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work, that the reader may judge impartially and not ascribe to the composer a plan which he did not have; 2. the profit of the work to the readers; 3. the name of the work and its nickname, and the reason for these ; 4. the name of the composer, compiler, or editor, as the case may be; 5. the relation of the work to similar preceding works, whether it is a continuation or a development; 6. the prefatory advices which are essential to understand the work ; 7. to what class of works it belongs and for what class of readers it is written ; 8. the method and the divisions of the work.
This great work of Nissi ben Noah, invaluable as an exposition of Caraism, is unfortunately lost and is known to us only in the accounts of other teachers. Next in the order of time among the Caraite teachers was Benjamin ben Moses, called Nahawendi, from the name of his native city, in the mountain land of Media. His fame and influence were at their height about the year 800. He was not only an authority in Persia, where he was even able to convert the Moslems to the faith of the Bible, but his decisions were sought and respected in Babylon and Palestine. He professed to know and to reveal doctrines which were not disclosed to Anan, but which the Caraites believed had been taught to him by Anan's grandson Josiah, at this time exilarch at Jerusalem. Among his numerous works are mentioned a Commentary on the Pentateuch ; an Explanation of Isaiah, in which he denies the supposed Messianic prophecies; a Commentary on the Book of Daniel, in which days are made to mean years; a Commentary on the Five Megilloth, - the Canticles, Ruth, Esther, Lamentations, and Ecclesiastes, — interpreting the first and last of these allegorically ; a Book of Commands, based on the Caraite customs; and a Catalogue of practical Mosaic statutes, prepared in Hebrew, which was called, in his honor, the Nassath-Benjamin. Besides these exegetical and practical works, Nahawendi seems also to have composed a dogmatic work, in which were speculations about God and creation and the soul. The soul, in his view, had no separate VOL. XXI. No. 81.
existence, but is only part of the body, and can expect no life and no retribution apart from its bodily connection, God comes into no immediate relation with the world. His creation and providence are all through mediators, second causes, spiritual forces (ouvápels), words (Nóryou), angels of various ranks and degrees. Nahawendi denied that God spake directly to Moses, or that any word had come to patriarchs and prophets from one too exalted for all human intercourse, and would allow no anthropomorphic conceptions of the divine nature. In several minor points of practice he departed from the teaching of Anan, particularly as to the observance of the Sabbath, the killing of the paschal lamb, and the validity of the marriage bond. А lawful marriage, according to Nahawendi, requires more than purchase, contract, and cohabitation; it must have the preliminaries of betrothal, taking home, bridal presents, religious covenant, and the presence of witnesses, to be lawful.
After Nahawendi, the next conspicuous Caraite doctor was Daniel ben Moses el-Kumassi, supposed to be a younger brother of the above mentioned Benjamin. He flourished from 820 to 860. Only a few specimens of his teaching are cited. Among these is a permission to kill on the Sabbath the paschal lamb, if the day of preparation comes on the Sabbath, but with the reservation that only one lamb is to be killed, and this to serve as the sacrifice for all Israel. Contemporary with Daniel was a certain Bochtan, who reckoned the pentecost feast as seven weeks from the barley harvest, without regard to the feast of the passover. More important than these was Judghan of Hamadan in Media, who taught that the law has both an outer and an inner sense, and must be at once literally and allegorically explained ; that the soul of man passes from body to body, sometimes losing and sometimes gaining by the change. The Messianic claim which Judghan advanced discredited him with the great body of the sect, and he was regarded by the more sober as a schismatic and a visionary. A
considerable party, nevertheless, continued to observe his ascetic rules, to repeat his prayers, to neglect, according to bis injunction, all celebration of the feasts, and to believe that his death was only apparent, and that he would come back to teach and judge the world.
The Messianic fanaticism was carried to still greater extremes by Schadgan, who abrogated not only all feasts, but all laws concerning food and purification, and by Muschka, who preached that war and the sword, as much as prayer and fasting, were needful to bring the deliverance
Abu Imnan el-Safarani also taught in Persia the doctrine of the separation of God from his creation, of the metempsychosis of the soul, and retribution in this transmigration, as the soul received a higher or lower form in its new body; and left behind him a sect of followers, who for many ages were called Tiflisites or Meswites. Another Caraite sect, about the middle of the ninth century, were the Ocbarites, so called from two teachers of Ocbar on the Tigris, Ismail and Abu Musa. More influential than these were the Baalbekites, a sect which followed the word of Mesui of Baalbec, a strict critic of all violations of the Sabbath. Other Caraite sects of this period were the Margharites, who insisted upon the mission of angels and the work of Jehovah only through agents and subordinates; the Galutites, who strangely likened God to men, and described the size and shape of his bodily organs; the Scharistanites, who maintained a spiritual sense in the scripture and that twenty-four verses of the law were lost; the Irakians, whose heresies were mainly in the construction of the calendar; the Palestinians, to whom the scribe Ezra was a true " son of God,” and probably the restorer of the law; the “ El Garija,” who humanized God, and reckoned the months from the full moon; the "El Karija,” a half-Samaritan sect, who kept in general assembly their Sabbaths and feasts, and drank out of dried gourds to avoid the risk of impurity; and the Mograbites of Northern Africa, which seem to have been only a Caraite variation of a Moslem sect.
Two Moslem sects, in fact, had large influence upon the progress of Caraite opinion, and may not be neglected in the notice of its history. These sects are the Mutazilites, who denied corporeal attributes to the Deity, separated him from direct connection with men, and asserted the freedom of human choice, and Ascharites, who asserted the constant action of Deity in human affairs and that all things, both good and evil, are from him.
In the second half of the ninth century the Caraite doctors, if less influential than those who went before them, were much more numerous. We hear of David ben Boas, the fifth exilarch in Jerusalem since Anan, and of his commentary on the law; of Abu Ali Saadiah, and his son Ali. ha Levi, both exegetical writers; of Joseph ben Bachtani of Bagdad, a famous grammarian, some of whose readings of the law were quite peculiar, especially the explanation of the golden rule: not " thou shalt do the same good to thy neighbor as to thyself,” but “thou shalt keep away frorn bim the evil that thou keepest from thyself;" of Moses ben Adonim of Darah in North Africa, a poet as well as an interpreter; of Meborach ben Nathan, who composed laments and elegies for the days of fasting and atonement in Jerusalem; of Judah ben Alan, who wrote not only elegies, but also a grammar and a dictionary ; of Abulfarag, whose Arabic commentary on the Pentateuch is celebrated by many writers; and, in Persia and Babylonia, of Ibn Sitha and Samuel Ibn Sakawiah, at once grammarians and philosophers.
The most remarkable Caraites of this period, however, were Eldad ha Dani, the traveller, and Chani-el Balchi, the rationalist. Eldad was a Median, and took bis surname “ha Dani” from the tribe of Dan, to which he pretended to belong. His journeys were widely extended, through Arabia, Persia, Egypt, Africa even to Morocco, and everywhere he gathered a store of legends, and inquired into the faith of the people, The traces of him are finally lost in Spain, where his stories were heard and believed by his Jewish
brethren. His most interesting narratives are those wbich pretend to tell of the remnant of the ten tribes, their laws, their customs, and their condition. According to his statement, Hebrew was a living language in these communities, though they were able also to use the dialects of the many countries through which they were scattered. The scripture, and not the Talmud, was their authoritative book. They had indeed a Talmud of short sentences, in a Hebrew dialect, which had come down directly from Moses and Joshua, but this was without fulness or beauty of style. He identifies the ten tribes with the Banu Musa, that heretical sect mentioned earlier in this paper. Eldad's statements are not to be implicitly received; and it is quite certain that he did not travel as an authorized Caraite missionary. Yet he does not seem to be a deceiver, and the accounts wbich he gives of the condition of the Israelites in the countries which he visited are doubtless his real impressions. He was rather a sagacious and enterprising observer than a skilled man of letters.
Chawi-el-Balchi, the Caraite freethinker, is pronounced by Fürst to be “the first rationalistic critic of the Bible." In him were brought to their point and focus all the cavils and doubts of the preceding centuries upon the rabbinical teaching. His name El-Balchi is derived from his native city, Balch in Bactria. He flourished after the year 880. He wrote an Arabic translation of the Pentateuch with rationalistic notes, in which he denied that the world was created out of nothing; asserted that Moses availed himself of the ebb tide in crossing the Red sea; said that the miraculous manna was only the sweet exudation of a tree of the desert; that the glow on the face of Moses was only the repulsive sharpness from his emaciated features after forty days of fasting, which the people could not bear to look upon. Another important work of El-Balchi was the Sepher ha Theanot, the Book of Exceptions, which asks many strange questions concerning the sacred narratives : Why did God order sacrifices in the temple, when the Deity need not to be