
his sins was required to be read aloud by the suppliant, a sermon was
preached at him, stripes to the number of nine-and-thirty were laid
upon him with no gentle hand, and one after another, over his prostrate
body, the elders of the congregation solemnly stepped. Then the curse,
which no human being has any shadow of right to pronounce, was declared
to be removed from him. It was altogether a terribly unjewish and
mistaken proceeding. Every society or community has, undoubtedly, the
right to lay down certain rules by which they will receive new members,
or expel old ones, just as every father has a right, and even a duty,
to keep from his house persons whose influence he fears as dangerous
to the morals of his children. But to punish is another matter. No
opinions, however mischievous, could justify such treatment as da Costa
received at the hands of the Amsterdam community, and his next act put
these bigoted interpreters of a bad system yet more hopelessly in the
wrong. Two days after that humiliating scene in the synagogue (in April
1640), da Costa shot himself, and thus aroused a sympathy which on the
merits of the case, had it been properly dealt with, would have been
given neither to him nor to any one of his actions.



                          CHAPTER XXXII.[48]

                         MANASSEH BEN ISRAEL.


=1. His Early Life.=――The Amsterdam settlement increased and prospered.
Its members were distinguished in learning and in commerce, and by
degrees their presence and their influence were not confined to the
Dutch capital. Early in the seventeenth century an important branch
colony of Spanish and Portuguese immigrants was formed at Hamburg, and,
a little later on, another at Copenhagen. But Amsterdam continued to
be the centre of the revival, and new refugees from the Peninsula were
always arriving in Holland, to take the place of the younger and more
adventurous spirits who sought their fortunes further afield.

Under Philip III. of Spain there was a fresh outbreak of activity on
the part of the Inquisition. In January 1605 an _auto-da-fé_ was held
at Lisbon, in which 150 Jews and Jewesses literally walked ‘in the
shadow of death,’ and were only set free from that fearful procession,
at the last moment, on payment of an enormous fine. Their ransom money
paid, these poor souls hastened to leave the land which bigotry had
made intolerable to them, and, broken in health and ruined in fortune,
they made for the friendly shores of Holland. Among these refugees
was a certain Joseph ben Israel and his family, the youngest member of
which was a year-old baby named Manasseh. Joseph ben Israel received
the kindest of welcomes from his old friends, who were now no longer
professing Catholics, but very earnestly practising Jews. The Rabbi
of the Amsterdam congregation, Isaac Uziel, in due time became tutor
to the little Manasseh, and by the year 1622, when Manasseh was barely
eighteen, the office of Rabbi having become vacant through Uziel’s
death, the appointment was given to the promising son of Joseph ben
Israel. So, from the early age of eighteen, Manasseh preached and
taught with great satisfaction to himself and his congregation, and to
the benefit also of many learned Christian scholars, who, interested
in the Jewish community in their midst, would often pay a visit to the
synagogue or the school. It was an honoured and an honourable position
which Manasseh held, but it was not a well-paid one, and, like the
older Rabbis, Manasseh had to supplement head work by hand work. He
set up a printing press, and in 1627 he issued a prayer-book, which
prayer-book was the first Hebrew publication that ever appeared in
Holland. Perhaps the opportunity of being able to publish whatever
he might like to write had something to do with making an author of
Manasseh, for, without any great original talent, he became a prolific
writer. In 1632 he brought out a book called the ‘Conciliator,’ the
object of which was to reconcile conflicting passages in the Pentateuch.
There are no valuable independent ideas in the ‘Conciliator,’ and,
perhaps, what it shows most clearly is how indefatigably Manasseh
read before he began to write. There were five years spent on the
composition or compilation of this work, and it contains quotations
from, or references to, over two hundred Hebrew, and fifty Latin, Greek,
and Spanish authors. It was written in Spanish, though it might as
readily have been written in Hebrew or Latin or English, for Manasseh
was a most accomplished linguist. The research of the book, and the
industry and talent of the author, gained it fame. The ‘Conciliator’
was speedily translated into Latin and Italian, and attracted to
Manasseh a great deal of complimentary attention from the scholars
of the day. Money, however, was still lacking, and began to prove a
somewhat serious difficulty, for Manasseh had married young, and his
wife, though a great-granddaughter of Abarbanel,[46] and bringing
him delightfully patriotic memories as her portion, had brought him
no solid dowry. And, of course, there were children to make the ideal
of ‘plain living and high thinking’ somewhat of a practical puzzle.
By 1640 Manasseh began to seriously face the necessity of turning to
mercantile pursuits, and of emigrating to the Brazils. His congregation,
which seems to have been a little slow to recognise his talents till
the outer world pointed them out, and not very quick or very liberal in
rewarding them even then, would have let him go, and only regretted him
as a printer of prayer-books, but, luckily, two brothers named Pereira
were wiser than the rest of the Amsterdam community. These brothers,
who were wealthy men, came forward very liberally, endowed a college,
and made Manasseh the head of it. Thus set free from pecuniary cares,
Manasseh ben Israel, at the age of thirty-six, was able to give himself
up to his books, and to his duties in the pulpit and at the schools.


=2. His Writings and his Friends.=――The exceptional position which
the Jews held in Holland gave to any distinguished member of their
community a quite exceptional prominence. The Amsterdam Rabbi, as
Manasseh ben Israel was called, came to be quite a celebrated personage.
He was looked on as an encyclopædia of knowledge, and scholars of both
sexes came from far and near to consult with him on learned subjects,
and Hebrew came to be quite a fashionable study, even among Jews and
Jewesses. There is no doubt that Manasseh’s character had as much to do
with his popularity as his attainments. He was a thoroughly upright man,
and most courteous in his manners. He was, moreover, never sparing of
time or trouble when the results of his really wide and varied reading
were in request. Grotius, the author of the ‘Law of Nations,’[47]
Caspar Barlæus, who has been called the Virgil of his age, the whole
of the learned family of Vossius, father and sons, all came to know
and to esteem Manasseh, though neither one of them was naturally fond
of Jews. And as Isaac Vossius was not only a distinguished scholar,
but also chamberlain to Christina, Queen of Sweden, his friendship
proved, by-and-by, a very useful one to Manasseh. Not useful in the
vulgar sense of gaining for the Jewish Rabbi the right of rising in
influential Christian society, but useful for the patriotic end, the
טוֹב לְעַמּוֹ――the good of his people, which Manasseh, like Mordecai, was
always seeking. Manasseh was no great author, as we have seen, yet
even in his authorship he had a patriotic ideal. He was always meaning
to write a ‘Heroic History,’ as he called it, by which he meant a
history of the Jews, who were his heroes. He never did it, and possibly
our libraries are not the poorer for the lack, whilst our lives are
certainly the richer. For Manasseh was destined to make an altogether
new chapter in Jewish history, instead of expending his energies in
compiling many prosy ones. In truth, the works which he did publish
add but little to his reputation. There were a great many theological
treatises, some translations, and some compilations, all alike showing
signs of industry and of reading, but none affording much trace of
critical or original thought. Perhaps the most widely read of his works
at this time was a little book called ‘The Hope of Israel,’ which tried
to prove that some aborigines in America were lineal descendants of
the lost ten tribes of Israel. The ‘Hope’ seems to have rested on no
more solid foundation than a traveller’s tale of savages met with in
the wilds, who included something that sounded like the שְׁמַע in their
vernacular. The story was quickly translated into several languages,
but it was almost as quickly disproved, and Manasseh’s illusions, which
were founded on the ‘Hope,’ were somewhat roughly dealt with.


=3. Manasseh finds his Vocation.=――Till the age of fifty, Manasseh
continued to lead his honourable, useful life in Amsterdam, ‘doing
with all his might whatsoever his hand found to do,’ and making of the
things that lay close to him his nearest duties. But alike in the happy
home life, and in the pleasant social intercourse; as he preached his
helpful discourses, and as he compiled his rather dull books; when
he was teaching or when he was printing, Manasseh seems to have been
always, and all the while, conscious of a certain purpose in life,
which his life, busy and useful as it was, had not as yet fulfilled.
_He_ was happy and honoured, and in any country he might have chosen
to visit would have been welcomed by the wisest and the best, but his
people were still outcasts, and that, to our Amsterdam Rabbi, spoilt it
all. Manasseh valued the position he had won chiefly for his people’s
sake, and by the time he was fifty years old he had come to a definite
determination of how to use it for their benefit.


=4. Negotiations begun for the Return of the Jews to England.=――The
Amsterdam Rabbi wanted to insure for the Jews another such welcome as
Holland had given to them. He wanted to find for the proscribed and
exiled race a home as free citizens among a free people. His relations
with Grotius and with Vossius made his thoughts turn, in the first
place, to Sweden, with whose queen, Christina, he had had, too, some
literary correspondence. But before the Swedish project came to any
practical issue, the course of events happily made him direct his
energies towards England, where the struggle for a nation’s ‘rights’
had but lately been won at the cost of a king’s life. In 1649 Charles I.
had expiated his hateful, harmful weakness on the scaffold, and though
John Hampden’s brave voice, which had aroused the English conscience
like a trumpet call, was, since June 1643, stilled in death, his cousin,
Oliver Cromwell, was at the helm, and sternly and uncompromisingly
directing it to good ends. The first demand of the victorious army
of Independents, who had fought not for place, but for principle, was
liberty of conscience, and equality before the law for all religious
denominations. In this new attitude of Puritan England, and in the
earnest character of its new and uncrowned ruler, Manasseh ben Israel
saw and seized his opportunity. In the year 1650 he forwarded to
Cromwell his ‘Hope of Israel,’ and, by the help of influential friends,
he caused petitions for the re-admission of Jews to England, with
rights secured to them of worship, of commerce, and of burial, to be
laid before the Long and the Rump Parliaments. He busied himself also
in the composition of a pamphlet, called _Vindiciæ Judæorum_ (Defence
of the Jews), which proved, on its completion, the most powerful and
the least pedantic of his writings. It was not, however, finished
when, in 1655, the way having been now, as he considered, sufficiently
prepared by correspondence, he resolved on trying the effect of
personal intercession with the Protector. To quote his own subsequent
and simple words on the subject, ‘I could not be quiet in my mind until
I had made my humble addresses to the Lord Protector, whom God preserve.
And finding that my coming over would not be altogether unwelcome to
him, with those great hopes which I conceived, I joyfully took leave
of my house, my friends, my kindred, all my advantages there, and
the country wherein I have lived all my lifetime under the benign
protection and favour of the lords, the States-General, and magistrates
of Amsterdam. In fine, I say, I parted from them all, and took my
voyage to England.’



                          CHAPTER XXXIII.[48]

                  THE RETURN OF THE JEWS TO ENGLAND.


=1. Manasseh presents his Petition.=――In October 1655, Manasseh ben
Israel, with his only son Samuel, and two or three eminent Amsterdam
Jews who had accompanied them, were safely arrived in London and
settled in lodgings in the Strand. The first thing that was done was
to personally present an address to the Protector, and a declaration
to the Commonwealth, setting forth the objects of the Jewish visit to
England, was published at the same time. Both these documents are very
remarkable. Although humble petitions from an outcast people, who had
been ignominiously thrust forth into exile 365 years before, Manasseh’s
appeals have not the smallest trace of reproach nor of servility, into
either of which mistakes it would have been so easy to fall. The Jewish
case is stated with dignity, and on its merits, it is pleaded without
passion, and on the grounds of justice rather than of favour. The
‘clemency’ and ‘high-mindedness’ of Cromwell are certainly taken for
granted, but equally is assumed the worthiness of the clients who
appeal. Manasseh, with a certain shrewdness, makes a point of the
‘profit’ which the Jews are likely to prove to their hosts. ‘Where the
Jewes are once kindly receaved,’ he urges, ‘they make a firm resolution
never to depart from thence, seeing they have no proper place of their
own; and so they are always with their goods in the cities where they
live a perpetual benefit to all payments.’[49] ‘Profit,’ proceeds
Manasseh, ‘is a most powerful motive,’ and, therefore, he ‘deals
with that point first.’ He dwells on the ‘ability’ and ‘industry and
naturall instinct of the Jews for merchandizing,’ and on the fact
that ‘wheresoever they go to dwell, there presently the traficq begins
to flourish.’ And then, urging his claim on higher grounds, Manasseh
dwells on the loyalty of the Jews, which he shows is a religious
duty with the race, and cannot fail to make of them law-abiding,
and law-defending, citizens of their adopted states. He shows from
history that Jeremiah’s injunction to ‘pray for the peace’ and to
‘seek the peace’ of the cities to which they are ‘led captive,’ has
been literally, and over and over again, fulfilled by Jews. In a
few well-chosen and dignified words he refers to the slanderous and
superstitious statements of which Jews have been the subject. He
disposes with brief and distinct denial of the simply silly accusations,
such as the killing of Christian children for the manufacture of
passover cakes, only with quiet emphasis recalling that in the early
days, when the Church was struggling against paganism, ‘the self-same
ancient scandalls were cast upon innocent Christians.’ The more serious,
because less entirely untrue, charges of ‘usury,’ which have been
brought against Jews, Manasseh meets as boldly. Whenever, wherever, the
practice exists, he frankly denounces it as ‘infamous.’ But he will not
admit that ‘usury’ is in any sense a _Jewish_ principle, nor in any but
a cruelly acquired one a _Jewish_ practice. ‘The sacred Scriptures,’
says Manasseh, ‘forbid absolutely the robbing of all men, whatsoever
religion they be of. In our Law it is a greater sinne to rob or defraud
a stranger than if I did it to one of my owne profession. A Jew is
bound to shew his charity to all men: he hath a precept not to abhor
an Idumean or an Egyptian; and yet another, “Love the stranger, for ye
know the heart of a stranger.” If, notwithstanding, there be some that
do contrary to this, _they do it not as Jews, but as wicked Jews_.’
This petition, helped as it was by the fine presence and the fine
character of the pleader, made a profound impression, and some
five weeks after Manasseh’s arrival in England the question of the
re-admission of the Jews was submitted to public discussion, and an
assembly composed of the majority of the ministers, a commission of
clergymen, the Lord Mayor, two sheriffs, and some selected merchants,
was convened to take Manasseh’s petition into formal consideration.


=2. A Christian Advocate.=――A powerful ‘friend at court’ was found in
one Edward Nicholas, who, under Charles Stuart and now under Cromwell,
held the office of Secretary or Clerk to the Parliament. This gentleman
had published in 1648 a little work entitled ‘An Apology for the
Honourable Nation of the Jews and all the Sons of Israel,’ which work
warmly espoused their cause, speaking of them as a ‘people chosen by
God and protected by God,’ and insisting that ‘unless, as Englishmen,
we all show ourselves compassionate and helpers of the afflicted Jews,
... and repeal the severe laws made against them, ... God will charge
their suffering upon us, and will avenge them on their persecutors.’
Nicholas expressly stated in his little pamphlet that he alone was
responsible for it, that he was publishing only his own views on the
subject, unprompted and unsolicited by any one. And this was, in all
probability, the exact truth. But the official position which Nicholas
held under Cromwell made it seem hardly likely that he would have
ventured to express such decided opinions had the Protector been
entirely averse from them, and, naturally, such a pamphlet, from such
a quarter, aroused a great deal of interest, and provoked a great deal
of discussion. Published as it was, at the very time when Manasseh had
begun to think in earnest of his mission, the pamphlet was also most
useful in enabling him, before coming to England, to judge a little
of the state of public feeling on the question, and to draw his own
conclusions as to the attitude which Cromwell was likely to take up. On
this latter point there was, from the first, very little room for doubt.


=3. What People said.=――When Edward Nicholas presented that brave,
bold brief of his on behalf of proscribed and unpopular clients, the
whispers had been many that he held it by the grace, or even, said
some, at the secret instigation of Cromwell, but when Manasseh arrived
in London, the marked favour with which the Protector received his
Jewish petitioner set the wildest rumours in circulation. Cromwell was
declared to be of Jewish descent, and it was further alleged that his
Jewish kinsfolk beyond the seas had recognised in him their Messiah.
St. Paul’s Cathedral, on the same authority, was to be converted into
a synagogue, and an actual sum was named as the price the Jews had
offered for it. These absurd tales were actually believed in by many
ignorant people, for those most incapable of faith are often the most
credulous of folly. The solution of Cromwell’s favourable reception of
the Jews was simple enough. Those who went so far to seek for reasons
could have found them close at hand. But there are people, says Carlyle,
who ‘can look into the great soul of a man, radiant with the splendours
of very heaven, and see nothing there but the shadow of their own
mean darkness.’[50] In Cromwell’s support of Jewish claims the ‘great
soul’ was only consistent with itself. The character of Cromwell in
all things was an index to his conduct in this one thing. Liberty of
conscience, religions rights secured to all men, was the Puritan battle
cry. The principle had been fought for at Naseby, it would be upheld at
Whitehall, and, though Cromwell could not know it, it would never more
be abandoned by the England which he, in his stern rectitude, lifted
out of the meretricious mists of greatness, into the ‘fine air, the
pale severity of light’――a national ideal of goodness.


=4. How the Petition was received.=――Cromwell presided over the
assembly which met to consider Manasseh’s petition. Two points were
submitted for decision: 1, whether it was lawful to re-admit the Jews;
and 2, under what conditions such re-admission should take place. The
law officers ruled that if it should be decided that such re-admission
was for the welfare of the State, it could not be by law opposed. That
settled the legal aspect of the question. Then came the commercial.
The merchants feared for the effects of Jewish competition on English
industries. ‘Can you really think,’ asked Cromwell, ‘that so despised a
people should be able to secure the upper hand in trade and credit over
the merchants of England――the most honoured in the world?’ These adroit
words allayed for the moment the mercantile jealousies that blocked
the way, and left room for the religious difficulty to be debated. The
clergy did not limit themselves to argument; an old chronicler declares
the majority present ‘raged like fanatics,’ quoting Scripture, too, in
their arrogant ignorance, against ‘the people of the Book.’ And after
much debate, Cromwell roused himself to reply on the whole question.
His speech has only come down to us in fragments, but these fragments
justify the opinion expressed by one of the audience, who says, ‘I have
never heard a man speak so splendidly in all my life.’ The man who, as
Carlyle says, ‘grappled like a giant, face to face, heart to heart, with
the naked truth of things,’[51] tore that mask of ‘English prosperity
in danger’ from the merchants, and, dubbing their doubts ‘trade
jealousy,’ flung their pretences at them. Then, turning to the clergy,
he stripped off the rags of rhetoric in which they had clothed their
personal prejudices, and held forth their action, bare, in all its
hideousness, as persecution. He spoke sternly as the champion of
justice, gently as the advocate of compassion. He did not succeed,
but neither did he speak altogether in vain. Manasseh’s appeal was
not granted; when put to the council, the majority voted against it,
yet nevertheless Cromwell’s eloquence had done its silent work; the
known favour of the Protector ensured no active steps being taken to
prevent Jews coming to England, and quietly, and without much notice
being taken of them, Jews gradually did come, and settled themselves
in London. By 1657 they were numerous enough and felt secure enough to
ask for, and to obtain, the loan of a piece of ground in the parish of
Stepney for a בֵּית חַיִּים.


=5. End of Manasseh’s Story.=――Manasseh, after the disappointing
decision of the Council of State, waited on month after month, hoping
that the informal permission of the Protector might become the law
of the land. His companions grew tired, and went back to their homes
in Amsterdam, but Manasseh stayed on, patient and steadfast in his
purpose, and longing to complete his work. Early in 1656 he published
his _Vindiciæ Judæorum_, a triumphant answer to the slanders which were
uttered against his people. And that was his last effort in the cause.
His mission never fulfilled itself in the grand, complete way which
he had hoped. He sowed his seed, and it is we, his descendants, who,
‘rejoicing, bear the sheaves.’ He would have been content that it
should be so. In the autumn of 1657, when his book was launched and
he could do no more, he set out for home. And, at home, in Amsterdam,
before he reached it, they made ready his grave. For illness overtook
him on the way, and on November 20, 1657, at Middleburg, in the house
of Ephraim Abarbanel, his brother-in-law, Manasseh ben Israel died.



                            CHAPTER XXXIV.

                               SPINOZA.


=1. Clouds obscure the Dawn.=――The dawn which had arisen on the Jews
in Holland had now fairly spread to England. But so long and so stormy
had been the night, that the dawn was dark and tempestuous, and the
light of perfect day was still very far off. Dense clouds swept ever
and anon across the Jewish horizon, and one such heavy mist hung over
the community in Amsterdam even as Manasseh was so manfully striving to
disperse the fogs in London. And these mists and clouds and fogs, which
rose up obscuring the dawn, were due sometimes as much to Jewish as to
Christian atmospheric conditions. It is a strange fact to record, that
at the very time when Manasseh was earnestly pleading to the English
nation for religious liberty and freedom of conscience to be granted to
the Jews, the elders of his own congregation in Amsterdam seemed to be
as seriously engaged in denying these rights to one of their body, a
young man of four-and-twenty, who, now known to the world as Benedict
Spinoza, is accounted ‘great among the greatest as a thinker.’[52]


=2. The Amsterdam Jews at the Time of Spinoza.=――In November 1632,
when the Amsterdam synagogue had been built just four-and-thirty years,
there was born to one of the Spanish Jewish families there resident,
called d’Espinoza, a son who received the name of Baruch. To understand
at all his sad and wonderful story, it is necessary, first of all, to
see in what ways their residence in Holland had affected the refugees
from Spain and Portugal. Though, at the date of Spinoza’s birth, nearly
forty years had passed since Jews from the Peninsula had settled in
Holland, the community in Amsterdam were far from being good Dutch Jews,
in any complete sense of either word. They were good according to their
lights, but their lights had come to burn low and false, through the
long, fierce glare of the Inquisition. They were Dutch in any practical
ordinary interpretation of grateful loyalty, but in language, in
manners, and in modes of thought, they were still Spanish. And as Jews,
these emancipated Marannos fell also distinctly short of the standard.
Their very earnestness was in some sort against them. They were not
content to be ‘witnesses,’ they would be judges. Their consciousness
of their own long neglect of all the forms of Judaism was so keen,
that they sought relief from this self-reproach in hunting out cause
for reproach in others, and they were, in truth, terror-stricken when
any member of the community questioned any doctrine or abandoned any
practice of Judaism. They did not seem to realise that to be Jewish in
every minute observance, is not quite the same thing as to fulfil the
Jewish Law in the sense in which the prophet Micah exhorted us――to ‘do
justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God.’

And in their studies, also, a defect from this same feverish fervour
of long-repressed religion became manifest. They were so delighted
to be able again to openly read their Law and their Talmud, that even
in these sober pursuits they grew immoderate. Law and Talmud were
not enough for them in their restless mood of repentant energy. Many
scholars began eagerly to adopt and to accept the wildest and most
fanciful ‘extensions’ in religion and in philosophy. There is a whole
branch of Jewish doctrinal study which is called the Kabbala. Grätz
describes the Kabbala as a fungous growth which, since the thirteenth
century, crept over the body of the Law and of tradition. This Kabbala
is a weed of Eastern planting, but amongst Western scholars, in waste
places, it got some space to grow. It is a strange combination of faith
and philosophy, and its mystical character facilitated the introduction
of all sorts of un-Jewish beliefs and superstitions under the name of
Kabbala. Thus we have a quantity of so-called Kabbalistic literature,
containing a superstitious agglomeration of signs and wonders, which
would lead its students to credulous musings on evil spirits, and false
prophets, and spurious Messiahs, instead of to earnest belief in the
one true God and His servant Moses. It was only minds which had become
weakened and debased by Kabbalistic studies that could have believed in
such a Messiah as Sabbatai Zevi. That episode in 1666――some ten years
later than the date of Spinoza’s banishment and excommunication from
the Amsterdam synagogue――is an extreme instance of the tendency of
the zeal of superstition. The incident of Uriel da Costa, which had
its place in Amsterdam some sixteen years earlier, when Spinoza was
a boy of eight, is an instance of the lengths to which even good and
cultivated men may be carried by the zeal of intolerance.


=3. Spinoza’s Student Days.=――It was in a community shaped by such
influences and such experiences, among passionately observant and
rigorously conforming Jews, that Baruch Spinoza was brought up. And
to make the misunderstanding which came about between him and his
congregation more utterly hopeless, Spinoza was a born genius, an
original, creative thinker, whilst his masters, and teachers, and
elders were only cultivated, and clever, and commonplace. A wide
gulf separates knowledge, however great, from genius. The Amsterdam
congregation had acquired the one, and Spinoza possessed the other, and
this exceptional gift of his was not known, nor guessed at till it was
too late.

Little is known of the social position of Baruch Spinoza’s parents,
nor can much be inferred from the fact that he received an excellent
education, since in all classes, and at all periods, Jews have made
an effort to secure for their children the best that was obtainable
in the way of knowledge. The course of instruction in Jewish schools
was almost entirely confined to the Hebrew language and literature,
but this course, as in the ancient _Kallahs_,[53] was made to include
a very wide range of subjects. In the more advanced classes analysis
and mathematics were taught, and Maimonides and Ibn Ezra were the
text-books for philosophy and theology. The students, too, were kept
well abreast of the physical and natural science of the age. Manasseh
ben Israel was one of Spinoza’s teachers, and the Rabbi Saul Morteira
was another. Latin and German he seems to have studied outside of
the community, under a physician named Van den Ende. The French and
Italian languages also he mastered, and he gained something more than a
rudimentary knowledge of Greek. Spanish was more or less to him, as to
all of the Maranno-descended Jews, a native tongue. He was clever, too,
at drawing, but this long list of his acquirements gives no accurate
idea of his powers, for much scholarship is not in itself a guarantee
of ability. A mind may be filled full as a storehouse with facts,
and yet be empty of ideas, and feeble in intellectual grasp. Spinoza
not only learnt, but he thought. He not only acquired information,
but be propounded theories. The community was a little distrustful
of originality, and rather liked knowledge to run into ready-made
moulds. This young man, too, was unobservant of forms, and imprudently
free-spoken in his opinions. Though not above making use, as his
subsequent philosophical writings show, of ideas and principles and
arguments contained in Jewish works, he yet felt some contempt for
the tendency of current Jewish scholarship, and would express himself
very openly concerning Bible and Talmud and everything that was dear
and holy to Jews. On many grounds the Amsterdam Jews were afraid of
nonconforming members. They dreaded a relapse into nominal Judaism.
They felt it a duty to keep dangerous elements at arm’s length, from
a not unworthy fear that another Judaism might be set up before this
hardly regained Judaism of theirs was firmly established in hearts
and homes. And besides, not only for the sake of the synagogue had
they to be careful to guard themselves from disunion, but the new and
uncertain toleration which Jews enjoyed among Christians might easily
be imperilled by unseemly religious differences in the congregation.
So much or so little must justly be said in explanation of the attitude
of the Amsterdam community towards Spinoza. Not as much can be urged in
defence of their subsequent action.


=4. Things come to a Climax.=――Even in his student days, and by his
fellow-students, Spinoza had begun to be looked upon as dangerous,
and by the time he was twenty-three, matters came to their regrettable
climax. His speculative and independent opinions grew to be a subject
for serious discussion among the elders of the synagogue, and, of
course, to them he was only a young man, whose genius, even if guessed
at, was as yet quite unproved. They were acting, it must be borne in
mind, only on their knowledge of him, not on ours, and, from their
point of view, for the good of the community. They would have brought
back their wandering sheep to the fold, if it could be done; but
if not, it was thought well to drive such a one definitely outside
of it altogether, and so be rid of the responsibility of him. The
Spanish-descended Jews, it must be confessed, were always consistent
in their policy of prudent aloofness from any embarrassing contact with
brethren either of unsafe morals or of unpleasant manners. In this case
they did not want to argue with the young man, nor yet to punish him,
if it could be avoided; they wished, with simple selfishness, to be
free of a member who was likely to bring them into trouble. An offer
was made to Spinoza of an annuity of a thousand florins, if he would,
so far as utterance and observance were concerned, conform to the
rules and rites of the synagogue. The offer showed singularly little
knowledge of Spinoza’s character. It was, without a moment’s hesitation,
promptly and peremptorily declined. The elders grew angrier. He was
summoned before them, censured, and put ‘without the camp’ for thirty
days, and a little later, his firm and calm attitude incensing them yet
more, and it also being reported that young men were being misled by
him, these comparatively mild measures were followed up by a distinct
sentence of excommunication. The text of the excommunication is painful
to read. In solemn terms he was cursed with ‘all the curses that are
written in the Law,’ both in the mass, and in pretty separate detail,
and any and every form of communication with members of his own faith
was categorically denied to him. It was a terrible document, and the
only shadow of excuse that can be made for it lies in the fact that it
was a strong-spoken age, an age that hated heresy, and was much given
to the burning of heretics. Curse and anathema were in the air. Readers
of history will remember the terms in which Martin Luther spoke and
wrote of Erasmus, and how, in dealing with his religious adversaries
generally, the brave monk ‘hurled words like rocks and boulders on
their heads.’ Martin Luther’s work was more than a century old at the
time of Spinoza’s excommunication, but it is curious to trace how the
fierce struggles of the Reformation, like the deadly tactics of the
Inquisition, made their mark and left their influence on Jewish action.


=5. How Spinoza took his Sentence: his Mode of Life.=――

                                      ‘Vulgar minds
            Refuse or crouch beneath their load; the brave
            Bear theirs without repining,’

says an English poet.[54] Spinoza was a very different sort of man
from Uriel da Costa. He neither raged, nor protested, nor recanted. He
accepted the sentence passed upon him, recognising the cruel injustice
of it, but recognising also the force of circumstances, and what
had been his own share in bringing it about. He removed to a little
distance from Amsterdam, and altering his name to its Latin equivalent,
Benedict Spinoza, he faced his life under its new conditions. His
first necessity was to secure the means of living; and here the Jewish
instinct we have so often noted asserted itself at once, and the
hands made ready to help the head. He worked as an optician, and it is
characteristic of this great man that the lenses and glasses which he
cut were as much appreciated by opticians as are his books by scholars.
And he wrote and he taught, and in the latter occupation found some
compensations from the utter loneliness to which he had been condemned.
His pupils conceived an immense affection for him, and one named De
Vries, who knew himself doomed to an early death, earnestly desired
to make Spinoza his heir. But the young man had a brother living, and
Spinoza would not permit his pupil to put aside the righteous claim
of his own kindred. When De Vries died, the brother who came into his
fortune would have settled an annual income on Spinoza, but even this
he refused, taking only at last, after much persuasion, the half of
what was pressed upon him. A man’s conduct in money matters is a very
tolerable test of the stuff he is made of, and in another instance,
where a legacy was in question, Spinoza acted in precisely the same
serenely just and unimpulsive fashion. When his father died, there was
a small inheritance left for the family, which, besides this banished
son, consisted of two daughters. On the ground of his having been
expelled from the community of Israel, the sisters disputed Spinoza’s
right to his share of the property. Spinoza did not yield to this
injustice; he considered it a duty of every citizen to resist any form
of wrong-doing, whether his own advantage was concerned in the event
or no. He knew he had not forfeited his right to his fair share in the
division of their father’s property, and he would not waive his right.
But when his claim was established and allowed, he declined to profit
by it. Justice was satisfied, generosity might be indulged. He gave
up to his sisters every bit of his portion, save only one bed! He
cared very little about money, and even, which is rarer, very little
for most of the pleasures which money ensures. His mode of living was
most frugal. In his effort to make both ends meet, he once jestingly
compared himself to a snake, which has to wriggle to get its tail
in its mouth. Still he was not, in the very least, miserly or
misanthropical. He enjoyed social intercourse with people of the
ordinary as well as of the clever sort, and indulged his liking by
means of correspondence when he could not get talk. In the later years
of his life he took up his abode in the Hague, with a family by the
name of Van der Spyck, kind, good, uncultivated people, who grew to
have the sincerest affection and esteem for their gentle, scholarly
lodger. Perhaps it was in return for the interest and pleasure which
Spinoza took in the kind woman’s children, that she one day anxiously
asked him――for of course they all knew that he was not of the same
religion as his hosts――whether his form of belief or theirs was the
better. ‘All religions are good,’ he answered, ‘that lead one to a
good life; you need not seek further.’ The truth of this axiom was
demonstrated in his own life.

Spinoza never renounced his religion, but it shines out more perhaps
in his life than in his philosophy. Spinoza showed himself a Jew, in
despite, as it were, of himself. He was a faithful, patriotic citizen,
trustworthy always, and trusted greatly in a time of panic and danger,
which the Netherlands experienced in 1672, when the King of France
(Louis XIV.) ‘came down to Utrecht like a land flood.’ He never had
much longing for fame, and it was characteristic that when, after
the publication of his _Tractatus Theologico-Politicus_, the chair of
philosophy at Heidelberg was offered to him, he declined it, fearing
that in that responsible position he might feel fettered, and be unable
to speak out all the truth that was in him, and thus be less really
useful to his fellow-men.


=6. Unto this Last.=――He went on, year after year, with the work that
lay close to his hand, using his loneliness and his trials not as
weapons, but as tools. He continued day by day to write, and to teach,
and to make his spectacles, doing each different duty with all his
might, and each in as perfect fashion as was possible to him. He was
of a cheerful spirit, though never of robust health. And, with no wife
or child to whom his health was of supreme importance, he died, almost
unexpectedly, of consumption, when he was only forty-five years old
(Feb. 27, 1677).


=7. His Writings.=――Of these, the most celebrated are the treatise,
partly political and partly theological, called _Tractatus
Theologico-Politicus_, which was published in 1670, and the ‘Ethics,’
his great philosophical work, which was not published till after his
death. As it would be impossible to convey, to one who had never read
his plays, any intellectual idea of Shakespeare by merely saying that
he wrote ‘Hamlet,’ so is it hopeless to get at any notion of Spinoza
as an author by a bald statement of his works. Spinoza’s writings are
strong meat, and need a trained digestion. ‘His mind,’ says Auerbach,
‘has fed the thought of two centuries;’ and this picturesque statement
must serve as the only indication that can be here given of the fare so
provided.


=8. Results.=――To the world, the value of Spinoza is as a thinker; to
his people, a small section of whom in mistaken zeal cast him off, his
chief worth seems to lie in his mode of life. Among the more temperate
charges which have been brought against Jews, it has been often urged
that, whilst the race has produced good learners and clever adapters,
among the world’s teachers there have been no Jews in the foremost
rank. Jews need not be greatly concerned to deny whatever there may
be of truth in this impeachment. Their mission is not to be pioneers
in any particular path, but to be witnesses in the way of life. And it
is in so far as they fail in this, that as Jews they fail altogether.
Therefore that Spinoza, in the character of his genius, was an
exceptional Jew may be granted with all equanimity. Genius is always
exceptional in its nature, and of no especial nationality. But putting
his genius altogether on one side, we claim that in his steadfast,
lovable nature, in his temperate, frugal, hard-working life, and in his
sober, but humorous acceptance of the circumstances of his lot, Spinoza
was a typical Jew, and, moreover, a Jew of no uncommon type. Not an
easy-going, nor even a willing ‘witness’ often to the beauties of
Judaism was Spinoza, but always, and for all time, a powerful one, and
perhaps the more powerful because, to some extent, unconscious. Most of
the incidents of his biography have come down to us through a Lutheran
clergyman named Colerus, to whom all Spinoza’s philosophical theories
were detestable. Thus there can be no suspicion of undue praise about
these records of ‘M. Spinoza of blessed memory,’ as he was called by
a poor tradesman who knew the man, but had never read a line of the
author.



                             CHAPTER XXXV.

           IN NORTHERN AND CENTRAL EUROPE, BEFORE THE DAWN.


=1. A Long Night.=――Whilst the Jews of Holland were growing in
wealth and in importance, and the branch which Manasseh ben Israel
had grafted on England was there, though slowly, attaining to a healthy
and independent existence, the position of the Jews in the rest of
Europe was still deplorable. The dawn was far, as yet, from rising
on the Jews in Northern and Central Europe. In the south, in Italy,
there was a sort of twilight; a comparatively peaceful and uneventful
existence under the intermittently humane rule of the Popes. In Spain
and Portugal, the Inquisition, we know, had ended in expulsion, and in
France, the edict which banished the race from its shores in 1394 was
still in operation. The state of things which, in the east, had ensured
a welcome for a Sabbatai Zevi was at work in the west, and produced
different, but, as we shall see, quite as harmful results. The standard
was lowered throughout Europe. And yet, though deprived of the wealth,
and glory, and position which they had so long enjoyed in the Peninsula,
though in differing degrees oppressed and degraded in Germany and other
countries, the Jews were still, though blindly, ‘toiling upward in the
night,’ and taking their share in the slow progress of civilisation.

             ‘There is a Providence that shapes our ends,
              Rough hew them how we may.’

Good results from sorrowful causes showed themselves often in
unexpected ways and in unforeseen directions; for instance, the
frequent theological disputations between Jews and Jews, and Christians
and Christians, the very charges now and again brought against Jews
and Jewish literature, turned the attention of Christian scholars
to the study of Hebrew. Johann Reuchlin, one of the most important
fore-runners of the German reformation, had a Hebrew teacher, one Jacob
Loans, physician to the Emperor Frederic III. This Loans remained in
favour with the Emperor, and also with his successor, Maximilian I.,
and it was probably owing to Jacob Loans’ influence that another member
of the same family, Joseph Loans of Rosheim (born 1480, died 1555), was
appointed as representative of the Jews at the Imperial Court. Joseph
Loans defended his brethren whenever accusations were made against them,
and became surety for them whenever that was required. The Jews called
him their ‘great defender,’ though his efforts on their behalf were not
always successful; the Emperor Maximilian being of a somewhat fickle
turn of mind, and apt to take ‘full easily all impressions from below.’


=2. Reuchlin and the Talmud.=――It was in Reuchlin’s time that the
Dominican monks, under the leadership of a man named Pfefferkorn,
and in their hatred of the Jews, brought charges against the Talmud,
and tried hard to induce the Emperor Maximilian to have all copies
of it confiscated and burnt. Reuchlin, who was at the head of
the Anti-Dominicans, defended the Talmud most energetically and
successfully. ‘I confess,’ he said on one occasion, ‘that I know very
little of the contents of the Talmud, but the opposite party know just
as much. How could one presume to give a judgment on mathematics if
he knew nothing of the science? The Talmud ought not to be burnt, for
so long as it exists a harmless subject is supplied for theological
discussion. Destroy the Talmud, and Christian divines will take to
disputing about their own religion, whether Paul was married, or if
“Saint” Augustine was a monk!’ Thus, curiously enough, the Talmud
divided the Christian camp into two parties, Humanists and Obscurants,
as they were called, and in their disputes the Talmud found its safety.
We have seen that it was not burnt that time.[55]


=3. Another Jewish Influence, Elias Levitas.=――Another successful
Jewish teacher among Christian scholars of this period was Elias
Levitas. He was born in 1468 at Neustadt, near Nuremburg. In 1504 we
find him at Padua, teaching Hebrew. In 1509, when Padua was suffering
from the effects of war and conquest, Levitas came to Rome. Here he
taught the Cardinal Egidio de Viterbo, in whose house he lived ten
years. George de Selve, Bishop of Lavour, was also one of his pupils,
and it was probably in consequence of the bishop’s recommendation that
Levitas was invited to come to France as professor of Hebrew. He must
have felt himself greatly honoured when thus begged to come into a
country in which no Jew was allowed to reside. And it is pleasant to
know that he did not accept the invitation, but refused a distinction
at the hand that dishonoured his race. In 1527, when Rome was abandoned
to disorder and plunder, Elias Levitas went to Venice. In 1540 we
find him employed as corrector in the printing office of one Fagius,
and in 1549 he died. His literary career commenced with a copious
editing of some grammatical works of the old masters, but he went on
to write books himself on every topic connected with Hebrew grammar and
lexicography. Many of these works were translated into Latin. Scholars
find a treatise which he wrote on the Massorah, and on the origin of
the vowel points, most interesting as well as valuable. He supplied
his Jewish brethren also with a German translation of the Pentateuch,
Megilloth, and Haphtaroth.


=4. Some Jewish Results from the Invention of Printing.=――The great
zeal expended at this period on the study of Hebrew was soon noticeable
in the extensive use made of the newly invented art of printing for
the multiplying of copies of Hebrew works. The printing firm of Daniel
Bomberg at Venice published the edition of the Biblia Rabbinica (i.e.
Hebrew text with Chaldaic version called Targum, Massoretic notes, and
various Hebrew commentaries) in 1516‒17, and of the Talmud in 1520‒26.
And these were by no means the first Hebrew works that were printed. A
commentary of Rashi’s[56] on the Pentateuch was published at Reggio in
1475, and in the same year the larger work, ‘Arba-Turim’ (Code of Laws),
in Pieve di Sacco. The first Hebrew printing establishment in Germany
was founded by Gerson Soncino in Prague, 1513. The family of Soncino
contributed much to the spread of printing among the Jews. Hebrew
printing presses were soon set up at Fano, Pesaro, Mantua, and other
places. The Jews showed from the first both zeal and skill in promoting
the printing of Hebrew literature. Their rejoicing at the new invention
was soon, however, damped by the introduction of a censorship for
Jewish books, and Jewish authors and compilers had to see their pet
works mutilated by priests and laymen who often were incapable of
getting at the sense of what they examined. Renegade Jews occasionally
officiated as censors, and added malice to ignorance. Printers and
editors by degrees, foreseeing the passages which would meet with
adverse censorship, would carefully prepare their text for examination
by omissions. And so, after all, not very much harm was done. Complete
copies could generally be found in States which were free from
censorship, and scholars with good memories were often at hand to
supply the missing links. In the present day books printed in Russia
or imported into Russia are subject to censorship, and passages which
to the censors appear objectionable are made illegible.


=5. Influence of Printing on Kabbalistic Literature.=――Through the
art of printing, mystic works of a kabbalistic character were also
multiplied and made accessible to the multitude. Reuchlin, in studying
Hebrew, aimed especially at gaining a knowledge of the Kabbala,
believing, in common with many Christians of that time, that in Kabbala
might be discovered many hidden mysteries of their own religion.
The most important work of the kind is the ‘Zohar’ (Splendour), a
volume of notes and reflections in the form of a running commentary
on the Pentateuch. Tradition gives the honour of authorship of the
Zohar to Rabbi Simeon ben Jochai (second century). Modern criticism,
however, declares it to be the work of the Middle Ages, at least as
regards certain parts of it. The Zohar contains many moral lessons,
interspersed with Hagadic legends and philosophical theories. It has
its attractions for contemplative minds, which like to indulge in
imaginative and speculative thought. A certain Isaac Luria, born at
Jerusalem, 1534, went into seclusion, and devoted his whole life to the
study of the Zohar, and to fasting and praying. In this way he hoped
to arrive at the right understanding of hidden truths. His labours, at
any rate, seem to have resulted in no injury to his moral nature, since
before his death he made solemn declaration of forgiveness to all and
any who may have cheated him, and desired that full compensation might
be made to all or any out of whom he may have made undue profit. Luria
died of the plague in 1572. The Kabbala of Luria was introduced into
Germany chiefly through a certain Rabbi Jesaja Hurwitz (born 1570).
He wrote a book for his own children, called ‘The Two Tables of the
Covenant’ (abridged Hebrew name שְׁלָה), but it was soon printed and
published, and proved very popular. Besides containing a sort of
commentary on each of the Haphtarahs, and many mystic and Midrashic
expositions on Biblical and Talmudic passages, the book gives rules for
conduct on all occasions, and recommends mastery over passions and the
regulation of appetites, in a frequently apt and happy fashion. Rabbi
Hurwitz emigrated to Jerusalem, where, like many others, he met with
cruel treatment at the hands of Mahomedan tyrants. He eventually went
to Tiberias, where, in 1630, he died.



                            CHAPTER XXXVI.

    IN NORTHERN AND CENTRAL EUROPE, BEFORE THE DAWN (_continued_).


=1. A Group of Stars.=――Through the dull clouds which so rarely lifted,
little literary stars managed now and again to peep out, and to emit a
small pale radiance. Their rays were not very brilliant, but they did
what they could, and deserve an honourable mention. We will take them
chronologically, though this will make a lady and a poetess last on our
list.

In Spain, in 1488, was born a certain Joseph Caro. Whilst he was quite
a child his parents left Spain, and taking Joseph with them, wandered
about from place to place, till they finally settled in Nikopolis in
Turkey. The boy was taught Bible and Talmud by his father, and showed
from the first great industry and some talent. Presently he went to
Adrianople, where he wrote his first work, which was a commentary
on the אַרְבַּע טוּרים. Subsequently he wrote the שֻׁלְחָן עָרוּךְ (A table prepared),
which was an amplification of his first work, and, like it, had its
inspiration in the Code of Laws formulated by a long dead and gone
Rabbi Jacob, the son of Rabbenu Asher. The שֻׁלְחָן עָרוּךְ has become the
standard authority for Jewish ritual and ceremonial Law. It is divided
into four parts:

1. אֹרַח חַיִּים (Path of life). On Prayer, Sabbaths, festivals, and fasts.

2. יוֹרֶה דֵּעָה (Teaching knowledge). Dietary and other domestic laws.

3. אֶבֶן הָעֶזֶר (Stone of help). Marriage laws.

4. חשֶׁן מִשְׁפָט (Breastplate of judgment). Civil laws.

Notes were added to the שֻׁלְחָן עָרוּךְ of Rabbi Joseph Caro by a Polish
Talmudical authority, named Rabbi Moses Isserles. He was an author
himself, and his decisions had great weight with his Polish and German
co-religionists, but were not accepted by the Portuguese Jews. Joseph
Caro, before his death in 1575, had an attack from the Kabbala fever
which was so prevalent in those days. Under its influence he emigrated
to Palestine, and joined the sect of Kabbalists. He was elected Rabbi
of Saphed, and in possession of that dignity he died.

A contemporary of Caro’s, who lived in Saphed, was the author of the
beautiful Friday night song, לְכָה דוֹדִי: ‘Come, my beloved, to meet the
Bride, the approaching Sabbath we will receive.’ His name was Solomon
Alkabez.

Azariah de Rossi, born at Mantua in 1511, was one of the great
Jewish-Italian scholars of the sixteenth century. He was learned in
all branches of literature and science. His wide knowledge and his
critical powers are apparent in his work טְאוֹר עִינים (Light of the Eyes),
a collection of critical essays on various topics of Jewish archæology
and history. He freely and fearlessly compared statements in Talmud and
Midrash with those found in other works, Jewish and un-Jewish. Among
other subjects De Rossi discussed the Jewish chronology, and did not
hesitate to declare it faulty. Among his Jewish contemporaries he
did not find many admirers, but his works long after his death (1578)
received at last that place in Hebrew literature which they richly
deserve.

David Gans, who was born in Westphalia in 1541, and died in Prague in
1613, was a great scholar and writer. He began his studies at Cracow,
in a Rabbinical seminary, but after a while he gave up the learning of
the Talmud, and devoted himself to the study of astronomy and history
and geography. He wrote, in Hebrew, a chronological History, עֶמַח דָּוִד,
in two parts, consisting of Jewish history and general history. His
chief works besides were מָנֵן דָּוִד (Shield of David), an arithmetic guide;
מִנְדַּל דָּוִד (Tower of David), a geometrical work; and נֶחְמָד וְנָעִים (Pleasant
and Desirable), an astronomical volume. In the introduction to the last,
Gans gives a short account of astronomy up to his own time, including
a sketch of the astronomer Copernicus, with whom he was personally
acquainted.

David Oppenheim, Rabbi of Prague (born 1664, died 1736), is famous
as the owner of a valuable Hebrew library. The history of the books
which he collected is, perhaps, more interesting than a summary of the
contents of them might be. The nucleus of the collection was made by a
certain Samuel Oppenheim, who, an agent at the court of Vienna, asked
and received, as a reward for some financial transaction, a number
of valuable Hebrew books, which Prince Eugene had looted during the
Turkish war. These were left by will to Rabbi David Oppenheim, who
largely added to the collection. He made out a list of missing and
desirable volumes, and sent it in all directions, with orders to buy
for him. In this way he raised his number of printed books to 7,000,
and of MSS. to 1,000. Being afraid that the censor in Prague might
mutilate or confiscate some of the books, Rabbi Oppenheim kept his
beloved library at Hanover, in the house of his father-in-law, Lipman
Cohen. After Rabbi David Oppenheim’s death, his son, Herschel Isaac
Oppenheim, Rabbi at Hildesheim, got the collection. After his death
(1770) it was sent to Hamburg, and pledged to a senator there for
50,000 marks. It subsequently came into the hands of a certain Isaac
Cohen in Hamburg, and was valued by Moses Mendelssohn as worth 50,000
thalers.[57] After some negotiations with Jewish merchants and German
princes, the library was bought by the Bodleian Library at Oxford, in
1829, for 9,000 thalers, and there it is at the present time.

Sarah Copia Sullam, our poetess, was an enthusiastic Jewess. The
first literary effort which is recorded of her was an unsigned letter,
bearing date of the year 1618, which she sent to an Italian priest,
Ceba by name, who had written a poem on the Jewish subject of Queen
Esther. Our poetess was so delighted to see a Jewish heroine praised,
that her letter to the priest was full of gratitude and enthusiasm.
The priest found out the name of his correspondent, and did his best
to convert her. Sarah, however, was firm in her faith, and her replies
give full reasons for her firmness. Recognising at last that his
arguments had failed, the priest wrote to her again, begging permission
to pray for the salvation of her soul. To this she responded, granting
him his request on the condition that he would allow her to pray for
his conversion to Judaism. We do not hear of any further correspondence
between the priest and the poetess. Later on, she was accused by
another Christian priest of denying the immortality of the soul. She
indignantly defended herself from this charge in an eloquent manifesto.
She seems to have applied herself with great zeal not only to
literature, but to science, and she had a tragedy dedicated to her.

Deborah Ascarelli, another Jewish poetess, translated many Hebrew hymns
into Italian, and composed also original poems in Italian.


=2. Polish Jews.=――It was at the northern extremity of Europe, in
Poland, that the most dull and dismal night prevailed. Refugees of the
very poor and hunted sort had found their way to Poland from the date
of the eleventh century, and had met and mingled there with members
of the Karaite sect, and, perhaps, with some remnants of that once
powerful, converted nation of the Khozars, who flourished on the shores
of the Caspian Sea in the eighth and ninth centuries.[58] One hears
little concerning the Jews in Poland till the fourteenth century,
when, under Casimir the Great, and possibly owing to the influence
of a Jewess of whom the king was very fond, a certain legal status
was accorded to them. It was not a very elevated one, and mostly of
a ‘protective’ nature. Their lives and property were secured to them,
and their synagogues and burial-grounds were defended from pillage
and desecration. Rights of trading were granted, but public or state
employment was withheld. This tolerable, but somewhat sordid condition
of things continued till towards the middle of the seventeenth century,
by which time the Jews of Poland, who were mostly German by descent
and by language, formed a very large proportion of the middle-class
population of the country. They were not, at any time, a very high
class of Jews. The original settlement had consisted of cruelly hunted
and persecuted small traders, and reinforcements had come from the
like stock. It was a community in which Judaism struck deep roots, but
the soil was poor to begin with, and was always terribly in want of
modern methods of manuring. In theory and practice, in manners, outward
appearance, language, views, and opinions, these Polish Jews were most
conservative, some might even say stagnant or retrogressive. There came
to be among their students many who inclined more to Kabbala than
to Talmud, and to Talmud than to Torah; and then, towards the middle
of the seventeenth century, fierce oppressions arose, with the
effect of yet more completely lowering the standard. At this date, a
Cossack chief, with the help of Tartars and Russians, overran Poland,
and perpetrated unspeakable atrocities on the Jewish and Catholic
inhabitants of the country. And when the Cossacks had finished their
work, the Russians began theirs. Between 1648 and 1651, more than
200,000 Jews were slaughtered in the Polish dominions. Those who
survived were not of the heroic stuff to rise superior to such terrible
circumstances. They sank under them, both morally and physically. The
small industries were given up, or pursued in a shambling way, and many
schools were closed, and those that were kept open degenerated in aim
and method. Crowds of Polish Rabbis were reduced to actual beggary, and
emigrated in starving batches to Holland and Germany, or even so far as
Italy and England. Those who remained in Poland relapsed into something,
to superficial gaze, not very unlike barbarism.


=3. French Jews.=――From France, in consequence of the edict of
Charles VI., the Jewish race was exiled in 1394. This edict remained
in force for nearly four centuries――till, in fact, the year 1784, when,
during the reign of the good though weak Louis XVI., royal letters
patent were issued which authorised Jews to live in any part of the
French dominions. During this long interval, France, through conquest
and by treaty, had extended her boundaries, and in the newer portions
of her territory the rule of expulsion was not always strictly enforced.
Gradually in the course of these centuries, and without any formal
permission being granted them, Jews had returned to French soil, and
in most cases the authorities had shut their eyes to these illegal
infringements of an unrepealed law. Whenever legislation, however, was
directed to the fact, it proved equal to the occasion, and generally
recognised the presence of Jews in the spirit of Louis XIII., who in
1615 issued a solemn edict forbidding his subjects, under the severest
penalties, to hold any converse with Jews, or to receive them in their
houses. Still, though always socially banned, and often plundered and
persecuted, these Jews in their French ghettos managed to exist and
to hold their own. By the middle of the eighteenth century there were
small communities of Jews established in various parts of France, and
a settlement of some 500 in Paris itself. In Bordeaux there had existed
an influential community of Marannos from the year 1552, when the first
contingent of refugees arrived from Portugal. These Bordeaux settlers
were much superior to the rest of the Jews in France, both in position
and in cultivation. They did not, however, diffuse much of their
superior sweetness and light; on the contrary, they were so very
anxious to preserve both from any possible deterioration, that when,
during the reign of Louis XIV. (1761), fugitives from less fortunate
parts of France sought asylum in Bordeaux, they received no sort of
welcome from their co-religionists, who gave a chilling support to the
State order to move on. The most numerous section of French Jews was
to be found in Alsace, which province, from the date of the treaty of
Westphalia (1648) till the termination of the Franco-German war (1871),
was French. The nationality of the Government, however, made very
little difference to the Jews who lived under it. Their position in the
Rhenish provinces was most miserable. They were limited to the lowest
forms of trading, reviled for pursuing such, and then taxed far beyond
any honest possibilities of payment. It was not till Mendelssohn’s
efforts, towards the close of the eighteenth century, had begun to
bring about a change in the general position of the Continental Jews
that these Alsace Jews, among the rest, began to share in the result.


=4. Social Life in Germany.=――In the Austrian and German principalities,
although wholesale massacre, and conversion by means of fire and rack,
were slowly passing away with other miserable customs of the Middle
Ages, yet expulsions, and exactions, and disabilities of all kinds
were still in full force against the Jews. Throughout the many separate
states which in these days constitute the great united Empire of
Germany, the race, as we have seen,[59] were reckoned as serfs of
the Imperial Chamber, and were thus under the nominal protection of
the Emperor. A typical instance of the sort of ‘protection’ which the
German Jews enjoyed is afforded to us by the ancient Jewish charter
of Frankfort. By the terms of this document we find that it was only
on the most humiliating terms that Jews gained the privilege of living
there at all, and that this official permission had, in every case, to
be renewed on petition every three years. The inhabitants of the Jewish
quarter might not leave it, except within rigidly fixed hours; nor
could they receive a guest, nor even remove a sick person, without a
special magistrate’s licence. Worse hardships were not unusual, and
irritating and petty restrictions of this Frankfort charter type were
general in all the cities of Germany where Jews settled.

In Bohemia and its capital, Prague, Jews suffered unspeakable miseries.
The more sensational sort may be omitted, but one instance will give
an idea of the perfectly matter-of-course injustice with which Jews
were treated in the concerns of everyday life. There died in Prague,
in 1601, a certain Mordecai Meisel, a very rich man and an upright one,
who had used his money in his lifetime most generously and justly. He
died childless, and left his property to a nephew. The Emperor Rudolf,
without the shadow of an excuse, or the smallest claim of any kind, set
aside this will, and took the dead man’s property for himself.

In Vienna, the Austrian capital, the Jews, in spite of disabilities,
enjoyed for some time comparative prosperity. This happier state
of things came to an abrupt close in 1670, when, under the Emperor
Leopold I., the community was heavily fined, the tombs of their dead
were burst open, half in hopes of pillage, half in wanton desecration,
and their schools and synagogues first despoiled, and then turned into
churches. In 1745 there was a revival of the older and more wholesale
way of doing things. In midwinter of that year, by order of the Empress
Maria Theresa, 20,000 Jews were suddenly expelled from Bohemia and
Moravia.


=5. Moral and Material Effects upon the Jews.=――Walled off from
the high roads of life, and shunned for shambling along its bypaths,
the Jews of Germany, in these cruel circumstances, were slowly
deteriorating in their manners and in their modes of living. Hemmed in
by the ghetto, they were growing content with the ghetto. Meeting with
contempt and hatred all round, they were beginning to hate back again,
and to feel, in their turn, as bitter and as unreasoning a contempt
for everything belonging to their persecutors. Spinoza once wrote, ‘The
heaviest burden that men can lay upon us is not that they persecute us
with their hatred and scorn, but it is by the planting of hatred and
scorn in our souls. We cannot breathe freely, we cannot see clearly.’
This subtlest effect of the poison of persecution seemed to have
entered into the Jewish system. They would not speak the language of
their enemies, they would not read their books. They huddled in their
own close quarters, carrying on mean trades, or hawking petty wares,
and speaking, with bated breath, a barbarous dialect, half Hebrew, half
German, _Judisch Deutsch_, as it was called, and as different from the
old grand Hebrew tongue as were they themselves from Palestinian or
even from Spanish Jews. The love of religion and of race was as strong
among them as ever, but the love had come to be of a jealous and a
sullen sort. They dreaded progress or prominence of any kind. Long
and miserable experience seemed to show that safety for themselves and
tolerance for their faith lay, if anywhere, in being by the outside
world altogether unnoticed and unheeded. The culture of the Christians
they hated, with a hate born half of repulsion at its palpable effects
in persecution, half of fear for its possible tendency to conversion.
And so by degrees they locked, from the inside also, those closed gates
which led out on the open roads to use, and name, and fame. Intelligent
men were content to limit all intellectual occupation to the study
of the Law, and to find sufficient interest and entertainment in
the endless discussion of its more intricate passages. ‘Talmudical
mountebanks,’ one old chronicler somewhat unkindly calls these grim
and unattractive students of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
It seems a harsh phrase. The long-winded, hair-splitting arguments
over trivial, abstruse points were rather a forced than a voluntary
kind of mental gymnastics; and if such discussions were not interesting
to outsiders, they were never meant for them. Learned philologists,
before and since, have indulged in discussions, quite as long, over
the meaning and form of a single particle in Homer! The Jewish Rabbis
never forgot the moral education of their disciples; and the longest
and weariest of these dismal dissertations of theirs seldom wound up
without some popular moral lesson. At any rate, these crowds of Jewish
‘unemployed,’ oppressed and distressed as they were, did not meet to
talk sedition or to plot revenge. And in their attitude of resolute
aloofness from the interests of the hard outside world, there was at
least no trace of self-seeking. Perhaps, in the cruel circumstances
of their lot, they were not altogether so mistaken as, at the first
look, they seem. One may hardly dare to blame them, these ringleted,
gaberdined, bigoted heroes, who, for generations, turned their faces
to the wall, and seemed, to superficial gaze, to hug their chains. They
were quite sharp enough to know that, in shutting themselves in, they
were also shutting themselves out, but it was so they made their dogged,
miserable choice between the chances and the prizes of conversion, and
the blanks――the weary, hopeless, certain blanks of a rigid loyalty to
their race and their religion.

As we read the story of the wise and liberal philosopher, who broke
through the barriers and let in the light of learning, and of social
countenance, on mediæval benighted Judaism, we shall see that the very
children of the emancipator were dazzled by the unaccustomed rays, that
his sons wavered and his daughters apostatised, and that in the third
generation――only the third――the fetters which degraded were called
degrading, and were altogether cast off, and the grandchildren of Moses
Mendelssohn, the typical Jew, were Jews no longer.



                            CHAPTER XXXVII.

                          MOSES MENDELSSOHN.


=1. Early Days in Dessau.=――Under a very humble roof, in a very poor
little street in Dessau, there was born, on September 29, 1729, to a
certain Mendel and his wife, a weakly boy, who was destined to work
a wonderful change in the position and circumstances of the Jews of
Germany. Not much fit for such a task did this ghetto baby seem, for,
delicate from the first, his poor little body soon grew both stunted
and deformed. The father was a סוֹפֵר, or scribe, getting his modest
living by transcribing portions of the Law on parchment for _Mezuzoth_
and _Tephilin_, and this professional connection with the fount of
learning made him perhaps more eagerly anxious even than were Jewish
parents generally that their children should ‘get wisdom and get
understanding.’ לֶחֶם לְפִי הַטָּף, food for the little ones, in its literal
sense, was often hard to get, but food for their minds was always at
hand, and free to the poorest Jewish parent. So by the time little
Moses Mendel――or Mendelssohn, as he came to be called――was five years
old, it was taken as a matter of course that he should attend the
Talmud Torah School. But the mornings were bleak, and the tiny student
was weak and frail, so the mother would wrap him up first in an old
cloak of her own, and the father, before he began his day’s work, would
carry the bright-eyed and not very heavy bundle to the neighbouring
class-room. The little lad was diligent and sweet-tempered, and high
hopes soon began to be entertained of his powers and abilities. He soon
got his remove from the lower school to the higher class, which was
taught by the distinguished scholar Rabbi Frankel, and very early
began to indulge the desire that when he grew up, he, in his turn,
might become a learned Rabbi like his dear master. The parents did
not very heartily second this ambition on the part of their little son.
Times were hard in the ghetto, and Rabbis were many. Though a greatly
respected, it was a poorly paid profession, whereas as a hawker, or
a pedlar, a boy might begin to pick up a living by the time he was
בַּר מִצְוָה. In 1742, before Moses was thirteen, Rabbi Frankel received the
appointment of Chief Rabbi of Berlin, and went to take up his residence
in Berlin. With Frankel’s departure from Dessau a stop was put to
the boy’s learning, and, as it seemed, to his hopes, for now that his
master was gone, again and more strongly his parents urged upon him to
use his books only as a holiday task, and to make trading the serious
business of his life. But it was of no use. The boy was bent upon
becoming a scholar. Day after day, and often far on into the night,
he would be with his beloved books, forgetting, in their company,
all aches and pains or hunger, and desiring no other interest or
amusement. His favourite volume was Maimonides’ מוֹרֶה נְבוּכִים, Guide to the
Perplexed,[60] which he patiently puzzled out, and read and re-read,
till something of the spirit of the large and liberal-minded author
seemed to have entered into the delicate deformed body of the patient
little student. Long years after, he would often laughingly call his
hump a legacy from Maimonides. ‘Maimonides,’ he would say, ‘spoilt my
figure in my youth, and ruined my digestion; but still,’ he would add
more seriously, ‘I dote upon him; for if those long hours spent with
him, instead of at play, weakened my body, they at the same time gave
strength to my soul. Maimonides may have stunted my stature, but he
developed my mind.’ And so, in the narrow little room, he would sit
and read and think, till his pale cheeks grew hot, and his whole frame
thrilled with dreams and longings――he too would live to become a Guide
to the Perplexed among his people.


=2. Goes to Berlin.=――As Frankel passed out of Dessau, he saw his
young pupil standing on a little hill just outside the town, watching,
with streaming eyes, for a last glimpse of him. The kind-hearted master
caught up the little fellow in his arms, said good-bye once more, and
soothed him with hopes of meeting again in Berlin. The boy resolved
to make that hope a reality, and the poor parents, when they saw
how earnest was their child’s desire, ceased at last to oppose it.
They gave him their blessing, and put what they could――it was very
little――in his pocket, and, with a very slender wallet slung on his
crooked shoulders, some six months after Frankel had left Dessau, Moses
Mendelssohn set out for Berlin.


=3. How he fares there.=――There were no railways in those days, and if
there had been, Moses Mendelssohn had no money to pay even third-class
fare. He walked the many and weary miles which lay between Dessau and
Berlin, and it was a very tired and foot-sore little lad who, at the
close of the fifth day’s tramp, presented himself for admission at
the Jews’ gate of the city. The porter at the gate, used as he was
to shabby figures, looked doubtfully at the poor, dusty, crippled
boy, and it was only when Mendelssohn said that he knew Rabbi Frankel,
and wanted to see him, that the man let him through. And when Frankel
saw the penniless little student, whom he had inspired with such
difficult devotion, the kind-hearted scholar was touched and puzzled
too, but he quickly resolved that, so far as in him lay, the uphill
path of knowledge should be made smooth to those determined little
feet. Meanwhile the bread-and-butter question was very pressing. Moses
explained enthusiastically and sincerely enough that he wanted nothing
beyond bread and water, and a straw pallet to sleep on, and the master
responded a little drily that even such small luxuries as these were
not to be had for any length of time out of the three silver groschen,
about equal to ninepence of our money, which were left at the bottom
of his wallet. However, the difficulty got solved, as difficulties
mostly do when boys are thoroughly in earnest, and for a good object.
Frankel settled to give him his dinner on Sabbaths and festivals, and
a kind-hearted Jewish gentleman, Bamberger by name, promised to supply
two everyday meals, and to let the boy sleep in an attic in his house.
That was three dinners a week provided for, and on the remaining four
days, by dint of economy and imagination, he supplied himself with
quite a series of satisfying meals. He would earn a trifle by doing
copying work, then he would buy a big loaf, and notch the bread at
once into divisions, so much, or rather so little, for each dinner
and each breakfast, so as to prevent the possibility of his appetite,
and means of satisfying it, outrunning his purse. It often resulted
in a close race. Poverty and poor feeding, however, were fortunately
no new experiences to him. Still, poverty encountered all by himself
in a great city full of strangers, was a harder thing than poverty as
his kind loving mother had let him feel it. But he met it bravely and
uncomplainingly, and, best of all, with unfailing good humour. He never
took a kindness as his due, nor thought that his talents gave him a
right to claim toll from his richer brethren. ‘Because I want to drink
at the well,’ he would say, in his pretty poetic fashion, ‘am I to
expect every one to hurry to fill my cup from his pitcher? No; I must
draw the water for myself, or else I must go thirsty.’ And in this way
he preserved his self-respect, and those who had the great pleasure
of helping him, received, in the boy’s cheerful, grateful use of his
opportunities, quite as much benefit as they gave.


=4. Seed-time.=――He worked very hard, and the first thing he set
himself to thoroughly learn was the German language. Germany had shown
herself but a harsh stepmother to her adopted Jewish children; but he
wisely thought if the children would cease to whimper in exasperating
and half-understood dialect, if they would plead, or even on occasion
scold back again, in the same good guttural German as their neighbours
used, there was a better chance of their gaining for themselves a
respectful hearing. It was scarcely a safe branch of learning, for the
poor oppressed Jews of that period were so afraid of any encroachment
on their Judaism, that not only was the study of the Law their
favourite study, but any other was looked upon with jealous fear, and
even in some cases prohibited by authority. But Moses Mendelssohn had
no selfish object in his overmastering desire for knowledge. He meant
to be a good Jew and a good German citizen at one and the same time,
and to show his people how that could be done. The first writing work
he did was translating parts of the Bible and the Prayers into good
German. He might have made translations which would have found a ready
sale among scholars, but he chose to do unpaid work, which would at
best find but a very limited market, in order that his people might get
to know the language of the country in which they lived, through the
only books which there was any likelihood of their studying. He never
lost sight of the one set purpose of his life――to be a guide to the
perplexed, to help the people from darkness into light. There _is_ a
royal road to learning, and they are kings who tread it disinterestedly,
desiring to minister to the needs of their fellow-men. Some such kings
carry burdens, and some bear lamps, and most are unrecognised as they
trudge along, but nevertheless that road to learning is always _royal_.
Moses Mendelssohn, poor and deformed as he was, and hemmed in by
prejudice, found books to read and teachers to instruct him, and by
the time he was one-and-twenty, was not only a good Hebrew scholar,
which was a matter of course to a self-respecting Jew in those days,
but an excellent mathematician and a fair classic, with an accurate
and grammatical knowledge of the language and literature of his native
country, and a tolerable mastery of French and of English.


=5. Harvest.=――He had given lessons for some time in the family of a
Mr. Bernhardt, a prominent member of the Berlin synagogue, and in 1750
this gentleman proposed to the learned young man to become resident
tutor to his children. This Mr. Bernhardt was a kind man as well as
a rich and a cultured one, and as tutor in his house Mendelssohn found
both congenial occupation and welcome leisure. He was teacher by day,
student by night, and author at odd half-hours. At the end of three or
four years of this work, Mr. Bernhardt offered Mendelssohn the position
of bookkeeper in his silk manufactory, with some especial emoluments
and responsibilities attached to the office. It was a splendid opening,
and Mendelssohn gladly and gratefully accepted it. It gave him leisure
and independence, and in due time wealth, for as the years went on
he came to be a manager, and finally a partner in the house. He did
not sink into a mere business man, but the money gave him the means
wherewith to indulge his taste for books, to enjoy the society of
clever and cultivated people, and to send, too, many a welcome gift
to the old home in Dessau.


=6. Nathan der Weise.=――Mendelssohn’s tastes had very early drawn him
into the outer literary circle of Berlin, which at this time had its
head-quarters in a sort of club which met to play chess, and to discuss
politics and philosophy. His good manners soon overcame any lingering
social prejudices, and he was already quite a popular member, when
the poet Lessing, coming to Berlin in 1754, was welcomed to these
gatherings as an honoured guest. Very soon an intimacy grew up between
the author, whose reputation was already high, and the struggling
young Jewish student. The intimacy ripened into a lifelong friendship.
Lessing was on the road to become a great author, and Mendelssohn was
the first Jew he had ever known. The German author and the German Jew
grew very soon to be real friends, and by-and-by Lessing wrote a play,
which is now the most celebrated of his works. It is called ‘Nathan the
Wise.’ The hero, Nathan, is a Jew, and Mendelssohn was Lessing’s model
for Nathan. ‘Let me make a nation’s ballads, and I care not who makes
their laws,’ once said a keen statesman; and the ballads, and the plays,
and the literature of a country undoubtedly have an immense influence
on its people’s thought and action. A Jew of the Nathan der Weise
type was an altogether new experience for the Germans, and the ‘divine
lessons’[61] which the drama teaches had been hitherto undreamt of in
their philosophy. They put on their spectacles, as a matter of course,
to commentate and to criticise the text, but by-and-by they took them
off again, to study it in the original. Lessing had sketched his Jew
from the life, and there were quantities of such hitherto neglected
and misunderstood models on all sides about them. Other Lessings among
Christians began to look for, and to find, other Mendelssohns among
Jews.


=7. Literary Successes.=――And presently Mendelssohn grew famous.
He wrote a great deal, and Lessing was godfather to his first book;
and then they brought out together a little work called ‘Pope as a
Metaphysician.’ A year or two later, Mendelssohn gained the prize
which the Academy of Berlin offered for the best essay on the
problem ‘Are Metaphysics susceptible of Mathematical Demonstration?’
Kant, the great German philosopher, was one of the competitors whom
Mendelssohn distanced in this contest. Together with Lessing and one
or two other friends, he brought out for some years a serial called
‘Literatur-Briefe,’ a sort of literature, science, and art review. The
works, however, by which he is best known are his ‘Jerusalem’ and his
‘Phædon.’ ‘Jerusalem,’ published in 1783, is a sort of comprehensive
survey of Judaism in its religious and its national aspect. ‘Phædon,’
published in 1767, is an eloquent summary of all that religion and
reason and experience urge in support of our belief in the immortality
of the soul. In less than two years ‘Phædon’ ran through three
editions, and it was quickly translated into English, French, Dutch,
Italian, Danish, and Hebrew. He paraphrased the whole of the Pentateuch
into pure German, and made a metrical translation of the Psalms. He
translated, too, Manasseh ben Israel’s famous _Vindiciæ Judæorum_ into
German, and published it with a very eloquent preface in 1782. Another
literary enterprise, which brought him more notice than he cared for,
was a correspondence with a too zealous Swiss minister named Lavater,
who, with a keen eye to conversion, sought to draw Mendelssohn into
a public religious discussion on the relative merits of Judaism and
Christianity. Mendelssohn hated controversy, and, moreover, had a
sincere conviction that no cause, and certainly no religious cause,
is ever forwarded by it. ‘It is by character, and not by controversy,’
as he wrote, ‘that Jews can shame the bad opinion that may be held of
them.’ Nevertheless, when the choice, between standing to his colours
or sneaking behind them, was forced upon him, we may be sure that
he did not take refuge in any comfortable compromise. Like the three
who were not ‘careful’[62] of their answer, even under fear of the
fiery furnace, he too testified to the truth, and had no dread. The
correspondence ended with a sincere apology from Lavater, and an added
respect for Mendelssohn.


=8. His Home Life.=――At the age of thirty-three he had married. We
do not know much of his wife beyond the facts that she was young and
blue-eyed. The first few years of the marriage were very happy years,
spent in a small house in the outskirts of Berlin――for by this time
Mendelssohn’s friends had procured for him the privilege, not at that
time, nor for long after, generally accorded to Jews, of living in
whatever part of the city he liked. It was a modest little house, with
a garden. The ornaments were perhaps rather out of proportion in size
and number to the rest of the surroundings, but that was hardly the
fault of the newly married couple, since one of the smaller vexations
imposed on the Jews of that time was the obligation laid on every
Jewish bridegroom to treat himself to a large quantity of china for the
good of the king’s manufactory. It was, of course, a sort of extra tax
legally imposed upon Jews, but the most vexatious part of it was, that
neither the tastes of the purchaser nor his wants were ever considered.
He had to buy just what the manufactory wanted to sell. In this
instance twenty life-sized china apes fell to Mendelssohn’s lot. But
the ugly ornaments notwithstanding, Mendelssohn and his wife were very
happy. Happier perhaps as husband and wife than, when their children
grew up, as father and mother. Parenthood was a very hard task in
those days. It is never quite easy, but a century ago, when Jews could
not walk the streets without being insulted, when all gates save the
Jews’ gate were closed against them, it was terribly difficult to
bring up children to be good Jews and good citizens at the same time.
Mendelssohn did not altogether succeed with his children. ‘Who is best
taught?’ says the Talmud; and it answers, ‘He who has learned first
from his mother.’ Mendelssohn’s clever boys and girls never seem to
have had that teaching, and this may account in part for the mistakes
they made when they grew up. They became impatient of the obstacles
and the insults that beset the Jews’ path, and when their turn came
to marry and bring up children, they determined to save them all
such humiliating experiences by bringing them up as Christians. Felix
Mendelssohn Bartholdy, the great musician, was the grandson of Moses
Mendelssohn, but he was not a Jew.


=9. Last Years.=――In 1780 Lessing died, and a friendship of nearly
thirty years was thus dissolved. For Mendelssohn, the loss of his
friend was a terrible blow, but for the world the work of that
memorable friendship was accomplished. It had improved the position of
the Jews throughout Europe, for it had made Jew known to Christian, and
Christian known to Jew. The hero of Lessing’s play ‘Nathan the Wise’
had come in those thirty years to be a well-known and famous personage,
and he, Moses Mendelssohn, and not the shambling pedlar whom they
passed contemptuously in the street, was talked of now among cultivated
people as ‘a Jew.’ The individual Jew whom they happen to come across
is generally accepted by outsiders as a representative of his race, and
thus the work that Mendelssohn did by being scholarly and good-mannered
and straightforward was, perhaps, even more valuable to his people
than his literary services. Mendelssohn himself was an interpretation
of Judaism for Christians in as true a sense as his translation of
Pentateuch and Psalms was a revelation of their adopted country to the
Jews. His brave and sensible efforts for the study of secular subjects,
and for the speaking and the writing of pure German, did much to banish
the confusing, narrowing influence of a separate jargon among his
people, but certainly no less did his loyal, beautiful character go
far to silence that noisy, national expression of prejudice which, even
to these days, debases the German tongue, making it a dialect among
the languages of civilisation. Lessing’s love for his Jewish friend,
and the expression of that love in his drama, had smoothed the way
and hastened the work which Mendelssohn in his boyhood had longed to
accomplish. The work was done when Lessing died; and the remainder of
the way which he who was left had to tread alone was fortunately not
long. ‘Spend in all things else,’ says an American poet,[63]

           ‘But of old friends be most miserly.
            Each year to ancient friendships adds a ring,
            As to an oak; and precious more and more,
            Without deservingness or help of ours,
            They grow....
            ’Tis good to set them early, for our faith
            Pines as we age; and after wrinkles come,
            Few plant, but water dead ones with vain tears.’

To Mendelssohn this poetic truth was very apparent. He had been liberal
in intimacies, but ‘miserly’ in friendships, and now at fifty years old
he was bankrupt. Still, as befitted his steadfast Jewish nature, he did
not let his keen sorrow for his old comrade express itself in selfish
inaction. An opportunity soon presented itself for Mendelssohn to rouse
himself on his friend’s behalf. Germany, as its greatest poet[64] once
rather bitterly remarked, ‘needs time to be thankful.’ A year or two
after Lessing’s death was too early for any anniversary celebrations
of his genius, and some of his countrymen got up an agitation against
his memory instead. In articles many and bitter, the dead poet was
accused of want of principle and want of religion, and of a great many
other bad qualities, which were summarised as ‘covert Spinozism.’ It
was a fine phrase with which to cover up ignorant and jealous abuse.
Mendelssohn, with grief and indignation, tore off the disguise, and in
a brilliant pamphlet, full alike of pathos and of wit, he cleared the
reputation and defended the character of his dead friend. This was his
last literary work. It was his monument as well as Lessing’s. He took
the manuscript to his publisher on one of the last days of the year
1785, and in the first week of the new year 1786, then only fifty-six
years old, he quietly and painlessly died.



                           CHAPTER XXXVIII.

                        THE NEXT HUNDRED YEARS.
                             (1780‒1880.)


=1. Light and Shadows.=――The influence of Mendelssohn did not die out
with his death. He had stirred the conscience of the Christians, he had
roused the consciousness of the Jews. Things could never again be quite
as they had been. But there was a danger in the difference, as there is
in all sudden and violent changes of feeling, even when the changes are
good and right. Cultivated Jews quickly became quite the fashion in the
literary circles of Berlin, and the reception-rooms of Mendelssohn’s
daughters, and of Henrietta Herz, the charming wife of a Dr. Marcus
Herz, and of several other pleasant, intelligent Jewish women were
thronged by the leading men of the day. Christians seemed to find a
certain delightful flavour, beyond the charm which is common to all
cultivated intercourse, in this new taste of what had been for so long
forbidden fruit. And almost as quickly, ambitious Jews and Jewesses
grew to be a little intoxicated with their success. Many restrictions,
both social and political, were still in force against the race, and
these people who were so well received amongst Christians thought that
they were liked and admired in spite of their Judaism, whereas they
owed to it those very qualities which gained for them this flattering
notice. One by one, slowly and shyly at first, they dropped Jewish
observances; then, more boldly, they dropped Jewish acquaintances;
and lastly, and quite in logical sequence, they dropped their Judaism
altogether. It was always, and in every case, from first to last, a
sacrifice to selfishness and self-interest. And perhaps the first proud
step of ‘hiding themselves from their own flesh’ in their fashionable
wrappings of superior cultivation, was quite as wicked as that last
distinctly separate step which many took of baptism. Mendelssohn’s
daughters were baptized, and his grandchildren; so was Heine the poet
in 1825, and Börne the patriot in 1818, and so were a host of minor
folks in the first forty years immediately succeeding Mendelssohn’s
death. These ‘conversions’ were the deep shadows thrown from the light
which Mendelssohn had lovingly and loyally let in upon his people. Yet,
nevertheless, the light was ‘good,’ and in time it lost its blinding,
dazzling quality. If a prism is put in the way of a ray of sunlight, we
get a view of the most beautiful colours, but the experiment needs nice
handling. If the prism be not of the right shape, and set at the right
angle, instead of added colours we get our ray of light obscured. Some
of the Jews of Germany managed with their pushing, self-adjusted prisms
to hinder the effects of Mendelssohn’s rays of light. When he himself
stood as a prism in the beams, we got _Nathan der Weise_ as a result.


=2. Leopold Zunz.=――Eight years after the death of Mendelssohn, in
the person of Leopold Zunz another good, steadfast Jew and great
scholar was born to Germany. Mendelssohn had done much to free his
people from fetters, both external and internal; from the outward
shackles of prejudice and oppression, and from the inward rust of
ignorance and superstition. Zunz carried on this work, and, perhaps, in
a safer, because in a more purely historic spirit. His aim was to build
up, rather than to cast down or cast aside, and to make an ideal for
Israel’s future out of the actual of Israel’s past. His knowledge of
the national literature was wide and profound, and his memory was as
remarkable as his scholarship. He began to write from a very early age,
and his celebrated monograph on Rashi[65] was published before he was
thirty years old. His most valuable work was an historical review of
Jewish ethics,[66] which gives the whole account of the development of
the spiritual life of Israel from Biblical days to the present time.
This book, which took nine years to write, shows forth the thought
and the feeling of a nation of ‘witnesses,’ collecting and presenting
their evidence of over a thousand years. Zunz wrote, too, standard
works on Jewish literature, under the titles ‘Contributions to History
and Literature’[67] (1845), ‘The Synagogue Poetry of the Middle Ages’
(1855), ‘The Rites of the Synagogue Service’ (1859), and ‘History of
the Literature of Synagogue Poetry’ (1865). In these works we find a
history of the sorrows of the Jewish race, and a delightful account
of the poets and the poetry of the Jews of the Middle Ages. Zunz’s
mind was as accurate and as full of facts as a dictionary, and yet
as charming and as full of fancies as a poem. He lived till this year
(1886), and up to the very last preserved his faculties, and added to
his friends. Throughout his long life Zunz was faithful to his nation,
to his religion, and to his national literature. His immense knowledge
of Judaism made him its enthusiastic admirer, and it is as well,
perhaps, for lesser scholars, who are greater critics, to recall this
fact. Zunz was a cultivated man as well as a theologian and a Talmudist.
He had received, and he was one of the first Jews in Germany who were
permitted to receive, a university education. And his attitude towards
the heroes of the past, at whose oddities it is so impertinently easy
to smile, was consistently reverent. Zunz felt――

                              ‘If these had not walked
            Their furlong, could we hope to walk our mile?’


=3. Progress of Events and of Legislation in Germany.=――The frequent
laxity of observance, and the occasional conversions among the higher
class of Jews, had the natural reactionary consequence among the lower
class. These became more rigidly, and even repellently, orthodox. The
temptations to cultivated society, which hardly assailed them, they
regarded with bitter hatred and contempt, and they clung to their own
distinctive ways and customs and modes of dress and speech, with a
fervour of anger as well as of religion. Thus it came to pass that the
main body of the Jews in Germany continued to be almost as little as
ever German citizens, and social prejudice against Jews remained at its
old high-water mark till Napoleon’s wonderful series of conquests, at
the beginning of the nineteenth century, made a change in the position.
In Westphalia, which was then created a kingdom, with Jerome Bonaparte
for its king, and in all the Rhenish provinces which were annexed
to France, the liberal _Code Napoléon_ took the place of that other
written and unwritten code in which Jews were pariahs, liable to be
condemned without evidence, and sentenced without appeal. Whether from
dynastic reasons, or as a matter of conscience, the Corsican conqueror
confirmed the doctrine of full and free emancipation which the
Revolution had introduced. All subjects of the French Empire were to be
legally looked upon simply as French citizens, and it was henceforward
no one’s business to inquire whether such subjects professed the Jewish
religion, or the Christian, or no religion at all. The humiliating
_Leibzoll_, or body tax, which in Russia had been discontinued since
1790, was now definitely and altogether abolished, and, equally with
Christians, office in the army and in all civil departments of the
state was thrown open to Jews. Only positions directly under Government
were still denied to them.

This happier condition of things, however, lasted but a very few
years. With Napoleon’s downfall in 1814 it was at an end, and in
the subsequent German reaction against French supremacy the Jews of
Germany fared worse than ever. The famous Treaty of Vienna (1815)
secured to Jews only such rights as they had possessed before the
French occupation. These ‘rights,’ as we know, were all wrongs, and
the different States were quick to reassert, and even to add to them.
Frankfort led the van. She shut them up again in their _Judengasse_,
and ingeniously imposed some extra restrictions, limiting, among other
matters, the number of marriages to be annually permitted. Other States
celebrated their emancipation from French rule in an equally liberal
and grateful spirit, reserving to their own co-religionists not only
every office in state, army, law, and university, but forbidding to
Jews even the use of Christian names. And then, from legislating,
German _savants_ took to the composing of abstruse little pamphlets
against the Jews; and, as befitted a nation who were developing into
philosophers, they persecuted them pedantically instead of religiously.
It came to much the same thing in results. In 1819 these attacks
from professional pens culminated in serious riots at Heidelberg and
Frankfort, and other towns, in all of which Jews were pillaged to the
once again revived cry of ‘_Hep, Hep_.’

Things did not improve during the thirty years that Count Metternich
was minister in Austria. But in 1848 the whirlwind of the Revolution
brought its breath of liberty to the Jews, and most of the German
states, in deference to the new strong tendency of public opinion,
at last admitted their Jews to the rank of citizens. In 1850,
Frederick William IV. of Prussia, brother of the present Emperor of
Germany, although opposed by his ministers, removed all municipal and
administrative disabilities from his Jewish subjects, and the new and
united Empire of Germany, which was settled in 1866, and consolidated
by the issue of the war in 1870, retains in its constitution no traces
of any separate and restrictive legislation concerning Jews. Social
prejudices, however, are tough, and often outlive legal disabilities.
Nations, like individuals, have a predisposition to some especial
ailments, and an old writer says that Germany is periodically subject
to the distemper of Judea-phobia. Some colour is given to this theory
by the dull persistency in persecution which that country has always
shown towards the race. It broke out yet once again in 1875, in
a sort of violent rash of anti-Semitic essays, a literature which
exhibited the fever in a very pronounced form, and which was treated,
unfortunately, homœopathically, by as thick a rash of replies. This
_Judenhetze_, however, died out by degrees, and in the enlightened
views of their Crown Prince and Princess the Jews of Germany look
confidently forward to a ‘fair field and no favour’ being by-and-by
accorded to them.


=4. Progress of Events and Legislation in France (1780‒1880).=――At
the time when Moses Mendelssohn’s efforts were producing a reform
in feeling and in conduct among and towards the Jews of Germany, the
Jews in France thought that his influence might be brought to bear
upon their rulers. The Jews in Alsace accordingly, who, numbering by
this date some 20,000, were the most numerous of the various French
communities, forwarded an appeal to Mendelssohn, setting forth their
wrongs and their hopes. In deference to this appeal a very famous
memoir in favour of Jewish claims to fair treatment came to be written
by a learned and enlightened Christian scholar named Dohm. Dohm was one
of Mendelssohn’s influential friends, and thought well of all Jews for
Mendelssohn’s sake. When the Jews of Alsace begged Mendelssohn to speak
up for them, he wisely thought that a Christian advocate might gain
more hearers than a Jewish one; and so, at his friend’s request, Dohm
wrote and published in 1781 a book on the Political Reform of the Jews,
which work had a great, though indirect, share in the bringing about
of better times. Another friend for the French Jews was found in Count
Mirabeau, who, before he came to be a power in the stirring events on
which the eighteenth century closed in France, was, with Dohm and other
noteworthy people, a frequent visitor in the salons of Henrietta Herz
and of Mendelssohn’s daughters at Berlin. The Abbé Grégoire was another
personage who, having had the opportunity of intimate intercourse with
Jews, used such knowledge to their benefit. Both Mirabeau and Grégoire
wrote and spoke frequently and earnestly on the subject of Jewish
emancipation, which was rapidly becoming one of the questions of the
day. Whether French Jews should be admitted to the rights of French
citizens, was over and over again debated in the French Assembly.
Many ignorant arguments were brought against it. One speaker urged
that Jews could not serve the state; that they could not be soldiers,
since their laws forbade them to fight on their Sabbath; nor artisans,
added another orator, nor agriculturists, for their holidays were
too numerous for continuous labour. Such speakers must have forgotten
all about the Land and the Book――all about the oliveyards and the
vineyards of Palestine, the ‘borders set with precious stones,’ and
the battlefields drenched with more precious blood. The discussion
went on. Their own friend Abbé Grégoire hurt their cause by remembering
something of all this past, and pleading for them as a ‘people.’
This roused the stupid folks. Could a ‘people,’ dispersed among other
‘peoples,’ be patriots? they asked. And when that was answered out
of history, and Jewish loyalty and law-abidingness taken as proved to
demonstration, then a new doubt was raised on the score of the alleged
money-lending proclivities of the race. Robespierre answered this. ‘The
vices of the Jews,’ said he, ‘are born of the abasement in which you
have plunged them. Raise their condition, and they will speedily rise
to it.’

After an immense amount of eloquence had been expended on the
question, the Assembly, on September 27, 1791, passed the vote for
the emancipation of the Jews, and mainly on the grounds that those
who fought against the measure were actually fighting the Constitution,
which proclaimed Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, without reservation
or exception, to all subjects of the French republic. By this vote,
France gained for herself the distinction of being first among modern
nations to give not only tolerance, but liberty, in its full social,
legal, and political meaning, to her Jewish subjects. It remained
for Napoleon Bonaparte to complete the work. When that extraordinary
man came to be Emperor of France, he showed an extreme interest in
the history and the position of his Jewish subjects. He summoned an
assembly of representative Jews, composed of Rabbis, merchants, and
literary men, and calling it a Sanhedrin, he desired this assembly
to report on the present religious and political status of their
nation, and to define their duties towards God and their country. This
so-called Sanhedrin did its difficult work very well. Starting with
a quotation from one of the _Amoraim_,[68] that the law of the State
is a binding law on the Jews of that State, the Assembly showed, by
proof and by principle, that Judaism constrains Jews to be in every
sense true and worthy sons of the soil. Passing from declaration to
suggestion, the Assembly advised with great sagacity on many subjects,
on that especially of mixed marriages, on the practice of ‘usury,’ and
on the choice of trades and professions. Napoleon gave the sanction
of authority to much of this counsel, and altogether the deliberations
of this latter-day Sanhedrin greatly helped forward the progressive
movement which had set in. The wave of liberty, which swept over
France in such terribly tumultuous fashion at the end of the eighteenth
century, has known no ebb tide. The many and various forms of
government, which have changed much and effaced much since 1793 in the
fair and fickle land of France, have, to their honour, left religious
freedom at high-water mark. It has been well said that, from that date
to this, one cannot accurately speak of the ‘Jews of France,’ but only
of French citizens professing the Jewish religion.[69] Rabbis of the
Jewish Synagogue, since 1830, have been considered to hold the same
relation towards the state as curés of the Catholic church, receiving,
like them, their salaries from the Government. Not only in the army
and in the learned professions, but also in every class of society,
the Jews of France march, nowadays, shoulder to shoulder with their
fellow-countrymen. The war of 1870, which made Alsace and Lorraine
German, was a great blow to the loyal French-Jewish inhabitants of
these provinces, but the loss to France of her Alsatian Jews was
balanced by the gain of some 30,000 Algerian ones; for in 1870 the Jews
of Algiers became, in a body, naturalised Frenchmen, and are proving
themselves excellent and enlightened subjects of France.


=5. In Italy.=――In Italy, the Popes personally were, as a rule, mild
in their treatment of the Jewish race. At the coronation of each new
Pope the Jews of Rome had to offer the Holy Father a scroll of the Law,
which the Pontiff would take in his hand, and sadly remarking, ‘Your
Law is good, but you understand it not,’ would return to them, turning
his back on the deputation as he did so. This old custom, somewhat
humiliating in its form, and which can be traced back so far as the
twelfth century, remained in force until our own times, as if to remind
Jews that they were accounted heretics; but with this exception, and
with only a very occasional baptism effected by force or by stratagem,
there was little done to bring home the fact to them. In the Middle
Ages, as we have seen, the Popes had small need for robbing Jews in the
name of religion. They had all Christendom to draw on for revenue, and
when the period of paying for indulgences and dispensations had passed
away, the period of licensed plundering and proselytising was passing
too. And many of the later Popes were learned and enlightened men, who
were humane by nature as well as by habit. The downfall of Napoleon
caused, for a time, a cloud to spread over that dawn of wider liberty
which had broken with the Revolution. Once more, and until the year
1848, the Jews in the Papal dominions were shut up in their ghetto, and
in Rome, they were not altogether emancipated, till 1870. From 1848,
however, their position throughout Italy steadily, if somewhat slowly,
improved. Since 1859, the Jews in Tuscany and Lombardy have been
emancipated; since 1861, in Naples and Sicily; since 1866, in Venice;
and since 1870, in the capital. At the present time, in all the Italian
dominions, Jews are in possession of civil and religious rights.


=6. In Spain and Portugal.=――In 1821, Portugal opened her gates again
to her long-expelled Jews. At the consecration service of the first
reopened synagogue in Lisbon there was a curious sight. Members of
what had always been accounted Catholic families hurried up from the
interior of the country to take part in the ceremony. What could these
Catholics want in a Jewish place of worship? thought the authorities.
The mystery was soon explained. The strangers proved to be Marannos,
who, from generation to generation for 300 years, had worn a disguise,
and were now anxious to cast it off, and to take upon themselves once
again the ‘inheritance of Jacob.’ Spain held longer than Portugal to
the old bad policy, but in 1868 she, too, annulled the decree which
kept Jews from her shores.


=7. In Austrian Dominions.=――The _Leibzoll_ was abolished by
Joseph II. of Austria in 1783. Other reforms followed, and slowly, and
not without some occasional relapses into ancient barbaric ways, the
Jewish inhabitants of Austria, Hungary, and Galicia were enfranchised.
The capital of Austria was slowest at the good work, and in Vienna,
until quite recent times, many humiliating restrictions were in force.
The last legal disabilities which were in force in the Austrian Empire
were, however, removed in 1867, and in Brody, the capital of Galicia,
so numerous and so comfortable have the Jews become, that some of its
grateful residents call it the ‘Galician Jerusalem.’ The Hungarian
capital, Buda-Pesth, boasts an excellent Rabbinical college, and this
modern seat of Jewish learning may serve as evidence that the old
Jewish spirit, which ever sought cultivated expression directly the
barest chance of such expression was open to it, is as active in Europe
as it used to be in Babylon.


=8. In other European States.=――In the Netherlands, from the date
of the French Revolution (1793), the Jews were legally emancipated.
Practically, however, they had been free, and had enjoyed all the
advantages of emancipation, from the time when the Portuguese refugees
first found an asylum in Holland. Some of the chief men of the Dutch
Jewish communities were not entirely pleased with the decree which,
at the close of the eighteenth century, made Jews ‘citizens,’ and
substituted the authority of the ‘States-General’ for that of the
‘Mahamad.’[70] This and other causes led to a secession from the more
conservative members of the community, and to the establishment in 1796
of a separate synagogue in Amsterdam. The Jews of Holland continue to
maintain their respectable and respected position.

Belgium emancipated her Jews in 1830, Sweden in 1848, Denmark and
Greece in 1849. Switzerland delayed her claim to take rank among
enlightened nations till 1874; and Norway, up to the present day, still
only tolerates Jews, and very few are to be found in that country.


=9. In Russia and Poland.=――The two and a half million Jews who are
to be found at the present day in these wide and but semi-civilised
territories, are still unhappily circumstanced. The ignorance and
fanaticism of the native population, and the unintelligent policy
of the governing classes, combine to make the position of the Jews a
painful and a precarious one. Little progress has been made in the last
hundred years. Many of the ‘blunders worse than crimes’ of the Middle
Ages seem to lead a charmed life in Russia and in Russian Poland,
and to be proof against the educating and humanising influences of
these latter days. Jews are still confined to mean trades for their
sole occupation, and are separate in dress and in social usage from
their neighbours. Numberless legal restrictions are in force, which
practically shut out Russian and Polish Jews from any worthy ambition,
and condemn them to seek inglorious ends by sordid means. In spite,
however, of ‘ukase’ after ‘ukase’ conceived in this ‘Middle Age’ spirit,
the Jews are struggling upward in the old good fashion to the light,
and a society for the promotion of education, which, since 1870, has
been established at St. Petersburg, is helping them much in their
efforts to rise.


=10. In Danubian Provinces.=――At the beginning of this century the
persecutions in Russia caused a number of Jews to emigrate to those
States on the Danube which, by the treaty of Berlin in 1878, at which
Lord Beaconsfield presided, received a recognition of independence
from the European Powers. The emancipation of the Jewish inhabitants
of these provinces was a condition of the treaty, a condition which the
conduct of the refugees since their settlement has fully justified. The
Jewish immigrants rapidly multiplied, and their intelligence, industry,
sobriety, and loyalty bore down prejudice, and won them friends. Of
these Danubian states, Servia, Bulgaria, and Montenegro have honestly
observed their part of the compact, but Roumania has distinguished
itself by its systematic disregard of it――an attitude the more
ignorantly ungrateful since, in the Roumanian war of independence,
the Jewish Roumanians were among the bravest and staunchest of the
soldiery.


=11. A Glance at the Rest of the Map.=――One can scarcely put one’s
finger on any part in which there are not some Jews. When, in 1868,
M. Joseph Halévy, at the request of the Alliance Israélite, travelled
for a year in Abyssinia, he came across some black men whom he believed
to be descendants of Jewish refugees from Egypt. This remnant of a
tribe is known by the name of Falashas, which in Abyssinian dialect
means exiles. M. Halévy made friendly advances, but the little black
crowd stood aloof from the white men, silent and suspicious as to their
motives in seeking them. ‘Accidentally,’ says M. Halévy, who tells the
story, ‘I mentioned the name of Jerusalem. As if by magic, the attitude
of the most incredulous was changed. “Oh! do you come from Jerusalem,
the blessed city? Have you beheld with your own eyes Mount Zion?” All
doubt was gone. They were never weary of asking these questions, and
I must confess,’ continues M. Halévy, ‘I was deeply touched at seeing
their black faces light up at the memory of our glorious history.’
Travellers, also, in remote mountain recesses of Asia Minor, in the
ancient cities of Hindostan, and in the vast empire of China, have come
across various small settlements bearing undeniable traces of a Jewish
origin, and keeping up, in a greater or lesser degree, the distinctive
rites and customs of Judaism.

In the new world of the colonies, and in the United States, the
numerous and prosperous Jewish communities, owing to their speaking
European languages, are of course more readily recognisable as Jews,
although, in America especially, the Judaism of these dispersed
and transplanted Jews is not always in a very much better state of
preservation than among the semi-savage sects of ancient civilisation.
Among some American congregations Judaism seems to be occasionally
rather a religion of sentiment and of complaisant remembrance, than of
active and steadfast observance.

In the eastern parts of the world less change is observable among
the Jewish inhabitants. Throughout the Ottoman Empire the Jews are not
ill-treated, and they keep to the old paths in the somewhat sluggish
fashion of Orientals. In Turkey, Persia, and Afghanistan they are not
very prosperous nor very enlightened, but the efforts of the Alliance
Israélite and of the Anglo-Jewish Association in establishing schools
for secular study, and for the teaching of handicrafts, are gradually
leavening the mass. In Palestine the chief Jewish settlements are
at Jerusalem, Safed, and Tiberias, and there are small agricultural
colonies at Jaffa and Safed. At Nablous there is a remnant of
Samaritans who, as in the old days, are quite distinct and aloof
from their Jewish half-brothers. At Jerusalem all sects and many
nationalities are represented. Ashkenazim, Sephardim and Karaites,
Russians and Poles, and Rabbis from all parts of the world, come to
weep and to pray, and to lay their bones among the ruins of the city
which was once the joy of the whole earth. In these days, the leaders
among us are wisely endeavouring to direct this beautiful religious and
historic enthusiasm into healthy and useful channels, and to impress
on these simple pious souls that labour is one form, and not the least
admirable form, of praise.



                            CHAPTER XXXIX.

                TWO CENTURIES AND A QUARTER IN ENGLAND.
                             (1660‒1885.)


=1. First Fifty Years.=――Manasseh ben Israel’s petition for the
return of the Jews to England met, as we have seen, with no formally
favourable response; but nevertheless, from the date of his visit,
(1656), Jews began to settle in England, and no serious attempts were
ever made to dislodge them. In 1662 there was a well-attended little
synagogue in King Street, City; and by 1664 the small community had
grown sufficiently in numbers and in importance to draw up for itself
a regular constitution, and to appoint wardens and a treasurer to
administer the laws and the funds of the congregation. These laws, or
_Ascamoth_,[71] were written in Spanish, and it was not till 1819 that
they were rendered into English. The _Ascamoth_ settled the service
of the synagogue in its spiritual and financial aspects, provided for
the raising of the necessary funds, and, under penalty of _Cherem_, or
excommunication, dictated most stringent rules of conduct. A standard
of honour as well as of honesty was set up in the congregation, and
it was distinctly and authoritatively announced that any member who
dropped below this fixed high level, depending on his community to
be raised again, would be disappointed. ‘No time and no money’ would
be expended on the defence of such culprits; they must expect the
law of the country to take its course, and to be ‘chastised according
to their crimes.’ The _Mahamad_, or council of the congregation, was
endowed with almost despotic powers over it. It could equally interdict
a marriage, or interfere in a betting transaction, or prohibit the
publishing of a book.[72] At first reading, some of the _Ascamoth_ may
seem arbitrary, and at first sight some of the actions of the _Mahamad_
may appear tyrannical, but the circumstances must be remembered. These
early settlers in England dwelt ‘in the midst of alarms,’ they were
tolerated, not welcomed, and in their precarious position it would not
have been wise for frequent appeal to have been made to the law of the
country, in cases of dispute or of wrong-doing among themselves. The
_Mahamad_ had practically no means of punishment for erring members
but moral law and communal opinion. It certainly brought these down, on
occasion, rather heavily, and dealt out excommunication and money fines
in cases which would, in these days, be adequately met by argument, or
even by a gentle policy of letting alone. Such stringent regulations,
however, kept up a high, if somewhat narrow, tone in the community, and
the general morality of these early Jewish residents left nothing to be
desired. Moreover, this heedfulness concerning the things they were not
to do, made them by no means neglectful of the things they were to do;
and schools, and a society for visiting and relieving the poor and sick,
were set on foot by Ben Israel’s countrymen before they had been ten
years in England.

The Restoration made no change in the position of the new-comers.
The Stuarts, in their light-hearted fashion, took the Jews lightly,
and their courtiers seemed to find in the Jewish synagogue a novel
and rather amusing sort of entertainment. In ‘Pepys’ Diary,’ under
date October 14, 1663, there is a full account of a visit paid by
Charles II. and some friends, during the Tabernacle holydays, to the
little place of worship in King Street. The fashionable visitors, by
degrees, became an interruption both to worship and to decorum, and a
law, in 1665, had to be added to the _Ascamoth_, to the effect that,
however flattered members of the congregation might feel at this
interest shown in them, they were to give their feelings no outward
expression during service by moving from their seats to greet their
visitors. In 1673 there was an attempt made to take from the Jews
the right of public worship. Strong in their confidence in King
Charles’ good nature, and in his freedom from religious prejudices, the
community petitioned him on the subject, and an order in council set
things right at once. It is possible that Queen Catherine’s influence
may have had something to do with this fortunate result. On impersonal
matters, and on subjects which did not affect his own pleasures, it
is not unlikely that the king was ready to gratify the wishes of his
much-enduring consort; and it is certain that Catherine employed and
much valued a Jewish physician, one Antonio de Mendes, who took an
interest in the affairs of his co-religionists. James II. was also
amiably disposed towards the Jews, and during his reign the alien
duties, which required a certain sum to be paid by every ‘alien,’ both
on merchandise and on personal property, were remitted. The concession,
however, aroused great opposition among the English traders, and
William III., though not personally ill-disposed to the Jews, and with
all his Holland memories to guide him as to the wisdom of treating them
generously, had to yield to the pressure put upon him, and to see this
heavy tax re-imposed on Jewish enterprise.


=2. Influx of Germans and Poles: how received.=――The tolerably secure
position to which the Spanish-descended Jews from Holland attained
in England tempted, in a short time, less happily placed Jews to join
them. The new immigrants, who were mostly persecuted Ashkenazim from
Germany and Poland, received but the coldest of welcomes from the
Sephardic community, and so little was their fellowship desired, that
by the end of the seventeenth century especial restrictive legislation
was added to the _Ascamoth_ of the congregation on the subject. It was
enacted that no ‘Tedescos’ (Germans or Poles) should vote at meetings
or receive religious honours; that they should not be allowed to
intermarry with the Sephardim,[73] nor to hold any higher office in
their synagogue than that of beadle. In fact, socially and religiously,
the Spanish and Portuguese Jews ‘boycotted’ their German brethren.
Undoubtedly the Ashkenazim were of an altogether lower class than
these others――less refined, less cultivated, and less well off, and
the Sephardim, in thus holding themselves aloof, probably considered
that they were taking the safest course for their own reputation. By
this time (1702) the Spanish and Portuguese congregation had erected
and consecrated a beautiful synagogue in Bevis Marks, to which building
Queen Anne had contributed a beam.[74] The community had imported from
Italy an eminent scholar as chief Rabbi (חָכָם), and their schools and
institutions were liberally supported and wisely administered. The
Ashkenazim would willingly have joined in all these good works, but,
baffled in their hopes of union, they more or less good-temperedly
accepted the situation, and built synagogues, and founded schools
and institutions of their own. They increased rapidly in numbers,
and gradually spread over the United Kingdom, establishing small
congregations in most of the principal towns. Time has now so
readjusted things that, in these days, the German-descended Jews of
England rival in wealth and in culture, and in numbers far exceed,
those who claim ancestry from among the Sephardim. Intermarriage
between Sephardim and Ashkenazim is a frequent and welcome occurrence,
and all the old feelings of separateness have disappeared with the
causes for it.


=3. Converts.=――In all communities there are individuals who, besides
an aptitude for coming to the front, have a very strong liking for
that position. They like their voices to be loudly heard, their talents
to be widely seen, their wealth to bring them its full social benefit
and recognition. For Jews with such tendencies, the conditions of
Jewish life for near upon fifteen hundred years had been hard, and the
temptation to throw off the cruel, crippling restraints, and to let
their light shine out before men, was strong. Some found the temptation
impossible to resist, and through the gate of baptism such men and
women passed, to gain the open vantage-ground for which they longed.
There were many so-called converts to Christianity among the Jews
of England in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Perjurers for
position would be perhaps a more accurate if a harsher phrase by which
to describe them, for there was very little of religious motive, or
even of pretence of it, about these ‘conversions.’ Those who deserted
Judaism did so from their keen desire of a career of social and
political equality with their Christian countrymen. To this end they
took the easiest and quickest road. They would not patiently work,
and wait to be emancipated; it was so much simpler to walk into church
and be married, or ‘converted.’ And so they left their posts, these
deserters, but Judaism survived their loss, and perhaps was all the
stronger and purer for the definite defection of such weak and selfish
adherents. It is curious to note how insincere were these ‘converts.’
Sampson Abudiente, who in 1754 changed his name and his religion, may
serve as a typical instance. Sampson Abudiente was a very rich man, and
his special temptation was to possess a landed estate, which, as a Jew,
was in those days impossible. By a special Act of Parliament, obtained
through the influence of Sir Robert Walpole, Sampson Gideon, late
Abudiente, gained his desire, and to ensure this estate passing to
his children, he brought them all up as Christians. His son, under
the title of Lord Eardley, subsequently became a member of the Irish
peerage. Sampson Gideon lived in great state at Belvedere House, Erith,
entertained ‘nobility and gentry,’ cut all connection with his people,
and died in 1763, to all outward seeming, a good Christian _parvenu_.
Then came the reading of the will. In it 1,000l. was left to the
Spanish and Portuguese synagogue, on the condition, and with the
earnest request, that the testator might be buried in the בֵּית חַיִּים at
Mile End, and that his name might be included in the loving mention of
our dead which is made in Jewish synagogues on the Day of Atonement and
other holy days. It was further found that ever since his conversion,
Sampson Gideon had anonymously kept up all his payments as a member of
the congregation, and thus there was no ground for refusing the dead
man’s request.

Some twenty years after this incident the process of conversion was,
in a remarkable instance, reversed, and Lord George Gordon, a member of
a distinguished ducal house, became a Jew. In the earlier part of his
career, Lord George had been an enthusiastic, almost fanatic upholder
of the State religion, and had incited, if not actually led, the ‘No
Popery’ riots of 1780. Quite as vehemently, a year or two later he
took up the Jewish cause, and gave a proof of the strength of his new
opinions by entering into the covenant of Abraham. He became one of the
most observant of Jews; he studied the language, he kept the dietary
laws, and followed even Rabbinical regulations. The conversion, however,
was received with little welcome or favour by the Jewish community. The
sincerity of the convert was not questioned, but his sanity, perhaps,
was suspected. Throughout the subsequent short and stormy experiences
of Lord George, the Jews, as a body, maintained an attitude which was
entirely consistent with their own self-respect; they acted as if they
considered a man’s religious opinions were a matter that concerned only
himself, and were not a subject to make a fuss over; nor would they for
a moment permit the rank of the convert to make any difference in their
sensible view of his actions. Lord George Gordon died in 1793, and his
wish to be buried among Jews was not acceded to by the authorities of
the Synagogue.


=4. Progress of Anglo-Jewish Legislation.=――In 1723 an Act was passed
through Parliament which permitted Jewish evidence to be received
in all courts of justice, unprefaced by the words ‘On the true faith
of a Christian.’ This was a small but important start on the path of
tolerance, that path which was to ‘slowly broaden down from precedent
to precedent,’ till English law and English custom gave full rights of
all kinds to English Jews. Another step on the right road was made in
1740, when another Act of Parliament granted to foreign Jews, who had
for two years served in a British man-of-war, the right of becoming
naturalised British subjects.

The attempt of the Stuarts, in 1745, to regain the throne which they
had dishonoured, gave the Jews of England an opportunity of showing
their capacity for loyalty and patriotism. They helped as soldiers,
and they helped as financiers in the defence of the country and the
dynasty. Great numbers of Jews enrolled themselves in the hastily
raised militia, whilst the older and richer merchants subscribed
largely, and on far from profitable terms, towards a loan for the
Government. Others, again, formed themselves into an association which
agreed to take paper instead of specie in payment so long as money
continued scarce in the country, and two Jews, in particular, placed
vessels, which they had fitted out at their own cost, at the disposal
of the Government. The good feeling which this ready patriotism on the
part of the Jews evoked, showed itself in 1753 in a hearty attempt on
the part of the ministry to pass through Parliament a bill permitting
Jews, who had lived in England three years, to become naturalised
Englishmen. The matter was very hotly discussed, and gave rise to a
great expenditure both of literature and of eloquence. In Ireland,
which at that date had a Parliament of its own, the Naturalisation Act,
as it was called, had twice passed the Irish Commons, in March 1746,
and in December 1747. But this partial victory proved almost worse
than a defeat, for it attracted so much attention, and provoked so much
opposition, and directly the Bill reached the Upper House, it was, on
both occasions, violently thrown out. At Westminster, however, in 1753,
after a struggle, the Naturalisation Bill passed the House of Lords and
became law; but so strong was the feeling against it, that in the very
next session (1754) it was repealed by 150 votes to 60. Even something
in the way of a reaction of injustice would seem to have set in, for
when, a year or two later, a certain Elias de Pass bequeathed 1,200l.
for the purpose of erecting a Jewish college, we find the courts of the
day deciding, and the Government upholding their decision, that such a
bequest was illegal, as tending to perpetuate superstitious practices;
finally the money was taken and passed on to the treasurer of the
Foundling Hospital, to be applied to the support of a chaplain to
preach Christianity to the inmates.

For a while the efforts of the English Jews to obtain general rights
of citizenship were abandoned, and their energy was steadily and
steadfastly limited to the righting of one wrong in especial. The
marriage law of England, which counted no marriage legal unless
performed by a Christian priest, pressed very hardly on the Jews. It
put difficulties not only in the way of happiness, but also of property,
and made both insecure. Years, however, and patience and perseverance
were needed to get this seemingly simple matter set right, and it was
not till the reign of William IV. (1830) that an Act was passed which
made properly solemnised Jewish marriages in all respects equal, in the
eyes of the law, with properly solemnised Christian ones.


=5. Communal Progress.=――Meanwhile, by marriage or by conversion, or
by simple aloofness and indifference, some of the more weak and the
more selfish members of the community every now and then slipped from
under the many burdens which their Judaism imposed upon them. The brave
majority straightway took up the neglected duties of these occasional
deserters, and did a double portion of communal work and communal
charity. Their synagogues and their institutions supplied to them their
only possibilities of distinction. Possibly an honourable ambition to
be ‘known in the gates’ may have combined with religious zeal to make
office in the synagogue eagerly sought after. There were, at any rate,
good men in plenty who, unlike Sampson Gideon, were content to use
their brains and their wealth, not as stepping-stones for themselves,
but as scaffolding for the community――men who carried out in the
practical, everyday actions of their life the words לֹא לָנוּ יְיָ לֹא
לָנוּ כִּי לְשִׁמְךָ תֵּן כָּבוֹד. And as Sampson Gideon served as an instance of the
one sort, so Benjamin Mendes da Costa, a man who lived as befitted his
wealth, and yet spent 3,000l. a year on ‘the poor of all creeds,’ and who
was generally known as ‘the truly good Jew,’ may be taken as an example of
the other. Da Costa died in 1764. Meanwhile, the synagogues and schools
and institutions, both of the Sephardim and Ashkenazim, continued to
flourish, and every now and again new ones were founded. The present
Portuguese Board of Deputies, instituted to look after Jewish interests
generally, held its first meeting and presented its first address,
which was one of congratulation to George III. on his accession, at
the close of the year 1760. In this proceeding the German congregations
united, and from that date forward the two sections of Jews in England,
the Sephardim and the Ashkenazim, drew constantly closer to each other
in every kindly feeling, and in all good works. The bond of brotherhood
between European Jews was further cemented and extended by reason of
the active correspondence which was maintained between the Jews of
London and the older established committees on the Continent, and this
intercourse was good not only for the religious, but for the commercial,
interests of the various congregations.

As the eighteenth century drew to its close, echoes from the thunders
of the French Revolution (1789) were borne to English shores, and the
pitiful, passionate cry for liberty, equality, and fraternity, which,
after all, was but a stammering version of ‘Love thy neighbour as
thyself,’ seemed in the air; but yet, and for a long while, in the
air only. The conscience of men was stirred, yet still, for many years
to come, the Jews of England were regarded not as neighbours, but
as ‘aliens.’ It is written that ‘it is good that a man should both
hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.’ The long hoping
without fuss, the long waiting without anger, of those days were good
for the English Jews; and their quiet steadfastness, no less than their
active work, had a share in bringing about the happy state of things
that was, though so slowly, coming to them.


=6. The Nineteenth Century.=――The years went on, and the nineteenth
century opened on a numerous community of Jews in England, who were
loyally fulfilling all the duties of Englishmen, and who were still
denied most of the privileges and many of the rights of English
subjects. When Benjamin d’Israeli was born, in 1804, trade was fettered
by restrictions, professions were handicapped, university education
was barred, and any municipal or state service was impossible to
Jews. Prejudice certainly was dying down, and this was due, in some
respects, to Jewish conduct, and in some respects, it may be gratefully
acknowledged, to Christian effort. Novelists and dramatists often
can preach to wider audiences than priests, and a certain Richard
Cumberland, in 1794, by a kindly conceived and well-written play called
‘The Jew,’ did what he could to make Jews better known and better
appreciated. His play became fashionable, and thus Richard Cumberland,
in his degree, helped, like Lessing, in good work. But the work was of
terribly slow accomplishment, and clever Jews and ambitions Jews grew
often impatient, and now and again steadfast and observant Jews grew
unwise in their zeal. Those who were in authority saw so plainly the
temptations to apostasy, that their very keenness of vision was a
danger. They drove too straight, and held the reins too tight, for
waverers on the road. ‘For us or for our enemies?’ the Synagogue seemed
to ask. It listened to no compromise. ‘Belong to us altogether, or
leave us altogether,’ was its way of meeting half-hearted adherents.
It was an attitude which admits of defence, and even excites admiration,
but it was one, nevertheless, which lost many a member to the fold,
among the rest the family of D’Israeli. The future Lord Beaconsfield
was a boy of nine years old when (in 1812) his father, Isaac d’Israeli,
then leading the life of a scholarly recluse, was fined 40l. for
refusing to accept the office of warden in the Spanish and Portuguese
synagogue. Much correspondence ensued, Isaac d’Israeli eloquently
pointing out that he was by habit and by inclination unfit to hold
office, and the authorities stubbornly insisting that each son of
Israel should take his share of communal burdens, or, failing this,
should pay without protest the money penalty which such refinements of
disability, by the laws of the Synagogue, entailed. It ended, in 1817,
by Isaac d’Israeli formally withdrawing from the Synagogue. His four
sons and his one daughter were subsequently baptized.

More and more the disastrous effects of being thus shut out, by reason
of their religious opinions, from use and name and fame impressed
itself on the Jews. The time seemed ripe for active and sustained
effort, and thoughtful and enlightened men in the community, Isaac
Lyon Goldsmid foremost among them, began to work in earnest for the
boundaries to be enlarged. Their energies were directed to the entire
removal by Parliament of all remaining civil and religious disabilities,
to the end that Jews might take their rightful place among their
fellow-citizens in every department of the State. From the year 1833
onwards, a bill for the removal of Jewish disabilities was passed by
the House of Commons, and each time by an increasing majority. Ten
times was it sent up to the Lords, and ten times was it rejected by
the Upper House. Year by year, however, the opposition declined, and
Macaulay, in a very famous speech, demolished all the arguments that
could be brought against it. In 1847, Baron Lionel de Rothschild was
elected a member of Parliament for the City of London. For two years
he did not attempt to take the oath nor his seat, but in 1850 he
was admitted to be sworn on the Old Testament, and took the oath of
allegiance, omitting the words ‘on the true faith of a Christian.’ The
House counted this a disqualification, and ruled that the Baron could
not sit nor vote. Sir David Salomons, when elected for Greenwich in
1851, disregarded this ruling of the House. He took the oath in the
same form as Baron Rothschild had done, but sat and voted, incurring
the legal penalty of a 500l. fine each time he did so. This of course
brought things to a crisis, and a long struggle ensued. In 1858
the Commons (by 297 votes to 144) passed Lord John Russell’s Bill,
which permitted Jews to omit the words which were to them unmeaning,
unnecessary, and untrue. In the Lords the second reading of the Bill
was rejected by 119 to 80. The dead-lock was averted by a suggestion
that the House should be competent on occasion, by special resolution,
to modify the form of oath. This was agreed to, and on July 26, 1858,
Baron Lionel de Rothschild, by special resolution of the House, took
the oath of allegiance, with the distinctively Christian words omitted.
In 1860 this concession was made a standing order of the House, and
finally, in 1866, the Parliamentary Oaths Amendment Act was passed, an
Act which removed the obnoxious words altogether. Since that date there
has been but one form of oath for the two Houses, and Sir Nathaniel de
Rothschild, on becoming our first English Jewish peer in 1885, had no
trouble nor hesitation about taking his seat and vowing his allegiance
in the Lords.


=7. A Slander revived and slain.=――In 1840 an anonymous writer in the
‘Times’ created a most painful sensation by gravely asserting that an
accusation just then raised against some Jews of Damascus, of having
killed Christian children and used their blood for Passover biscuits,
was very likely to be true, since such rites were formulated in the
Rabbinical writings of the Jews, and frequently practised in Jewish
communities. An assertion so positively and authoritatively made, in a
paper like the ‘Times,’ was a most serious matter for the Jews. Denial,
of course, was easy, but something more than the scores of indignant
letters which were despatched to the ‘Times’ was needed to disperse the
readily aroused prejudice of ignorant folks, and to dispose once and
for ever of this lying accusation. The necessary champion of the truth
was found in Professor Theodores of Manchester. In a most remarkably
able and scholarly letter,[75] which occupied two and a half columns of
the ‘Times,’ the matter was exhaustively treated, and so entirely and
successfully was the blood accusation disproved, that no echo of that
wicked calumny has been heard in England from that day to this.


=8. The Man of the Nineteenth Century.=――In English courts of law,
the issue of a case depends less on its advocates than on its merits,
and, in the long run, the like is true of the cases that come before
the wider courts of public opinion. The emancipation of the Jews in
England was greatly helped by the character of the Jews in England, and,
despite the many restrictions which were still in force, the nineteenth
century produced some noteworthy figures among them. Of the men who,
by conduct and by effort, by using their riches or their talents as a
trust rather than as a possession, helped to make the Jews respected
and worthy of respect, the names of the Goldsmids, father and son, of
many of the Rothschild family, of Sir David Salomons, and of Dr. Joshua
van Oven, will be gratefully recalled. Among women writers of a
wholesome and unsensational sort, Grace Aguilar (1800‒1844) takes her
graceful and honoured place; and Arthur Lumley Davids (1811‒1832) and
Emanuel Deutsch (died 1867) have each a niche among the scholars of the
time. There are other names, both of workers and of scholars, some too
valuable, some too recently lost, to be less than familiar. Numa Hartog,
and Leonard Montefiore, and Edward Emanuel call on our hearts as well
as our intellects for remembrance; but these, and such as these, may
well be left.

In the goodly procession of nineteenth-century English Jews, the
foremost figure is undoubtedly that of Sir Moses Montefiore (1784‒1884).
Both in his private character and in his public life, Sir Moses was a
realisation of the Laureate’s ideal knight,――

            ‘Whose glory was redressing human wrong;
             Who spoke no slander, no, nor listened to it;
             Who loved one only, and who clave to her.’

Born in 1784, and living to receive congratulations on his hundredth
birthday, Moses Montefiore’s long life covers a century of wonderful
progress in the position of his race, a progress to which his conduct,
and his presence, and his efforts very largely contributed. His
circumstances permitted him to be widely and wisely generous, and
whenever and wherever help was wanted for a good cause, or a blow
was needed to be dealt at a bad one, Sir Moses was to the fore. His
courtesy acted as a charm alike on princes and on beggars. To his
far-reaching philanthropy Damascus did not seem distant, nor Russia
nor Roumania remote; and Syrian Christians, when oppressed, gained his
sympathy as readily and as heartily as Jews and Christians nearer home.
But because his people, and especially those of them under foreign rule,
needed more of his advocacy and of his help, it was to them he gave
most. Seven times he journeyed to the Holy Land, trying what heart and
purse could do against the rooted forces of poverty and neglect. His
first pilgrimage to the city ‘sitting desolate’ was made with his wife,
when he was forty-three, and his latest, as a faithful widower, when
he was ninety-one. The biography of Sir Moses Montefiore[76] makes good
reading for the boys and girls of his race, who may gather from it that
Jewish heroes of the old single-minded and enthusiastic type are by no
means an extinct product of this prosaic age.


=9. Conclusion.=――And here, with this brief record of Sir Moses
Montefiore, these ‘Outlines of Jewish History’ may well end. But the
‘Heroic History,’ as Manasseh ben Israel called it, the miserable
glorious record of the ages, is itself, in truth, never-ending. Line
upon line is still being added, and _finis_ will never be written
on the page of Jewish history till the Light which shineth more and
more unto the Perfect Day shall fall upon it, and illumine the whole
beautiful world. Each Jew and each Jewess is making his or her mark,
or his or her stain, upon the wonderful unfinished history of the Jews,
the history which Herder called the greatest poem of all time. ‘_For
ye are My witnesses, saith the Lord._’ Loyal and steadfast witnesses,
is it, or self-seeking and suborned ones? A witness of some sort every
Jew born is bound to be. He must fulfil his mission, and through good
report and through evil report, and though it be only writ in water, he
must add his item of evidence to the record, that all who run may read.

And on the Jews, and even more perhaps on the Jewesses, of the present
it depends whether the men and women of our race in the future shall be
worthy of these of the past, of these kindred of ours who loved their
faith in the days when ‘love was grief, and love besides.’



                                INDEX.


  Abarbanel,
    Don Isaac, 149, 241
    Ephraim, 253
  Abd-el-mumen, 138
  Abd-er-rahman III., 134
  Abed-nego, 60
  Abraham ibn Ezra, 184, 194, 195, 202
  Abudiente, 321
  Abyssinia, 112, 313
  Actium, 41
  Ælia Capitolina, 85
  Africa, 73, 221, 308
  Agobard, 129
  Agrippa, Herod, 54, 55, 56
  Agrippa II., 57, 58
  Aguilar, Grace, 330
  Akiba, 81, 84
  Alcharisi, Judah, 132
  Alexander,
    the Great, 11, 12
    Balas, 23
    Jannæus, 32
    son of Aristobulus, 37
    III., Pope, 160
  Alexandra, Salome, 33
  Alexandria, Jews in, 12, 52
  Alfadhel, 207
  Alfonso
    VI., 137, 195, 198
    VIII., 139
    X., the Wise, 140
  Alfred, 166
  Algeria, 308
  Alkabez, Sol., 273
  Alkimos, 21
  Alliance, Israelite, 314
  Almamun, 128
  Almohades, 138, 139, 205
  Alsace, Jews in, 279, 304
  Amoraim, 8
  Amsterdam, 233
  Anan, 121, 188
  Ananias, 66
  Anglo-Jewish Association, 314
  Anne, Queen, 319
  Antigonus, son of Aristobulus, 37, 39
  Antioch, Jews in, 52
  Antiochus
    III., 14
    IV., 16, 21
    Sidetes, 24
  Antipas, Herod, 55
  Antipater,
    the Idumean, 33, 38
    son of Herod, 43
  Antonio de Mendes, 318
  Antony, Mark, 37
  Apocrypha, 12, 13
  Apollonius, 19
  ‘Apology for the honourable nation,’ &c., 249
  Arabia, Jews in, 113
  Aramaic, 12
  Archelaus, 47, 48
  Archipelago, 100
  Aristobulus
    II., 33, 37
    brother of Mariamne, 40, 41
  Arragon, 137
  Artaxerxes, 7
  Ascamoth, 315
  Ascarelli, Deborah, 276
  Ashi, Rabbi, 93
  Ashkenazim, 116, 234
  Asmoneans, 8
  Asturias, 137
  Auerbach, B., 264
  Augustus, 43
  Austria, 310
  Auto-da-fé, 147
  Avicebron, 191
  Azariah de Rossi, 273


  Babylon,
    Jews in, 1, 6, 78, 97, 109
    schools, 79, 109
  Badge, worn by Jews, 173, 176
  Bagdad, Kaliphs of, 124, 128
  Bamberger, 288
  Barcelona, massacre in, 144
  Barcochba, 81
  Barlæus, Caspar, 243
  Beaconsfield, 328
  Belgium, 311
  Benedict
    XIII., 145
    of York, 169
  Benjamin of Tudela, 161, 196
  Berenice, 58, 72
  Berlin, treaty of, 312
  Bernal, Jac. Israel, 318
  Bernard, St., 160
  Bernhardt, Isaac, 290
  Bertrand du Guesclin, 142
  Bevis Marks Synagogue, 319
  Bill for the removal of Jewish disabilities, 328 _sq._
  Bishop of
    Spires, 160
    Cologne, 160
  Bither, 81
  Black pestilence, 163, 221
  Board of Deputies, 325
  Boerne, 299
  Bohemia, 281
  Bomberg, Daniel, 269
  Bonaparte, Jerome, 302
  Bordeaux, Marannos in, 279
  Bristol, 172
  Bulan, 113, 201
  Burying-place in London, 166, 321
  Byzantine emperors, 99, 110


  Cadiz, 148
  Cæsar, Julius, 37, 38
  Cæsarea, 48
  Cairo,
    Kaliphate of, 128
    school at, 134
  Calendar, fixed, 96
  Caligula, 55, 56, 57
  Caorsini, 174
  Carlovingian dynasty, 128
  Caro, Joseph, 272
  Carlyle, 251
  Casimir, the Great, 277
  Cassius, 37
  Castile, Jews in, 137
  Catherine, Queen, 317
  Ceba, 275
  Censorship, 270
  Central Europe, 152
  Cestius Gallus, 58
  Charlemagne, 124
  Charles,
    the Bald, 151, 161, 193
    VI., 164
    I., of England, 245, 249
    II., 317
  Chasidim, 18, 19
  Chaucer, 168
  Chazan, 185
  Cherem, 315
  Child-killing charge, 167, 330
  Chilperic, 100
  Choice of Pearls, 192
  Chosroes
    I., 110
    II., 112, 119
  Christianity, 53
    state-religion, 94
  Christians, 53
    Jewish, 75
    New, 147
  Christina of Sweden, 243
  Chronicles, Saxon, 127, 165
  Church,
    on Temple-mount, 96, 110
    councils, 107, 108
  Claudius, 57
  Cleopatra, 41
  Clotaire, 119
  Code Napoléon, 302
  Cohen,
    Lipman, 275
    Isaac, 275
  Coin-clipping charge, 178
  Colerus, 265
  Colleges, _see_ Schools
  Cologne, 158
  Commentary on the Mishnah by Maimonides, 206
  Conciliator, 241
  Constantine, 95, 96
  Constantinople, 99
  Constantius, 96
  Conversions to Christianity, 299, 320
  Copernicus, 274
  Copia Sullam, Sarah, 275
  Cordova,
    Kaliphate of, 128
    Jews in, 205
    schools in, 132
  Cossacks, massacre of Jews by, 278
  Costa, Benj. Mendes da, 325
  Crimea, 123
  Cromwell, Oliver, 245
  Crusades, 157
  Cumberland, Richard, 327
  Cuthea, 5
  Cyrus, 2


  Dagobert, 119
  Daniel, 1
  Danubian Provinces, 312
  Darius, 6
  David ben Maimon, 205
  David ben Saccai, 189
  Davids, Arthur Lumley, 330
  Davis, Isr., 332
  Deborah Ascarelli, 276
  Demetrius, 23
  Denmark, 311
  Dessau, 284
  Deutsch, Emanuel, 330
  Dohm, 305
  Dominicans, 267
  Drusus, 55


  Eardley, Lord, 321
  Edward I., 176
  Egidio di Viterbo, 268
  Egypt,
    Jews in, 12 _sq._
    Judea, ruled by the kings of, 14
  Eleazar, 17
  Eleazar, the Galilean, 72
  Eleazar, the Maccabean, 22
  Emancipation of the Jews in
    Austria, 310
    Belgium, 311
    Denmark, 311
    England, 323, 329
    France, 304, 306
    Germany, 303
    Greece, 311
    Holland, 310
    Lombardy, 309
    Naples, 309
    Rome, 309
    Sicily, 309
    Sweden, 311
    Switzerland, 311
    Tuscany, 309
    United States, 313
    Venice, 309
  Emanuel, Ed., 331
  Emmaus, 20
  Ende, Van den, 258
  Erasmus, 260
  Essenes, 31, 103
  Esther,
    Book of, 7
    a poem, 275
  Ethnarch, 78
  Eugene, Prince, 275
  Eugenius III., 159
  Ezekiel, 1, 3
  Ezra, the Scribe, 7, 8, 9, 10


  Fagius, 269
  Falashas, 313
  Fano, 270
  Ferdinand of Naples, 221
  Ferdinand II. of Arragon, 146‒148
  Ferdinand III., the Saint, 140
  ‘Fountain of Life,’ 191
  Frankel, Rabbi David, 285, 286
  France, 100, 129, 161
  Frankfort o. M., 219, 280
  Franks, 100
  Frederic Barbarossa, 164
  Frederic III., 267
  Frederic William IV., 303


  Gabirol, 190, 193
  Gallus, Cestius, 58
  Gamala, 62
  Gamaliel, last Patriarch, 96
  Gans, David, 274
  Gaonim, 116
  Gaul, 100
  Gemara, 93
  George III., 326
  George de Selve, 268
  Gerizim, Temple on, 7, 25
  Germany, 100, 164, 197, 216, 266, 308
  Ghetto, 220, 282
  Gideon, Sampson, 321
  Gischala, 62
  Goldsmid, Is. Lyon, 328
  Gordon, Lord, 322
  Goths, 99, 100
  Governors of Judea, 57
  Grace Aguilar, 330
  Graetz, 198, 256
  Granada, 132
    riot in, 135
  Great Synagogue, 15, 37
  Greece, 73, 100
  Greek
    culture, 12
    Jews, 53
  Grégoire, Abbé, 305
  Gregory
    I., 100, 108
    IX., 140
  Grotius, 243
  ‘Guide to the Perplexed,’ 210
    burnt, 213


  Habhdalah, 87
  Hadrian, 79, 80
  Hagadah, 92
  Hai, 126
  Halacha, 92
  Halévy, Joseph, 312
  Hampden, John, 245
  Hanoch ben Moses, 134
  Hanucah, 20
  Hartog, Numa, 331
  Haroun-al-Raschid, 124, 125
  Hasdai ben Isaac, 134
  Ha-yad ha-chazakah, 210
  Hebrew
    square characters introduced, 8
    printing, 241, 269
  Heine, H., 299
  Helena, Empress, 95
  Heliopolis, Temple in, 13
  Henry
    I., 166
    II., 168
    III., 168, 172, 175
  Henry of Transtamare, 141
  Hep, 138
  Heraclius, 110, 119
  Herder, 332
  Herod Agrippa
    I., 54, 55, 56
    II., 57, 58, 72
  Herod Antipas, 47, 55
  Herod,
    governor of Galilee, 35
    marries Mariamne, 35
    king, 39
    death of, 44
    will of, 47
  Herz, Dr. Marcus, 298
  Herz, Henrietta, 298, 305
  Hezekiah, last Gaon, 126
  Hillel, 45, 92
    II., 96
  Himyerites, 112
  Holland, 231
  Holy Writings, 11
  Honorius IV., 178
  ‘Hope of Israel,’ 244
  Hoshea, 5
  Hugh of Lincoln, 168, 175
  Humanists, 268
  Humboldt, 192
  Hurwitz, Jesayah, 271
  Hyrcan, John, 24, 30
  Hyrcanus II., 33
    mutilated, 39
    death of, 41


  Ibn Ezra,
    Abraham, 184, 194, 195, 202
    Moses, 195, 202
  Ibn Hassan, Jekuthiel, 190
  Idumeans, 76
  Innocent IV., 160
  Inquisition, 146, 148
  Isaac, ambassador of Haroun al Raschid, 124
  Isabella of Castile, 146, 148
  Islam, 114
  Israel, kingdom of, 2
  d’Israeli, Benjamin, 328
  d’Israeli, Isaac, 328
  Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela, 196


  Jacob-hall, 166
  Jaddua, 11, 15
  James II., 318
  Jamnia, 74, 78
  Jason, 16
  Jehudah,
    the Prince, 92
    the Blind, 117, 188
    Halevi, 198
  Jeremiah, 3
  Jerome Bonaparte, 302
  Jerome, St., 85
  ‘Jerusalem’ by Mendelssohn, 293
  Jerusalem,
    New, 233
    taken by Nebuchadnezzar, 1
    by Pompey, 34
    by Antony, 39
    by Mahomedans, 116, 157, 159
    by crusaders, 159
    named Ælia Capitolina, 85
  Jesus of Nazareth, 49
  Jewish
    Christians, 75
    homes, 104
    Parliament, 175
    schools, 90, 281
    soldiers, 131
    war with Rome, 81
  Jewries, 143, 160
  Jews, in
    Africa, 73, 221, 308
    Alexandria, 12, 52, 78
    Antioch, 52, 73
    Arabia, 113
    Archipelago, 100
    Babylon, 1, 3, 78, 97, 109
    Belgium, 311
    Bristol, 172
    Central Europe, 152
    Danubian Provinces, 312
    Denmark, 311
    the East, 97, 108, 266, 314
    England, 127, 165 _sqq._, 246 _sqq._, 315 _sqq._
    France, 100, 129, 161, 216, 278
    Germany, 100, 164, 197, 216, 266
    Greece, 73, 100
    Holland, 231, 254
    Italy, 73, 100, 126, 308
    London, 165 _sq._
    Norway, 311
    Oxford, 165 _sq._
    Palestine, 5 _sqq._, 53, 96, 314
    Persia, 37
    Poland, 276, 311
    Portugal, 222, 309
    Rome, 33
    Roumania, 312
    Russia, 311
    Spain, 100, 118, 310
    Turkey, 314
    United States, 313
    York, 166, 169
  Jews expelled from
    England, 179
    France, 164
    Moravia, and Bohemia, 281
    Portugal, 222
    Spain, 148
  Jews,
    origin of name, 1
    people of the Land, Book, Ledger, 101
    traders, 104
    money-lenders, 153
    slave-owners, 106 _sq._, 152
    Crown property, 170
  Joachin, Rabbi, 170
  Jochanan ben Saccai, 74
  John of Anjou, 171
  John Hyrcan, 24, 30
  John of Gischala, 65, 71
  Jonathan the Maccabean, 22
  Joppa, 24
  Joseph Caro, 272
  Joseph Halévy, 312
  Joseph ben Israel, 240
  Joseph ben Samuel, 135
  Joseph of Portugal, 222
  Josephus, 59, 61, 72, 73
  Joshua (Jason), 16
  Joshua van Oven, 330
  Jotapata, 60
  Judah, the Prince (or Jehudah), 92
  Judaism and Christianity, 53
  Judaism and Islam, 114
  Judas the Galilean, 49
  Judas Maccabeus, 19, 20
    death of, 22
  Judenhetze, 304
  Jüdisch-deutsch, 282
  Julian, the Apostate, 97, 98
  Justinian, 100


  Kabbala, 256
  Kairuan, 134
  Kaliphs, 115
  Kaliphs of Bagdad, 124
  Kallah, 87, 90, 117
  Kant, 292
  Karaism, 120
  Karaites, 120, 123
  Khozars, 113, 201
  Kiddush, 87
  Kingly crown, 191
  Koran, 111, 112


  Lavater, 293
  Law, Oral, 91
  Leibzoll, 302, 310
  Leon, 137
  Leonidas, 7
  Leopold I., 281
  Lessing, 291, 295, 297
  Levitas, Elias, 268
  Library, Hebrew, 275
  Lincoln, 166
  Loans,
    Jacob, 267
    Joseph, 267
  Lombards, 100
  Lombardy, 309
  Louis
    I., le Débonnaire, 128, 151
    IX., 162, 163
    XIII., 279
    XIV., 263, 279
    XVI., 278
  Luria, Isaac, 271
  Luther, Martin, 260


  Macaulay, 329
  Maccabeus,
    Judas, 19, 20
    Eleazar, 22
    Jonathan, 22
    Simon, 23
  Machzor, 184
  Mahamad, 111, 112, 316
  Mahomed IV., 228
  Mahomedanism, 115
  Mahomedans, 116
  Maimon, 204
  Maimonides, 204, 214, 215
  Mainz, 158, 159, 194
  Malachi, 8
  Malaga, 190
  Manasseh ben Israel, 239 _sqq._, 257
    in England, 246 _sq._
  Mantua, 270
  Manuel of Portugal, 222
  Marannos, 144, 145
  Marathon, 6
  Maria Theresa, 281
  Mariamne, 35, 43
  Marseilles, 130
  Martinez, Ferdinand, 144
  Mary, Queen, 232
  Masada, 71
  Massora, 123
  Mattathias, 18
  Maximilian I., 219, 267
  Meeting-houses for prayer, 86
  Meisel, Mordecai, 281
  Menahem ben Saruk, 125
  Mendel of Dessau, 284
  Mendelssohn,
    Moses, 284 _sqq._
    Felix Bartholdy, 295
  Menelaus, 16
  Meshach, 60
  Messiah, 49, 227
  Metz, 158
  Middleburg, 283
  Midrash, 12, 93
  Mikra, 93
  Minhag, 184
  Minyan, 87
  Mirabeau, 305
  Miscellany of Hebrew Literature, 208
  Mishnah, 93
    Commentary on, 206
  Modin, 18
  Monks, 102, 103
  Montefiore,
    Sir Moses, 22, 331
    Leonard, 331
  Montpelier, 130
  Moors, 116
  Mordecai, 7
  Morteira, Rabbi Saul, 258
  Moses-hall, 166
  Moses
    ben Hanoch, 133, 134
    ibn Ezra, 195, 202
    Isserles, 273
    Maimonides, 204, 214, 215
    Mendelssohn, 284 _sqq._
    Netto, 316
  Munk, 191
  Mutavakel, 125, 188


  Naaman, 60
  Nabi, 8
  Nagid, 133, 135
  Naples, Jews in, 220
  Napoléon Bonaparte, 222, 302
    Code Napoléon, 302
  Narbonne, 134
  Naseby, 251
  Nasi, 45, 78, 87
  ‘Nathan der Weise,’ 292
  Nathan, prophet of Sabb. Zevi, 227
  Naturalisation Act, 323
  Navarre, 137
  Nebuchadnezzar, 1, 2
  Nehardea, 88
  Nehemiah, 7, 8, 9, 10
  Nero, 58
  New Christians, 147
  New Jerusalem, 233
  New Testament, 51
  Nicholas, Czar, 22
  Nicholas, Edward, 249
  Norway, 311
  Norwich, 166
    Sir William of, 167


  Obscurants, 268
  Octavius, 41
  Omar, 117, 125
  Ommeyades, 130, 138, 198, 205
  Onias
    I., 15
    II., 15
    III., 16
  Oppenheimer,
    D., 274
    S., 275
    H. I., _ib._
  Oral Law, 91
  Oven, Joshua van, 330


  Palestine,
    emigration to, 218
    return to, 2, 4
    settlements in, 314
  Paris, 130
  Parliamentary Oath Amendment Bill, 330
  Parshandatha, 194
  Parthians, 38, 78
  Pass, Elias de, 324
  Patriarch, 87
  Paul of Tarsus, 54, 94
  Pentateuch, 11
  Pepys’ Diary, 317
  Pereira brothers, 242
  Persia, 2
    war with Byzantine emperors, 110
  Pesaro, 270
  Peter
    of Arragon, 137, 198
    the Cruel, 141
  Petition of Manasseh ben Israel, 247
  Pfefferkorn, Joseph, 219, 267
  ‘Phædon,’ 293
  Pharisees, 25, 26
  Phasael, son of Antipater, 35, 38, 39
  Philip
    II., Augustus, 162
    IV., the Fair, 162, 216
  Philip
    II., of Spain, 232
    III., 240
    son of Herod, 47, 55
  Philippi, 38
  Philo, 53, 57
  Piyutim, 183
  Poisoning wells, 163
  Poland, Jews in, 276, 311
  Pombal, 222
  Pompey, 34, 37
  Pontius Pilate, 52
  Popes, 100, 108, 119, 140, 145, 146, 159, 160, 178
  Portugal,
    Jews in, 137
    expelled, 222
    readmitted, 309
  Prague, 281
  Printing of Hebrew, 241, 269
  Prophets, 11
  Ptolemy
    I., 14
    II., 14
    IV., 14
  Pumbaditha, 117, 124
  Purim, 7


  Rab, Rabbenu, Rabbi, 45
  Raba, 194
  Rachel, of Toledo, 139
  Rambam, 194
  Rashi, 193 _sq._
  Ratisbon, 219
  Reaction
    in Germany, 303
    in Rome, 309
  Recared, 100
  Resh-gelutha, 79, 87, 117, 118
  Reuchlin, Joh., 220, 267
  Richard
    I., 168, 170, 207
    of Cornwall, 175
  Ritual, 12
  Robespierre, 306
  Roman
    alliance, 23
    arbitration, 34
    code, 101
    games, 44
    governors, 48, 57
    policy, 17
  Rome,
    Jews in, 33, 309
    embassy to, 21
  Rossi, Azariah de, 273
  Rothschild, Baron Lionel de, 329
  Roumania, 312
  Rudolph
    of Hapsburg, 217
    II., 281
  Russell, Lord John, 329


  Saadia, 126, 188, 189
  Sabbath, enforced by Nehemiah, 10
  Sabbatai Zevi, 226 _sqq._
  Sadducees, 25
  Sadok, 27
  Saints, 102
  Saladin, 207
  Salerno, 130
  Salome,
    sister of Herod, 42
    Alexandra, 33
  Salomons, Sir D., 329, 330
  Samaritans, 5, 9, 25, 76
  Samuel,
    Levi, 141
    ibn Nagrela, 135
    ibn Tibbon, 208
    son of Manasseh ben Israel, 246
    of Nehardea, 88, 109
  Sanballat, 9
  Sanhedrin, 36, 37, 49, 78
    in Paris, 307
  Saracens, 99, 116
  Sarah Copia Sullam, 275
  Saxon Chronicles, 127, 165
  Schools,
    Jewish, 281
    in Palestine, 93
    in Babylon, 79, 109, 126, 152
  Scriptures, Holy, 11
  Seleucus, 15
  Selichoth, 184
  Sephardim, 116, 234
  Sepphoris, 78
  Septuagint, 13
  Sermons in churches for Jews, 178
  Severus, Julius, 80
  Seville,
    riot in, 143
    Inquisition, 148
  Shadrach, 60
  Shalmaneser, 2, 5
  Shammai, 46
  Shapor, king of Persia, 88
  Sheba, queen of, 112
  Sheloh, 271
  Shemaiah, 38
  Sherira, 126
  Sicarii, 64
  Simon,
    the Just, 15
    the Maccabean, 23, 24
    ben Jochai, 271
    Nasi, 87
    Stylites, 102
  Sisebut, 119
  Sixtus IV., 146
  Slave-trade, 106, 107, 152
  Smyrna, 226
  Solomon
    Alkabez, 273
    ibn Gabirol, 190, 193
    Isaaci, 193
  Solomon, King, 112
  Soncino, Gerson, 270
  Sopherim, 8
  Sora or Sura, 87, 117, 124, 133
  Spain,
    Jews in, 100, 118
    expelled from, 148
    returned to, 310
    schools, 132
  Spartans, 7
  Spinoza, 254 _sqq._
  Spires, 158, 159
  Stephen, 166
  Stepney, burial place in, 253
  Strasburg, 158, 159
  Stuarts, 317
  Sunnah, 121
  Sura, _see_ Sora
  Sweden, 311
  Synagogue,
    Great, 15, 37
    synagogue in London, 315, 319
  Syria, 14


  Talmud, 93, 162, 219
    Talmudists, 123, 267
  Tanaim, 8, 89
  Tarichea, 62
  Tedescos, 318
  Temple
    destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, 2
    Titus, 68
    plundered, 17, 38
    rebuilt, 5
    permission to rebuild, 98
    heathen temple in its place, 80
    church, 96, 110
    mosque, 116
  Theodores, Prof., 330
  Theodosius, 99
  Thermopylæ, 7
  Tiberias, 78, 87, 215
  Tiberius, 55
  Titus, 58, 59, 66 _sqq._, 71
  Toledo, 132, 137, 141
    riot in, 138
  Torquemada, Th., 148
  Tortosa, disputation, 145
  Toulouse, 130
  Tractatus, Theol. Polit., 263
  Trajan, 79
  Trèves, massacre of Jews, 158
  Trinity, 54, 94, 110
  Triumvirate, 38
  Tryphon, 23


  United States, Jews in, 313
  Uriel da Costa, 236
  Usury, charge of, 154
  Uziel, Rabbi Isaac, 240


  Van den Ende, 258
  Vandals, 99, 100
  Venice, 220
  Vespasian, 58, 59, 63
  Vienna, 281
  Vindiciæ Judæorum, 246, 253
    translated into German, 293
  Visigoths, 136
  Vossius, Isaac, 243
  Vries, De, 261


  Walpole, Sir Robert, 321
  William
    I., 127, 165, 166
    II., 166
    III., 318
    IV., 324
  William, St., of Norwich, 167
  William the Silent, 232
  Worms, 158, 194, 219
  Xerxes, 7


  York, 166, 169


  Zadok, Rabbi, 89
  Zaddikim, 18, 19, 27
  Zealots, 64, 66
  Zedekiah, physician to Louis I., 129, 151, 161
  Zerubbabel, 4
  Zohar, 271
  Zunz, L., 299 _sq._


       _Spottiswoode & Co. Printers, New-street Square, London._



                              JULY 1886.

                        GENERAL LISTS OF WORKS

                             PUBLISHED BY
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                   39 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON, E.C.


              HISTORY, POLITICS, HISTORICAL MEMOIRS, &c.

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    New Star Atlas. Crown 8vo. 5s.
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    The Sun and his Phenomena. Fcp. 8vo. 1s.


                       THE ‘KNOWLEDGE’ LIBRARY.
                     Edited by RICHARD A. PROCTOR.

  How to Play Whist. Crown 8vo. 5s.
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                  CLASSICAL LANGUAGES AND LITERATURE.

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    The Nicomachean Ethics, translated by Williams, crown 8vo. 7s.
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  Homer’s Iliad,
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    Greek Text, with Verse Translation, by W. C. Green. Vol. 1,
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  Mahaffy’s Classical Greek Literature. Crown 8vo.
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                 NATURAL HISTORY, BOTANY, & GARDENING.

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  Lindley’s Treasury of Botany. Fcp. 8vo. 6s.
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                THE FINE ARTS AND ILLUSTRATED EDITIONS.

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              CHEMISTRY, ENGINEERING, & GENERAL SCIENCE.

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  Owen’s Comparative Anatomy and Physiology of the Vertebrate
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  Sennett’s Treatise on the Marine Steam Engine. 8vo. 21s.
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    Fragments of Science. 2 vols. post 8vo. 16s.
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    Sound, with Frontispiece and 203 Woodcuts. Crown 8vo. 10s. 6d.
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  Wilson’s Manual of Health-Science. Crown 8vo. 2s. 6d.


                   THEOLOGICAL AND RELIGIOUS WORKS.

  Arnold’s (Rev. Dr. Thomas) Sermons. 6 vols. crown 8vo. 5s. each.
  Boultbee’s Commentary on the 39 Articles. Crown 8vo. 6s.
  Browne’s (Bishop) Exposition of the 39 Articles. 8vo. 16s.
  Bullinger’s Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and
      Greek New Testament. Royal 8vo. 15s.
  Colenso on the Pentateuch and Book of Joshua. Crown 8vo. 6s.
  Conder’s Handbook of the Bible. Post 8vo. 7s. 6d.
  Conybeare & Howson’s Life and Letters of St. Paul:――
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        crown 8vo. 21s.
    Student’s Edition, revised and condensed, with 46 Illustrations
        and Maps. 1 vol. crown 8vo. 7s. 6d.
  Cox’s (Homersham) The First Century of Christianity. 8vo. 12s.
  Davidson’s Introduction to the Study of the New Testament. 2 vols.
      8vo. 30s.
  Edersheim’s
    Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. 2 vols. 8vo. 24s.
    Prophecy and History in relation to the Messiah. 8vo. 12s.
  Ellicott’s (Bishop)
    Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistles. 8vo.
      Galatians, 8s. 6d.
      Ephesians, 8s. 6d.
      Pastoral Epistles, 10s. 6d.
      Philippians, Colossians and Philemon, 10s. 6d.
      Thessalonians, 7s. 6d.
    Lectures on the Life of our Lord. 8vo. 12s.
  Ewald’s
    Antiquities of Israel, translated by Solly. 8vo. 12s. 6d.
    History of Israel, translated by Carpenter & Smith. Vols. 1‒7,
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  Hopkins’s Christ the Consoler. Fcp. 8vo. 2s. 6d.
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                       TRAVELS, ADVENTURES, &c.

  Aldridge’s Ranch Notes in Kansas, Colorada, &c. Crown 8vo. 5s.
  Alpine Club (The) Map of Switzerland. In Four Sheets. 42s.
  Baker’s
    Eight Years in Ceylon. Crown 8vo. 5s.
    Rifle and Hound in Ceylon. Crown 8vo. 5s.
  Ball’s Alpine Guide. 3 vols. post 8vo. with Maps and
      Illustrations:――
    I. Western Alps, 6s. 6d.
    II. Central Alps, 7s. 6d.
    III. Eastern Alps, 10s. 6d.
  Ball on Alpine Travelling, and on the Geology of the Alps, 1s.
  Bent’s The Cyclades, or Life among the Insular Greeks. Crown 8vo.
      12s. 6d.
  Brassey’s
    Sunshine and Storm in the East. Crown 8vo. 7s. 6d.
    Voyage in the Yacht ‘Sunbeam.’
      Crown 8vo. 7s. 6d.
      School Edition, fcp. 8vo. 2s.
      Popular Edition, 4to. 6d.
    In the Trades, the Tropics, and the ‘Roaring Forties.’
      Édition de Luxe, 8vo. £3. 13s. 6d.
      Library Edition, 8vo. 21s.
  Crawford’s Across the Pampas and the Andes. Crown 8vo. 7s. 6d.
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      8vo. 21s.
  Three in Norway. By Two of Them. Crown 8vo. Illustrations, 6s.


                           WORKS OF FICTION.

  Beaconsfield’s (The Earl of) Novels and Tales.
    Hughenden Edition, with 2 Portraits on Steel and 11 Vignettes
        on Wood. 11 vols. crown 8vo. £2. 2s.
    Cheap Edition, 11 vols. crown 8vo. 1s. each, boards; 1s. 6d.
        each, cloth.
      Lothair.
      Sybil.
      Coningsby.
      Tancred.
      Venetia.
      Henrietta Temple.
      Contarini Fleming.
      Alroy, Ixion, &c.
      The Young Duke, &c.
      Vivian Grey.
      Endymion.
  Black Poodle (The) and other Tales. By the Author of ‘Vice Versâ.’
      Cr. 8vo. 6s.
  Brabourne’s (Lord) Friends and Foes from Fairyland. Crown 8vo. 6s.
  Harte (Bret)
    On the Frontier. Three Stories. 16mo. 1s.
    By Shore and Sedge. Three Stories. 16mo. 1s.
  In the Olden Time. By the Author of ‘Mademoiselle Mori.’ Crown
      8vo. 6s.
  Melville’s (Whyte) Novels. 8 vols. fcp. 8vo. 1s. each, boards;
      1s. 6d. each, cloth.
    Digby Grand.
    General Bounce.
    Kate Coventry.
    The Gladiators.
    Good for Nothing.
    Holmby House.
    The Interpreter.
    The Queen’s Maries.
  The Modern Novelist’s Library. Crown 8vo. price 2s. each, boards,
      or 2s. 6d. each, cloth.
    By Bret Harte.
      In the Carquinez Woods.
    By Mrs. Oliphant.
      In Trust, the Story of a Lady and her Lover.
    By James Payn.
      Thicker than Water.
    By Various Writers.
      The Atelier du Lys.
      Atherstone Priory.
      The Burgomaster’s Family.
      Elsa and her Vulture.
      Mademoiselle Mori.
      The Six Sisters of the Valleys.
      Unawares.
  Oliphant’s (Mrs.) Madam. Crown 8vo. 3s. 6d.
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    Amy Herbert. C
    leve Hall.
    The Earl’s Daughter.
    Experience of Life.
    Gertrude. Ivors.
    A Glimpse of the World.
    Katharine Ashton.
    Laneton Parsonage.
    Margaret Percival.
    Ursula.
  Stevenson’s (R. L.)
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  Sturgis’ My Friend and I. Crown 8vo. 5s.
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    The Warden.
    Barchester Towers.


                         POETRY AND THE DRAMA.

  Armstrong’s (Ed. J.) Poetical Works. Fcp. 8vo. 5s.
  Armstrong’s (G. F.) Poetical Works:――
    Poems, Lyrical and Dramatic. Fcp. 8vo. 6s.
    Ugone: a Tragedy. Fcp. 8vo. 6s.
    A Garland from Greece. Fcp. 8vo. 9s.
    King Saul. Fcp. 8vo. 5s.
    King David. Fcp. 8vo. 6s.
    King Solomon. Fcp. 8vo. 6s.
    Stories of Wicklow. Fcp. 8vo. 9s.
  Bailey’s Festus, a Poem. Crown 8vo. 12s. 6d.
  Bowen’s Harrow Songs and other Verses. Fcp. 8vo. 2s. 6d.; or
      printed on hand-made paper, 5s.
  Bowdler’s Family Shakespeare. Medium 8vo. 14s. 6 vols. fcp. 8vo.
      21s.
  Dante’s Divine Comedy, translated by James Innes Minchin. Crown
      8vo. 15s.
  Goethe’s Faust,
    translated by Birds. Large crown 8vo. 12s. 6d.
    translated by Webb. 8vo. 12s. 6d.
    edited by Selss. Crown 8vo. 5s.
  Ingelow’s Poems.
    Vols. 1 and 2, fcp. 8vo. 12s.
    Vol. 3 fcp. 8vo. 5s.
  Macaulay’s Lays of Ancient Rome, with Ivry and the Armada.
    Illustrated by Weguelin. Crown 8vo. 3s. 6d. gilt edges.
    Popular Edition. Illustrated by Scharf. Fcp. 4to. 6d. swd,
        1s. cloth.
  Pennell’s (Cholmondeley) ‘From Grave to Gay.’ A Volume of
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  Reader’s Voices from Flowerland, a Birthday Book, 2s. 6d. cloth,
      3s. 6d. roan.
  Shakespeare’s Hamlet, annotated by George Macdonald, LL.D. 8vo. 12s.
  Southey’s Poetical Works. Medium 8vo. 14s.
  Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses. Fcp. 8vo. 5s.
  Virgil’s
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    Poems, translated into English Prose. Crown 8vo. 9s.


                AGRICULTURE, HORSES, DOGS, AND CATTLE.

  Dunster’s How to Make the Land Pay. Crown 8vo. 5s.
  Fitzwygram’s Horses and Stables. 8vo. 5s.
  Horses and Roads. By Free-Lance. Crown 8vo. 6s.
  Lloyd’s The Science of Agriculture. 8vo. 12s.
  Loudon’s Encyclopædia of Agriculture. 21s.
  Miles’s
    Horse’s Foot, and How to Keep it Sound. Imperial 8vo. 12s. 6d.
    Plain Treatise on Horse-Shoeing. Post 8vo. 2s. 6d.
    Remarks on Horses’ Teeth. Post 8vo. 1s. 6d.
    Stables and Stable-Fittings. Imperial 8vo. 15s.
  Nevile’s
    Farms and Farming. Crown 8vo. 6s.
    Horses and Riding. Crown 8vo. 6s.
  Steel’s Diseases of the Ox, a Manual of Bovine Pathology. 8vo. 15s.
  Stonehenge’s
    Dog in Health and Disease. Square crown 8vo. 7s. 6d.
    Greyhound. Square crown 8vo. 15s.
  Taylor’s Agricultural Note Book. Fcp. 8vo. 2s. 6d.
  Ville on Artificial Manures, by Crookes. 8vo. 21s.
  Youatt’s
    Work on the Dog. 8vo. 6s.
    Work on the Horse. 8vo. 7s. 6d.


                         SPORTS AND PASTIMES.

  The Badminton Library of Sports and Pastimes. Edited by the Duke
      of Beaufort and A. E. T. Watson. With numerous Illustrations.
      Crown 8vo. 10s. 6d. each.
    Hunting, by the Duke of Beaufort, &c.
    Fishing, by H. Cholmondeley-Pennell, &c. 2 vols.
    Racing, by the Earl of Suffolk, &c.
    Shooting, by Lord Walsingham, &c. 2 vols.
  Campbell-Walker’s Correct Card, or How to Play at Whist. Fcp. 8vo.
      2s. 6d.
  Dead Shot (The) by Marksman. Crown 8vo. 10s. 6d.
  Francis’s Treatise on Fishing in all its Branches. Post 8vo. 15s.
  Jefferies’ The Red Deer. Crown 8vo. 4s. 6d.
  Longman’s Chess Openings. Fcp. 8vo. 2s. 6d.
  Peel’s A Highland Gathering. Illustrated. Crown 8vo. 10s. 6d.
  Pole’s Theory of the Modern Scientific Game of Whist. Fcp. 8vo.
      2s. 6d.
  Proctor’s How to Play Whist. Crown 8vo. 5s.
  Ronalds’s Fly-Fisher’s Entomology. 8vo. 14s.
  Vemey’s Chess Eccentricities. Crown 8vo. 10s. 6d.
  Wilcocks’s Sea-Fisherman. Post 8vo. 6s.
  Year’s Sport (The) for 1885. 8vo. 21s.


         ENCYCLOPÆDIAS, DICTIONARIES, AND BOOKS OF REFERENCE.

  Acton’s Modern Cookery for Private Families. Fcp. 8vo. 4s. 6d.
  Ayre’s Treasury of Bible Knowledge. Fcp. 8vo. 6s.
  Brande’s Dictionary of Science, Literature, and Art. 3 vols.
      medium 8vo. 63s.
  Cabinet Lawyer (The), a Popular Digest of the Laws of England.
      Fcp. 8vo. 9s.
  Cates’s Dictionary of General Biography. Medium 8vo. 28s.
  Doyle’s The Official Baronage of England. Vols. I.‒III. 3 vols.
      4to. £5. 5s.; Large Paper Edition, £15. 15s.
  Gwilt’s Encyclopædia of Architecture. 8vo. 52s. 6d.
  Keith Johnston’s Dictionary of Geography, or General Gazetteer.
      8vo. 42s.
  M‘Culloch’s Dictionary of Commerce and Commercial Navigation.
      8vo. 63s.
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                              Footnotes.


    1 – Dean Stanley’s phrase.

    2 – ‏תוֹרָה‏‎‎, ‏‎‏נְבִאִים‎ and ‏כְּתוּבִים‎: abbreviated ‏ת״נך‎.

    3 – Nasi, נָשׂיא, ‘Prince.’ Later on, the titles רַבָּן, our master,
        רַבִּי, my master, and רַב master, were in use.

    4 – B. Disraeli’s _Home Letters_, p. 119.

    5 – Renan.

    6 – _Tanaim_ may be translated teachers, but it is applied only
        to the teachers of the Mishnic period.

    7 – See _ante_, p. 31.

    8 – Mahomedans is the general name given to the followers
        of Mahomed and professors of the faith of Islam; but
        Mahomedans are also called Moors and Saracens, in somewhat
        the same geographical sense that modern Jews are divided
        into Sephardim and Ashkenazim (_i.e._ Spanish and German).
        The Saracens are those Mahomedans who dwelt in the East
        and crossed over into Turkey. The word is Arabic in its
        derivation (_sarog_, east; and _sirocco_, wind). The Moors
        were those Mahomedans who dwelt in Morocco and crossed
        over into Spain. See map.

    9 – The word means excellence.

   10 – Koran has the same derivation.

   11 – Mrs. Browning.

   12 – Massora means tradition.

   13 – Franzos.

   14 – The literary portion of the history of this period will be
        found in Book III., ‘Starlight.’

   15 – Alcharisi.

   16 – טוּלִיטוּלָה, Hebrew for Toledo.

   17 – One of these Rabbis subsequently founded a college at Cairo,
        another in Kairuan, and the third, it is said, at Narbonne.

   18 – _H E P_, supposed by some to be the initial letters of the
        three words _Hierosolyma est perdita_, meaning Jerusalem
        is lost, was the war-cry of the Crusaders. The object of
        the Crusaders was to regain Jerusalem. Hep, Hep, was their
        signal for murdering and plundering Jews _en route_. It
        grew to be a most familiar sound in the Middle Ages.

   19 – See Maimonides, Book III., chap. xxviii.

   20 – Capital of Arragon. See map.

   21 – From the Hebrew מָחְרָם אַתָּה.

   22 – See p. 103.

   23 – The remainder of this paragraph is quoted almost verbatim
        from the author’s work, _About the Jews since Bible Times_.

   24 – Prov. xi. 1; xx. 10.

   25 – The Prioress’s Tale.

   26 – See page 72.

   27 – The badge was called a _tabula_, and was probably made
        in imitation of the two tables of the Law which Moses is,
        pictorially, represented as carrying. At first this badge
        was made of white linen or parchment; it was afterwards
        altered to yellow felt.

   28 – A mark was a coin of the value of 13s. 4d.

   29 – See _ante_, chap. xiv.

   30 – The Greek word is _poëtes_. Gradually it received the
        Hebrew form _payyāt_, and the Chaldaic form _paytan_. The
        root was then treated like a Hebrew root, _piyyut_ was
        formed――literally, poem, but, as a rule, restricted to
        liturgical poems.

   31 – Abraham Ibn Ezra.

   32 – Anonymous.

   33 – See page 125.

   34 – He is mentioned among the Gaonim at p. 126.

   35 – See pp. 120‒124.

   36 – There were two stars of this name; the other one was Moses
        Ibn Ezra of Granada, a poet of some note.

   37 – _See_ p. 138.

   38 – The English version of _Benjamin of Tudela’s Itinerary_ is
        accessible; and, if somewhat less easy reading than some
        modern books of travel, it should be of sufficient interest
        to Jews to be familiar to them.

   39 – Graetz.

   40 – The existence of Bulan and of the Jewish dynasty of the
        Khozars is historical, the rest may be accounted as ‘idyls
        of the king.’

   41 – This extract is from a letter, dated 1199, to Rabbi
        Samuel Ibn Tibbon, a friend who, later on, translated,
        under Maimonides’ direction, his famous work, _The Guide
        to the Perplexed_, from Arabic into Hebrew. The English
        translation of this letter to Ibn Tibbon, which was
        originally written in Arabic, thence translated into
        Hebrew, is by Dr. H. Adler――_Miscellany of Hebrew
        Literature_, 1st series.

   42 – Which means, from Moses our Lawgiver till Moses Maimonides,
        none rose like Moses.

   43 – See p. 267.

   44 – The allusion is to the siege of Leyden, 1573, when, as
        a last chance of relieving the city, William the Silent
        had the great dykes pierced so as to let in the sea, and
        thus flooding the country, succeeded in drowning out the
        besiegers, and sending in barges with food to the besieged.
        The story is splendidly told in Motley’s _Rise of the Dutch
        Republic_.

   45 – Traditional interpretation identifies the Biblical
        _Ashkenaz_ (Gen. x. 3), _Zarephath_, and _Sephared_
        (Obad. 20) with Germany, France, and Spain. The Jews of
        Spain were therefore called _Sephardim_, and those of
        Germany _Ashkenazim_. These names are applied to Jews of
        other countries, in the degree in which they approach to
        the former or the latter in their pronunciation of Hebrew,
        and in their ritual.

   46 – The Abarbanel who pleaded to Ferdinand and Isabella. See
        chap. xxi.

   47 – Grotius was also for some years Swedish ambassador at
        Paris. Milton was there received by him in 1638.

   48 – Parts of this chapter are taken almost _verbatim_ from an
        article by the author which appeared in _Good Words_, Oct.
        1884.

   49 – From ‘Declaration to the Commonwealth.’

   50 – _Cromwell_, vol. ii. p. 359.

   51 – The Hero as King――_Heroes_, p. 342.

   52 – Novalis.

   53 – See p. 87.

   54 – Thomson.

   55 – See p. 220.

   56 – See p. 193.

   57 – A thaler is three times as valuable as a mark.

   58 – See p. 113.

   59 – See p. 216.

   60 – See p. 210.

   61 – Goethe’s phrase.

   62 – Dan. iii.

   63 – Lowell.

   64 – Goethe.

   65 – See p. 193.

   66 – _Gottesdienstliche Vorträge der Juden historisch
        entwickelt._

   67 – _Zur Geschichte und Literatur._

   68 – Samuel of Babylon, who died 253.

   69 – ‘A partir de 1791, il n’y a plus à proprement parler de
        Juifs de France, mais des citoyens français professant la
        religion israélite.’――_Histoire des Israélites_, Reinach,
        p. 340. To which work, in the later chapters, I am under
        some obligation for facts.――K. M.

   70 – מַעֲמָד a Hebrew word meaning representative assembly.

   71 – הַסְכָּמוֹת is a Hebrew term denoting agreements.

   72 – A certain Moses Netto was denied permission to publish an
        English translation of the Prayer-book, and a penalty of
        5l. was imposed on any member who should buy, sell, or
        read such a book.

   73 – When, so late as 1744, Jacob Israel Bernal, a member of the
        Portuguese congregation, applied to the Mahamad for leave
        to marry a German Jewess, very humiliating conditions were
        attached to the reluctant permission. The bridegroom was
        not ‘called up to the law,’ the members of the Congregation
        were not allowed to be present at the ceremony, and no
        ‘offerings’ were accepted. A descendant of this Mr. Bernal
        married a Duke of St. Albans.

   74 – This synagogue was very much injured by fire in 1738, but
        it was rebuilt on the same site, and the old beam given
        by Queen Anne was preserved and replaced. The building was
        finished in 1749, and has stood, practically unaltered,
        since that date.

   75 – Professor Theodores’ letter, in pamphlet form, is to be
        found at the British Museum.

   76 – See a biographical sketch, reprinted by permission from
        the _Times_, by Mr. Israel Davis. _Jewish Chronicle_
        Office, 2 Finsbury Square, 1885.



      *      *      *      *      *      *



Transcriber’s note:

The Erratum correction has been incorporated into the text.

Punctuation has been standardized.

Index references have not been checked for accuracy.

This book was written in a period when many words had not become
standardized in their spelling. Multiple spelling variations and
inconsistent hyphenation occur in the text. These have been left
unchanged unless indicated with a Transcriber’s Note.

The following corrections have been made in the text:

  Page 117:
    Sentence starting: Talmudic studies were again....
      – ‘Pombaditha’ replaced with ‘Pumbaditha’
        (Sora and Pumbaditha grew to be)

  Page Index:
    Sentence starting: Agobard,...
      – ‘Agobart’ replaced with ‘Agobard’
        (Agobard, 129)

  Page Index:
    Sentence starting: Alcharisi,...
      – ‘Alcharizi’ replaced with ‘Alcharisi’
        (Alcharisi, Judah, 132)

  Page Index:
    Sentence starting: Azariah de Rossi,...
      – ‘Azaria’ replaced with ‘Azariah’
        (Azariah de Rossi, 273)

  Page Index:
    Sentence starting: Barlæus,...
      – ‘Barleus’ replaced with ‘Barlæus’
        (Barlæus, Caspar, 243)

  Page Index:
    Sentence starting: Bernhardt,...
      – ‘Bernhard’ replaced with ‘Bernhardt’
        (Bernhardt, Isaac, 290)

  Page Index:
    Sentence starting: Christina....
      – ‘Christine’ replaced with ‘Christina’
        (Christina of Sweden, 243)

  Page Index:
    Sentence starting: Cossacks,...
      – ‘Cossacs’ replaced with ‘Cossacks’
        (Cossacks, massacre of Jews by, 278)

  Page Index:
    Sentence starting: Emancipation of the Jews....
      – ‘399’ replaced with ‘329’
        (England, 323, 329)

  Page Index:
    Sentence starting: Frankel,...
      – ‘Fraenkel’ replaced with ‘Frankel’
        (Frankel, Rabbi David, 285)

  Page Index:
    Sentence starting: Halacha,...
      – ‘Halachah’ replaced with ‘Halacha’
        (Halacha, 92)

  Page Index:
    Sentence starting: Herz,...
      – ‘Henriette’ replaced with ‘Henrietta’
        (Herz, Henrietta, 298, 305)

  Page Index:
    Sentence starting: Joachin,...
      – ‘Joachim’ replaced with ‘Joachin’
        (Joachin, Rabbi, 170)

  Page Index:
    Sentence starting: Kabbala,...
      – ‘Kabbalah’ replaced with ‘Kabbala’
        (Kabbala, 256)

  Page Index:
    Sentence starting: Masada,...
      – ‘Massada’ replaced with ‘Masada’
        (Masada, 71)

  Page Index:
    Sentence starting: Montpelier,...
      – ‘Montpellier’ replaced with ‘Montpelier’
        (Montpelier, 130)

  Page Index:
    Sentence starting: Roumania....
      – ‘Rumania’ replaced with ‘Roumania’
        (Roumania, 312)

  Page Index:
    Sentence starting: Saadia,...
      – ‘Saadiah’ replaced with ‘Saadia’
        (Saadia, 126, 188, 189)

  Page Index:
    Sentence starting: Salomons....
      – ‘Salamons’ replaced with ‘Salomons’
        (Salomons, Sir D., 329)

  Page Index:
    Sentence starting: Strasburg,...
      – ‘Strassburg’ replaced with ‘Strasburg’
        (Strasburg, 158)

  Page Index:
    Sentence starting: Sunnah,...
      – ‘Sunna’ replaced with ‘Sunnah’
        (Sunnah, 121)

  Page Index:
    Sentence starting: Tanaim,...
      – ‘Tannaim’ replaced with ‘Tanaim’
        (Tanaim, 8, 89)

  Catalog page 3:
    Sentence starting: Economic Studies,...
      – ‘Hatton’ replaced with ‘Hutton’
        (edited by Hutton)

  Page Footnote 19:
    Sentence starting: See Maimonides,...
      – ‘xxix’ replaced with ‘xxviii’
        (chap. xxviii.)





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